Writer’s Walking Trail: Jeong Yeong-ja, President of the Society for Cultural Commentators

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Interview with a culture designer – <Writer’s Walking Trail> Jeong Yeong-ja, President of the Society for Cultural Commentators
Date of report: In September 2016
Culture reporter: Lee Jae-jeong


A commentator is a messenger of Seogwipo, a space of lines, and an entertainer dancing to compliments from tourists

A cultural commentator is sought-after these days. It has become not only a figurehead for the regional space in a city but also one of the best, promising occupations to the retired as it appears over the horizon of the occupational world. As representative big mouths of the region, cultural commentators are deemed as shining stars that receive so much love. Thanks to them, traditional culture has been transmitted and Seogwipo remains brilliant and outstanding. Today I had a great pleasure to meet Jung Young-ja, president of the Society for Cultural Commentators working in the Writer’s Walking Trail in Seogwipo, and learned about the aesthetics of lines.

When do you feel most rewarded?
When there is an enthusiastic response. Alongside questions, positive responses are as supportive as compliments. This response is appealing enough to make people want to be involved in this work after retirement.

Tell us when you and your colleague commentators set off your journey with the Writer’s Walking Trail.
It has been six years since 2012. It was a bit awkward at the beginning to deal with tourists, but I found this work very appealing as time passed. It is the same of soy sauce imparting a delicate flavor over time. Now I consider myself a customized commentator regardless of listeners’ age or gender.

I heard sometimes you get really excited as your commentary gets intensified. . .
I feel jubilant and excited when tourists say they want to revisit the place and recommend the tour of Seogwipo to their friends and family. Sometimes I meet people who cry after hearing my commentary at the place where Lee Jung-seob lived. It is not easy to win the hearts of tourists. A commentator’s own interpretation on historical records and space as well as fun are essential

Do you have something to boast to your supervisor at Seogwipo City Hall?
I feel rewarded when told by tourists that ‘You are a true commentator.’ I feel appreciative of compliments that my commentary was helpful. I hope our efforts and roles will be recognized.

There should be something you feel bad about while working as a commentator…
When Jeju loses its essence, what is truly Jeju-like, I feel regrettable. It is tourists themselves that notice it first.
Another thing is a sense of public order. Taking a tour around the route with adolescents, I frequently find trash on the street. I hope the villagers will pay more attention to this for the young visitors.

Any qualities required for a commentator?
A broad knowledge. A commentary that catches people’s heart is only possible when it is well mixed with information on other fields. Beside them, a good facial expression, decency, and fun play a crucial role in determining the ability of commentators.

Any wishes you want to ask for the administration?
I hope policymakers take into consideration the tourists’ perspectives who visit Seogwipo. Jeju Island is a space of lines as easily seen in Mt. Halla, scores of volcanic cones, coastlines, etc. I believe that the administration should take the initiative to preserve the beautiful lines and true Jeju.

Please summarize the roles of commentators in short.
Seogwipo is a beautiful space surrounded by Seopseom, Bumseom, and Museom Islets on the three sides, and facing Mt. Halla on the other side. Seogwipo stratums and waterfalls are the iconic symbols representing the region. A commentator is the one who delivers a story of people living in Seogwipo and their remorse. It is our role that we make numerous tourists fall in love with ‘Seogwipo’ with our commentaries.