A GROUP of USP students has been visiting Korea and gaping at the wonders of the World Expo in Yeosu. This is their story.
BULA from the World Expo — it's Day 3 for the USP Team in Korea and the final at the expo. Unlike the day before, more pavilions were visited and we learnt a great deal more about harnessing the ocean's energy and resources.
Most team members were still confused with the Korean currency (the Won), understanding the sophistication and good condition of the roads and the use of metal flat chopsticks for meals. But we eventually got most of it right, thanks to our Korea Maritime Institute friends.
We found out the hard way that our "Fiji" electrical plugs for our cameras and laptops were not compatible with the "Korean" ones. The shops did not have the required adaptor. Dr Joeli's adaptor and Jasha's laptop cable are our most prized possessions for the recording of our Korea trip so far.
The Sultanate of Oman Pavilion
Still amazed and speechless from our first day at the Yeosu Expo, the team was once again led by Dr Ahn and Prof Changmo to our first stop of the day, the Sultanate of Oman Pavilion. Greeted with the Arabic greeting, "Peace be with you", we were enlightened into another step of amazement as we were introduced to Middle Eastern ancient fishing vessels and equipment, as well as the fishing techniques that illustrated the Omani cultural identity.
The Omani government has pursued conservation practices that benefit local people. For example, the legal protection of mangroves. The government has recognised the role of mangroves in preventing coastal erosion and supporting fisheries.
We were impressed with this legislation, as our regional countries have not done so. The Sultanate of Oman left us with something to remember: to keep the traditional knowledge and incorporate it in the establishment of modern governance.
The Korea Pavilion
Korean maritime history presentation portrayed the country's successful maritime evolution and legacy; from its infancy to pre-twentieth century.
It also illustrated the relationship between the sea and the Korean people, where the people and therefore the success of Korea were defined by the ocean.
The invasion of the country by foreign powers in the 20th century resulted in the separation of the people and the ocean, eventually leading to the decline of the wellbeing of the country. The combination of perfect visual and written aids, lighting and sound, made the experience both humbling and emotional.
Being Pacific Islanders, we identified with the relationship between country and ocean. Seeing the awfulness of the bond between people and the ocean being broken, made us think of what our own experience might be if it happened to us.
Climate Change Pavilion
The term climate change has been a commonly discussed topic in our local news and has been a driving factor for more intensive scientific research as scientists strive on to resolve the effects of this phenomenon. Our third stop of the day was the Climate Change Pavilion. The pavilion simply divided itself into two compartments, one with extreme cold conditions of about -10 degrees and a small theatre with two 180 degree screens that illustrated extreme weather conditions associated with climate change.
Also shown to be affected was a mother polar bear trying to ensure her baby survived the changing climate.
The idea of using a baby polar bear to illustrate that not only humans will be affected by their actions but recognised that all life forms on Earth are interconnected and are dependent on one another.
* Epeli Manu Loganimoce is a 300-level Bachelor of Science student majoring in marine science and Kelly Thomas Brown is a Master of Science in marine science student who is undertaking shark research in the hope to aid shark conservation and awareness in Fiji.