Vote for me! I have the best dancers!

Last week were the Ulsan Jung-gu district officer elections. If this sounds boring, you obviously aren’t familiar with the way politicians campaign in Korea. Here’s an idea:

Politicians in Korea seem to have found the best way to get their message to the people is through unnecessarily loud music and choreographed dances. Every politician has at least one of these trucks plastered top to bottom with their image, which they drive around the city while wielding megaphones to inundate the populace with their message.

Moving advertisement, part 2

I’m not sure why that’s more effective than, say, a TV advertisement. But that seems to be the way to do it.

When the trucks weren’t driving around, they’d park at street corners and blast music for large groups of supporters to dance to. In the US, I feel like there’d be some laws to limit the loudness or at least how close they could be to residential areas. This did not seem to be the case in Korea. I’m not sure how blasting music so loud it causes everyone to cover their ears as they walk past gets you any votes, but that’s the universally-accepted strategy. I would imagine the purpose was to attract the attention of passing motorists and pedestrians to hand them fliers, but I feel like they were so loud it would keep anyone from getting close enough. Sometimes two trucks would park across the street from each other, fighting with their sound systems to create an ear-splitting cacophony. And this was right next to apartment complexes!

Honestly, how is this effective?? You know who I’m not going to vote for? The guy who’s on his megaphone at 7 in the morning, waking up every dog and rooster in a mile radius (which happened the four days leading up the elections, and was wonderful to wake up to). That certainly doesn’t make me want to do anything for you!

Beyond the sound complaint, I have to wonder a bit about the point of the choreographed dances. American politicians have some ridiculous campaign tactics, sure, but are any of them as politically irrelevant as dance routines? Well, maybe

American campaigns are usually pretty ridiculous, so maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental…

Here’s some more pictures of Korean campaigns, gathered from around the internet:

Face off
A face-off across the street.

Supporters hustle on street corners

I tried to talk to my co-teachers about the issues at stake in the election, just out of curiosity, but no one I talked to lived in the district. Although I did hear that the last guy in office was booted out after doing something corrupt. Drama!

…And, one last thing! These campaign conversations with co-workers were never dull, as Koreans tend to mix up r and l sounds, since they’re interchangeable in Korean. Which means I heard a lot about ‘our erections’. …teehee. As my friend Mark would say, ‘it’s funny because I’m 12.’


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mark Payne
    May 09, 2011 @ 10:26:06

    Ha. 12.


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