The Land of the Morning Calm. That's what they call Korea.
It is a name befitting a nation with a history and culture dating back thousands of years. And when one visits this proud nation, one is sure to be reminded of the rich history and culture of Korea.
I was told by a senior Malaysian Embassy official that the Koreans are on a deliberate campaign to promote all things Korea: from food to music, and from fashion to sports. It is a way of making Korea forever relevant and on the world map of major international events. Yes, now you know why the K-pop groups and Korean dramas are seemingly invading the local entertainment scenes?
My few visits to Korea has afforded me to observe another aspect of Korean culture - the town planning and its urbanscapes.
An arerial view of a Korean city would not offer much in terms of a feast for the eyes of the architects and planners. The buildings look boxy and whitish all around as far as the eyes can see. It is only when one walks the streets that a Korean city like Seoul would reveal its gems.
Urban pocket parks, city-centre streams, miles and miles of cycling and walking tracks along river banks, and trees lining the steets which would turn all red or yellow when the autumn season comes. These are some of the offerings of the Korean urbanscape that you can expect.
|Potted plants in front of a convention centre near Incheon|
|Man-made water body complements a park in Songdo City|
|Public art sculputre in front pf convention centre in Sonngdo City|
|Pavement directional signage in Nam Daemun, a traditional shopping area in Seoul|
|A new park in Songdo City near Incheon|
|A city centre urban park in Seoul. This one is located in between two three-laned highways. It has lawns, flower plants, and water features|
|The same urban park in Seoul. You can see how popular it is with visitors|
|Cycle path and shrubs bordering a four-laned urban highway in New Songdo City near Incheon|