[Letter to the editor]This Korean says ‘Thanks, Maarten.’I am an ordinary Korean housewife who has seriously thought of emigrating for the sake of my daughter’s education. Last spring at a bookstore, a unique book caught my eye. On the cover was a picture of a foreigner covered in a Taegukgi, the Korean national flag. That this foreigner was living here in Korea with his family with four kids made me buy “What’s So Good about Korea, Maarten?” Maarten Meijer, the author, is sending his kids to Korean schools. In his book, he speaks about precious Korean values that even we, Koreans, have forgotten.
I read a few articles about Mr. Maarten’s book in the JoongAng. One letter said his book was good, but some others were critical. Unfortunately, so far there has been no Korean perspective. In this book, Mr. Maarten has dealt with Korean culture, history, social problems and education. One thing is clear: He doesn’t want to simply flatter. He honestly writes about many aspects of Korean society based on his experience and study of the country. He doesn’t use sweet words to please readers. Thus, some things may sound harsh to Koreans. “Blue-eyed” Mr. Maarten encourages us, Koreans, to be proud of being Korean. When seriously considering what he says, the reader realizes that the author’s beautiful advice is motivated by his sincere friendship. I think that, as thinking people, Koreans are capable of embracing his considerate advice. There is a Korean saying: Medicine, that is good for your health is bitter. This medicine will add energy to a vibrant Korea.
Koo Kyoung-hee, Junggok-4-dong,
Gwangjin district, Seoul