President unveils autobiography
By Kang Hyun-kyung
President Lee Myung-bak will seek to create a greener world as a community leader after leaving the presidential office, according to his forthcoming autobiography.
“I will spend my remaining days in office always remembering what a great honor it is to serve. And after I leave office, I will continue to serve,” he said.
“I will visit my friends abroad and work with them so that all of us can enjoy a more sustainable and greener future. I will take part in educating our children about the importance of sustainability, green growth and protecting our environment.”
The Korea Times obtained the final edition of the book to be published on Nov. 1 in the United States, titled “The Uncharted Path.” It will exclusively run a week-long series of excerpts from the book starting today.
The autobiography was initially published in Korean in 1995, three years after he left Hyundai Group after wrapping up his 27 years’ career there.
Lee reveals the secret of how an entry-level employee was able to rise to the top of the corporate ladder and how with the strong backing of the late founder of the Hyundai Group, Chung Ju-yung, he came to transform what was then a small local construction company into a global giant.
The Korean edition was last updated in 2005.
The forthcoming U.S. edition is basically a translated version, but it has updated and expanded stories that include Lee’s career as mayor of Seoul (2002-2006) and president (2008-present) after leaving Hyundai.
In the new edition, Lee said he would help the next generation of leaders through the Lee & Kim Foundation. In 2009, he donated approximately $31 million to establish the non-profit, charity dedicated to helping underprivileged children have access to education.
Lee said his late mother, Chae Tae-won, had a great influence on his life.
“Mother’s dream was never about escaping poverty, nor did she ever push us to become rich,” Lee recalled.
“Instead, her life was simple and honest. She was always thankful... Whatever she did, she gave it her all, believing that the Lord would take care of the rest. That’s how she wanted us to live, too: to work hard, to persevere, to have faith, to serve and to love others.”
In the part dealing with his years as mayor of Seoul, Lee elaborated how he and his team earned trust from the citizens, who were initially skeptical about his plan to transform an urban slum into the Cheonggye stream, a tourist hot spot.
“(T)here were hundreds of competing interests at work; shop owners and those who rented the space had differing, often conflicting, desires. For instance, those selling fashion apparel and the like welcomed the change; the ones selling hardware and household appliances opposed it,” he said.
“We set out to convince them all. To do this, I set up a special division within the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Its task was to listen to the concerns of the shop owners, explain the need for restoring the stream, and describe how we intended to go about it. If the vendors and shop owners had concerns, then the team would deal with them.”
The team members set out to visit the shops and vendors from 8:30 a.m. and returned to the office to write up reports and handle the requests made by shopkeepers.
Lee ran in the 2007 presidential election on the Grand National Party’s ticket after leaving the mayoral position, and won a landslide victory.
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