[Props to ToeKnee of The Horse’s Mouth for resizing this shot for me since I can’t get me lappy to the net at the moment.]
The mascot for the cops here is that happy little character and in some ways it kind of fits. It’s the protein thing and the protein thing is huge — I’m continually have to readjust perception for it. Not having loads of dairy and meat and whatever it is that the West eats too much of, and instead eating rice, vegetables and a little meat makes everyone here smaller. This is all personal theory, mind.
Truly obese people are rare, the women mostly look more feminine and the men are smaller/sleighter than in the West. All the cops I’ve seen have been smaller than me. Last Friday at lunch on busy streets I had to manoeuvre around one and I felt like giving him the brush just for the heck of it. The brush is where people don’t bother moving right out of the way and kind of push past/through you – to different degrees. Having one’s personal space invaded like that takes some getting used to.
The cops drive these little hyundai hatchbacks same as everyone else on the grid. Sometimes they drive around with the red and blue lights blinking away as standard, like the boy who cried wolf. Sometimes they’ll yell out orders via the PA system attached to the roof, but again it seems kind of pathetic. They don’t have guns.
The local guys with the job of guarding yankee property are given big sticks. Maybe someone used that metaphor of ‘keeping them in line with a big stick’, and they took it literally.
But then, crime of the blue collar bank robber kind is almost non-existant. The TV news has to resort to building fires for action. I was looking at what I guess were the Jan. and Feb. posters of most-wanted people outside a cop station today – each had one token female.
The military is slightly different in that they’re everywhere. Initially I thought it was weird (a couple of weeks ago) being in a kiddy-amusement park, with a bunch of kiddies and me looking up and feeling a tad concerned at a convoy of 4 or 5 helicopter gunships rolling across te sky. But I was literally the only one looking. The locals seem oblivious. It happens all the time, but not right over the city, just in the country.
There’s guys in infantry fatigues everywhere. Just singly, off-duty but all the same. The rate is more like 70-80% of them are smaller than me.
And while the cops no.1 passtime is probably dealing with drunks, the military are actually used sometimes — like to mow down their own people, as happened on May 18 of 1980 in Gwangju, which is a city in the south-west. ref.
I don’t know, I’m feeling a bit negatoid today. I was hanging out with giveColinabrain last night and he was saying he dislikes all korean guys. I’ve definitely found it harder to strike up conversations with them, but was waiting longer to draw any conclusions.
This arvo I was cruising back through the local playground, and oldfolks had take over because it’s the first full moon after new year, which is significant. This morning they were drumming on and rocking to scare away the evil spirits.
There was a bunch of oldies sitting around singing along to one guy with a drum. It sounded great and was another of those times where I wish I had a minidisc on me because the audio can be even better than photos occasionally. They latched onto me enthusiasically and brought me in closer to the fire. I could see that some of them were pretty wasted on soju (the local spirits derivative) and this one old woman grabs my hand and claps it to hers along to the song, which was all fairly harmless. Then some old guy, more angry at her than me, grabs at the back of her jacket and pulls her right over onto the paving.
I was trying to help her up, but being careful about it considering there’s no way I could say, ‘hey let’s all just chill a bit hey?’ and she get up and pushes the guy, who had a coffee in his hand which went flying. Then he pulls her over again, and after that I split because it was depressing.
The alcohol is one thing — they drink way too much of it here. But the fucked up dynamic between men and women is another — and I fear that giveColinabrain might be right when he says that the only difference between these old arseholes and the younger guys is several decades of age – and that they’ll all be like that; treating women badly and not understanding eachother.
I didn’t realise how ingrained the whole ‘opening the door for the lady’ mindset was ground into me until noticing how it’s not done ever here. It’s not a western-feminist-friendly ‘we’re all equal so I’ll go through the door first, and we’ll split the bill’ thing either. It’s a ‘fuck you, I’m older, male and therfore superior so I’ll take that seat’ thing.