16 September 2008

Quick Seoul observations

Three things I noticed, as I made a round in downtown to prepare for my meditation:
  • Working- and middle-class residents continue to protest the continuing gentrification of the city, as the city and the corporate developers continue to condemn perfectly good apartments and housing projects in order to build luxury apartments in their place.
  • Seoul Metro, one of the two operators of the city's subway system and a city-owned company, is trying to outsource much of its operation to private contractors, and its labor union is putting up a huge fight. In fact, a vote is being taken today on a possible strike - usually the only way for Korean labor unions to get any attention in the corporate media.
  • Opposition to "mad cow disease-tainted" American beef continues, based on banners hung near Seoul's main train station. While fears of mad cow disease is little more than hysteria, the opposition to American beef carries weight, due to the Lee Myung-bak regime's bending over backwards to any and all US Republican demands (as well as helping them politically in the US, through the Unification Church).