I was in downtown Seoul (near Gwanghwamun Gate) with my wife, and I spotted this picket sign, apparently left over from a demonstration that most likely took place the previous night. The long yellow thing on the left is basically just a long plastic bag filled with air. Usually you have two, and you bang them together to make noise at sporting events and such—and apparently at demonstrations as well.
The sign itself says: “Government of the Republic of Korea, guarantee the living space of the citizens of Dongducheon Stream!” What I translated as “living space” (saengjongwon) literally means “survival area,” i.e., an area in which one may survive. A more natural term would be saenghwalgwon (which basically means “living space”), but this sign was for a demonstration, and the rules state that you must use the most extreme language possible.
So why did I take this shot? I just thought it was interesting, seeing the sign lying there calmly against the bush, like a worn-out reveler the morning after a big party.
(27 August 2004)