Wednesday 15 October 2008

Mayor of Seoul Walks Past Global Handwashing Day Festival, Ignoring It

On Global Handwashing Day, October 15th, Seoul held a festival in the City Hall Square.

People walked around the festival grounds.
After the success, for the second year in a row, of "No Car Day" in Jongno, the responsible citizens of Korea saw fit to take hope in 2008, a year that, other than some rioting in May, and June, and July, seemed like a banner year for good manners.  The Korean Handwashing Society spent a great deal of time and effort preparing for this day: all three members arranged for the festival stage and tent displays out of their own personal savings, and Seoul Mayor Oh Se-Hoon seemed excited about the prospect as well, saying at a news conference, "I hope Seoul will become known as a Hub of Handwashing, and these good citizens will help me."
Mayor Oh, pictured above, showing off his clean hands with card-carrying HandWashing club members.

However, when the stage was set, and the crowds had gathered, waiting anxiously for the Mayor's inspiring speech.
Instead, Mr. Mayor glanced briefly in a mirror set up at the back of the festival stage, fixed his hair briefly, and then skulked out offstage, without even a glance at the crowds or the microphone set up for him.

Festival Organizer Sohn HwaShing, a subway station custodian by trade, was disappointed, to say the least.

"I don't know why we set this stage out here if nobody uses it anyway.  Is it just for decoration?  I mean, come on, people!  It's there for a reason, you know!" he grumbled, and stormed away from DokdoIsOurs, reporting on the scene.  "IT'S NOT JUST A SETTING FOR THE MIRROR, YOU KNOW!" he hollered at a group of university students who had sidled up to the mirror at the back of the festival stage, and were fixing their hair and makeup in it.  The young adults ignored him.

White person Tommy Fondoe, who had been invited to the handwashing festival with his son to attract Chosun Ilbo photographers, described his extreme disillusionment, while his son Brian expressed his disappointment in another way.
"After everything the Mayor said before, about Seoul becoming a hub for hand-washing -- to just walk out as if his time were more important than proper sanitation was just shocking.  I don't think I'll ever wash my hands again!" he said.

Clean Korean Jang Hwang-soo asked, "How can we show other cultures our superiority, and teach them how to be clean, if we aren't even proud of our cleanliness culture ourself?  Cleanliness is an important part of our heritage that we must not forget!"  In order to console himself, Jang and the other two members of the Korea Handwashing Society roamed around finding dirty foreigners, "To teach them how to be clean!"

"We must teach the Chinese how to wash!" Jang said,

"What would the rest of the world do if we weren't here to civilize them?"

Koreans from the old days, practicing Korea's superior 5000 year-old cleanliness and hygiene culture.

The Korean Union of food handlers did not attend the festival, but a small percentage of medical professionals did, and shook their heads a lot.

(thanks for the heads up, Brian)


Brian said...

WTF? How are you blogging this from the future?

Nice touch with the Boryeong Mud Festival.

Anonymous said...

Boryeong Festival is ABSOLUTELY beautiful though and we took full advantage of
all of the mud activities then! All in all, a great time had by everyone!