President of all Koreans in Spain(interview)
18 mayo, 2012
The interview was done to a 56 years old gentleman, father of two kids and husband of a five years younger and lovely wife. The interviewed mans name is Heun Fan Joung Kim. Heun Fan first came to Spain as a taekwondo teacher in Barcelona, he strongly underlines that when he first came he was completely in the misery and that he barely had money enough to eat. Heun Fan made fun of that period with an amusing incident with the bananas, “at that time the banana was the cheapest fruit in the market, and as I didn´t have much money I only ate bananas for nearly 6 months, the first two months I had no problems at all but by the time I got to the third…. I had worrying problems with the digestion of those bananas”. He first came to Spain on the 1987 and three years later he returned to Korea. The same year came back to Spain but this time he changed his job to acupuncturist, installing himself in the town of Guernica in Bilbao. Since then he has been working as an acupuncturist and he is running two premises. In 2007 he was named president of all Koreans in Spain, without loosing his actual job. But last year 2011 elections where made and the president was re-elected. Heun Fan defines the job of precedency as a really difficult and tiring position, he remarked “there are too many Korean people coming and going away from the country and it is impossible to control all of them, and having to find a translator every time an enterprise comes in it isn´t a easy task, as there are barely translators for the job.”
When did you first come to Spain?
– I first came to Spain on 1987, the same year my first son was born. 3 years later I got back to Korea and the same year returned back to Spain. When I came back I had no home to stay in so I lived together with a family who a taught taekwondo in previous years. When this family offered me their house to live with them and my family, I just felled a 100% and I though it was a dream, I never knew anyone so kind… After few months when I saved some money I went to Bilbao where a Spanish citizen who travelled often to Korea offered me his house. I was really lucky to find these people they are like angels to me, I could say that they gave me all I´ve got right now…
What relationship does Spain maintain with the Korean state?
– Well I am not really sure about it but I can tell you that though the years more and more relationships were made, and the most important one I guess they are economical relations with the big companies such as Hyundai, Samsung, LG, Kia… among others. Also, the latest years they have invited me to various dancing and singing shows, it seems to be that Korean B-boy dancers are quite popular together with a musical movement called K-pop. They seemed to have being on a tour in Europe and they told me that this K-pop they might come to Spain too on a near future.
We all heard from the political issue that there is in Korea, what do you think about what it is happening know in Korea? And what do you think about the death of the leader, do you think that things would change?
– To be honest, I am not really worried about the issue because I consider that North Korea is just trying to show of, they´ve been doing this since the parallel 38 was installed, north Korea needed food and they got it as they could, on the other hand north Korea has been provoking us for too many years, I shouldn´t say this but they deserve this problems they are having, unfortunately the only affected ones are the citizens who have no blames.
On the point of the death of Kim Jong-Il… I got nothing to say is special we have nothing more than to wait and see what that kid is doing. I hope someday we reach the unification as I got family on the other side…
If you could change something, in terms of the relation between Spain and Korea what would you like to change or improve?
– Actually I love living in Spain besides the problem of the food, we eat Korean food all the days and it is really difficult to find products and if I could, I would like to improve that point. There are too many things I would like to eat that I cannot because there isn´t. truly it isn´t an important issue but sometimes little things are so grateful. I remember that when I was in “La Rioja” where the “Camino de Santiago” is done, I met with a Korean citizen who was doing this walking, well I remember that we invited this young lady to our house for a Korean meal and she couldn´t be more grateful. When she got back to Korea she sent us some food and a post in gratitude.
BY: Ibon Joung