Ambassador and Mrs. Paul Menkveld of the Netherlands in Seoul hosted an informal farewell party at their residence in Dongbinggo-dong, Seoul on Dec. 17, 2014 with some 20 guests, mostly their Korean friends.
Ambassador Menkveld has successfully fulfilled his tour of duty in Korea for more than five years in Seoul. He concurrently served as a Netherlands ambassador to Pyongyang, North Korea, as well as to the Republic of Korea residing in Seoul. After his return to the Netherlands, he said he would be serving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a roving ambassador.
There are a total of 21 resident ambassadors in Korea who are concurrently accredited also to North Korea.
Among the guests in attendance were Chairman Cho Hai-hyeong of Nara Holdings (concurrently Korean honorary consul general for Iceland and the former dean of the Corps of Korean Honorary Consuls), Chairman Tongsun Park of Parkington International, Chairman Kim Kwang-ho of Wiltron (concurrently Korean honorary consul general for Bangladesh), former President Alan Timblick Invest Korea, President Choe Chong-dae of Dae-Kwang International, Chairman Kyung-chan Kwak of Kyungin Project, CEO-Culinary Artist Ms. Kim Youn-young of Woonsan Korean Restaurant and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post*. Many of them were accompanied by their spouses.
The hosts have obviously paid much attention to making the guests feel comfortable and pleasant as such signs were noticed in many instances.
For one thing, each guest picked up a card with a number on the reverse side so that the guest would know his/her number only after he/she had actually picked up the card and seem the number. On the table were a number on each seat and the guest took seat where his/her number matched with it.
Some hosts may not know it, but this is very important. At some receptions and other social events, where the seats are pre-arranged, some guests do find their seats not commensurate with their social standing or position?and eventually leave with a hurt feeling or stay with an internal grin.
In this respect, Ambassador and Mrs. Menkveld truly merited a praise for the wonderful idea.
And then the guests were surprised for the second time when Ambassador Menkveld introduced each guest. He knew so much about the guests, and this was greatly appreciated by the guests because, otherwise, they would not know each other.
Some of the guests made some nice remarks about the hosts. For former President Alan Timblick of Invest Korea, it was a time for poem reciting for the hosts. He was given a warm applause.
It was a nice dinner?with Chateau de Sancerre-2010 (white wine) and Vieux Chateau Gafet-Pomerof-2010 (red wine).
The menu consisted of crab mousse with melba toast, clear mushroom soup, lemon sorbet, beef tenderloin with mixed vegetables, assorted cheese with grapes and crackers and chocolate cake with raspberries. The beef was so tender and tasty and the cheese came in such a large variety that the guests could pick the kind they liked.
Mrs. Anna Menkveld probably merits a special mention. For over five years of the tour of duty of her husband, she greatly contributed to bringing Korea and the Netherlands closer together people to people by attending various cultural activities hosted by the local governments for which the tour was organized by The Korea Post. Ambassadors are normally tied up with their work and some of them do not find time to attend such tours although they greatly contribute to the promotion of understanding, cooperation and friendship between the Korean people and the people of their country. When Ambassador Mankveld was so, Mrs. Menkveld attended such tours helping her husband in terms of promotion of exposure of the Netherlands to Korea, and vice versa.
It is a typical example of the Korean expression, Naejo which was covered at the Letter from the Publisher in the October 2014 issue of The Korea Post.
Here are excerpts from the Letter:The Korean people have a frequently used expression, Naejo, literally ‘domestic assistance’ but meaning ‘helping one’s husband.’ A typical example of Naejo is the devoted care of the late First Lady Madam Yook Young-soo for her husband, the late President Park Chung-hee, who is the father of the incumbent President, Madam Park Geun-hye.
How did Madam Yook look after her husband who was rated by some as a dictatorial President? She performed the role of an opposition leader inside the Presidential Office of Cheong Wa Dae, which is known to have substantially counter-balanced any adverse effect that her husband might have incurred due to his repressive policies.
Even today, some people criticize President Park Chung-hee, but there is practically no one in Korea who has any negative view of the late First lady, Madam Yook. She used to be called Gungmo, ‘Mother of the Nation.’
Naejo is not limited to taking proper care of one’s husband. It also refers to the conduct of a good mother and in this case a good example is Madam Shin Saimdang whom you find on the 50,000 Won Korean banknote. She was not only an exemplary wife but also a good mother who raised all her seven children to become important persons in society after the passage of her husband, one of whom is the famed Joseon Dynasty scholar, Yi Yul-gok, who is also on the Korean paper money (5,000-Won note).
Now I would like to say that we have Madam Yook and Shin Saimdang among the wives of the ambassadors in Korea.
They provide their husbands with excellent Naejo by performing the work of their husband when their ambassador husbands are busy.
They take part in the cultural events of the local governments learning the traditional Korean culture and history and enhance the image of their country among the local Koreans on behalf of their husbands.
Among them is Mrs. Anna Menkveld (wife of the Netherlands ambassador) and a number of other wives of the ambassadors.
Local government leaders are very grateful to them for their kind attendance and strong interest in the cultural events, especially when the events are related with ladies such as Kimchi, bamboo salt, Oriental medicine, and various other traditional Korean foods.
The ladies more than fully deserve a commendation or some nice remarks from their government as well as from their husbands for the hard work put in and a role excellently played for their country and husbands--as well as for the Korean local governments and The Korea Post who organizes the tours for such events.
*The Korea Post, established 29 years ago in 1985, operates four separate units of mass communications media, namely (1) an English print monthly, (2) a Korean-language Internet business daily (www.koreapost.co.kr), (3) an English Internet daily (www.koreapost.com) and (4) an English e-daily.
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