I was lucky enough to go to the Blue House as a member of the Presidential Commission for Nation Branding, for an event celebrating the Korean government’s World Friends organization, which is a consolidation of a variety of volunteer programs into a single unit, akin to the American Peace Corps. It was all about celebrating the good people who good things in the world, and a bit of remembering that Korea was once an aid-receiving nation, once had American Peace Corps members placed here, but now has become an aid-giving country. That’s quite an accomplishment.
But enough of that. Let’s get to the fact that I got to go to a lawn party at the Blue House, with President Lee Myung-bak in attendance. And you know, it was a presidential garden party done right. Well, I guess this is the only one I’ve been to, so I have no real point of reference, but it seemed like it was done right, OK?
On the way in…
I went with fellow bloggers, so they’ve got the posts about the event and stuff down. You can read about it over at Roboseyo and Gusts of Popular Feeling and The Chosun Bimbo, so I’ll get right to the details of the party itself. Because there “ain’t no party like a Blue House party!” Or something like that.
Some big bloggers — some bigger than others, ahem.
The event was business casual, and the president was not expected to wear a tie or blazer, and we were told we were going to get a colored shirt and pose in pictures. Do they have 2XL? I didn’t think so, and they didn’t. But they also never had that photo op — I think they decided to let the old fogies maintain their dignity. But the younguns looked good in fruity colors!
When you’re young, eager, and idealistic, you can wear fruity color combinations. But when you’re nearing 40 and have rent to pay, you tend to keep it toned down a bit. But I was energized by all the waves of good cheer emanating from the smiling young people being send out all over the world.
Some “World Friends.”
A wholly singular wit. Ahem.
The spread was pretty nice and I got to take a lot of pictures. Actually, I had to take pics for our entire crew, since only one member per group was allowed to take pictures, as they had security concerns and a need to keep things from getting mucked up for the approved Blue House photo pool shooters. Security was very professional and clear about all that stuff — good work, guys.
You know we housed that spread. I mean housed. It was brutal.
Oh, garçon! (Is that how you spell that?) Free drinks? You know I was on that.
And on to the fashion of a Blue House garden party! Of course, there were lots of diplomatic types, and you’ve already seen the fashion of most of the attendees. And the hats that were passed out. But the award for best hat of the evening goes to the Brits, of course, who are serious about hats, apparently. Mardin Uden, the British ambassador to Korea, sure has his headgear together.
“My hat beats your hat, hands down.”
The Francophones apparently just wore the standard-issue event hats.
“Bow down.” (Hmm, that didn’t quite work, did it…?)
But many Korean young ladies don’t need hats — they have bows. Don’t underestimate the power of the bow. But have you picked up the pattern here yet? It should be starting to become clear now. Let’s take a look at the hattage (or lack thereof) of our Slovakian friends.
I do love that pink suit, though.
It’s as plain as day, isn’t it? North Americans and the Germans just don’t wear hats. Oh, and I guess New Zealanders. We Canadians, Americans, New Zealander types just don’t wear the hats.
See? No hats.
But why, then, do the Brits, who started all these countries, the best hat holders? This is a mystery that we may never come to understand. But the day wasn’t all about hats. Besides fruity colors and hatwear, there were a few wonderful dresses.
But it was the president who had the last word, despite being neither fabulous nor in possession of a uniquely interesting hat. Yet it was cool, since, you know what? He’s the President. And you don’t say nothin’ about da President’s hat. Capisce?
“I’m the President and I’ll whatever goddamn silly hat I want.”
But the prize for best-dressed of the evening goes to the kids in the cute-as-hell Blue House junior reporter league. These tykes look ready to report on anything and everyone! And you know, as hall monitors (and you know a lot of ‘em are the hall monitor type, knowwhaddamean?), they would have everything on lockdown. And everything sorted, reported, and recorded.
Ready for edgy Blue House journalism!
Love the frilly socks and Teva-like sandals. LOVING it! I think the Dora-the-Explorer look is kinda awesome, too. Might you have some thin mint cookies hidden away somewhere?
Seriously, though, the event was good, the Prez spoke (erm, wearing that World Friends event hat), and of course, they had a kick-ass translator.
Love that purple!
Oh, and let’s not forget US Ambassador Stevens, who first came to Korea as a Peace Corps member, then returned in class and style many years later.
In all seriousness, and in short, it was a great day, full of great people doing amazing things on the international stage.
We left the event refreshed and inspired. Well, at least I did. How can it be anything other than great to go out with weather and surroundings like this?
You can have me over again, anytime, Mr. Prez. And congratulations again to the many brave and dedicated volunteers who will go out into the world and do so much good for and in it!
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