Mayor Lee Suk-woo of the Namyangju City on the eastern outskirts of Seoul hosted the 1st Slow Life Forum on Humanity as part of a series of academic meetings of the 12th Namyangju Slow Life Planet Festival at the aT Center in southeastern Seoul on July 29, 2015.
The main topic of discussion was the relationship between the thoughts of famed Joseon Dynasty Scholar Dasan Jeong Yak-yong and the Slow Life of the Namyangju Slow Life Planet Festival slated on Oct. 8-17, 2015.
Dasan is noted for his wide range of knowledge and also for his personal integrity as a scholar and also as a ranking official of the Joseon Dynasty Court.
The Forum began with introductory remarks by Mayor Lee Suk-woo who explained the Three Main Principles of Dasan on Farming and their relationship with the Slow Life of the Slow Life Festival of Namyangju.
Dasan, who was born in Namyangju in 1762, advocated Pyeonnong (make farming easier through mechanization and improved irrigation), Hunong (help farmers become rich) and Sangnong (improve the social status of the farmers).
The first speaker was former Minister of Agriculture Kim Sung-hoon (chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Gwangju Kimchi Festival and now professor emeritus of Chungang University in Seoul) and the second speaker President Park Suk-moo of Dasan Research Institute (chair professor at Sungkyunkwan University).Professor Kim said that there was not much different between the past and present in terms of extortion of the powerless farmers by the rulers and the merchant class and stressed the importance that farmland must belong to the tillers.
Then he said that Korea has achieved a measure of economic development and growth by virtue of the so-called Bballi Bballi (Quickly Quickly) culture but that now it was time the Korean people had given some serious thought to seeking ‘Slow Life’ to make their living a bit easier.
The next speaker, Professor Park, said that there was Dasan’s philosophy in the Slow Life, the main theme of the Namyangju Slow Life Planet Festival, whereas Dasan, when he was exiled to a remote countryside for 18 years by the court for his candid advices to the king, did not fret or get nervous but used the 18 years for his continued academic pursuits in search of ways to improve the government administration for the benefit of farmers and the distressed class of people.
Following the speeches, the Forum appointed advisors for the 12th Namyangju Slow Life Planet Festival, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.