Sunday, July 04, 2010

SK Solidarity Trip: Footnotes

Below are some random photos and slices of life from my recent trip to South Korea:

As if a sign of fate, my hotel in Seoul was just a block away from the South Korean consulate from Swaziland. For those who don't know I spent almost two years living there as a child.

At a conference celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the agreement made by both governments of North and South Korea to pursue a path towards their reunification, there were apparently some very famous people there. As you can see from the sea of cameramen on stage shooting a row of VIPs. Although I was sitting in the front row, only one guy took a picture of me. He might of thought I was a Korean soap star.

A university student, stands alone amongst a flow of constant traffic. I was told that his sign is protesting the involvement of the South Korean military in the war in Afghanistan.

This is an ad for a cemetary (Pine'lo-ku). Mampos ambivalent yu' nu este. I first took a picture of it because it looked like a cute little black haired Sumahi. But then I looked more closely at it and saw the tombstones in the background. Actually that was what cemented in my mind that this was exactly like Sumahi.

Ti siguru yu' hafa mabebende gi halom este na tenda, lao siempre gof ya-hu.

One of the many businesses around Osan Air Force Base which was named or advertised in such a way to cater to American military personnel.

One of the many tourist slogans for Jeju Island made me feel both welcome and maguaiya, and also surprisingly awkward. I wonder how I would feel if they said that they "liked having me here."

A message of solidarity to the people of Gangjeong Village from the people of Mongolia.

This was one of the many times in South Korea that I wished I could read or understand Korean. I would really like to know what message of support Jake Sully (presumably from the film Avatar), was giving to the villagers of Gangjeong.

When I saw this rock, I was very tempted to ask if the warriors of Zu lived there.

It took me three days to finally find an image of Rain. For those three days I wasn't sure if he just wasn't popular anymore, or if I wasn't looking hard enough.

I can never drink Pocari Sweat without thinking about the first volume of MPD Psycho.

Seoul was full of old men (and a few young men) on mopeds riding around carrying large loads of something wrapped in plastic and lashed to the back of their bike in almost Dr. Seuss like fashion. This papet etgue' na bihu was very sweet, but the old man with the caravan of enslaved large white teddy bears was sweeter. Sadly I didn't get a better picture of his wares.

I hate subways in every country.

I did not obey this sign.

I eventually found a bookstore with English language books. I was most excited, after not buying any social/political theoretical or philosophical books for more than a year, to see the store's small collection.

That same store had 13 Noam Chomsky books. It was a critical balance to the store's massive Thomas Friedman section.

For those of you who care, when I arrived at the airport to leave South Korea I counted my 20th Dunkin Donuts. At the start of my trip I made a commitment to counting each and every one I could find and if I reached twenty then I would start some research project on it. According to the very rigid rules that I make up for myself I am not bound to this project, so look forward to seeing some expose on neocolonialism and donuts on this blog!!!!

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