Sunday, January 15, 2006

Uh ... thanks a lot, President Bak ...

I was just getting ready to blog and wondering what to blog about when ...

But maybe I'd better explain my context first.

We live in Seoul, South Korea on the top floor of an apartment building -- the 23rd floor to be precise -- and we like our view of the city, the mountains, the woods ...

Now if you've been keeping up with news about Korea for the past 15 years, you'll know that it has developed enormously in its economic power, its political system, and its civic society. All in all, it's a pretty decent place to live.

Yet ... there are still some problems stemming from the previous era of dictatorial rule.

One problem is that some structures built during that era are poorly constructed because the dictatorial government of the long-dead Bak Jeonghui (Park Chung Hee) pushed rapid development and damn the consequences!

Some of the consequences include fallen bridges and collapsed department stores.

So ... maybe the 23rd floor of a somewhat older apartment building is not quite the place to choose ...

At any rate ... as I was saying, I was just getting ready to blog and wondering what to blog about when I heard a raucous loud tearing, crashing sound and saw something obscured falling behind the frosted windows separating our study from the balcony.

Our cat Ankee leapt in shock from his catbed as I sprang up from my desk thinking that part of the ceiling had collapsed onto our balcony.

As Ankee dashed under our sturdy dinner table (smart cat), I rushed out to see what had fallen (foolish me).

There on the balcony, doors down, lay our high, heavy, packed cabinet.

Partially beneath and broken lay the aluminum framework on which we dry our clothes, its still-wet clothes now littering the floor.

Wondering why the cabinet had fallen and hoping that our other cat, Goya, had not been prowling there and losing all her nine lives in one blow, I went and shook my wife awake at the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m.

We did our best to extract the destroyed aluminum framework -- I pulled up on the cabinet, she pulled out on framework. We then collected our now-dirtied clothes, checked to find Goya still sleeping on our daughter's bed, thanked God that neither Sa-Rah nor En-Uk had been playing on the balcony when the cabinet fell, and cursed the long-dead dictator Bak Jeonghui for his mad rush to modernize Korea at all costs despite the danger posed for the stability of our cabinet.

We still have a mess to clean up when the sun finally rises, but at least this dire event gave me something to blog about ...


At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding with the development is that the collapsing buildings and bridges were not Pak Chung Hee's fault, but were rather the result of corrupt managers who sought to use cheaper, inferior materials for construction, while pocketing the difference.

Anyway, if you're wondering what to blog about, I have a question for you over at my blog, which I hope you'll humor me by answering.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I'm glad everyone was ok!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nathan, you're no doubt correct about President Bak/Pak/Park or whatever we're going to call him. He's not directly responsible.

On the other hand, he set the context for a government-pushed, nondemocratic development of the economy, a system in which corruption and lack of accountability can take root.

As for the question on your blog, I'll take a look and see if I have anything to offer.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:00 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

P.S. I don't really hold President Bak responsible for the fact that our cabinet fell face down.

I meant that point in humor, not as a serious accusation.

Lest anyone misunderstand...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:34 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

I'm glad you're all okay, too.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, both of you, for the concern.

Jeffery Hodges

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