Tag Archives: Seoul City Hall

Labor Strikes in Seoul

This wasn’t what I expected to come across today when I decided to go work from a cafe, but definitely worth documenting.

Apparently, thousands of unionized workers are striking against government plans to reform the pension system for public servants and introduce a more flexible labor market. These photos and videos below are of the massive crowd in Seoul Plaza, just outside Seoul City Hall.

According to the Korean Yonhap News Agency, about 260,000 unionized workers joined the one-day walkout launched in 2,829 work places across the country, including 60,000 government employees and 10,000 teachers.

It was incredible to watch the crowds and hear them chanting in unison. You can imagine that police were out in full force, too. Thousands of riot police standing by, ready to handle out-of-control crowds. They’re everywhere, on every sidewalk and street corner. They’ve blocked off streets and have formed blockades with the police buses. I hear they’re expecting more protests over the weekend, and people here seem to love protesting/demonstrating things in general anyway, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this.

Continue reading Labor Strikes in Seoul

The hidden hangouts of Seoul City Hall

I’ve been curious to visit the new Seoul City Hall building since I first saw it. Its striking wave-like glass design makes you wonder what kind of modernities you might find inside. Here’s a picture from a previous post in case you’ve forgotten:

The new Seoul City Hall. It's the glass building in the rear that looks like a wave. The former city hall in front is now the Seoul Metropolitan Library.
The new Seoul City Hall. It’s the glass building in the rear that looks like a wave. The former city hall in front is now the Seoul Metropolitan Library.

Little did I know, you actually can go on a self-guided tour of new (and old) City Hall — they make it easy by providing small booklets that guide you step-by-step through the various things to see. I was just looking for a place to grab a drink and do some work, so that was a pleasant surprise.

A bit of background before I take you on part of the tour. The new City Hall opened not that long ago in 2012. It has 13 floors above ground and five floors underground, and is designed to be eco-friendly, of course.The former City Hall, which sits in front of it, was turned into the Seoul Metropolitan Library. Continue reading The hidden hangouts of Seoul City Hall

First impressions of Seoul

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Seoul four days already. Hard to believe we’re on the other side of the world, period. The flights were kind of brutal, I won’t lie. Especially the third flight which was almost 15 hours. But Koreans know the routine — many of them lay down across seats and slept much of the way. Perks include free movies and lots of free meals. I sat next to a lady currently stationed at Osan Air Base. There are several military bases around Seoul. She gave me some good tips about living here, which was nice.

We’ve spent the first few days getting to know our neighborhood, which is the central business district of Seoul. So many places to see and things to do within walking distance from our place.

Our first day, we ventured out to Seoul Station, the subway hub. Beautiful structure housing the Lotte Outlets (not so “discounted” prices…), Lotte Mart (more on this place later) a food court and many other shops and eateries (including several American chains).

Seoul Station Continue reading First impressions of Seoul