The Mapo broadwalk, big contrast

The last time Ben and I walked through Mapo, was about two years ago. Then it was shabby buildings that looked like they’d been bombed by some foreign power. This time, it was quite literally the other side of the railway lines.

What a contrast it was, setting off from the randomised station, we emerged, as it turned out, in the hagwon district of Mapo. Pretty posh, we pasted a Maths hagwon that ‘guaranteeing your grade’. I wonder how hard you’d have to sleep in class to flunk, and then how much more harragging from the mother to get a refund. In big cities, the schools aren’t run by the Principal or the head, they’re run by the parents.

Mapo has streets like any other street in Seoul, this one was clean with the usual stores, apartments and restaurants. Towering above us were candidates for the forth coming local elections. A booty of high pay and perhaps a more reclining lifestyle awaits the individual that champions his cause the best. Maybe not this guy. He needs to review his photos before they go to print on a 10m by 50 meter poster stuck on the side of a prominent building. Wincing your hands isn’t conducive to an image of integrity and honest policies. Even the crowd in my town have a better sense of decorum.

Onwards to what could almost be seen as the “apple cart”. You don’t have to travel far to see signs of Koreas agricultural roots.

It never fails to surprise me how lacking in testosterone men are portrayed in advertisements in Korea. From Boy bands, to selling Nikon camera to showing what the average police graduate might look like. He might look nice, but he doesn’t at all have the image of authority that Mr Plod in New Zealand might have.

I have to comment that the photos of the two police officers are would-be graduates of a Police hagwon. Not, just one, but one of many police hagwons, or ‘academies’. Joke anyone?

4 Responses

  1. “lacking in testosterone” …..haha

    i usually just go with Gay 😛

    all i notice is how the boy bands from taiwan, hk, korea etc and some male singers are always so gay ( or in your words, Lacking in Testosterone ), skinny, with funny long hair cuts that look like nearly-there-mullets ( weren’t they outta style since the 80s??) and pretty faces that look like a girl.

    if i was still a young teen, they’d probably be appealing.
    but now it’s “urgh, his waist is smaller than mine!!!” 🙂 🙂

  2. So it’s not just SK ‘on the band wagon?’

    Metro sexuals. These performers probably wear more makeup and foundation than their female fans.

  3. Probably more difficult for young blokes to become cops now than in the past. Entrance exams, all sorts of other tests, that weren’t there before. Hence…The Police Hagwon! I wonder if they’re down the Jeollas where the competition would be less fierce than Seoul/Gyeonngyi?
    Firefighter hagwons next?!

    • One wonders that since the police are essentially a government body, then surely the training establisment would be run by them. One must wonder if this is where the lack of cred comes from(?)

      To me, having a hagwon for something seems to cheapen the whole profession or ‘end product’. Just look at how the hagwons for language are run, but then again the age group is different.

      A fire fighters hagwon? I wouldn’t put it past them.

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