Abu Kowsir fixes the flag along a bridge from his home to a neighbouring village. AFP
“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” Thus spake Socrates the Greek philosopher ages ago. Bangladeshi national Abu Kowsir could well fit into that mould. He beavered away in South Korean factories for 15 years, but he had no complaints: he was extremely impressed by the nation’s culture and discipline. His tribute: making a giant banner by stitching together South Korean flags that stretched for 2.2 miles and cost a tidy sum of $5,000.
It extended from his home, through nearby streets, over a river and into a neighbouring village.
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But he does not mind. This is his way of showing his love for the country.
Whenever he returned on holiday to his home country, he would narrate goodwill tales about the people of South Korea to his wife, Sabina. She loved listening to those stories, saying the nation would be her dream place to visit.
Sabina, wife of Abu Kowsir, makes preparations to help her husband set up the flag. AFP
In South Korea, Kowsir would scrape components out of used handsets and other consumer material, melting gold and preparing it for resale.
The long spell he spent in South Korea put him in good financial health: he started his own business when he returned to Bangladesh, according to Agence France-Presse.
He was first hooked on South Korea when he watched the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by that country and Japan. The footy skills of star midfielder Yoon Jong-hwan fascinated him no end.
Kowsir sold a mango orchard he inherited from his father to partly finance the huge banner. Neighbours, dismissive of wasting such a huge amount, called them crazy.
Abu Kowsir readies to put up the giant banner. AFP
But Kowsir was undeterred. He and his wife, helped by tailors, took two weeks to sew the flag, whose unfurling went viral on social media. His place Bancharampur became become a tourist attraction, drawing thousands to view his symbol of love.
Truly, love knows no boundaries. Bangladeshi Kowsir has become a brand ambassador of sorts for South Korea – and its football team.
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