In a move so representative of the general silliness of many decisions of the Korean government that it seems like it ought to be parody, they have announced that they will be outlawing pojong mahcha (street food vendors) during the World Cup next year. People are up in arms, as there is a long tradition in Korea of sitting on the benches beside these carts, in summer to take the air, and in winter huddled inside the plastic sheeting that serves as windbreaks, and snarfing down some dok boeki or soondae or other yummy treats. But what people’re even more up in arms about, and justifiably so, is that street vendors will still be allowed to sell hamburgers. To the big fat hamburger-addicted Waeguk who will show up in droves and demand “Burgers! Give us burgers, you bastards!”, presumably.
Clueless old men in the government, scratching their scurfy scalps, going (in Korean, of course) “Huh-yup, dat’s what dem foreigner’s’ll like. They’ll feel all ta home if we only allow street vendors to sell hayam-burgers!”
This is the same sort of inexplicable dissociation from reality that has resulted in “Visit Korea Year 2001” seeing less visitors than actually showed up in “Regular Old Year 2000”. This despite all-singing, all-dancing commercials starring the erudite-but-terrifying prez, and which inexplicably only seemed to actually air within Korea, which when you stop to think about it, kind of defeated the purpose.
Update : Apparently, the legislation will also allow for the sale of ‘sandwiches’, which will presumably please the French tourists as well and their insatiable appetite for croques monsieur. Thanks fishstickchronicles for making me dig deeper into the madness…