For me, Greeks are a unique people, and our culture is quite distinct from any other I've experienced in my extensive travels. You see, we are perched on the edge of the European continent. We are certainly European - there's no mistaking that - but being in such close proximity to both Africa and the Middle East has given us a unique perspective. Maybe we've been influenced to some degree by both those regions and that is part of what has given us our unique identity. Then, of course, there's also our history. I am no different to any other Greek; immensely proud of my people's achievements. The Ancient Greeks after all gave a lot to the rest of the world — think democracy, philosophy and so on. And history is everywhere you go here, too; it's alive. I mean, there are ancient ruins, thousands of years old, all around you. It's really quite inspiring. There are reminders of the achievements of my forefathers everywhere. It's just a shame the present isn't quite as glorious as the past.
What I admire about my people is their diversity. I suppose that stems from our past. Britain, after all, once colonised nearly half the world, so it's not surprising. And it's not just the fact that all sorts of different people live here, it's also because they manage to live in harmony — well, most of the time. No matter whether you are a Briton of one generation or ten, so long as you consider yourself British everyone else will. I'm also quite proud of the monarchy_. So many countries have abandoned the monarchical system, and I think that's sad. We are one of the last in Europe. I hope we never go down the route of getting rid of the queen. The one thing I'm skeptical of is Europe. I am afraid that the more involved we become in the European Union, the less distinct we are as a nation. I for one was very happy we didn't join the Euro.
Korea has one of the richest and longest histories of all the nations in the world. Very few people are aware of that because, traditionally, Korea has kept itself isolated. We used to be known as 'the Hermit Kingdom', but that is all changing now. What I am most proud of is how far we have come in such a short space of time. In the half a century or so South Korea has existed as an independent state, it has turned itself from one of the poorest nations in the world into one of the biggest and fastest- growing economies. We're no longer an agriculture-based society, now we export high- technology products all over the world. Recently, we hosted a G20 summit. That was a very proud moment for me. It was a sign that my country is now quite influential and can take its place alongside the other great nations. Of course, as we have become wealthier, our lifestyles have changed, too. We really enjoy social drinking these days — some people call us 'the Irish of Asia'! I guess they like their drink, too!