Rock the Vote!

Well, it’s Wednesday, June 2nd in Korea, and you all know what that means. Civil Election Day! That’s right. I’ve commented and posted a couple pictures of the groups of people campaigning for the local candidates for mayor, and from what I hear and read it’s pretty routine. Apparently because voter turn out for civil elections is so low, they will use campaigns as a way to attract attention more than educate the public about the candidate’s platform. Each candidate is given a specific number to be even easier to remember. Anyway, the up shot is that there’s no school today, though I’m not really sure why, since it’s not like kids can vote.

Last time, I promised a little commentary on the recent developments in North-South relations. I’ve commented several times before on the sinking of the Cheonan warship on March 26th. In the past couple weeks, South Korean, as well as independent committees from many other countries have stated that all the evidence points to North Korea as the source of the torpedo that sank the ship. North Korea has adamantly defended its innocence, but not in particularly convincing fashion. South Korea has suspended nearly all trade and humanitarian aid to their much more impoverished neighbors (even withholding a free TV feed to the World Cup, significant as North Korea is in the World Cup since 1958).

This has raised tensions incredibly. South Korea is thinking of resuming propaganda campaigns near the DMZ. North Korea is making vague, morbid comments about military action. Yet, despite all of this, no one in Korea seems particularly concerned. Of course, none of them want a war to happen, but they say that every couple years something will happen like this. True, it’s the deadliest conflict between the two countries since 1953 (little known fact, the Korean War has still not officially ended), but they just don’t think a war will happen.  So, fear not for me. I’m sure all will be well in Korea for the foreseeable future.

In other news, after playing admirably through the bulk of the season, Cheonan City FC has slipped to 5th place in the league and missed out on the playoffs. They played quite well for several weeks, but in the last three games they came up short, losing 1-0 to Daejon, drawing miserably with Mokpo 0-0, and most recently a 2-0 loss to Suwon. Such is the heartbreak of soccer.

My own life is rather routine right now. Just teaching, biking, learning Korean, playing lots of pool, and traveling to Bucheon on weekends. This weekend, Dave and I will be back in Bucheon on the way to Seoul to check out some Russian restaurant, then go back to Hyundae for the bars there. I hope this trip to Seoul is better than my last couple, since it seems like every time I go it turns into a disaster.

Also, I’ve offered services at a website called WorknPlay, which is a social networking and job searching resource for foreigners in Korea. I guess they’re getting a magazine started. I won’t get paid, but I can get free tickets to events in exchange for a short article on them, and it’d be cool to see something I wrote published.  First up is a bar/restaurant review. I can’t decide if I want to write it on the RnB or wait until I go to the Russian place. I may do both.

Teaching has been all right. We’ve finished the required 20 days on the stories, so Thursday we’ll be starting new material. Two two students I’ve mentioned being pretty disrespectful have improved, and one has actually become pretty pleasant to have in class. Also, since I just finished the stories, I gave 5,000 won to the child in each class that had the most points. If nothing else, kids love money. I was actually a little nervous that it may seem inappropriate, but Diane didn’t seem to think anything of it, other than it was very nice of me, so I’m not too worried about parents finding out and thinking something ill of me.

I mentioned that I’ve been playing lots of pool. The past three or four weekends, I’ve been going to the Banana Bar once or twice a week and just playing pool over and over. For awhile by myself while the bar is slow, and then against other people when it picks up. I’m nothing special, but I’m definitely much better than when I started, and I’ve begun legitimately beating people, even though they’re usually of better quality than me. I can make some tough shots, but I still occasionally completely miss easy shots. Pool can be a very frustrating game. The premise seems so simple, but the execution is a lot harder than you’d imagine.

Anyway, later today I’m headed to Songtan with Dave. There’s an army base there, so it’s got a decent amount of westernized shit. We won’t be staying to drink, I don’t think, but maybe just checking it out and doing some shopping. Still, I want to start writing a little bit for the WorknPlay stuff, so I’ll end this here. Pretty soon I’ll be posting another blog with even more Korean oddities.

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