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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  October 12, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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seoul. capital of south korea. one community in the center of this city is drawing widespread attention. seongmisan maeul is made up of around 6,000 families.
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here, there are more than 70 restaurants, stores and other initiatives co-funded by local residents. this restaurant is one example of their efforts. >> translator: members invested anywhere from $45 u.s. dollars all the way up to $4,500. that's how we built the restaurant. >> this soap store opened when four homemakers each invested $5,500. each bar is handmade using natural materials. >> translator: my kid has allergies, but a natural soap really helped calm them down so i decided to try making it myself and that's how i got started. >> the cooperative businesses include a school.
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unusually, the curriculum is decided by teachers and parents. in this community, the key concept is to provide what's truly necessary. decisions are reached through heated discussions. >> translator: whatever you want to achieve, seongmisan maeul will help you get started. the strong community ties here create a very supportive environment. it's the relationships that count. >> a cooperative community run by its members, for its members. discover everyday life in seongmisan maeul.
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this modest hill, 66 meters high, is seon fwrks mgmisan. nearby residents formed the community. the community is known across south korea. one popular tv documentary focused on three days in seongmisan maeul reporting on its charms. >> the mapo area is in the west of central seoul.
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seongmisan maeul is in mapo. residents formed this community inform rating mao, the korean word for village, into the name. the seongmisa smrks maeul community began with a child center. it lies just off a name street. named our children's home, the center is operated using member contributions. today, 35 children aged between 1 and 5 are cared for by 7 staff. that's a better than average ratio of childminders to children. and it means that each child gets more care and attention.
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>> translator: this facility can be traced to a group of participaparents who were concerned about their children. as the group developed, they saw a need for a safe, supportive space where dual-income parents could place their kids. that led to this cooperative childcare center. >> in 1994, the center was set up with funding from 25 30-something couples with full-time careers. with most childcare facilities in those days situated in hi high-rise buildings, kids were often stuck inside a small room all day. wanting room for their children to grow, these parents built their own center near
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seongmisan. >> translator: it's very rare to find green spaces anywhere in seoul. it's amazing that these kids get to play outside. ♪ >> to enter their children here, parents pay an upfront fee followed by monthly payments of $270. the center even has its own catering staff. meals here are safe for children with allergies or atrophy. great care is taken over ingredients and seasoning. ♪ most parents take turns to clean the center and help care for the children. >> translator: the kids grow here, but so do parents like us. forming relationships with other parents is one of the great things about this place.
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>> like the parents who opened the center 22 years ago, today's parents care for the safety and health of their children. in 2001, the same residents who set up the center decided to build a consumer cooperative food store. it was the second business formed by the seongmisan maeul community. 50 people, mainly young mothers, each invested between $80 and $800. the store's goal was to provide organic food that was safe for young children. ♪ seongmisan maeul began from just 25 families. ♪ one incident in particular forged the community's identity and drew attention to its appeal. in 2001, the city of seoul
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announced a development scheme. it would have transformed the neighborhood and this scenery would have been lost. the plans called for leveling seongmisan hill and building a reservoir. the natural environment was threatened with destruction. local residents and parents protested fiercely based on detailed research into the city's water storage capacity. they insisted that the construction was unnecessary. eventually, the plans were scrapped in 2003. ♪ >> translator: after that battle, we realized that our community needed to voice its concerns. we came together to talk about what kind of future we wanted to build. >> taking action to make dreams
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come true. the experience helped boost confidence and community members began to widen their activities. ♪ the conservation protests helped raise the community's profile. more families flocked to seongmisan maeul each year. she has been part of the community for 11 years. she and her husband have three children.
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her husband works at a major credit card firm. his annual salary is around $100,000. both parents graduated from top universities. these days, tim is focused on looking after the children. when the family moved to the area in 2005, kim was combining childcare with a full-time job at an internet company. the main factor in their decision to relocate was the childcare center. >> translator: i had my first child in 2002. three years before we moved here. i wanted to keep working so i left my baby with a regular daycare provider. when i went to pick him up one day, he was being fed instant noodles instead of baby food. he'd always had allergies and was constantly scratching at his neck and other places. there's a strong link between
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atrophy and diet, so ultimately i felt i couldn't leave him at daycare anymore. it was around them that we heard about seongmisan maeul's cooperative childcare center where parents are involved in management. that's why we decided to move here. >> the son kim was so concerned about is now 13 and in junior high school. his two sisters also went to the childcare center as their mother continued to work. >> translator: quite a lot of my colleagues are interested in seongmisan maeul. a lot of female colleagues in their 30s ask me about it. some people are thinking of marriage while others already have children and are thinking about childcare. this community is a good model for them to consider.
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seongmisan maeul is a valuable point of reference. >> the biggest issue for seongmisan maeul members is always how to raise their kids. some members had concerns about many schools' single-minded focus on entrance examinations. in 2004, they set up their own educational facility. today it has 122 school-aged students. parents pay an initial $9,000 followed by monthly payments of $550. the curriculum is decided by parents and staff. it features a mix of such typical subjects as english and math with more unusual classes. since the school is not government accredited, students must take a separate academic test before university entrance exams.
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here is a junior high class. the group is preparing a presentation for their younger schoolmates. the topic is an important one. energy and the natural environment. two members of the class will make the presentation. their classmates play the role of the younger children who will be the audience for the presentation. >> translator: we are going to present a renewable energy to third, fourth, and fifth grade students. we practiced using powerpoint.
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it's fun. like, playing. >> she teaches junior high. in 2004, she came to seongmisan maeul so her third grade son could attend this school. she has a painful memory that she cannot forget. >> translator: when i went to my son's former school to tell them that we were leaving, i told his classmates he's going to a different school, and right after that, one kid said, who are we going to beat up now? i was shocked. and when i went home, i spoke to my son. this is what i heard at your school. what's going on? that's when i found out that he was getting bullied by the other kids. i had no idea he was going through any of this. i promised i would pay more attention to him from then on.
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>> at the time, cho was an illustrator and visited the school regularly to check up on her son. she soon began helping out and eventually the principal asked if she'd like to become a teacher. >> translator: the guiding principle of our school is independence and cooperation. nobody can stand entirely alone. we've become independent through building relationships and by working with others. cooperation is an integral part of independence. we have a school project called granny's lunch. the kids cook meals and deliver them to older people who live alone.
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in other schools, this would be seen as community service, but we don't see it that way. it's part of what it means to live as members of this community. >> the next morning, the two junior high students make their presentation. they'll speak to 13 children aged between 9 and 11. they practice up until the last minute to get it right. they were greeted with applause, but they've become so focused on reading that they don't look at their audience.
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it's hard to know how much the children are understanding. >> the younger children's teacher asks a question on their behalf. the speakers struggle for an answer. >> translator: i think the children have concerns about their future, but they have their friends and me here. they can talk to people as much
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as they need and also tackle new challenges. i'm a teacher. i want to make the best possible use of the time i have with the children. so i want to talk openly about how we feel. >> moving beyond supporting children, some cooperative initiatives now focus on grown-up pastimes. this theater was built in 2009. members have formed theater companies, choirs, and rock bands with all groups sharing the space. it even has professional lighting and sound rigs. ♪ some members built their own apartment block. from buying the land, to designing the exterior and interiors, the entire block was built through cooperation.
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its six floors house around nine families and four offices. talks are under way to build a new type of residence. an apartment complex for senior citizens. today, there's a discussion on buying land. the first step of the process. about 20 couples exchange ideas about the steps involved in paying the deposit.
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>> diverse careers, incomes, and family circumstances, it's not surprising that these discussions are far from easy. members say they don't know when the complex for older residents
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will be complete. seongmisan maeul is built on the concept of strong neighborhood relations, but the methods used don't suit everyone. some cooperative ventures have fallen by the wayside, while some residents have chosen to leave the community.
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>> translator: when i was a student or out in public, if there was someone it todidn't w to spend time with, i could just ignore them, just turn away. but if you do that here, you wouldn't be able to achieve anything. you're forced to work with others. instead of turning away, you thrash things out. no matter who you're talking to. you do your best to share your views. that's the best and fastest way to communicate here. ♪ >> this restaurant was built through seongmisan pz maeul members' joint investments. just for today they're serving a special menu to raise the restaurant's profile and attract new customers.
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the special meal is a beef stew made by a junior high student at seongmisan school who wants to be a chef. it of t it costs just $2 more than a regular lunch. for this 14-year-old, it's a chance for him to achieve something he really wants. the seongmisan maeul philosophy extends to residents of all ages. the event was sponsored by 24-year-old park min su who grow up here and was one of the first to attend the childcare center. along with a childhood friend and their teacher at seongmisan school, park has recently set up an online store to sell various seon fwr se seongmisan maeul products.
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park's team made cards to promote the new online store, promote the restaurant and support the dreams of a young chef. killing three birds with one stone. >> translator: people here make some truly amazing things. i wanted a job that would promote those items, so i chose this. some have told me that i won't make money doing what they see as volunteer work, but i want to build this into a sustainable business model. i want to make it clear that it's possible to help others in this way. >> today, the restaurant attracts 110 customers. half of them newcomers. sales are 2.5 times higher than usual. on this day, kim and other
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seongmisan maeul members visit an apartment complex to welcome a friend who's moving in. they have a welcome gift of toilet paper, believed in korea to bring a peaceful life to households. the new family chose to move to the area for its strong community relationships. even before they unpack, they prepared dozens of bean cakes, a traditional gift in south korea from newcomers to neighbors. her daughter helps.
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the best way to get used to local life is to meet as many people as possible. mother and daughter visit their neighbors as well as the stores and facilities they'll be using in the coming months. a welcome party. up on the shared roof space, the newon comers are quickly settli in to the community. ♪ >> translator: we're in seoul, but it feels like a rural community with all ages and genders. i think that's the real attraction of seongmisan maeul.
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>> translator: who knows what the future may hold, but for now i want to live here surrounded by friends. i want to find the right way to grow older alongside them. for the time being, i feel at home here. >> kids from our children's home head out to climb seongmisan. a community run by its members, for its members. 22 years after its creation, the spirit of seongmisan maeul lives on in a new generation.
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hello there, welcome to nhk "newsline." it is thursday october 13th, 9:00 a.m. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. a ceremony has been held on the indonesian island of bali to remember the victims of the 2002 bali bombings. 14 years ago, militants detonated bombs in a busy district the e resort island. 202 people were killed. many of them foreign tourists. about 200 people attended the service on wednesday. they observed a moment of silence at the site of the bombings. the current governor of bali state was the lead police investigator into the attacks. he expressed

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