Korea's 2007

The Korea Herald newspaper this week (26 December) included a section with the top Korean and international stories this year. The article mentioned a couple very recent events in Korea: Lee's win in the presidential election and the oil spill off the west coast of Korea. That oil spill, which occured on 7 December, was the worst in Korean history. Ten thousand tons of oil spilled, equalling roughly a third of the Exxon oil spill so many years ago. Volunteers are still cleaning up the mess; in fact, trains and buses to the zone are free or severely discounted to encourge helpers.

Soon after I arrived in Korea, the second-ever inter-Korean summit was big news. At this historic early October meeting between South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, an agreement for peace and economic cooperation was signed, and progress was made in nuclear talks. In summer and fall, Shin Jeong-ah was all over the news here because of a fake-degree scandal she was involved in. She was the curator of a national art museum before it was revealed she invented her educational background, and consequently charged with fraud.

The kidnapping of 23 Koreans on 19 July--and the news that two of the 23 were later killed--is something I vividly remember on the news this summer while I was preparing to move to Korea. Also, I wasn't in Korea when the FTA deal between South Korea and the USA was signed, but a few friends of mine were accidentally involved in a massive demonstration at City Hall in Seoul in November. Thousands of demonstrators and hundreds of riot police clashed in a demonstration that clearly indicated many South Koreans were not happy about the deal.

At the end of the year, it's always interesting to review what's happened in the previous 52 weeks of our lives, and our worlds. Ask yourself what the significant moments, the Top Stories, were in your own life this year.

I wonder what 2008 has waiting for Korea and me...