​Vietnam city finds ways to receive ‘giant gift’ from South Korea

Vietnam city finds ways to receive ‘giant gift’ from South Korea
An artist’s impression of the South Korean “Greeting Man” statue to be placed in Hue City, central Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Dac Xuan

Administrators in Hue, the capital city of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, are searching for a way to properly display a giant sculpture gifted by a city in South Korea in honor of the friendship and cooperation established between the two cities.

Hue and Namyangju City in the northwest South Korean province of Gyeonggi entered into a friendship and cooperative relationship in the fields of economics, tourism, culture, education, and urban management last October.

Namyangju governor Cho Kwang Han recently offered to present a six-meter-tall statue called “Greeting Man” to Hue to celebrate the two cities’ friendship.

Upon receiving the offer, the Hue administration held a meeting to discuss suitable downtown locations for the statue that would not affect the cityscape, city chairman Nguyen Van Thanh said on Thursday.

“Greeting Man,” a work by 48-year-old South Korean sculptor Yoo Young-ho, is an aluminum statue of a blue, naked man bowing in a typically Asian greeting gesture.

A naked figure represents no prejudice, while blue means no racial discrimination.

The statue is expected to be transported to Vietnam after its production is completed. South Korea has said it will bear all shipping costs.

A Greeting Man statue is placed in the northeast province of Gangwon, South Korea. Photo: Hankyoreh

A Greeting Man statue is placed in the northeast province of Gangwon, South Korea. Photo: Hankyoreh

Despite its representation of peace, reconciliation, and communication, finding a fitting location for “Greeting Man” has become a headache for Hue administrators.

Though the city’s administration decided that the two banks along the city’s iconic Huong (Perfume) River were the most suitable sites for the statue, the option was disapproved of by researcher Nguyen Dac Xuan, who said the statue is much higher than other existing artworks along the river.

Xuan suggested resizing the statue to make it smaller, and place the sculpture on the south bank of the river, where several buildings constructed with South Korean help are located.

Meanwhile, administrators from the South Korean city suggested either the Hue Imperial Citadel, the park opposite the Hue Cultural Center, or Dong Ba Market.

But Thanh said the most suitable location would be the park in front of the Hue Central Hospital. He also backed the idea of making the statue smaller than its original design.

Hue will submit an official proposal for the resizing of the statue to the Thua Thien-Hue administration and the South Korean side for consideration, according to the chairman.

A Greeting Man statue is placed in the neighborhood of Buceo, Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: CNN

A Greeting Man statue is placed in the neighborhood of Buceo, Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: CNN

Vietnam is not the first country outside South Korea that the modern sculpture project “Greeting Man” has been placed.

In October 2012, a “Greeting Man” statue was unveiled in the neighborhood of Buceo, Montevideo, Uruguay, as part of a planned world series in multiple locations.

Another statue was erected in Panama City, Panama in January 2016, marking the second to be unveiled in Latin America.

Last March, South Korea went on to gift Mérida City in Mexico, where a community of about 2,000 South Korean citizens is living, another “Greeting Man.”

At home, a “Greeting Man” was introduced in October 2013, near the Korean Demilitarized Zone, in Haean, Yanggu County, in the northeast province of Gangwon.

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