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State Visit — Tripping the Light Fantastic
President Park Geun-Hye's Dramatic Entry & Quiet Exit
By Alan Timblick
President of The Seoul Times

In more than 30 years of life as an expat in Seoul, this writer has actually met a fair number of presidents of Korea. I paid close attention, therefore, to Park Geun-Hye's visit to the UK and was very happy to see how she coped with what might have been an embarrassing incident when her hanbok chima (skirt of the traditional Korean costume) caught on her heel as she alighted in front of London Lord Mayor's Mansion House.

Imagine the possible ridicule of the European tabloid media, had she fallen,with such mocking headlines as "pres bowled over by Korean Wave outfit" — or worse.

However, with a quick wit, revealing her good understanding of British aplomb, Madame Park gracefully transformed the accident into an opportunity, describing it as a "dramatic entry" and enabling her to follow up later with the"quiet exit."

After years of lip-service to the "globalization" of Korea, we at last have a leader who is perfectly at ease in the company of other statesmen.

Her command of English and other languages sets an example to our students struggling through the unpopular (and ineffective) language curriculum of our schools.

Koreans can now be confident, with heads held high, of our country's role in commerce, the arts, sports, and diplomacy.

But without the ability to communicate in English our skills of selling, performing, or persuading will remain underutilized.

Thank you, President Park! May your future entrances on the world stage be equally impressive

Alan Timblick OBE
President, The Seoul Times

Alan Timblick serves as President of The Seoul Times. He grew up in England, graduated from Oxford University, and has lived in Seoul for over three decades. A former banker, he also worked for the Korean gpvernment as head of Invest Korea and for Seoul City as head of the Seoul Global Center.






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