By: Oh Young-jin

Globalization is supposed to be about digitization.

Here is a small twist that defies this generalization.

The May 8 edition of The Korea Times has the main article on its front page titled “Let’s have an English first name,” written by guest writer Kim In-chul, the presidentially-commissioned ombudsman who plays the role of troubleshooter for foreign investors.

Kim’s contribution was about his announcement of adopting the name Jeffrey to make a case for Korea’s need to integrate more with the rest of the world.

It could have been easily dismissed, if the article had electronically appeared on the website of foreign newspapers or scholarly publications.

But only two days later after its publication, the newspaper in a mint state was posted on a bulletin board in front of James K. Moffitt Undergraduate Library on the campus of UC Berkeley.

A Korean student studying there sent photos of the Times copy and the library as well.

The double irony can’t be lost as the anonymous student emailed the photos, which could have been taken by her mobile phone.

It is not sure whether it was Kim’s article or the big photo of President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, also on the page, which caught the attention of the librarian.

Still, a bigger bet could be placed on Kim’s article since some Korean-American scholars responded to it, an indication of interest on the part of Americans.

George Washington University Prof. Hyun Chong-min commented: “Global society needs a global culture liberating from many obstacles, misunderstandings, and prejudices. It requires a set of common norms, values, attitudes, and behavior which may be recognized and accepted by global citizens and netizens.” Prof. In-chul Kim has adopted Jeffrey as his first name to be easily remembered by the business community throughout the world. Korea as the “hermit kingdom” ought to make many attempts to adapt to the new democratic global culture by freeing itself from secular practices. President Park Geun-hye has timely initiated such a movement by deregulating many administrative restrictions to establish a “creative economy” world.

SOURCE: THE KOREA TIMES