[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Seoul is fine, thank you

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Seoul is fine, thank you

Regarding the Dec. 4 front page article, “Seoul expats angry at traffic, visa system,” I too attended most of the meeting and consider that the report does not accurately reflect the views of the participants. While the comments that were included in the report are in themselves accurate, almost without exception they were prefaced at the meeting itself with comments on how very grateful the speakers were for the efforts made by Seoul Metropolitan Government in assisting foreign residents.
Examples quoted, but not reported, included the issue of a new Seoul bus guide in English with accompanying maps, and the generally helpful attitude of officials when dealing with suggestions made by foreign residents. Particular praise was given for the setting up of the Help Center for Foreigners, the recently produced medical directory and improvements made in road signs.
A lengthy dialogue also took place on the hourly English-language broadcasts. All these are now available in English and are a result of previous suggestions. To report on one instance of bills not yet being made available in dual language is to ignore the positive sense of the meeting held by the majority.
Yes, traffic violations, including allowing motorcyclists to ride on the sidewalks, do represent a real safety issue and need to be addressed, but the feel of the meeting was one of the foreign residents being grateful for the forum that Seoul Metropolitan Government provides, and this point needs to be recorded.
I congratulate the Seoul authorities for their efforts this far and am confident that any future practical points that foreign residents suggest will receive a sympathetic hearing.

by Geoffrey Fitch
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