Translated by Kelly Choi
Wonsoon Park, a well-known South Korean human right lawyer, had a tight schedule for a lecture at Harvard Kennedy School. He arrived Boston on May 4th evening, and went back to Korea the next day afternoon. Despite His lecture started behind schedule due to flight delay and finished around 10: 40, he hung out with students at a wrap-up party until 1:30.
In the morning of May 5th, Boston Korea interviewed Mr. Park on the Charles river bank. Mr. Park, studied at Harvard Law School in ’92 for a year, described Boston as a hometown-like city.
Mr.Park, who has been pursuing new ideas which resulted in establishment of creative social cooperation including the Beautiful Fund, the Beautiful Store, and the Hope Maker, handed over his name card, identifying himself as a “Social designer”. He said he aims to design new South Korean politics and cultures.
From lecture yester day, you said “Take loss. You gain bigger when you give up big.” It sounded like we need to change the definition success. If so, how do you define success?
“Doing what you want”. Not achieving the goals others set, one should do what they want and feel rewarded from that. In the past, parents used to set a goal, like which school to go or what major you should choose. Well, some people think it is their goal people followed it but some people accepted unavoidably. Life is short even you do things you want. It is not a real success even though one is socially high achiever but feels lack or regret .You cannot define the purpose of success or how to succeed. Regardless of the job title, one, making people happy and have admirer in funeral, is called the “succeed one”
Most of jobs we want are following a success model socially admired. Don’t students in Harvard seek such success model?
I don’t mean not to search the success model. There’s no rule how harvardians should be. I mean, students should have good experience and knowledge from here, and should build a new good village after going back to where they came from.
You can’t say local and global are very different. Global issues affect a small remote village, and the success in small village affects whole global community. Well-educated leaders should be responsible to the community he/she belongs, as well as his/her own success.
You mentioned Korea is helpless in the lecture. Please identify two political and economical problems.
Korean leaders are lack of vision. They try to imitate western model, without understanding their culture or spirit. (Pointing Charles River) Han River doesn’t look like this. It’s not natural, full of concrete or artificial things. Having those political leaders is directly connected to South Korean people’s social consciousness. A country pursuing money and materialism can’t be noble one.
Economy should be developed with diversity. Even designing a chair requires ergonomic, aesthetic, and humanistic understandings.
Once, there was time imitating western manufacturer superficially was appreciated. And it was a locomotive of industrialization in 60s and 70s. However, we can’t do well in electronics and semiconductor industry forever. Korea’s strength, manufacturing industry, will be threatened by countries like Vietnam, Brazil, and India. The culture and the arts are keys to further development. We need balanced and overall development.
The Beautiful Store, the Beautiful Fund are good examples of your creativity. Where do you get those creative ideas?
I try to think differently. Because, there’s no need to do something others are already doing good. I try to find things others are not good at, not doing or ignoring BUT possibly bringing changes or benefits to our community.
Being different is important. I think differently. I question “how did they make it?” all the time. I am accustomed to wonder what makes you and us different.
How much is your annual income?
It’s not small. I was a nonexecutive director of Posco, and Pulmuone. I usually get paid some thousand dollars for a lecture. I make not as much as conglomerates, but much more than average salary man. However, I treat people with my own money because I don’t have a official expenses budget. I donated the whole income from nonexecutive director job to the Beautiful Fund (A fund works as a mutual association lends money for matters for congratulations and condolences).
I head you wanted to have branches for the beautiful fund?
Korean-Americans who live in Boston can raise a fund by a dinner party once in a year, and spend for Boston. We already have branches in New York and Northern California, but we don’t intend to take money back to Korea. I encourage spending money locally.
I wish the money is spent to different members of Boston local communities regardless where the fund was raised. Latin Americans contribute to Korean economy a lot. It would be a good idea to make a scholarship association for them. Even sharing small amount of money can consolidate Korean-American community in Boston.