Jeju, "Free International City" and "Island of World Peace."
The phrases appear everywhere across the island, greeting visitors and instilling pride in Jeju’s bright future among locals. But there have been plenty of times that I wonder if it is indeed the case when I stumble across foreigners who do not even know where Jeju is located or grumble about the inconveniences of living in Jeju.
"Why are there no bus schedules and route maps in English?” they ask. Or, “I fear I might get sick, and I don’t know which clinic or hospital to go to find a doctor who can speak English.” I cringe when I hear foreigners saying that in Jeju.
The plan to start a newspaper all in English came from that feeling, but it has taken time and courage to actually start it against daunting odds.
The Jeju Weekly is setting clear goals: We are here to bring positive changes in Jeju as well as outside of Jeju by promoting its natural values and potentials which have been newly evaluated and appreciated; We are here to make the island foreigner-friendly so that “Jeju as an international city” is not merely a slogan, but a reality for foreigners or prospective investors.
I believe Jeju island is an international city. And the island of UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage is worth more attention and visits. I hope this newspaper will have a vital role in fulfilling that prediction. But Jeju can not achieve this goal unless it reaches out to English speakers in their own language. It is time to understand and project Jeju’s image through foreigners' eyes, perspectives and insights.
The newspaper faced, and will face, a slew of challenges, one being how to secure enough funding to support the production, printing and distribution from the very first issue of this paper. Even hiring a full-time, native English-speaking editor for this paper has been a laborious, time-consuming task and is still in process because of restrictive visa regulations for foreigners.
The plan of the launch of an English newspaper I have long harbored was, however, buoyed by support from my husband, Prof. Kim Gyong-ho, and friends including foreigners with an enormous love and interest in Jeju. Many foreign freelance writers were willing to contribute to this paper not for money but for experience, and perhaps for Jeju. Prominent photographers and columnists deserve more than my “thanks.” They are all valuable resources in Jeju, in addition to its natural assets.
My birth of my first child could coincide with the publication of the first issue. I am a little fearful, but my excitement far outweighs it. Some of my friends even tease me by saying I’m giving birth to not one, but two babies, one is the real baby I have long wished for, the other a newspaper. It might be true.
The newspaper is also rolling out its all-English Web site, www.jejuweekly.com, that will permit timely stories, updated news, photos, and video clips, and will include an interactive feature. I hope I can uphold my commitment to The Jeju Weekly and the goal of serving our community for many more years to come.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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Registration Number: Jeju Da 01093 | Date of Registration: November 20, 2008 | Publisher: Hee Tak Ko | Youth policy: Hee Tak Ko
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