Reaching a century is quite a milestone. If The Jeju Weekly were a person - and British (and editions were years) - it would be looking forward to a letter from The Queen. On top of achievements, its thoughts might turn towards things that remain untried, undone, unimagined.
This isn’t a melancholy reflection upon missed opportunities, but rather recognition that possibilities are endless. A century suggests experience, wisdom, patience, the qualities to face new challenges. Or just the urge to recline, sip a brew and nibble soggy digestives.
Looking back through past editions, I realized that it is easy to spend too much time reflecting on experiences experienced, on thoughts thought, on plans executed. With news that is the nature of the beast, but anniversaries are also about looking onward to what is to come. A pat on the back is in order, but so are goals for the journey onward.
For these reasons, to commemorate The Jeju Weekly’s centenary edition, I felt it opportune to ask readers to provide a Jeju “bucket list” of must-do things on the island, for what might come over the next 100 editions, days, weeks, years.
Life trajectories are like mountain ranges and the peaks are our memories. Daniel Kahneman calls this “peak-end theory” - exhilaration creates “peaks” of excitement. We don't seek flatlands or fens, but pikes, crags and fells.
Or, if you will, oreum. We may not build an oreum every week, but having one in mind to populate our memory range is the important thing. Our lives are practices of tectonic upheaval and while Keith Richards ascendsK2 every weekend, the average Mr. Kim is more than content with the occasional Mt. Halla, or Mt. Baekdu for the brave.
Most of us probably have trajectories more like Aewol – a rolling coastline with bumps of excitement in the hinterland, intersected by fast-moving traffic and dotted with pig farms. Saebyeol Oreum is a great friend, but we needn’t have her round for tea every week.
Besides, oreum-building takes time and goal-setting. If you’re mounting peaks in Korea, you’ll need all the right gear. Whether you choose to go for Black Yak or a knock-off down the Five-Day, it is all part of orienting yourself in the foothills. You are making progress.
As such, we hope this century of ideas, one for each Jeju Weekly edition, can plant seeds on oreum-sides soon to be ascended and conquered. Whether they result in a Sarabong or a Witse Oreum, our hope is that this list helps everyone put a few extra bumps in their lives.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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