Nostalgic Kumgang-san strikes emotional code of Koreans
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Nostalgic Kumgang-san strikes emotional code of Koreans
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  • 승인 2014.08.13 15:50
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At the Singapore National Day reception

Ambassador Peter Tan Hai Chuan of the Republic of Singapore in Seoul and Mrs. Tan Siew Eng hosted a reception at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Aug. 12, 2014 to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Independence of their country.

There were many important guests from Korean society and the international community, who included, from the Korean side, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se, Vice Speaker Park Byeong-seung (NPAD) of National Assembly, Chairman Kim Young-hwan (NPAD) of the Korea-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship Association, President Han Duck-soo of Korea International Trade Association, Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik of CJ Group, and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.

From the international community came many distinguished guests as well as from the Diplomatic Corps with their spouses, who included Ambassadors Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam (dean of Diplomatic Corps), Konstaintin Vnukov of Russia, Rohana Ramil of Malaysia, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Peter Tan Hai Chuan of Singapore and Edmundo Sussumu Fujita of Brazil, Albino Malungo of Angola, Patrick John Rat of New Zealand, David Chatterson of Canada, Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria and Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Albino Malungo of Angola, Jorge Roballo of Argentina, Md. Enamul Kabir of Bangladesh, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Hernan Brantes Glavic of Chile, Manuel Lopez Trigo of Costa Rica, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Carlos Victor Boungou of Gabon, Uri Gutman of Israel, Bessho Koro of Japan, Dulat Bakisher of Kazakhstan, Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico, Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco, Paul Menkveld of the Netherlands, Bill Veri of Papua New Guinea, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay and Huu Chi Pham of Vietnam.

From the Korean and international business communities also came many chief and senior executives who included General Manager Berhard Brender of Grand Hilton and Chairman & CEO Sergio Rocha of GM Korea.

Standing out from the highlights of the evening was the choir of the ambassadors and their spouses who presented two impressive songs, namely Abba’s I Have a Dream and a Korean song named Nostalgic Kumgang-san (Mountain). The famous Korean mountain is located on the other side of the DMZ and is a target of yearning among most Koreans in the Republic of Korea (South). Naturally, the song strikes the emotional code of the Korean and as it was sung by the ambassadors and their spouses on that evening struck the Korean guests with emotion and aroused a sensation of gratitude and admiration.

Another striking feature of contrast at the party was the obviously increased effort made by Ambassador Tan of Singapore in presenting the important parts of his speech in the Korean language. He spoke in Korean in many places in his speech, which were accorded with loud applause from the Korean audience.

He said that it was the fourth and last National Day Reception in Korea as he and his wife had stayed in Korea for more than three years.

He stated that they have experienced so many things in Korea and that among them stood out Jeong (emotional attachment).

“It is an expression that is very difficult to translate into English,” he admitted, “but I would say it includes love, sympathy and sorry feelings.” Koreans have Jeong, he said, even for the people whom they have met but whom they do not know every well.

The official English version of the song, Nostalgic Kumgang-san, was not readily available and therefore The Korea Post made an unofficial prose translation of the song into English, which was to the following effect:

Who has created this clear and beautiful mountain,

Though the 12,000 peaks that we yearn for, have no words,

Now all the free people of Korea, struck with reverence,

Call the name of our Kumgang-san (Diamond Mountain).

The majestic mountain of many millennia were defiled for many years,

Today we recover her real name.

Kumgang-san calls us.

The trodden top of the Biro-bong Peak

Do the white clouds and breezes pass unawares?

All the mountains and the seas tens of thousands of Ri (miles) yonder under the feet,

Do not show yourselves until our resentments are gone.

The majestic mountain of many millennia were defiled for many years,

Today we recover her real name.

Kumgang-san calls us.

The members of the choir were ambassadors (and their spouses), who included: Ambassadors Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam (dean of Diplomatic Corps), Rohana Ramil of Malaysia, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Peter Tan Hai Chuan of Singapore and Edmundo Sussumu Fujita of Brazil, Albino Malungo of Angola, Patrick John Rat of New Zealand,

David Chatterson of Canada, Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria and Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia.

Words of the song, I have a dream by Abba:

I have a dream, a song to sing
to help me cope with anything
if you see the wonder of a fairy tale,
you can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels, something good in
everything I see,
I believe in angels, when I know the
time is right for me.
I'll cross the stream I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
to help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels, something good in
everything I see.
I believe in angels, when I know the
time is right for me.
I'll cross the stream I have a dream
I'll cross the stream I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
to help me cope with anything
if you see the wonder of a fairy tale,
you can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels, something good in
everything I see,
I believe in angels, when I know the
time is right for me.
I'll cross the stream I have a dream


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