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Posted : 2008-08-25 17:26
Updated : 2008-08-25 17:26

Seo Tai-ji ― Self-Made Entrepreneur


By Yoon Seong-hoon

It was 1992 when I first encountered Seo Tai-ji's songs. At that time, I was a little child at elementary school, and was not so interested in the song titled ``Nan Arayo (I Know)." But many of my friends in school liked him, and I also became to like his songs because of their dancing rhythm and joyful melodies.

Later things changed. The song was addictive. The more I listened to it, the more I liked it. I did not focus on what the song said, just regarding it as a popular love song. Many hit songs kept coming out, and with those songs I have also become older. The melodies remained good, which is the main reason that I liked his songs.

With the advent of the 21st century, I became an undergraduate and finished my military service. Meanwhile, I also began to think about ``love.'' I stayed abroad as an exchange student, traveled a lot and got some valuable experience, perhaps becoming in the process a more mature person. I developed a more independent mindset and thought about the passive life I had led during my school years.

I now listen to ``Gyosil (Classroom) Idea,'' one of Seo Tai-ji's songs, criticizing the cramming education culture in Korea, and I deeply sympathize with the lyrics. I often hear his other songs on radio or TV, and can now see those songs tell us about ``love'' and ``society,'' word by word.

What Seo Tae-ji shouted in his songs would have been a great comfort to those who suffered from love, who suffered through cram school, who had to sacrifice themselves as the Republic of Korea went through its dynamic transformation.

What many students and their parents believe is that students who study hard and go to good universities can get good jobs and succeed. Education fever has been powerful in changing Korea into a developed country, but Seo Tai-ji himself delivers a message of some of the side effects of this process.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., Bill Gates, retired chairman of Microsoft Corporation, and Seo have something in common. They all dropped out of school. They show us how a creative-minded person can achieve success without school credits.

What's needed for students indeed is creativeness, not competitiveness.

Seo Tai-ji would be one of the Korean intellectuals who tried to understand the desire of one of the most neglected social groups ― students. He could be honored by being named ``cultural President,'' for his efforts to communicate with the people through his songs. And finally, by satisfying customer's needs and wants with his products and songs, the required ingredients of a successful business, Seo could become a great entrepreneur of Seotaiji Co.

The writer is a graduate student majoring in business administration at Korea University. He can be reached at okjacky@empal.com.

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