Tuesday, May 30, 2006

election day

i am thrilled that today is may 31st. why? because tomorrow is the first day of june? no. because i don't have to work today? no. because today is election day? Y-E-S.

this is a country-wide voting day, but it's for district offices. as someone who can't participate in the voting process, you may be wondering what election day means to me. it means an end to all the obnoxious propaganda that has taken this city by storm. more power to korea for getting so involved with politics and encoraging everyone to vote, but come on, that truck that sits outside my window at the intersection every morning at 7 am blasting music and "vote for me" messages is just plain unnecessary. and, oh, the cheesiness of the posters... it hurtssss. we're talking posters everywhere you go, even giant, blown-up posters on the sides of buildings. i can't help but wonder how long they'll take to take the posters down from those buildings. it must suck for the loser, if, 1 or 2 weeks down the line, their face is still in view for everyone to see. "damn it, there i am, still on that building... back when i thought i had a chance at winning." the politicians in the running also get a team of people to wear matching shirts and line up at corners at busy intersections and bow to oncoming traffic ("ooohh i really liked candidate no. 3's team... they bowed the deepest.")

"no. 3?" you may be asking? yes, every candidate gets a number, and those numbers must appear in the voting booth along with their names. easier to remember, and i must admit it's actually not a bad idea. plus, it provides for some amusing conversations. last night alisun and i were walking, and one of the candidates was walking down the street. i didn't notice him, but al said "ohh there's number 6! he even has his hat!" i looked where she was pointing, and there he was, walking with his entourage of matching shirts. funny thing was i knew EXACTLY what she meant before i even saw him. as we walked along a little further, sure enough, we saw a poster of him, sitting with his little barbershop quartet hat.

now, i know nothing of their platforms, but i'd like to play a little game called "if i was to vote, who would i vote for based purely on their pictures?" luckily, i have a huge envelope chock full of every candidate's pamphlet that was shoved into everyone's mailbox, and each one has a picture of them on the cover. i chose my favorites, took some pictures of them, and would like to share them all with you. now, bear in mind, i have no idea what these people are actually running for, and some of their numbers are the same so they must be running for different positions, but we're going to pretend it's a contest just between these people.

let's start with contestant #7!

i'd like to start with this one because he is using popular politician pose: fist in the air. in korea, this must translate into "i have the power to lead you." either that, or it's a freeze frame from when he was a guest on the arsenio hall show. oh, but this pose isn't just for men:

yes, it seems that number 8 opted for the same "strength" shot. maybe hers translates more into "i am woman, hear me roar."

for the sake of simplicity, here is number 5:

why did i think this picture was noteworthy? imagine his face blown up over the side of the building. see, i told you it was funny.

going with the theme of simplicity, take a look at number 1:

nice and simple. look approachable and smile. the "OK!" at the bottom doesn't hurt, either (well, contestant number 7 also used that, but his was in the middle, between his fist and head. seemed a little more violent to me.)

and, i'm not even going to give the last one an introduction:

what is he? a real estate agent? on the other side of the pamphlet, he is number 5, so i'm not really sure whose competition he is, i just know that this is by far the strangest picture. what, is he so busy and dedicated to the public that he can't even take time away from his cell phone for a picture? i was too lazy to take a picture of the other side, but it involves a cheesy graphic design that looks seriously photoshopped: faded soccer balls lined up coming towards the middle, getting darker and darker until you see his face in the center one. oh korea, you never cease to humor me.

so who do i deem the winner? in my opinion, simplicity is best, and my vote goes to contestant number 1. you just can't beat a smile. ok ok really, i think i'd lie and say i voted for one, but my vote would really go to cell phone guy.

i know i shouldn't mock traditions that are different from mine, but sometimes it's just to hard to hold back. especially when they annoy me with constantly knock-knock-knocking on my door. i should just get a sign that says "i'm a waeguk- i don't care who wins!" so they'll leave me alone. and i'm still bitter about that 7 am truck that wakes me up. i'd shake my fist at them, but i'm kind of afraid they'd snap a picture of me and throw me onto the side of a building.

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