Good Friday morning!
On Monday, many people including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda watched our new president take the oath of office at the National Assembly. In his inaugural speech President Lee stressed that economic revival is the most urgent task he is bracing for, and for that end he pledged to slash regulations unnecessary for business activities, streamline the government sector, and draw in foreign investments.
President Lee also highlighted his all-out support to help our compatriots in the North to arrive at $3,000 income per capita by launching massive aid projects, if they abandon their nuclear weapon programs. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal carried news that the multi-lateral financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank are game for laying out the aid program in line with President Lee’s idea.
On the same day, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra played a historic concert in Pyongyang on North Korea’s invitation. Symbolically enough, it played “The Star Spangled Banner,” the U.S. anthem, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.” Its rendition of our folk song “Arirang” came to a climax.
Although the trip may produce no immediate diplomatic breakthroughs, it truly marked a milestone in diplomacy between the two countries. As the ping pong diplomacy between the U.S. and China in 1971 thawed the strain between two nations, this event will pave the way for North Korea’s movement towards what the Chinese government has done in terms of its economic development. Whether planned or not, North Korea has already crossed the river of no return.
Also, CNN reported that North Korea has officially invited the world-best rock guitarist Eric Clapton in return for the North Korea State Symphony’s British tour scheduled for September.
Now all of us are seeing the change of ages from ideology to pragmatism both in South and North.
All the regretful and sad incidents, including the unexpected fire on Namdaemun Gate will soon be memories at the onset of a new era. And a new day has already begun.
Have a terrific weekend, you all!
[My Lucky Day]
I teach economics at UNLV three times per week. Last Monday, at the beginning of class, I cheerfully asked my students how their weekend had been. One young man said that his weekend had not been so good. He had his wisdom teeth removed. The young man then proceeded to ask me why I always seemed to be so cheerful.
His question reminded me of something I’d read somewhere before: “Every morning when you get up, you have a choice about how you want to approach life that day,” I said. “I choose to be cheerful.”
“Let me give you an example,” I continued, addressing all sixty students in the class. “In addition to teaching here at UNLV, I also teach at the community college in Henderson, 17 miles down the freeway from where I live. One day a few weeks ago I drove those 17 miles to Henderson. I exited the freeway and turned onto College Drive. I only had to drive another quarter mile down the road to the college. But just then my car died. I tried to start it again, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. So I put my flashers on, grabbed my books, and marched down the road to the college.”
“As soon as I got there, I called AAA and arranged for a tow truck to meet me at my car after class. The secretary in the Provost’s office asked me what has happened. ‘This is my lucky day,’ I replied, smiling.
“Your car breaks down and today is your lucky day?” She was puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“I live 17 miles from here.” I replied. “My car could have broken down anywhere along the freeway. It didn’t. Instead, it broke down in the perfect place: off the freeway, within walking distance of here. I’m still able to teach my class, and I’ve been able to arrange for the tow truck to meet me after class. If my car was meant to break down today, it couldn’t have been arranged in a more convenient fashion.”
The secretary’s eyes opened wide, and then she smiled. I smiled back and headed for class. So ended my story.
I scanned the sixty faces in my economics class at UNLV. Despite the early hour, no one seemed to be asleep. Somehow, my story had touched them. Or maybe it wasn’t the story at all. In fact, it had all started with a student’s observation that I was cheerful.
[A Smart Lunatic]
A motorist had a flat tire in front of an insane asylum. He took the wheel off, but when he stood up, he tipped over the hubcap containing the bolts, spilling them all down a sewer drain.
A patient, looking through the fence, suggested that the man take one bolt from the remaining three wheels to hold the fourth wheel in place until he could get to a service station.
The motorist thanked him profusely and said, “I don’t know why you are in that place.”
The patient said, “I’m in here for being crazy, not for being stupid.”
새로운 날이 시작됐습니다.
월요일에는 콘돌리사 라이스 미국 국무부 장관과 야스오 후쿠다 일본 수상 등 많은 사람들이 우리의 새 대통령이 국회에서 취임 선서를 하는 것을 지켜보았습니다. 취임 연설에서 이대통령은 경제 회복이 자신이 준비하고 있는 가장 시급한 과제이며, 이를 위해 기업 활동에 불필요한 규제를 철폐하고, 공공부문을 간소화하고, 외국인 투자를 유입할 것임을 다짐했습니다.
이대통령은 또한 북한이 핵무기 프로그램을 포기 한다면, 대북지원 프로젝트를 대폭 발족하여 북한에 있는 우리 동포들이 일인당 소득 3천불에 이르도록 돕는 데 전력을 다할 것임을 강조했습니다. 수요일 월스트릿 저널은 IMF와 세계은행 같은 다자금융기구들이 이대통령의 아이디어와 궤를 같이하는 지원 프로그램을 내놓을 생각이 있다는 뉴스를 실었습니다.
같은 날 뉴욕 필하모닉 교향악단은 북한의 초청으로 평양에서 역사적인 연주회를 가졌습니다. 매우 상징적으로 뉴욕 필하모닉 교향악단은 미국 국가 “별이 총총한 성조기”와 조지 거쉰의 “파리의 미국인”과 안토닌 드보르작의 교향곡 제9번 “신세계’를 연주했습니다. 뉴욕 필하모닉 교향악단의 우리 민요 “아리랑” 연주는 클라이맥스였습니다.
비록 뉴욕 필하모닉의 (북한) 여행이 즉각적인 외교적 돌파구를 낳지는 못할 지라도 그것은 확실히 두 나라간 외교에 이정표가 될 것입니다. 1971년 미국과 중국간의 탁구 외교가 두 국가의 긴장관계를 녹였듯이 이번 일은 경제개발과 관련하여 북한이 중국정부가 해온 바를 지향하는 움직임을 촉진시킬 것입니다. 계획했든 그러지 안았든 간에 북한은 이미 돌아올 수 없는 강을 건넜습니다.
또한, CNN은 북한이 9월로 예정된 북한 국립 교향악단의 영국 방문에 대한답례로 세계 최고의