Saturday, May 5, 2012


A few weeks ago elections for each district (the same as counties) were held.  We started seeing people in sashes walking around promoting their candidate.  Each candidate is assigned a number (1-6) so that it's easier for people to choose the candidate on the ballot.  Also, cheering "1" over and over is way easier than "Park Ji Hyun."  In the US I guess the "6" candidate would have to think of something else as chanting "6, 6, 6!" would catch some flack from the religious right.

The people holding the yellow signs are waiting at the opposite side of the crosswalk.  Once you're allowed to cross, the whole row would simultaneously bow to you, and then you had to find your way around them.  The sign gives the county (Seongseo-gu) and the candidate's name (Chung Sin Sul).

The coolest part of this campaigning was that they had dancing middle aged ladies being carted around in the back of trucks, blasting a loud speaker with the candidate's (theme?) song.  Within 2 weeks of the elections the streets were littered with these things.

Each candidate had an impressive amount of volunteers, ready to dance and cheer for hours on end for their candidate.


Outside of our school there's a very popular outdoor market that shows up every Monday.  Because of the  massive foot traffic, each candidate wheeled their trucks and volunteers to the entrance of the market and queued up there to get some exposure.  It wasn't very organized.  Often there were two trucks playing their songs simultaneously, right next to each other.  Their attempt to drown out the other candidate made for some serious noise pollution.  This carried on until the sun went down.

I guess the strangest part of all of this was this one truck that had people dressed up as animals.  It's very probable that these characters relate to some Korean traditional story, or that the animals represent things like virtue or power.  However, if this were the case it was all lost on me.  All I saw was a few 
creepy adults dressed in costumes.

P.S.  The next president of Korea will most likely be a woman.

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