Monday, June 07, 2010

Korea Prospering

I left Korea in 1974.  At that time, a family can take out $1000 from the country when they immigrate.  The country needed dollars.  My first month paycheck as a middle school teacher in 1973 was $100.  Now I was told that the first year teacher makes 40 times more than I was making.

It is wonderful to come home and see my friends are prospering.  I noticed my friends prefer “made in Korea”.  They also claimed that Korea is the most convenient place to live  in the world.  I believe them.  Things are done fast, and even a bowl of soup from a restaurant can be delivered to your home within 10 minutes.  Korea was not like this always.

Young people in 70’s wanted to get out of the country, seeking political freedom and economical prosperity.  We were afraid of speaking out our minds.  Some of my friends went to prison because they participated in student demonstrations against the government.  But now people are free to speak, democracy is prospering.  

A few months ago, Korea became a member of G20 nations.  I thought cost of living is high, and price a home is more expensive than USA.  I had to pay a modest hotel room for $120 a night.  My friends reminded me that if I want to buy a three-bedroom apartment in Seoul, I need about a million dollar.  My goodness, price of a home is more than San Francisco!  I found the following chart while I was touring Seoul, it was posted in a Seoul City Museum at KwangwhaMun Plaza.  It says income per capita in 1962 was about $300 and in 2007 was about $18,000.  It is increased 627 times.   I figure that it should be higher in 2010.