|From Daegu Life|
So I’m expanding my “Updates” section (initially just a paragraph) in this blog. Many small events and journal observations ranging from important to weird and funny, graze by on an ongoing basis. They make terrific one-offs and I realize they should be documented so that you get a better view of what I’m seeing or experiencing in Korea on a more casual basis.
Anyways, continuing on-
I read Kimchi w/ Eish’s blog the other day… I wish I could just cut & paste Christo‘s post into mine. He mentions some what I’m going to say but probably better and with a fun South African accent…
Election day in Korea is a public holiday, but it’s not an EPIK holiday
Election day is officially a public holiday, which means I get this day off!
There’s been some controversy in the recent past about the difference between national holidays vs. school ones because according to our EPIK we don’t get school holidays off. This notice told to us just days before our first school holiday (between Children’s Day & Teacher’s Day) and after many of us had made plans for out-of-town travel. The co-teachers and schools didn’t know about this stipulation either; they felt embarrassed having confirmed this our holiday too and then retracting it. But the misdeed lay with EPIK on this one.
As for myself, I booked KTX tickets to go to Seoul to meet up with my family. So I had to use one of my vacation days for this. My school holiday was written up as a paid vacation day , which means I now have 7 days left to go in precious vacation days.
Korean elections: banners, loud speakers and dancing ladies in white gloves
This election campaign process in Korea has been interesting- I wish I had energy to document it better.
The election formula: politicians, Hyundai trucks and dancing ladies!
By dancing ladies, I don’t mean the Las Vegas sort. The ladies are fully clothed middle-aged women in large t-shirts wearing white gloves and sun visors swishing their hands back and forth.
I was in Bandwoldang (the city center’s main entertainment spot) after the EPIK Farm Tour this past weekend. One politician had 2 long-ass rows of women dancing to a song- basically, a standing parade (you’ll see what I mean in that quick video I snapped).
Election time and politician solicitations. Politicians stand in these moving trucks and speak. Some have dancing ladies in them, etc.
Will South Korea go to war with North Korea?
My neighborhood experiences election time similarly, just in reduced in the scale of dancing ladies. Right now, a loud-speaker from one of those political trucks is passing by, blaring music, political gibberish… and dancing ladies! Voting takes place today and the ballot is much like the U.S. (city government, region and district).
About a week ago I received some emails from friends concerned over the political status that’s been shaping here. Is SK nearing war? How bad is it? And hopefully I’m not close to the action…
1. Depends on what you quantify as close– I’m not living in Seoul but I am in South Korea (which is small and attached to North Korea) and there is a military base in my city of Daegu;
2. I’m registered with the U.S. Government’s Travel Registration. As far as warnings for travelers/expats in South Korea, the alarm in respect to Thailand is very low and not even advisory. With all the travel warnings cluttering my Inbox over recent protests and burnings in Thailand, I haven’t heard a peep of news about South Korea (and I did update my status from 2009 “tourist of Thailand” l to a year-long resident of SK)
How are South Koreans taking the war tensions with North Korea?
South Korean locals seem to treat the events as if it’s another Yellow Dust day. The ones I’ve spoken to in my school seem pretty ambivalent and ironically, the only name to receive a bit of angry irritation as “He’s an evil person” is Lee Myung Bak (not North Korea’s Kim Il Sung & Kim Jong Il). How do you like that? It seems some SK’s are very wary of their own president and his antagonizing of the situation. SKs don’t want war and what makes SK’s more so suspicious is the clear change of story after a length of time.. Apparently, the SK ship that was sunk a month ago (covered by the media as an internal explosion on the ship) is now fingered as a missile executed from the North. Internal to external explosion source? A month to discover, etc…? The curious and suspicious buzz spurs on from there.
– What foreigners should do in the case of war?
There’s only one thing to do at the moment but register with our government and know where our nearby embassies are located. Perhaps it’s time to start reading CNNonline or some of the Korean-English newspapers ( The Korean Herald, The Chosun Ilbo, The Korea Times)
– How am I taking it this war thing?
Probably as ambivalently as the SK’s and how I took the L.A. Watts riots, L.A. earthquake and 9-11... My life, daily survival and adjustment in my new country is my priority. It does me no good to survive a war if I can’t first survive my own daily life!