By Lee Kyung-sik (former Cultural Editor of The Korea Herald, now Publisher of The Korea Post):
The ‘Old Boys’ (a reunion fraternity of former CEOs, executives, editors and other members of The Korea Herald and its sister Korean-language Herald Business Daily) had a reunion mountain trekking at the Cheonggye-san Mountain on the southern outskirts of Seoul on Oct. 25, 2014. The ‘Old Boys’ attending the event included former CEO Park Haeng-hwan, former Vice President Yun Ik-han (chairman of the ‘Old Boys’ [OB]) and former Cultural Editor Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Herald (now publisher-chairman of The Korea Post).
Many of them made it all the way up to the targeted destination, the Ongnyeo-bong (or Jade Woman Peak) some 375 meters above sea level, some of them quit half way up the Peak and others just gave up the trekking--taking a good break at the dining house where they had been scheduled to have lunch together.
Before lunch, they had a group photo session under a 225-year-old tree. It was quite a turnout.
Since Chairman Yun took over the job of leading the fraternity, the number of participants at the reunion meetings and other events continued to grow on a significant scale. While a managing editor, editor-in-chief and vice president at The Korea Herald, Yun was known as an energetic man and did a lot of work, including closer relations between the company and the Diplomatic Corps, initiating the ‘People & Events’ and ‘Bridging the Gaps’?bringing the Korans and the expatriates closer together.
At lunch, Chairman Yun spoke to the members, “We all have fond memories of when we were together and some may also have recollections that are not as pleasant, but I think that this is a good time to remember the good old days and forget things that might not have been that good.”
Then he expressed hopes that the ‘Old Boys’ could meet more often exchanging the old stories of the good times they had had together at The Korea Herald and the Herald Business Daily.
Then there was a toast offered by former President & CEO Park Haeng-Hwan of the Herald Media, who said: “It is a very meaningful gathering of the seniors and juniors of the Herald and I hope that we can all have this type of meeting more often in the future. I wish everyone the best of health and every success!”
Then came an announcement by Secretary General Lee Moon-Hee who disclosed the date of the annual year-end reunion of the ‘Old Boys’ at the Press Center in Seoul in the upcoming December, which is normally an enlarged meeting of the ‘Old Boys’ that is attended not only by the ‘Old Boys’ but also the incumbent CEO, executives and editors of both the English Korea Herald and the Korean-language Herald Business Daily.
Over a cup of Soju and a glass of beer, the ‘Old Boys’ had a pleasant exchange of stories about the good old days as well as what they had been doing after their retirement from active service.
Some of them had regular jobs earning their living while others had a comfortable and easy-going post-retirement life.
However, in a sense it appeared to be a great waste of human resources in the case of those who did not work. This is because they were a so-called ‘sophisticated manpower,’ who still had energy and spirit to continue working, writing for the benefit of society and the world in the case of the seasoned English journalists.
Some time ago at a meeting of the Korea Journalist Club (a nation-wide fraternity of retired journalists, media CEOs, executives and editors, of which Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, is a regular member), a retired editor said, “The life expectancy of the Korean people has now become longer than 80 and many people think that they can make 100 and even beyond. As for me, I leave 60 years of mine behind at home and work like a young man in his 20s.”
The writing job is what you can do even a minute before you die and many journalists say, “I will be happy hammering my PC keyboard writing something until I become too weak to do so.”
Unlike physical laborers, journalists write better and better with the passage of time and age and a literary gem does not come from young people but from such aged and seasoned writers who have gained a lot of experience and knowledge in their lifetime.
In this regard, it might be a good idea for public organization like the government to form a kind of senior journalists’ pool where they can write for the good of society and the world and contribute them to the media that are becoming more and more diverse and expanding endlessly by the second, especially in the case of digital media.
Nowadays, writers need not come to office to do their work as they can send their stories by email, nor do they have to go to the library for new words or researching because they have everything in their personal computer?and even on their smart phones.
The senior writers do not expect to be paid much, that is, as much as do the younger people who have children and family to support.
The government could think of utilizing the retired journalists for that reason and more. The senior journalists are much less a ‘trouble-maker’ whom you often find among young people.
The government and the ruling party in Korea are worried about some young people’s way of thinking concerning the national security in relation to the threat posed by the belligerent and trigger-happy North Korean regime. The progressive-minded young people do not have the knowledge or experience of the old people who underwent all kinds of difficulties and persecutions during their youthful life, especially the unbearable ordeal during the Korean War (1950-3) and particularly during the three-month rule of South Korea by the North Korean regime. The old people have a lot of truthful stories about the North Korean regime that the young people do not know as they have never personally experienced the rule of the North Korean regime.
The testimonial writings by the senior journalists can do a lot of good to the young people, especially the progressive-minded, North Korean regime-tolerating people who offer resistance against many government policies related with national security and defense.