According to the Chinese calender, 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon (water has a calming effect on the dragon’s fearless temperament). Because of the rare amalgam of two opposite elements, 2012 was predicted to be a wild year and interestingly, it was also thought to be the end of the world according to the Mayan calender. Nevertheless, it was a definitely a year to remember.
2012 was a year of new beginning, changes and progress for South Korea. Many important things happened this year which will remain in people’s mind forever.
Talking about important events in Korea, March saw the commencement of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. It was the largest summit in the security field that discussed international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups. 58 world leaders from 53 states and four international organizations, including the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union and INTERPOL, had participated in the summit. U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a speech and touched on subjects from terrorism to North Korea at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, before attending the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit.
Another event which would be hard to forget was Lady Gaga’s Concert in Seoul. Religious groups gathered outside Olympic Stadium in Seoul where Lady Gaga was to perform her “Born This Way” world tour, urging the pop star to cancel her concert, labeling it as “pornographic”. While protesters were protesting outside the stadium, Lady Gaga performed and it was a successful concert. Gaga tweeted, “I could barely sleep last night. It was the 2nd highest attendance of fans in the History of concerts in Korea”. It made headlines as well as controversy.
Yeosu Expo 2012 was the most spectacular event of 2012. It was an International Exposition, held in Yeosu which opened on May 12, 2012 and ran until August 12, 2012. The theme of the Expo was “The Living Ocean and Coast”. It was the first-ever world fair held on water. It was a successful fair and it received good response and acclaim for its message about climate change and protection of the ocean through story-telling events. Approximately 8 million people from countries around the world visited the fair. It was ‘one of a kind” expo.
In 2012 Summer Olympics which was held in London, UK from July to August, South Korea scored the fifth position winning altogether 28 medals (13 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze). South Korea’s record-setting performance at the London Olympics was voted the top sports news of the year 2012 according to a local media. After South Korea defeated Japan 2-0 to win its first-ever Olympic football medal, midfielder Park Jong-woo lifted a sign that read, in Korean, “Dokdo Is Our Territory,” referring to the Liancourt Rocks which are disputed both by South Korea and Japan by having a claim on the islands. It caused much controversy and Park was not present at the medal ceremony. However, everyone in Korea was proud of the Korean athletes on their superior performance in Olympics.
On September, powerful typhoon Sanba pounded South Korea, bringing torrential rains across the country and shutting down flights and ferry services. It was the third major typhoon to hit the Korean peninsula in two months. Typhoons Bolaven and Tembin, which struck the nation in late August, took more than 20 people dead in the South, destroying hundreds of residences and damaging farmlands. Bolaven was the strongest typhoon to hit the Korean peninsula for almost a decade.
December saw a month of surprises. South Korea dropped its plans to resume scientific whaling after worldwide condemnation saying that it now intends to carry out ‘non-lethal’ research instead. The government had announced that it intended to resume whaling for ‘scientific research’. More than 105,000 people signed a petition objecting to the plans. Also, another major change was the election of first female president of Korea, Park Geun-hye. With more than 70% of the votes counted, Park led with 51.6%, while her only rival, Moon Jae-in, was on 48%, according to the national election commission. Her victory, she said, was a sign that the country’s economy would recover. Another thing which made Koreans proud was the success of Psy. On December 21, 2012, Psy’s music video for “Gangnam Style” exceeded 1 billion views on YouTube, becoming the first video to ever do so in the website’s history. Kim Yu-Na who is the first female skater to win the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships and the Grand Prix Final, made a triumphant return by posting the season’s highest score at the NRW Trophy. She is called “Queen Yuna” in Korea. She made Korea proud again.
Something crazy happened in Christmas when thousands of lovelorn men gathered in Yeouido park in Seoul for Mass Blind Dating Flash Mob. Women had been asked to dress in red and men in white when they gathered at the park in Seoul’s Yeouido financial district. There were not enough women to cater for a horde of men which made them frustrated and angry. However some said that it was a enjoyable event. Also, a 100-foot-tall steel Christmas tree with about 30,000 light bulbs, was lit by Christian groups near the border of South and North Korea. North Korea accused South Korea of using the tower as a psychological warfare because South Korea failed in launching the satellite while North Korea succeeded. The tower will go dark on January.
The Korean companies also made their mark in the international market and companies like Samsung Electronics and LG achieved a milestone in the international market. Samsung had its share of the smartphone market rise to 31.3% in 2012 up from 3.3% in 2009. Samsung succeeded in taking a huge bite from Apple Inc. this year. Koreans had many things to be proud of in 2012 and also there were controversy and calamities but one should always look at the bright side. 2012 cannot be easily forgotten because the world didn’t end as anticipated by many. 2013 will be much more exciting than 2012.
Jolly Holidays to Everyone! ! !