Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hangeul exports to Indonesia subject to dumping ?

From the start*, the promotion of Korea's alphabet in the Indonesian city of Bau-Bau (on a Southeastern Sulawesi island) has always looked much stronger on the "supply" side than on the "demand" side. So I'm not very surprised to learn that the people supposed to adopt hangeul are becoming more... demanding as they get closer to accepting the gift.

The Korea Times reveals that Bau-Bau mayor (Amirul Tamim) is now asking for infrastructures that never were part of the deal**. Not to the Hunminjeongeum Society, the Korean association that initiated the operation, but directly to Seoul Metropolitan Government, apparently caught into the trap after
the visit of an Indonesian delegation in late 2009.

Koreans are now weighting the pros of cons of giving in to blackmail, because that's basically what it comes down to : "You showed me the letters ? Now show me the money !"

But there shouldn't be any ultimatum. And the fundamental question should be asked to Mayor Tamim : do you really want this alphabet ? The Hunminjeongeum Society desperately wants to plant a hangeul flag overseas, but if the adoption of Hangeul doesn't happen naturally, it will never happen.

I'm pretty sure King Sejong would never have wanted this beautiful alphabet forced down the throat of an Indonesian tribe. Or subject to bribery or dumping, like some vulgar kind of consumer goods.

At last, there is some evolution on the city website since
2009 (beyond the URL, now :

Thanks to small icons in the upper right corner, visitors now have a choice of language between Indonesian and Korean or, to be more accurate, between "Indonesia" in bahasa Indonesia and "Korean" in English. Unfortunately, leads to this blank page with the message "Website will be back soon" :

I haven't checked the site since 2009, so I can't tell if the said website has ever existed. But since the message is written in English, I wouldn't bet a buck on it.

To be continued (?).

Seoul Village 2011
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* see "
Hangeul lands in Bau-Bau, Indonesia... to save the Cia !" and "Hangeul, take a Bau-Bau"
** see "
Hangeul education on Cia Cia stalled"

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