Although ambassador Choe Young-Jin came to Nepal more than a year ago, he has shown that Nepal and Korea have so many things in common. As Nepal has been passing through a serious political crisis in its history, Korean ambassador to Nepal Choe has been quick to relate how Korea came out from its crisis to become an economic power. Ambassador Choe holds the view that Nepal has a great potential to transform itself.
Although Nepal and Korea are geographically far away, they have many things in common. Kite-flying is one of them. Like in Korea, Nepalese too fly kites after the harvest season in October.
As Korean Embassy organized Korea Week 2015 last week, Flying Kite Competition 2015 was one of the major attractions for Nepalese at the ground of Nepal Army Headquarter.
Even outgoing minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa did not waste his time to tell about his unfulfilled dream to fly kites because he was poor as a child.
“When I saw somebody was flying a kite at the district headquarter while I was visiting my father, I was tempted to fly kite as all other children. I dropped my temptation because my parents did not have the money to buy me kites. Whenever I see a kite flying, I see how my whole dream was built around it,” said Minister Sherpa.
Like all other children, ambassador Choe also shared his dream, aspiration and vision about flying kites. "When I was a child fifty years ago, I was very much interested in flying kites. I used to talk with a flying kite, with a strong thread towing and propelling the kite in strong air,” said ambassador Choe. “When my kite flew up and up in the strong wind, I felt that my dream also went up and up. A boy who flew kite in Korea fifty years ago is now flying kite in Kathmandu as an ambassador,” narrates ambassador Choe.
“When I was travelling in Kathmandu in Dashain festival, in October, I found people were buying kites in the streets and markets and flying them in the sky. It reminded me of my childhood kite flying. I lost on my childhood dream again,” narrates ambassador Choe.
“Although Korea and Nepal are geographically far away, flying kites at the post harvest period and playing Chungi bring both the countries closer culturally,” said ambassador Choe. “Flying kites has helped me to realize how closer culturally Korea and Nepal are. I hope that this kind of sharing the culture brings Korea and Nepal closer.”
A large number of Nepalese school children, people of different walks of life, Korean volunteers and Korean citizens living in Nepal were present to see the competition.
Encouraging Nepalese with a quite humble gesture, Korean ambassador to Nepal Choe is seriously dedicating his time to support Nepal’s transformational efforts. In his over a year long tenure, Nepal has also faced a major disaster, the earthquakes in April and May. Ambassador Choe was quick to respond by bringing Korean rescue teams, with relief materials.
As Nepal was facing a lack of heavy equipment to clear the debris and clean the roads and destroyed sites, ambassador Choe took the initiative and delivered heavy equipment to Nepal Police.
“Like in Nepal, flying kites is not just a children's pastime, many older Koreans enjoy flying kites, especially on major holidays, such as Ch'usok and the Lunar New Year. The traditional Korean kite (yon) is made with bamboo sticks and Korean paper,” said ambassador Choe showing the exhibition of Korean kites.
Like in Nepal, kite frames are generally made of bamboo, with paper attached. Most kites, rectangular or stingray-shaped, are tethered with string on a reel. Kite flying is a traditional winter game for children and adults. There is a period of kite flying from New Year's Day to Daeboreum, after which the kite string is cut for it to fly away.
Since his arrival, ambassador Choe has been making efforts to further strengthen Nepal-Korea relations up and up as the flying kite in season of October. Nepal also can learn a lot of things from Korea to transform itself.