Tuesday, January 27, 2009

somebody is always watching

You don't have to look very hard for one of these CCTV cameras in Korea. They are all over the place. I had heard that London was one of the most surveilled city in the world, and I am beginning to have my doubts about that. I had wondered how the police force could patrol the populations as concentrated as they are. As a Westerner, it simply stumped me. There are no guns held by private citizens, nor are the police armed. The last siren I heard was for an ambulance rushing to a medical emergency. Don't think for a moment I am complaining, I just want to ensure I am not living in a place called Stepford.

Then I looked up and saw a CCTV camera, waived and took the picture. No one complains, for it has become a way of life for all of us. The citizens here view it as a protective measure; to be watched over. I am not saying there is no crime, but crime is extremely low with a high confession rate.

You can walk around a midnight and not flinch.

Of course, that is my experience here in Daegu. Later this week, I will be travelling up to Seoul and with the demonstrations, there have been some casualties with people caught in the cross-fire. With six reportedly dying in protests that were held this month. Some of the protests have been simple candlelight vigils, with over 100,000 people participating against recent legislation that has been perceived as anti-democratic. Others not so peaceful, such as the heated protest over a dispute over displaced tenants at the capital building with Molotov cocktails and bricks in their arsenal.

I am mindful that I am the outsider looking in, having the awareness that no matter where a person travels to, someone is watching...always.

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