OWL Magazine Korea

Kim Kwan-young: ‘Are You Delighted to Meet Me?’

Kim Kwan-young, who is currently serving as the governor of Jeollabuk-do as I write this, is also a senior from my university days.

I first met Kim Kwan-young during the fall semester of 2011 at Sungkyunkwan University during the festival. At that time, the university invited several notable figures to give lectures. The author of the once-popular book “Because It’s Painful, It’s Youth,”. Professor Kim Nando, and the director of professional baseball, Kim Sung-geun, were among the invited speakers. However, I couldn’t attend their lectures due to my class schedule.

Fortunately, I had the chance to attend Kim Kwan-young’s lecture. Back then, he wasn’t as well-known to me compared to Professor Kim Nando or Director Kim Sung-geun, but among those who knew him, he was already a legendary figure, having achieved the title of “Triple Crown” in civil service exams.

“Kim Kwan-young’s Lecture”

To be honest, I initially didn’t plan to attend the lecture due to fatigue after classes. However, a friend who was both my senior and junior and was about to start working at the Kim & Chang Law Firm after graduation persuaded me to go with him.

Thanks to him, I ended up attending the lecture and, fortunately, had the chance to hear Kim Kwan-young speak. Although he was less familiar to me compared to Professor Kim Nando or Director Kim Sung-geun, I discovered more about him and his life through the lecture. After the lecture, I received a copy of a book personally written by Kim Kwan-young. Reading the book, I realized that the contents matched what he had spoken about during the lecture.

After listening to the lecture and revisiting the book, it felt like the contents of the lecture were coming alive again in my mind.

“Triple Crown Holder in Civil Service Exams, Kim Kwan-young”

The book unfolds chronologically, starting from his childhood in Gunsan, revealing aspects of his life such as the attitude of his parents and what he learned and grew from. Kim Kwan-young’s parents, who raised all six siblings into remarkable individuals, are also portrayed as remarkable figures. While reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about my own parents and whether they lived with such dedication. At times, my eyes even became teary.

Naturally, the narrative progresses to his high school graduation, enrollment at Sungkyunkwan University, and the story of preparing for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, where he became the youngest CPA at the age of 18. The detailed account of his study methods for the exam is quite impressive.

Especially noteworthy is that he mentions the names of the people he interacted with throughout the narrative. Despite being memories from a long time ago, the vividness with which he recalls and writes about them is quite remarkable.

“Civil Service Exam, and Judicial Exam”

After passing the CPA exam in his freshman year, Kim Kwan-young, while contemplating his next steps during university life, shares the story of preparing for and passing the civil service exam. Similarly, after passing the judicial exam following his time at the Judicial Research and Training Institute, he discusses the thought process behind deciding to join “Kim & Chang Law Firm.” The decision to join the law firm, even during a time of deliberation about his future, was influenced by his desire to engage in charity work as a personal goal. He believed that, in the future, having connections with influential people would be beneficial when carrying out charitable projects, similar to organizations like the “Korea Social Welfare Mutual Aid Association.”

The day I met Kim Kwan-young and received the book was October 6, 2011. As of the current writing date, December 29, 2023, it’s unclear how much progress has been made towards those plans. However, looking at the path he has walked so far, it seems likely that he has achieved what he set out to do.

“Corporate Governance and Concerns About Low Birth Rates…”

The subsequent content expresses concerns about the economic structure, which is heavily focused on conglomerates. Additionally, it reflects on the ongoing issue of low birth rates in South Korea. Despite the birth rate being around 1.1 in the 2010s, the current rate has dropped to about 0.6 in 2023, creating even greater concerns for the future.

In an era where children were once considered “labor” and are now only treated as “consumers,” the author fears that the phenomenon of “low birth rates” may become more entrenched. While acknowledging personal responsibility for contributing to the low birth rate, the author finds this issue worrisome and acknowledges the complexity of solving it.

“After a Long Time, Rereading: ‘Are You Delighted to Meet Me?'”

In truth, after reading the book once in 2011, I hadn’t revisited it until now. Kim Kwan-young had become somewhat forgotten to me over time.

Recently, I encountered his name again during the “Jamvery” event held in Saemangeum earlier this year. Although he had been serving as the governor of Jeollabuk-do, it was unfortunate to see him in the news due to the controversial Jamvery situation.

While reminiscing about the memories of meeting Kim Kwan-young and rereading the book, I decided to take the time to write this review.

“Are You Delighted to Meet Me?”

  • Author: Kim Kwan-young
  • Publication Date: August 31, 2011
  • ISBN: 9788994342023