Korea - A Model of Development for Other Nations?

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Quite frankly it is a very challenging undertaking to pen the proper words that best describe the transitions Korea has gone through these past thirty years. During my time in Korea between 1978 and 1981, I traveled extensively to every corner of the country. Quite likely I have seen more of Korea than most Koreans. But I cannot even begin to recognize Yonhi-dong where my family and I lived during that earlier time - the magnificent Korean Gate standing on the property of the school my children attended is the only part of the 18moa school that remains unchanged -the office where I worked in Kwanghwamun bears little resemblance to the cold dusty spaces we occupied thirty years ago - no longer is there a young boy going through the offices looking for shoes to shine for the few peck won needed for his daily meal - the yakultlady doesn't seem to make the same rounds as she did before - the tabang in the basement of our offices gave way empty space - the Korean War widowed ggot lady is no longer selling flowers at the corner in the cold of winter to earn money to care for her children and ensure their education and her prayer of hope for their better life [both children graduated from university because of her perseverance] -the over-packed buses, belching smoke, no longer rattle along the roads, both in need of repair; its customers now ride on computer controlled subways and clean buses unmindful of the earlier days - there is now a stream flowing through the center of Seoul that was previously used as a road with a second elevated highway running above when I lived in Seoul - the wonderful Kyongbokgung, for years hidden behind the Japanese-built government buildings that have now disappeared, opening up a spectacular display of breathtaking Korean architecture that I was never able to experience when I lived in Seoul thirty years ago. Quite frankly, it is difficult for these old eyes to adjust to the Korea that unfolds before me today.