I have just returned from a trip to South Korea mainly to attend a conference on ageing and while I was there to see a bit of the country and meet some of the people.
On the flight over I sat next to a doctor from a Sydney hospital who goes over there regularly to pass on his skills to his colleagues in Seoul. He reckoned the South Koreans are the hardest working people in the world and I think he might be right! The conference went from 8am to 5.30 or 6 each day with only 3 short breaks, for 4 days! Needless to say I only got there at 8am one morning and I’d run out off puff before the end most days! Oh to have been younger and had unlimited strength.
After the conference I travelled south to have a look at more of this beautiful country. Most of it is very hilly and they make the most of any land that is anything like flat, either by building high-rise apartments to house the people or farming to feed them.
What really struck me was that the people are so caring of each other and those around them. If you asked for help they readily gave it. If they couldn’t speak English (the children learn to read and write it at school but not to speak it) then we got by using mime and a lot of good humour!
As an older person I was anticipating being treated with respect and this is what happened except for 4 men from a Christian group who thought it appropriate to shove me when I was in their way! I’m sure there’s a message there somewhere!
I spent an exhausting week seeing as much of the country and meeting South Koreans thinking that would be my only visit. As it happened I was so impressed I am determined to go back there. If the rest of the world had the same attitude of caring toward others that these people had the world would be a much better place.
If I do get the chance to go again I’ll try to do less. The downside of ageing is not having the stamina we used to have!