Jeju’s sex and green growth exhibits

Orly Mercado

Posted on June 6, 2009

We were in a van, on our way to the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit venue, in the resort island of Jeju. One of the delegates from the business sector said he had an interesting afternoon the day before. His Korean business contacts brought him to a permanent exhibit in a sex museum. When asked how it was, he said it was huge. The museum, that is. No one picked up the conversation. I surmised that like me, the others were in the category of men, whose testosterone levels were no longer raging.

As we entered the convention center, we were ushered into the Green Growth Exhibition. Korea was unveiling its green growth strategy. Its research and development plan calls for a two-fold increase in R&D spending. In 2008 it stood at 769 million USD. President Lee Myung-bak declared that he wants his country to be a key partner of ASEAN in developing technologies. The exhibit was impressive. As expected, there was an abundance of slim LED TVs. My impression was that in a short period, Korea has gained ground in power generation, water treatment, seawater desalination and photo voltaic energy. To be sure, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered car was not about to warm my loins, but the message was clear. Green was cool, if not sexy.

Many years ago, I read about a huge sex exhibit in Europe. I remember the author’s comment after going through booths upon booths of pornographic material. He said that after a while, it was boring, because creativity was limited by the biological realities of human genitalia. There is no limit to the creativity in green technology. And for Korea, a country that was able to market ginseng to the world, it may keep us thinking green even without going to its sex museum.

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