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[Editorial] The Great Pak Se-ri and Her ‘Kids’

Posted August. 05, 2008 04:03,   


Golfer Shin Ji-yai’s victory in the Women’s British Open has produced a great impression even on those who know nothing about the game. In her news conference after the win, Shin said, “Pak Se-ri has always been my idol.” Park In-bee, who won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday, also credited Pak for motivating and inspiring her to take up golf. Along with Oh Ji-young, who won the State Farm Classic for her first LPGA title July 21, the three women have been dubbed “Pak Se-ri’s kids.” They were inspired by Pak’s success and followed in their idol’s footsteps at age 20.

Pak in 1998 stepped into a water hazard to hit a shot that won the

U.S. Women’s Open. The memorable scene delivered a message of hope to Korea, which was then suffering from the Asian financial crisis. Her impressive courage and spirit that day have inspired Korean youth, producing a slew of golf sensations 10 years later.

The success of “Pak Se-ri’s kids” shows how a role model can influence young people. In other words, Pak inspired the young to awaken their limitless power, enabling them to fulfill their potential by serving as a good example. In Shin’s victory, we saw an inspired human soul act like a driving engine to produce a capable person. At this moment, a second generation of “Pak Se-ri’s kids” could get encouraged to try golf after watching the performances of Shin, Park and Oh.

Golf is not the only area in which role models are influential. Former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee stressed nurturing the talented, saying, “The 21st century will be led by a creative few.” What he meant was that the 21st century is a knowledge-based era where the gifted few will serve as new growth engines. For a country with lack of national resources and sandwiched between powers, developing human resources is the most urgent requirement for survival.

Though negative role models are not difficult to find in society, positive ones giving hope to youth are rare. The Lee Myung-bak administration should exert its efforts to advance education and nurture more talented youngsters to bring about positive elements originating from stellar examples. The country has no hope for the future if the government stresses egalitarianism in public education and produces only mediocre students.