Korea, Seoul, DMZ

Note: This is tem­pora­ri­ly only an auto­ma­tic trans­la­ti­on.

Reluc­tant divi­ded coun­try

At the begin­ning of 2014 I was in South Korea in Seo­ul - in the lion’s den (in the deve­lo­p­ment lab of Sam­sung Elec­tro­nics). Here my tra­vel report about some expe­ri­en­ces on the edge.

Korea - mar­ked by the divi­si­on - torn in North and South Korea. In this coun­try tra­di­ti­on and moder­ni­ty unite in a stran­ge way. Here for pro­fes­sio­nal rea­sons, I have been able to take some snapshots in a few moments asi­de from my obli­ga­ti­ons. Lack of sys­tem came­ra in the lug­ga­ge has my Android smart­pho­ne done. Sor­ry, the pho­tos are not always ele­gant, but infor­ma­ti­ve.

Korea - Seoul
DMZ (Demi­li­ta­ri­zed Zone on the Bor­der bet­ween North & South Korea) (Klick Groß­an­sicht)

In the 24-million metro­po­li­tan area of Seo­ul, I lan­ded on the Yeong­jong­do Island in the Yel­low Sea. Over the 12.3-kilometer-long Inche­on Bridge I reach the main­land of the Seo­ul regi­on. By shut­tle bus I reach my hotel in the south of the metro­po­li­tan area. Desti­na­ti­on reached by a bus with free WiFi for the Inter­net. Wide seats - with a seat­belt, of cour­se - make you feel as if you were sit­ting in your TV-set and watch a TV docu­men­ta­ry about Seo­ul.

On the 27th floor of my hotel, I look over the city from abo­ve. My first, spon­ta­ne­ous impres­si­ons of Korea and the capi­tal: In the crow­ded giant city - simi­lar to the Tokyo metro­po­li­tan regi­on - I meet very friend­ly, hel­pful and hos­pi­ta­ble peop­le. This goes hand-in-hand with no hass­le, with a lot of cohe­si­on, tra­di­tio­nal thin­king and a tech­no­lo­gy base in ever­y­day life and sur­roun­dings, which makes Cen­tral Euro­pe com­pa­ra­tively back­ward.

Other­wi­se - dry, magni­ficent sunshi­ne at icy minu­s­cels. In the midd­le of Janu­a­ry, Seo­ul is still deco­ra­ted with Christ­mas deco­ra­ti­ons. While the sun is rising in Ger­ma­ny, it is alrea­dy around 4pm. Go eat some­thing and then go to the cra­te after the long day due to arri­val and time shift. Tomor­row and the next day, the­re is a lot to do for me on a Kore­an han­ger for inno­va­ti­on and tech­no­lo­gy deve­lo­p­ment.

The next day unusu­al the mid­day lunch. I came to the restau­rant with my Kore­an staff. Ever­yo­ne took off their shoes and went to the good room. All guests sat on the floor at about 30 cm high tables. The food was not yet on the table, the­re were my legs alrea­dy mer­ci­less­ly asleep. After eating in front of the restau­rant, I gave mys­elf a small cof­fee at a can-coffee from the hot drinks machi­ne.

Ever­ything seems to be in com­ple­te auto­ma­ti­on. Even the high-tech toi­let is simi­lar to a con­trol panel on the CNC machi­ne. Which of the many color­ful but­tons is for rinsing? The cha­rac­ters next to the but­tons are ali­en to me.

The coun­try seems like a suc­cess­ful syn­the­sis. On the one hand enor­mous tech­no­lo­gi­cal advan­ces, an immense degree of auto­ma­ti­on in all living con­di­ti­ons and power­ful tools for com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on in every place. On the other hand, peop­le who have nevertheless retai­ned the tra­di­ti­ons and values of their social exis­tence in the group, who con­scious­ly use the advan­ta­ges of the com­mu­ni­ty, of being tog­e­ther and of each other, to whom the joy of life is mar­ked at every step. Perhaps this is the abi­li­ty to accom­plish very spe­cial achie­ve­ments in value crea­ti­on, inspi­ra­ti­on, crea­ti­vi­ty and inno­va­ti­on.

Even simp­le work is done here with visi­ble digni­ty and also per­cei­ved with respect by the fel­low human bein­gs. Ever­ything has its place and mea­ning. Ever­yo­ne - irre­spec­ti­ve of sta­tus and tit­le - has its place and deser­ves respect.

The din­ner in the evening was for­tu­n­a­te­ly again one floor hig­her at the dining table. On a grill, which was let in the table, lamb was pre­sen­ted accord­ing to all the rules of the culi­na­ry art, the ingre­dients, the pre­pa­ra­ti­on and the pre­sen­ta­ti­on. Of cour­se you can not miss the schnapps. To reject him would offend the host. Only the beer did not fit into the round. But the Kore­ans are beco­m­ing more and more popu­lar. Nevertheless, the kore­an coo­ke­ry is still high. My col­league from San Fran­cis­co, who has often visi­ted here, direct­ly addres­ses the owner. He urged him to open ano­t­her restau­rant of this kind in San Fran­cis­co. The peop­le living the­re would break the booth out of wea­ri­ne­ss over the many fast­food. The same thing I could ima­gi­ne in Ger­ma­ny. The Kore­ans speak and learn Ger­man by the way.

I can not resist the repeated impres­si­on - here in Korea the future goes away - and alrea­dy today. And this, after this all-destroying Korea­krieg in the fif­ties in three years and a mon­th. About one mil­li­on sol­di­ers and three mil­li­on civi­li­ans were kil­led. The coun­try­’s infra­st­ruc­tu­re and indus­try were com­ple­te­ly des­troy­ed. The Kore­ans ulti­mate­ly led only one depu­ty war with the­se gru­e­so­me los­ses. It was not only this war that show­ed the world in a spe­cial way the mea­ningless­ness of wars and their col­la­te­ral con­se­quen­ces for all par­ties invol­ved.

I am impres­sed by the coun­try. On the other hand, I ask mys­elf, when is the­re again a gro­wing tog­e­ther - as Ger­ma­ny has lear­ned. This Korea has been sepa­ra­ted from the armisti­ce on July 27th, 1953 - as I always hear, pain­ful for the ordi­na­ry peop­le of the coun­try. The lea­ders­hip days of both socie­ties con­ti­nue to exer­cise their hege­mo­ny. Loo­king at their poli­ci­es, they still live in war. The saber races are beco­m­ing more audi­ble every year just in the spring - the time of the mili­ta­ry maneu­vers. Both sides take no noti­ce - nobo­dy wants to give in. The­re are always gre­at thre­ats from both sides.

At the DMZ

The → Korea­krieg (25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953) came to the divi­si­on of Korea. Korea is the coun­try of a ter­ri­fy­ing pro-war. To this day, the­re was no peace trea­ty. Ins­tead, the­re was a truce and the estab­lish­ment of the DMZ - the East Asi­an East. This wall is not visi­ble to the public. The public is only awa­re of a line that it can never enter, and which oppo­ses huge mili­ta­ry and wea­pon poten­ti­als. DMZ stands for → Demi­li­ta­ri­zed Zone. The Kore­ans ali­ena­te their coun­try for this line - pre­cise­ly 4 x 248 kilo­me­ters - making 992 squa­re kilo­me­ters, spik­ed with ins­idious land­mi­nes.

At the time of the estab­lish­ment, the DMZ was a line bet­ween world-political and mili­ta­ry oppon­ents out­side Korea. We do not find a cus­to­ma­ry bor­der with fron­tiers and a mar­ked bounda­ry line here. A mili­ta­ry demar­ca­ti­on line (abbre­via­ted DML) was estab­lis­hed here. On both sides is a who­le ter­ri­to­ri­al zone on a total width of four kilo­me­ters, sepa­ra­ting the two Kore­an sta­tes across the Kore­an pen­in­su­la from West to East, appro­xi­mate­ly at the 38th lati­tu­de.

The DMZ appears like a Nie­mands­land. The term “Nie­mands­land” does not reco­gni­ze inter­na­tio­nal and inter­na­tio­nal law. Here, howe­ver, the term is in the unof­fi­cial sen­se sui­ta­ble for a dead and inhos­pi­ta­ble coun­try. This coun­try is unren­de­red, unin­ha­bi­ted, unma­na­ged, along a front line. In several are­as it is under­mi­ned with secret­ly pre-established tun­nels for plan­ned but never exe­cu­t­ed mili­ta­ry inter­ven­ti­ons of com­mand units.

And - how does one feel from the cen­ter of Ger­ma­ny at the DMZ? You might think it was a long way to go. He began on the for­mer seam line bet­ween two huge mili­ta­ry pacts in a divi­ded Ger­ma­ny. It ends here on the demar­ca­ti­on line in East Asia bet­ween two old / new worlds. Many thoughts ari­se in me as I stand the­re. But I also see com­mit­ment to the future. In any case, it was a new » fron­tier for me.

Mean­while, I am going to do various points of the Kore­an “seam­li­ne” direct­ly along the bar­ri­er fence. A dry and icy wind blows to the visi­tors. The desi­re sprouts, some­ti­mes the side chan­ge, in order to be able to meet the peop­le over the­re. Of cour­se - such an excur­si­on would not be without con­se­quen­ces.



Pho­to gal­le­ry

84 snapshots of Korea.

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