S Korea Recalls Spirit of Unity [Financial Times]Would Europeans queue to hand in their wedding rings to be melted down in the interests of repairing their national finances?
That is what South Koreans did amid the Asian markets crisis of 1997-1998 and the draconian strictures imposed by the International Monetary Fund following a $58bn bail-out. It was the IMF's biggest such package, over which arguments still rage on its size.
Nonetheless, many South Koreans look back on the period with pride, saying it showed the nation, which boasts of its collectivist spirit, was willing to pull together.
"Korea collected gold; Greece throws stones," quipped the rightwing Chosun Ilbo newspaper recently.
However, such rhetoric overlooks significant strikes and demonstrations in South Korea in the late 1990s. The Dong-a Ilbo, another newspaper, warned the insular Koreans not to be smug, saying at least the Greeks had "neighbours who would help them".
Friday, May 14, 2010
Interesting Financial Times article comparing how Koreans dealt with the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, and how Europeans are dealing with the financial crisis today: