Monday 30 July 2012

Conversation with Incheon people

The birth of cicada     

We found some cicadas hanging on a gate, a telephone pole, and barbed wire on the top of the gate. Some of them are about to cast the shells. We can see green bodies of cicadas coming out of their shells. Some cicadas already left behind their empty shells. The cicadas only live for the short period of time during the summer but they have to stay in their shells for 7 years. So people can hear the song of cicadas often during the summer. But their singing is very loud and harsh, it is hard to stand to listen their song. 

We come up with a fiction about this house. it is empty now but a obscure singer used to live there. She always wanted to be a popular singer but she failed and died in that house. So the spirit of her could not leave the earth and then rebirth as cicadas. That is the reason why the cicadas harshly sing a song only short of time like her. 

Escaped Snake

There are three old ladies walk toward us. All of them are curious what we are looking at. "What is it?"  We pointed cicadas and their shells. "They are just cicadas." They lost interest and passed us by. One of them told us "well, this is nothing. If you go to Yulgok park, you can see a lot of cicadas." "Ah, are there many cicadas?" "Of course. The park is full of cicadas. I just move to here a month ago. Yesterday, I passed by the pet shop which sells reptiles on the main street. And suddenly a snake crawled out of the store and came close to me. I screamed out. But no one came out of the store at all. I called police but they said I had to call 911. So I phoned 911 and they came here to catch the snake. The store owner said it was not a snake but a lizard. But it was a snake. I was left in a state of shock and I had to stay in bed. The other old ladies came to my house to cheer me up. On the top of it, the store smells a lot. I complained about the smell, so the store owner put a piece of wood to block the hole, but still stinky.  

Yoonhee boutique

This is a fiction. This boutique was established by a woman, Yoonhee in 1872. This building was burnt during the Russo-Japanese War but it has been rebuilt. However, this building was wiped off by the bomb during the Korean war. Because of the war, the first generation of Yoonhee passed away and then the second generation of Yoonhee took over the boutique. This traditional Korean-style house shows the popular architecture style at that time. General MacArthur who appointed commander of the US army in South korea was invited from the president, Lee-Sungman. So he needed new clothing for go to the reception and tried to find the most famous tailer in Incheon. The picture in which general MacArthur wearing Yoonhee boutique clothing poses with president Lee-Sungman still hung on the wall in the Blue House. The son of second generation of Yoonhee was a gay so it was hard to be accepted in Korean society. Indeed he was adopted into Dutch family. He got married to man and then the couple works as fashion designers. They incorporate a lot of leathers and lubbers in their clothing, and this is why we can see leathers and lubbers on the roof of 'Yoonhee boutique'. The reason why they keep running the boutique in Korea is that they want to promote the state of gay as well as gay culture in Korea. 

One room town

It was a narrow alley. One window is opened and the light is on. Shortly I can see a man who pokes his head out of the window. "What are you doing here?" "We are just taking pictures." "Do you know what this town is?" "No" "This town has a lot of one-room apartments. The building behind you is also a one-room apartment. Though this apartment is not the one. So there are a lot of poor people who have to work as a day laborer. This town is know as the deprived town. The city had plans to redevelop this town long time ago, but they already spent all their money to establish new towns such as Songdo…so there is no money left for the redevelopment of this town. There are some houses who still do not have gas lines laid. By the way where are you heading now?" "We want to go to Yulgok park." "Ah… that park used to have a swimming pool but it no longer exist. It would be better for you guys to know about the history of the park. Oh, there is my wife. I have to go." He quickly disappeares. 

The disappearance of Cats

"Are you taking photos of cats?" One old lady approaches to us and points at the camera with her finger. "We sometimes take a photograph of cats." "Do you take a cat picture?" "We take pictures of everything." "Oh…I thought you are the people who are taking care of cats." "What is going on?" "I what to give a information about cats in this town. The people who live in this town take cats and sell them to the dog soup restaurants and health food stores. I have provided cat's food in this street for 30 years so far. This town was used to have a lot of cats. I have put cat's food here and there and feed them. But recently I barely see the cats. The people caught them for making food. The dog soup restaurants need cat meat because the coast of dog meat is so expensive. Also the health good stores which sells gaesoju, medicinal broth strained from dog meat cooked with various herbs, uses cat meat instead of dog meat. They took even kittens. They put sausages and meats in the cage and wait for the little kittens to come inside of cage. That is the way how they catch the kittens. I have been introduced at a television show twice before. It was about cats. The TV show wants to report what I am doing one more time but I refuse their request. Because they don't give me any money. The government  gives the support fund for cat food once one person have more than 40 cats at home. But like me, the person who gives food for the street cats cannot get the support fund. The person who took the cats from the street can get the support fund and then they earn money for selling the cats to dog meat restaurants or health good stores. I don't know where I should report about this terrible story. I want to say this story to you guys because I have heard that you take the cat photos. Please help me. They will kill all of cats in this town. I cannot get pocket money from my children because they think I waste their money to get cat food. So I have to use part of my old-age pension to buy cat food. If you take care of cats well, you would get good luck or vice versa. There is one lady who cannot have babies for 11 years. One day, she brought a street cat to her house and take care of it. And then the cat gets pregnant. Before long, she also becomes pregnant. After she gives birth to a child, her mother-in-law complains about the cats. So she has to get rid of them. After several days, in her dream, the cat bits her child's head and takes the baby. Surprisingly, the baby is burning up with fever in reality. In the end, the baby dies."

Get lost in Lu-1 city.

"We got lost…how we can get to the Chungra city?" "Turn right and go strait. Pass the Remian apartment complex, you will get there." "Do you still live here?" "I am the president of housing association. Only 3 families are left in this town. We could not leave our houses because the negotiation was not fair. By the way, we will move out in 3 days. We finally get what we want. We stick to here even though other people already moved out. There are 5 families up there will be move to new houses in the end of August. In deed, all the people who used live in detached houses no longer stay here. The government made a wrong decision about urban redevelopment projects. The person, like me, who owns a house here only gets 200 million won for the compensation price of land. But with that amount of money I cannot buy a new house like this in other area. This compensation does not make sense. Of course, there are still some people do not move out. They are the tenants who do not own the house. They do not want to leave here since they do not get any compensation. Without proper compensation, moving sideway is impossible. I will move to Bukpyung because the government give us a new house there. It is not that far from here. This redevelopment project is in fail because of the LH Housing Corporation. It is a very bad company because it is debatable whether or not the local people were ever properly compensated. I hope that in the future, we have better politicians. Did you see the burnt house over there? The house was not on fire by accident but the firemen practice fire-fighting procedures in that house. I don't afraid of anything since I have lived here over 30 years."