Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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As the eight-seater Cessna airplane lightly landed on the runway, everyone seemed to go for another ride. Ironically, they were the people who refused to get on board at Zeynep Farm several hours ago. It seemed that they got over the fear of flying on a light airplane.
They were lost for words in amazement ever since they could see the edge of the land after pa.s.sing the Caspian Sea. Not a lot of people would have seen a vast field without a single hill from the sky in their entire life. Even Youngho exclaimed every time he saw it, and it was definitely something for the people who saw it for the first time.
They could not believe that there was a city built in a desolate place.
"Whoa! This is Arirang Farm that is registered as the only autonomous state in Kazakhstan. You are incredible for making a paradise in this deserted place, Mr. Lee."
"I've only worked on the foundation that Koryoins had built with their blood and sweat. The people who are truly incredible are the Koryoins who settled down here when there was nothing for them."
As Youngho spoke about Koryoins, the group got quiet.
"What a loss of our country. We haven't been able to take care of our people because we were not strong enough. I hope the government actively begins to compensate Koryoins for their struggles."
Director, I made a cliché political comment.
Anyone could say something like that, but Youngho had never seen people really doing something to help Koryoins.
"I think the Korean government had made some efforts but most of their resolutions are only temporary help, and they don't have much power. What they really want is to be identified as Koreans."
Koryoins saw North and South Korea as the same country. They did not feel comfortable choosing North over South, or South over the North since they did not want to abandon any side of Korea. Most of the Koryoins were stateless, even now.
To Youngho, it did not make sense that people without a country could exist. He thought that the descendants of the Serbian Kingdom in Baku were the only ones who did not have a country. He was surprised to hear that most Koryoins were like them too. After the Soviet Union fell, many Koryoins were lost as many republics declared independence.
When Youngho told the Koryoin's current status, S Corporation's staff felt sorry as if they were to blame for the Koryoins. It was because they knew that Youngho had been helping Koryoins with his own money. The Arirang Foundation, which is a welfare foundation established by Youngho, was well-known in Baku and Atyrau since there were many social organizations which the foundation was supporting.
"We are ashamed. We've been only focusing on ourselves when we exist because of the people who fought for our country's freedom. Mr. Lee, you are doing a job that the Korean government had not been able to do."
Many Korean corporations only wanted to use Koryoins when they tried to make their forays in the Central Asian regions. If Youngho had not lived here, he would not have known about their lives and past. He would have only taken advantage of them as a businessman, just like other corporations.
"I've come to know about them just a little bit because I've been working with them as I do my businesses here. I was able to establish my business here easily because of the Koryoins' reputation in the Kazakh society. I should repay them for that."
"We'd like to help the social welfare work that you are involved in, Mr. Lee. We are only a corporation that seeks our own profit so we wouldn't be able to give you a lot of money, but it'd be better than nothing."
"I'm glad to hear you say that. I appreciate your words. "
"No, now that we learned about them, we'd like to help them. We've only planned to take advantage of them for our business, but we never thought to get to know them before."
As Director Im admitted his company's fault, Youngho had nothing to say. It was hopeful to see that there was someone in a corporate body, who still had a great ethical and compa.s.sionate heart.
"This is a little bit bigger than Seoul. We barely developed one-fifths of the land yet. The annual precipitation is so little and we've been busy blocking the severe continental winds."
"Even the area of one-fifth of the total land is so huge that I can't imagine how big the state is."
The view of the growing wheat in the field moving by the wind was astounding. Im Min-s.h.i.+k told his staff to take good pictures of the state. He could not help showing excitement when Youngho introduced the field of Bentonite clay. He knew well that the bio industry was a prospective business field.
"Director Im. Kazakhstan has plenty of mineral resources like this. If you want to make an investment, I'll introduce you to a government official who's in charge of that category."
"Can't we invest in the Arirang Autonomous State?"
Director Im wanted to make an easy investment on the state since he did not want to invest in somewhere that was in the development process, but Youngho wanted to refuse that.
The autonomous state already was equipped with infrastructure, and he did not need any investment before he could make profits at all. He would not want to share the profits with S Corporation.
"The autonomous state is under a strict restriction by the government, so it's hard to accept foreign investments. But, you'd be able to find other places to invest if you are willing to."
Youngho did not want to be interrupted by S Corporation by receiving some investment. Giving him a few examples, Youngho suggested a direct investment, instead of indirect investment.
"Okay, then. Could you introduce me to a high official of Kazakhstan?"
"That, I can do it as many times as possible. The government will welcome Korean S Corporation. I'll get back to you on this."
"Oh, thank you. I heard that you have a connection to the president as well. Please put in some good words for us."
Youngho could contact the president directly, but he wanted to help out Koroyins this time. If Koryoin officials could get credited for introducing a foreign investment to the government, their status in the government would be more established.
"There are many Koryoin officials who work for the government. They'll be a great help if we could get ahold of them. You know, they'd want to get credit for this."
Most of the officials in Kazakhstan still were used to the perspective of the socialist system, but Koryoin officials were different. Because they were the minority, they wanted to help out other minorities succeed in the country. It was because minorities helped each other in order to survive in the Kazakh society.
Director Im Min-s.h.i.+k could tell that Arirang Autonomous State was not a regular autonomous state. It was because he saw the Countryside Force soldiers walking by here and there.
"Mr. Lee. This is not just a common autonomous state."
"What autonomous state in the world has a military force?"
"Oh, that's nothing. We are just doing Maritime Police's job for the Kazakh Navy."
"Are you by any chance trying to make this place an independent republic?"
Youngho's heart sank at his remark. He had been only hoping that in his dreams.
"That's something I can't even dream about. I want to live along with Kazakhstan but I've never wanted to make an independent country. We just have small armed forces for our protection because this world can get rowdy."
"I'm jealous of you."
Im Min-s.h.i.+k stopped talking at that point.
He did not say what he was jealous of, but Youngho could guess that any man would have dreamed of having his own land and people. Having seen a vast state equipped with great infrastructure such as hospital facilities, education facilities, factories, and not to mention, its own armed force, he was utterly amazed. This was something that he would not ask for more in his wildest dreams.
The two young followers of Youngho now became the resident employees in the autonomous state in Kazakhstan.
"You should be working in Korea now but you're living in Kazakhstan because of me."
It was what Youngho intended but he felt a bit sorry to them.
"Any employees in the headquarters dream about working in foreign branches, Mr. CEO."
"That's when you get to work in Europe or North America. I bet people will want to stay in Korea if they're asked to work in Kazakhstan."
Young people would never want to work in a developing country where there was not much to see. When other employees would be sent to advanced countries, they would have to spend quite a while in Kazakhstan. They would be at a different start line compared to others. Youngho would be helping them learn but he still felt sorry.
"That's not a problem. We think it's an honor to work close to someone great as you, Mr. CEO."
"This place will not be easy to get satisfactory results. This place reminds me of Korea in the 80's"
"But don't worry. I will help you guys. This will be a great experience in your life."
"Thank you, sir. We'll try our best."
They were highly motivated to work at the new place.
Since Youngho was willing to help S Corporation making its foray into Kazakhstan, he did not reject them from staying in the autonomous state. If there was any corporation that wanted to make investments in Kazakhstan, Youngho wanted to help them, regardless of their nationality since Kazakhstan's development would be beneficial to the development of the autonomous state.
Youngho gave them an office on the second floor of the administration building of the autonomous state and also a.s.signed them a residential house. The two followers and Kim Sung-ho; who was recently promoted to a deputy department head, were the only staff left in the autonomous state as S Corporation's foreign branch members.
They could have opened their branch office in the city of Atyrau, Astana, or Almaty, but the intention for staying in the autonomous state was to take advantage of Youngho's existence.
Kim Sung-ho—the deputy department head of S Corporation, visited Youngho's office.
"Mr. Lee. We need a vehicle to move around the country. If you have an extra vehicle, could we rent it from you?"
Youngho could lend him any vehicle, but he wondered where Kim Sung-ho planned to go.
"You are going to travel around Kazakhstan?"
"Is there a law that states that a foreigner could not drive here?"
"Do you know how to use guns?"
He was not sure why Youngho was asking him that question when he just came to rent a car.
"You're a Korean guy. You must've served in the military and learned how to use guns."
"I don't understand why you're talking about guns."
"As soon as you pa.s.s the stone walls of the autonomous state, you'll be facing all sorts of danger. If you can't protect yourself, then you'd not be able to survive in this place."
Youngho exaggerated the truth a tiny bit to scare him.
It was because Youngho would be troubled when something happened to Kim Sung-ho when he left the state without considering the nature of the danger in Kazakhstan.
"I thought the stone walls here were built to block the winds. Were there other reasons for them as well?"
"Those strong walls were built to block winds and protect the city from wild animals."
Kim Sung-ho sighed at Youngho's remark.
He had not expected this coming.
He thought for a while and suggested one thing to Youngho.
"I have forgotten how to use guns because it's been a while since I was discharged from the military. Could you please let us train with other soldiers? If we're going to have to live here for the next few years anyway, we'd better get used to living here quickly."
Youngho was impressed by his determination. Kim Sung-ho was ready to live in Kazakhstan for several years and was not discouraged by the danger.