[Letter to the editor]Turned off by obsession with luxuryI agree with Mr. Bae Myung-bok’s point on Koreans’ obsession with luxuries (Outlook, June 14). Koreans seem to spend a lot of money on name-brand goods. Sometimes people spend more than they can afford to buy a Gucci bag or Nike shoes. I think that this is a symptom of an underdeveloped country.
A recent news report shows this problem. The report showed a Gucci shop in Paris which was full of customers ― and all of them were from Asia. The reporter noted that most of them were Korean or Chinese. Then the report quoted a Paris resident who said that most people living in Paris think that buying such goods is just a waste of money. Paris residents, instead, prefer buying clothes they consider appropriate.
Nationally, so-called luxury cars are popular. More people are buying Mercedeses and BMWs than in past years while domestic brands are declining. But Korean cars can perform as well as other cars. Why buy an expensive car when you can get a similar one at a lower price?
I suggest that Koreans start changing their views on luxury brands. There are many domestic brands sold with lower prices that are as good as imported brands. Imported brands just give the illusion that you look cool if you buy them. Don’t get fooled.
Shin Dong-han, a senior at Baek Seok High School
Korea is perfect host for 2014 Olympics
As the date looms for the International Olympic Committee to choose the host country for the 2014 Winter Olympics, it would be appropriate for someone to point out the dynamic impact that South Korea could have on the Olympics and Asia. It is time to consider revitalizing and endorsing an Olympic event that has always been in the shadow of the Summer Olympics. With significantly fewer participating countries and athletes, it would be a wise decision to bring the Winter Olympics to Asia.
Since the revival of the ancient Olympics in 1896, it has always been the one sporting event that truly brings all the countries of the world together in the spirit of competition and peace. When the first Olympic Games were held in Greece, the winners were crowned with olive wreaths, instead of receiving medals, to symbolize hope and peace, ideals that continue to be the moving force for South Korea. During the Sydney Summer Olympics of 2000, South and North Korea marched together under the flag of Korean unification ― a nation that had been divided for more than half a century. That moment was of unparalleled importance for a people overshadowed by the threat of war and nuclear weapons, and has helped to build trust between two countries struggling to coexist apart from each other.
If South Korea were to host the Winter Olympics, the opportunities for Asia, the Olympics and winter sports would be staggering. Asia currently has a population of 4 billion and is largely focused on summer events, leaving the winter events to the Europeans. However, the 2014 Winter Olympics could seriously stimulate a change, bringing a rise in awareness of winter sports and related industries throughout Asia, as well as bringing popularity to many inspiring sports like hockey and ice skating.
What better champion for this privilege than South Korea, a country used to hosting large sporting events. With the successful Seoul Summer Olympics in 1988, South Korea proved that this rapidly developing country was able to host and provide the infrastructure required for world events. In 2002, South Korea co-hosted the World Cup with Japan, a one-time enemy and long-time economic rival, and then the 2002 Asian Games and APEC, two more fine examples of South Korea hosting prestigious events.
Edward Smith, a freelance writer in Busan
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