Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bank of Korea

The head of the Bank of Korea today gave a speech at the Westin Grand Hotel in downtown DC. The event was jointly hosted by the Korea Economic Institute and Brookings. Although the setting was nice, the speech, which gave a very broad history of economic development in Asia, was a disappointment. In a room filled with mostly Korean economists and Korean specialists from IMF, World Bank, and various other Think Tanks it was far too general. I had been looking forward to Korea's recent monetary policy strategy, Korea's role in the growth of the East Asian economy as a whole including cooperation or competition with Japan and China, and prospects for the future but none of those issues were seriously addressed.

Book Review: Madam Secretary: A Memoir

Madeleine Albrights autobiography was easily one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Although, I have mostly read biographies rather than autobiographies. The reason, I think, is that Jack Welch's so-called autobiography which was nothing more than self-centered aggrandisement of his own ego turned me off that genre. It was among the most abysmal pieces of trash I've ever had the misfortune to read.

Happily, Ms. Albright has revitalised my faith in the autobiography. She gives a complete picture of her life, not just her time at the UN and State Department. She tells funny stories, even when the joke is on her and she acknowledges and addresses criticisms of her time in office. While her recount of events during her trip to North Korea and the events surrounding her involvement in negotiating with North Korea were certainly very interesting to me, the much more prominent events in foreign policy during the Clinton administration, namely the crises in Serbia and Kosovo and the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East were the highlights of the book.

Long Overdue Update

After posting the letter on North Korean human rights I headed down to Mexico for a two week vacation. The highlight, without doubt, was the amazing National Museum of anthropology

The artifacts, information, and presentation of Mexico's history was awe-inspiring. The guide book said it was one of the best museums of its kind in the world and it was certainly one of the best I've ever seen. I spent over five hours and saw only the first floor (two-storey building) and could've easily taken much more time.

The other highlight of Mexico was...bungy jumping. That is me plummeting fifty-meters to the ground in sunny Acapulco. My very brave friend and co-jumper leapt before me. The deal being that I wasn't jumping unless he jumped....he jumped.

Other highlights in Mexico included trips to San Miguel de Allende, San Luis Potosi, and Taxco. Within Mexico City I visited Frida Kahlo's house, Trotsky's house, the Zocalo, and saw many a mural by Diego Rivera.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui