[Letters] Korea must join efforts to help Thailand

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[Letters] Korea must join efforts to help Thailand

Thailand has fallen into a deep despair. Some 70 percent of the nation has flooded and one-sixth of the population has suffered damages.

The properties damage is now more than 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion). Thailand, Korea’s close neighbor, is the first Asian country to join the allied forces during the Korean War to fight for South Korea.

These days, more than one million Korean tourists visit Thailand every year.

In Thailand, the Korean Wave has established itself as a key social phenomenon. The Korean Wave first began from TV dramas, movies and pop music, but it has expanded to other parts of the culture including game, fashion and food.

More than 20 universities and 50 high schools in Thailand are teaching Korean language.

In Korea, the Thai influence is evident. About 300,000 tourists visit Korea from Thailand. Workers, wives, immigrants and students from Thailand increase, and the cuisine and pop culture is spreading.

It is no longer strange to hear one or two Thai words in daily lives. Nichkhun of 2PM and Rania’s Joy are Thai singers who are members of popular pop groups in Korea.

In the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Japan, we have provided enormous support.

But when Southeast Asian countries have faced natural disasters, no nationwide campaign has taken place. Only some civic groups have carried out small fundraising campaigns.

The amount may not be important, but Korea has been criticized for being reluctant to help developing nations.

From the Korean War to the latest Korean Wave fever, we have received great help and love from Thailand.

The Thai people are now suffering, and the government and the civic community must join efforts to help them.

If there is true, substantial aid, a stronger Korean Wave will take place in Thailand.

Kim Hong-goo, professor of Thai Studies at Pusan University of Foreign Studies
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