Observations and Reflection from Korea – Sunday, 1.11.2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 636
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1997, more and more links between Cambodia and South Korea have developed – not receiving much general attention, but quite real. Over the last five years, tourists from Korea have topped the list of foreign visitors. And there are about 4,000 Koreans living in Cambodia.
But there is also a growing presence in the opposite direction: there are 8,400 Cambodians living in Korea, among them 2,900 Cambodian women married with Korean men. There is an increasing number of Cambodian students in Korea, and there are 4,900 workers. The Korean president announced that in addition, 3,500 more Cambodian workers will be accepted to work, aiming at a total number of 9,000 Cambodian workers in Korea.
Korea is the second largest foreign investor in Cambodia. Korea is one of the important donors of Cambodia. Since 2001, there have been US$220 million granted as loans and US$46 million as grant. Recently, the amount of US$200 million as a special loan has been added to the list.
But Korea is not known broadly in Cambodia – we add therefore also some pictures, just as the weather permitted, with sunshine and with rain. Participating in a series of working sessions in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – the organization that cares for the address system of the Internet, where I am involved since 1999 – I had the opportunity to compare and to reflect.
Compared to the size of the population of Cambodia of 14 million, the city of Seoul alone has a population of more than 10 million.
Maybe some of the ambitious Korea related building projects in Cambodia have to be seen on the background of Korean city developments – still the very high rise buildings planned in Phnom Penh do not yet fit into the environment: what about traffic access, water supply and disposal? just to mention some technicalities.
And there are not only technicality related disruptions. I took the following picture of the Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh some years ago, leaving for Bangkok. Many big cities around the world maintain their lakes or rivers, or even create artificial ones. The Phnom Penh administration is destroying what there is – filling about 90 % of the lake with sand for higher level business, also displacing about 4,000 families.
It is encouraging to see how Seoul has transformed an old water disposal canal into a nice place of nature in the middle of the city: a place of recreation – going for a walk, or even for jogging, with three different suggested courses of 1.8, 3.6, and 5.8 kilometers.
And it is encouraging to see the many different spheres of life in more detail, being cared for, manifest in this town.
Colorful design all over town.
The Kyobo bookstore extends 100 meters under the ground
Everybody can find the way easily in the center of town:
Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.