Thursday, August 25, 2005

Seoul Trip and demo(nstration)

I went to Seoul today to register my son as a Canadian citizen. The paperwork was relatively easy and, like snapping your finers, he will be a nine (9) (NINE!) months.

ON the trip there and for most of the day in Seoul, the visibilty was terrific. That may mean little to my Canadian friends but the cool weather really opens up the horizons here. South of the river, I could see Inwang San clearly, not as a lumpy dark spot in the haze.

After my visit to the embassy, I headed south, back to the bus terminal and found these guys. Various bloggers have shown exasperation with Koreans for forgetting the bad stuff happening north of the border. These university students haven't. They were in front of the Korean Human Rights Commision, wearing T-shirts that read (In English, for better ad copy?), "Why are you silent?" Perhaps they mistook me for a reporter (in jeans and with my backpack over my shoulder) or they were simply very serious people. Anyway, I was able to interview them briefly...but I didn't take any notes.

The group started at Dongguk University, by a law professor(?) and met on Sundays but at this gathering there were students from 20 universities and hangers-on. An energetic man, who identified himself only as a civil rights lawyer, told me he was very concerned and would soon be giving a speech at the press club across the street (In, or next to, City Hall).

I wish them the best in influencing Korean politics. I felt like a coward, they asked me for a business card. I told them I didn't have one, and that was true, but I would have been uncomfortable giving them one in any case. I remembered very clearly my sister's involvement with Amnesty International in the '80s and how my Police-Officer father was concerned her name would be taken and some file started somewhere.

I guess this article and a recent one(can't be bothered to link to it) really mean I can't visit North Korea. My wife suggested I take my mother there next month when she comes to meet her grandson, babysit for a bit and, hopefully, tour a little. Maybe Cheju.


Anonymous said...

Only nine months fo a citizenship card? Wow, they've sped things up--it took me a year to get one for my son. On the same trip I applied for a US passport (I've got dual citizenship) at the US embassy--they were friendly, helpful, and even without paying for the "speed service", it was delivered to Sokcho the next business day.

Now, I don't like much about US foreign policy, but they do know how to run an embassy properly for their own citizens!

I wouldn't worry much about your blogs affecting a visit to Keumgang--it would be different if you were going to Pyongyang, but they've made Keumgang into essentially an extension of Samsung. My uncle and his family were up there last month for a physics conference, and they didn't care about his citizenships or anything like that. They just want you to come and spend money there.

kwandongbrian said...

"They just want you to come and spend money there."
That's the problem. Now I have talked the talk, it would be a little hypocritcal of me to give NK any of my money.
Hmmm, I am a blogger, and blogger are like journalists. I guess I could go there, purely for research for a posting...