Some things just boggle the mind.
If you were going to do any major roadwork like digging up the street to put in a sidewalk or lay some asphalt, you might want to wait until there’s not too much traffic, right?
And if you were to do this kind of roadwork, you probably wouldn’t want to do it in a major shopping district during peak business hours where you have thousands of people traipsing back and forth from one shop to another.
Maybe today was roadwork day in Korea.
That would explain why this morning at 8:30 when I was on my way home from FLI there was some major roadwork going on near the university’s east gate during the morning rush hour. That would be bad enough on any day, but today also just so happened to be the first day of classes for the university.
My colleague Keith was giving me a ride home on his cycle when we were nearly taken out by this dinosaur-like asphalt spreader slowly moving down the street near our institute. Traffic on the campus was backed up in either direction (commuters use the campus as a shortcut), taxis were letting out passengers everywhere, horns were honking, and most assuredly tempers rising a notch or two.
Things were no different in Myong-dong a major shopping district in downtown Seoul where other roadwork was commencing just around the time when shoppers were flocking to stores and Chinese and Japanese tourists were roaming the narrow side streets looking for bargains. On one of the busier side streets, at least for foot traffic there was a backhoe digging up the street as dump trucks backed up into the steady procession of shoppers of tourists. That would be bad enough (not to mention dangerous), but then you had some motorists trying to get through this mess, making more of a mess.
There was one guy waving a red baton in a feeble attempt to direct traffic and prevent some unfortunate shopper or tourist from being squashed by one of these large dump trucks, but he seemed more interested in the mini-skirted ladies sashaying past him then doing his job.
Yeah, maybe today was major roadwork day in Korea.
Of course, it pales in comparison to some of the lunacy instructors at the soon to be defunct FLI (which will soon be a new and improved hogwan) have had to endure the past couple of weeks. You know, there was this song in the early 80s—”The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” by Fun Boy Three—which makes me wonder if the “Lunatics Have Taken Over the Institute” with some of the demented strategies being devised and implemented by the office.
Today we were asked to give our students a handout explaining why tuition is being increased by 14.5% for the early morning classes (supposedly for training purposes, which is a bit of misnomer because the institute is apparently in financial difficulties). Hmm…tuition being raised by 14.5% and teacher’s salaries for the early morning class being cut by 25%. I guess those teachers who will be here next term are going to get a lot of training with all that money coming in.