We often hear that is best to “get away” from our daily life and get a new perspective. The 95th Lions International Convention was held is Busan, Korea. Getting away to a foreign country certainly provides an opportunity to gain a look at the contrast between two dynamic countries and people. What is sometimes perceived as contrast is just a different perspective of similar values. Devotion to pride, family, service is the image one takes away from contact with the wonderful Korean people.
The U.S. formed a bond with the people when we came to their aid on June 25, 1950, to turn back the invasion from the north by the Communist North Korean forces. A trip by Connie and me to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea was met by two individuals who sought us to say that they will always appreciate the fact that the Americans were the first to come to their aid. Moving!
Pride is everywhere-evident from the cleanliness of the city, the neat attire and personal appearance of the people and the observation that 90% of the vehicles are Hyundai or Kias all under ten years old.
Many seem to work at lower wage jobs, but get along because they live with their parents until they are able to save for their own accommodations. In a city short on land, the Korean people live in high rise condos/apartment buildings, many rising 35 stories with a stand of beautiful new structures that reach over 60 stories.
Service: From the minute you disembark your flight, you are greeted by smiling and courteous members of local Korean Lions clubs and local government representatives. Korea has a vibrant Lions District that provided much financial and volunteer support of the convention and Lions looking to tour the city.
I’m sure the great baseball philosopher Yogi Berra may have offered the same observation as I came away with, “They’re the same as us, only different."