[LETTERS to the editor]Event coverage gave wrong impressionI discussed with my students the importance of not believing everything you read.
Why? Well, thanks to the JoongAng Ilbo articles by Lee Jang-jik (Korean, 09/11/06, English 09/12/06), my colleagues and students believe I had a horrible time on the Arts Council Korea-sponsored trip to Chungju Lake. To the contrary, if Mr. Lee had taken the time to interview me instead of simply name-dropping, he would have learned that I had a wonderful time. Who would believe it though, when the Korean article included such passages as: “Foreigners furious at Korean time experience;” “Art Council Korea’s Korean Music Festival disgraces nation;” “. . . the faces [of the foreigners] were not bright throughout the trip;” and from the English version, “lackluster performance.” I don’t know where Mr. Lee received his information, or why he created such baseless babble. The trip did not, of course, “go up in smoke.”
Having years of experience, awards and being masters in their own right, Ji Seong-ja, Won Wan-cheol, Jo Yong-su, Gang Eun-il and Kim Gwang-seok gave performances that were far from lackluster, and it was serendipitous that the show’s venue was changed to the lovely and historical Hanbyeongnu Pavilion.
I felt privileged to have witnessed a show of such caliber. My friend and I were not furious, nor did the other foreigners who attended seem to be. If it were true that our “faces were not bright throughout the trip,” why did the 60 plus foreigners smile, laugh, clap, “have an outward expression of having a great time,” repeatedly take photos and speak highly of the performances? The inconveniences (rain, traffic, a noisy boat, and delays) did not ruin the tour. We all pulled through it and I thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to get out of the city, enjoy the fresh air, take in some beautiful sights, have a delicious lunch and watch and listen to quality music for free. Who wouldn’t?
The efforts of the Arts Council Korea and the Korean Music Festival were not a disgrace to Korea; however, Mr. Lee’s misleading representation of what happened was disgraceful to the Joongang Ilbo, which should be on guard against such shoddy journalism. The Arts Council Korea’s Korean Music Festival, Professor Hahn Myong-hee, Seoul Selection and the wonderful performers all deserved much better.
by Paulette Hawkins