Sep 4, 2007
Two Asian Leaders Talk About Asia and the World
Excerpt from the booklet “The Making of “super stars” by Leslie Kee“Asia is One”
Interviewer: Why did you (Pres. Sohn) decide to support Leslie’s “Super Stars” project?
Sohn: The work I do in my own company originally started with my wish to have the Japanese people see Asian content. The reason I wanted them to see them, is because I wanted them “to understand”. Because the Japanese media only introduces a small part of what is going on in the world, the people can see very little of the real life. If they are able to see just a little more of what is really going on, perhaps we can understand each other. I thought TV dramas would be a great means of making this possible. It’s not like competing with the west -I think Bae Yong Joon also thinks similarly on this – I think under the influence of modernization of Asia, we are forgetting the wonderful customs and values that have been carried on from the past. This trait is most evident in Japan, as they were the first to westernize. From a cultural perspective, the fact that I’m wearing a suit today is actually unnatural. It’s not just clothes – if we were to think about food, there must have been a cuisine that is appropriate for Asians. I sometimes think that we are even beginning to forget that we are Asians. There is a tendency to think that “becoming more like white people” is a standard in attaining beauty, and with “global standards” too, the idea is to go in line with the standards created by the Americans and Europeans. I think by becoming conscious of the fact that we are Asians, we can broaden our perspective, and we might be able to realize who we are. For this very reason, I think Asia should interact on a dynamic level. Leslie’s “Super Stars” project was initiated with his conviction that “neighbors should help each other”. He wanted others to feel this way, and it made me want to participate in this project because I truly empathized with his idea.
I: What do you think is the meaning of Asia becoming one?
Sohn: I suppose if I were to put it simply, there are such ideas like creating joint works, but my idea is a bit different. Moreover, it’s not something on a political or diplomatic level – I only want to do facilitate things more on a cultural and a private level, say involving people’s sensitivity. It’s not about saying “NO” to things outside of Asia, either. In the end, it all connects to the world anyway. But before we go out to the world, we have to begin by loving one’s self, one’s company, one’s school, and one’s country. If we were to stretch this a little further, there is a unit called Asia.
Leslie: First, “Asia is One”. I have neither the charisma nor the ability to say “World is One” at the present. May be if I built up on my career for another 10 years, and I made a lot of acquaintances throughout the word, I maybe able to say so as an artist, but I don’t think this is something I can say very easily.
Sohn: For example, before the trend of Korean films, Hong Kong films which were the rage of the 90s became a content on a worldwide level. But Asia is still only looking towards the west. I think that kind of attitude is self-deprecating, and does not do any good. We must become more confident. In Asia, we have many beautiful people, beautiful scenery and wonderful talent. We should reassess them by Asian standards and not by the standards of the west.
Leslie: I think Asia’s standard is improving greatly over the past few years.
Sohn: It is full of energy, to say the least. Even with its great history, countries like China are changing dramatically. There is a certain unstableness, but potential counterbalances this. I hope many talented people like Leslie will have more and more opportunities to demonstrate their abilities.
Leslie: Yes, I hope so.
(translated by flowerbossa
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