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[Editorial] Koreans, We Can Do It!

Posted April. 14, 2005 23:24,   


Economic stagnation seems to be dwindling Koreans’ self-esteem and ambitious attitude—which are typically regarded as particular characteristics to Koreans—down to nothing. Compared to other Asian neighboring countries, which are putting large amounts of energy into pursuing national success in recently intensified international competition, the eroded position of Korea in this community calls for a rethinking of Korea’s status. “Democracy for revenge,” which operates under an obsession with past things and which puts aside consideration of the nation’s future direction, and the dominant collective degradation that is spreading throughout the entire society, is making things much worse.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is seen as a new sign for a new start. Safety marks, which had been designed by Park Jin-sook, professor of Sejong University, were selected as the international standard by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Park’s marks, which account for the half of 16 safety marks that were newly adopted by ISO, will be used in 146 countries. Given the harsh competition among countries for good designs, Park’s recent achievement is significant enough to buoy Koreans.

The field of science and engineering has also delivered good news to us. The number of biological engineering research papers published in international prestigious journals has increased by 12 times compared to that of five years ago, which is shocking other rival countries. Paek Sung-hee, a professor in the department of biological engineering of Seoul National University who is in the 30s, has discovered a mechanism that restrains cancer cells from transferring for the first time in world biological engineering history. His achievement is more meaningful in that his research was poorly supported. Aside from Paek’s case, a number of achievements have been reported in Korean academic society, which is particularly noticed in the medical field.

Korea’s remarkable activities in the fields of design, biological engineering, and information and technology, which are expected to determine the nation’s competitive power in the future, have boosted up our anticipation of the realization of the often cited slogan, “Korea for Design” and “Korea for Science.” However, researchers are rarely doing their jobs with full support and healthy conditions. In the case of Paek, in order to continue his research, he had to borrow money from others. Therefore, their achievement deserves more attention and support.

Despite the destruction in the wake of the Korean War, Korea has achieved industrialization successfully in a very short period, and has finally stood up as one of the world’s top 10 economically powerful countries. Looking back to the past, the go-to guys who led this development were those who were working in factories and those who were doing research in labs. Facing a new era and stressing the importance of knowledge, these people have reminded us again of the fact that “we can do it.”

We should do something for the people who are going to lead the future of Korea to develop their abilities and realize their dreams. The government, which owes a great debt to them, should think seriously about what it is doing for them now.