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[Op-Ed] Comics on `CEO Success Stories`

Posted August. 24, 2009 08:27,   


Comic books on the founders of domestic conglomerates will be distributed to public schools nationwide. The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry will publish and distribute 66,000 copies of “Comic Books on CEO Success Stories” to 11,000 elementary, middle and high schools. The comics will describe the lives and success stories of three late founders of conglomerates – the SK Group’s Chey Jong-hyun, Samyang Corp.’s Kim Yeon-su, and the Kumho-Asiana Group’s Park In-cheon. Earlier in January, the stories of four deceased founders of other top conglomerates – the Samsung Group’s Lee Byung-chull, the Hyundai Group’s Chung Ju-young, the LG Group’s Koo In-hwoi, and the Doosan Group’s Park Doo-byung – were distributed to schools. Figures in the series could later include exemplary owners of small and medium enterprises.

Not many entrepreneurs are suitable to be included in stories for students. Korea lacks books on businesspeople in works hailing respected figures, let alone in biographies. The most popular biographies in Korea are on legendary naval hero Yi Sun-shin, King Sejong the Great, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Korean artist and calligraphist Shin Saimdang, and Marie Curie. A biography series released several years ago included artists and sports stars, including video artist Paik Nam-june, director Steven Spielberg, and soccer icon Pele. The lone entrepreneur in the series was computer mogul and Ahnlab founder Ahn Chul-soo.

One high school textbook says, “Korean entrepreneurs conducted easygoing management and managed their companies simply to achieve their business goals at the cost of destroying the environment and violating laws rather than take corporate social responsibility.” As domestic textbooks negatively describe companies and entrepreneurs, teenagers have had little interest in entrepreneurs. Businesspeople developed the market economy and created jobs, but have received unfair treatment on their social contributions in biographies. Korean teens should correct their negative views on market economics and entrepreneurs by reading the comic series “CEO Success Stories.”

Students and teenagers cultivate their dreams by reading biographies and chronicles. Biographies of presidents and admirals give great hope and dreams to students, but this might not be enough for students in modern society. Stories of sports and entertainment stars are popular among youngsters, but might be too commercial. Students need to know modern star athletes as well as great historic figures from hundreds of years ago. They need role models in business, architecture, engineering and education all the more.

Editorial Writer Park Yeong-kyun (parkyk@donga.com)