Olympic pride for Warwick restaurateurs
MINHWA Jeon's heart soared with pride as she watched the world's top athletes march into the Olympic stadium in Pyeongchang, just one hour's drive from her hometown in South Korea.
Mrs Jeon said hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics was a great achievement for South Korea, but it was already bringing business to her little restaurant in downtown Warwick as well.
"The day after the opening ceremony I had a customer come in and say 'congratulations' on the beautiful ceremony,” Mrs Jeon said.
"People will watch the Olympics and be interested in trying Korean food and learning more about Korean culture and way of life.”
Mrs Jeon has been giving Warwick a taste of Korean cuisine since she and Youngjin Park opened Soban House on Palmerin St.
While her roots are firmly in the Southern Downs, Mrs Jeon couldn't help feeling a little homesick as she watched sports fans converge on South Korea in winter.
"All the mountains and trees have snow, and it reminded me of being a child when we used to make snowmen and have snow fights,” she said.
Mrs Jeon said she was pleased to see North Korea and South Korea marching together in the opening ceremony, symbolising a renewed harmony between the two neighbouring countries that have experienced a history of political tension.
"It is a sign of how progressive Korea is becoming now, with the government we have at the moment,” Mrs Jeon said. "In the past there has been fear of war and hostility between the two countries, but this means there is peace.”
Korean-born Stanthorpe residents Leo Kang and Gem An also said the games were a great occasion for South Korea.
"It will help introduce our country to other people around the world,” Mr Kang said.
Mrs Jeon said her favourite event was the short track speed skating, where Korea has already done her proud, winning a gold medal in the women's singles on Saturday.