May 12, 2013 by rkpcs
Friday 10th May 2013 started with a trip to the Ttangkkeut Marine National History Museum where all the items have been personally collected over the past 35 years by the director during various fishing trips and visits around the world. This family run museum is a very interesting place with a vast range of mainly sea creatures on display, and recently won an award for being the most educational museum in Haenam.
The team were then taken out on a fishing boat to the beds where Abalone (a shellfish which is a speciality in South Korea and Japan) is grown over a three year period. The Abalone are fed fresh seaweed every ten days and can be worth up to £6 each when fully grown. The team were able to eat fresh Abalone on the deck of the boat moments after it had been taken out of the water – a rare treat which the team were very grateful to experience.
This was followed by a trip to Ttangkkeut tower – an observation tower which looks out from the southern-most point of mainland South Korea – over the surrounding area including the many beautiful islands dotted around this stretch of coast.
The next stop was a visit to a fish farm owned by a local rotary club president which breeds flat fish for the sushi market. He set up the business about 14 years ago and has received government funding in doing so. The fish are brought to the farm at a very young age and stay there for up to two years – reaching a weight of approximately 2kgs when fully grown. The fish farm pumps sea water directly in from the sea which must be constantly circulated around the various tanks holding the fish before it flows back out to sea again.
The fish need to be carefully looked after at all times. They need to be kept at optimum temperatures and having specific feeding patterns according to their age (the youngest fish being fed five times a day). The owner is obviously very passionate about his business and says that he can tell instantly if the fish are unhappy or unhealthy – he can sense it and see it in the movement of the water.
Our last day in Haenam was rounded off with a great send-off meal organised by the Rotarians who had looked after us so well during our time with them.
So far regarding Rotary in South Korea we have learned that club meetings have roughly followed a similar format to meetings in District 1170 – President or Secretary opens the meeting, guests are welcomed, some form of grace or toast takes place, followed by some words from the President. None we have visited so far had food at the meeting and they have tended to last for less than one hour. Some club members go for a meal together after the meeting and some don’t!
On Saturday 11th May we attended the District Assembly which was a big event with about 1000 attendees (approximately one third of district members). We arrived just as proceedings were about to start and quickly ushered to our seats in the front row. Ominous, particularly as we had been told we would not be presenting…..BUT in a hushed conversation through an interpreter during the start of the assembly it transpired that indeed we were to go on stage. Sally was to present the team, say a bit about Rotary in Devon, and give a motivational message to District 3610 Rotarians…ho hum, as we say…expect the unexpected.
When the team took to the stage Sally talked about some of the similarities and some of the differences between our two districts and how we can learn from each other. In South Korea everything is ‘palli palli’ – rush and take action immediately, whilst in the UK we take things a little slower and allow time for reflection. We might each benefit if we combine our approaches. Sally encouraged Rotarians to extend fellowship to young people and teach them to have fun.
The local government superintendent for education also gave a very interesting speech regarding how school pupils in South Korea spend so much time studying but that simply studying for hours on end doesn’t mean the students reach their full potential. In order to succeed in the long term he said that pupils should concentrate on things they enjoy, are good at and are passionate about, but should also be encouraged to contribute to the local community. He also explained how the Korean education system did not have enough creativity and that creative study should be encouraged.
Following district assembly the team were transported to the beautiful island of Wando where the journey will continue……