The fire within


Seeing KIA Optima at the top of the 2013 Sedan chart wakes me up a bit. My first exposure to KIA brand was when I went shopping for a RAV4. At the time, KIA barely made the nearest contender list.

Something is flowing in the Korean industrial and intellectual might, from Samsung to soap, Optima to “Please Look After Mom”. Start paying attention. Here in Vietnam, Samsung has already shipped out more handsets than the country had done with its established garment sector.

When a country is on fire, there is no stopping. Not even a Japan that can’t say No.

In Herndon and Loudoun County, Virginia,  Lotte, a Korean supermarket chain, sells ethnic foods to the International clientele not too far from the US Capital.

They had after all a great start on Wilshire Boulevard, West of LA where annually there is a Korean Parade, just like Chinese counterpart in San Francisco. They defended their liquor stores in South Central (the LA riot started with Rodney King, whose arrest record had shown a run-in with a Korean store).

I have yet met a big fat Korean person. From the ashes of the Korean war rose a nation to be respected.

Kim-chi and more kim-chi in the diet, and fire in the belly.

Take away: we can do it too. With billions in bail-out, GM is now stabilized, with its new dynamic CEO.

Chrysler is now sold off to FIAT. It will take some time for the two cultures to mesh.

That leaves the field open for more jockeying. First, turn on the fire. Then choose a course to channel the creative energy. Harness it. It takes decades to be subject matter expert. Endure being jeered at and laughed at, the way the Civic used to be (or Yugo for that matter).

If EV is a national strategy, America can nurse some hope. But then, knowing the bantering and bickering, I would bet that any fire would be put out and snuffed out in those debates.

If economy is warfare, then it will take a generation of no less than warriors to win the battle. Fire, aim, ready.

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