Thursday, January 3, 2019

Seoul Village Season XIII

Welcome to the new year, the 13th of this excuse for a blog. 

And so long, 2018.

As usual, it all revolved around my 3 favorite verticals: culture, urbanism, and politics

But 2018 was NOT a usual year. And as we shifted from pre-war panic ("Alert!") to post-summit fatigue, we watched KIM Jong-un play MOON Jae-in and Donald TRUMP as easily as an elder statesman would with naive kids... Almost as pathetic as my fake interviews with KJU and DJT (see "Exclusive interview with KIM Jong-un - Season III" and "Trump: The Art of the Dealapidation (Exclusive Interview)")...

2018 was hot, dry, and utterly polluted. And the situation is even worse than advertised, since Seoul moved almost all its air quality monitors far above the recommended limit of 10 m. Coal wins again...

2018 was supposed to be remembered as the year of the Pyeongchang Olympics, but Korea scored too many own goals against its economy and society to celebrate. Just like my other home country, France, is more likely to remember 2018 for that tragic 'Gilets Jaunes' farce than for a second World Cup victory.

So. What does 2019 have in store for us*?
  • Another ride on North Korea's emotional roller coaster, of course; yet another make or break or collapse year.
  • An anniversary, too: 100 years after the March 1st Movement, Korea-Japan relations are bound to jump back up to the top of mind. Emperor Akihito abdicates only a few weeks later, and any subliminal message from him or / and his successor Naruhito will be closely monitored. Let's hope this great nation will not abdicate to its worst enemies from within, and will preserve the post-war, peaceful Constitution that Shinzo Abe and Nippon Kaigi have pledged to destroy.
  • We should also keep an eye on troop levels. They've already seriously melted South of the DMZ, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear more controversial statements from the White House about US presence in the region...
  • More changes in Seoul's ever shapeshifting cityscape. Some positive, please, we need them after recent, familiar, distressing news (more greenbelt areas sacrificed, more 'New Towns' planned...).
So I'll keep posting every now and then. Less often than I used to, particularly since I started spilling over Twitter (that's @THEseoulvillage, mind you), but as always with my independent, naturally subjective, and embarrassingly inept points of view.

Happy New Year to you, the ones you care for, and the ones no one care for.

Seoul Village 2019
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* beyond my yearly predictions, that is (see "Happy New Year 2020" and "Bonne année 2020")

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