Monday, April 2, 2007

FTA Protests? 어디?

Okay, I should be sleeping. It's almost midnight and I have to go to work tomorrow.

However, I was on my way home from school and I usually transfer at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts at Gwanhwamun here in Seoul. I knew the FTA negotiations were wrapping up but when I checked around lunch there was nothing new.

Now any coverage I've seen about the FTA negotiations have highlighted all the protests. Now that's fine, but the problem is I live near where the negotiations took place. I saw a swarm of police everywhere. I didn't see any rabid protesters. I know they were around town. They just weren't at the Seoul Grand Hyatt.

I did see a protest on the way home. However, by that time an agreement had been worked out. It still needs to be approved by the legislatures of both countries, but it's done.

Anyway, here is the picture of a very small protest at Sejong Center around 9:45pm, April 2nd.

April 6, 2007 - 8:50pm

Just an update a few days later. I was on my way home again on a Friday night at the same bus stop. The FTA protesters are still there, but the group was maybe a quarter of the size it was on Monday evening. However, the fun part was that only in Korea do you have a protest where you'll see three young men performing a choreographed dance routine to pop music.

I have to say living here makes me smile quite a bit.

A week later - nothin', nada, zlich.

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  1. Great picture! I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I really like it! : )

  2. Thanks! Actually, it was taken with my camera phone, so it's kind of blurry. I just wanted to document that, in spite of the reports that make it seem like the streets are full of protestors, it's more like small groups here and there. I didn't even notice it until I was on my way home last week and happened to take the route past the Grand Hyatt to go home. It's spin. Most Koreans went on about their days as they normally due during the negotiations.

  3. Hi Jane, It's good to see you're up and about.
    Looks like a good size turn out. Peaceful, too. I read a bit about US Pharmaceutical companies in regard to the FTA. It's long and dull, needless to say, no wodner most Koreans went on about their days. There were many, many other issues, and I wonder which ones in particular some of the people had in mind that day. It would have been intereting to know.

  4. It was a peaceful protest. I'm registered with the Embassy and they frequently will warn US citizens about scheduled protests because protests used to turn violent much more often. I have friends who recall being here a few years ago, but before my time, when tear gas was used and there were protests all the time. The Embassy doesn't want US citizens caught up in it. This is particularly true if the protest is centered on a US issue.

    I'm up and about in excess. This last semester is my hardest one yet. It's because of my job. If I weren't working, I'd be able to study on weekdays. I really find that hard to do because once I get to work, it's time to teach and then I have an hour break (in which I have to grab a quick lunch.) By the time I've settled in, it's time to get back up and teach. I do hang back after work though and get into some of my own schoolwork.

    I just find the weekends where I don't have to shift roles back and for is best. But with 400 pages of reading, a thesis to research and write and statistics, that's a lot to do on Saturday and Sunday.

    I feel very Korean now ;-) I'm going 7 days a week. So I'm up and about, it's just hard to focus on anything but work and school.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.