Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, left, throws trash bags into a garbage truck on a street in southwestern Seoul, Wednesday, as he joins street sweepers in cleaning to experience their hardship firsthand.
Park turning his office into secondhand bookstore
By Kim Rahn
A Secondhand Bookstore in Wonderland.
This is what Seoul Mayor Park Won-soons new office will look like. It represents the activist-turned-mayors taste which is in stark contrast to that of his predecessors who were bureaucrats or politicians.
Only a week into office, Park, a long-time civic activist and human rights lawyer, is showing an informal, practical and unconventional attitude to city affairs.
Parks office is turning into a library. He plans to have bookcases on all four walls of the place, and will bring all the books from his office at the Hope Institute, a policy alternatives think-tank where he is a director, to the new office.
The mayor wants to make the! room a comfortable place where he can conceive ideas, a city official said.
Mirrors and glass, which were used in the interior design of his election campaign office, will also be used here, as he thinks they symbolize openness and transparency.
On one side of the office, the mayor will put post-its on which citizens wrote policy ideas during his campaign.
He earlier said, Ill put citizens ideas near me, look at them every day, and refresh my resolution.
Park will not use a reception room next to his office but move the secretarys office there.
The space where currently the secretarys office is will be turned into a cafe. How to operate the cafe, including whether to open it to the public, has not been decided yet, the official said.
A large room used by senor officials may be reduced and the newly-created space will become meeting rooms, he added.
Meetings with city officials are planned to take place differently from those presided by former mayors.
Previously, director-level officials collected juniors opinions and reported them to the mayor, but Park has all the juniors and directors attend the meeting and listens to opinions from all of them directly, another city official said.
For better communication with citizens, Park has pledged to listen to their complaints by visiting their workplaces and residences himself. For public welfare, he has emphasized fieldwork rather than policymaking in the office without knowing what is really going on in real time.
On his first day of office on Oct. 27, he took the subway instead of the car provided by the city and talked with other commuters.
Before getting on the subway, his first official task was visiting Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market at 6:30 a.m. to meet merchants there. Later that day, he visited a town in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, where small and shabby houses are situated as homes for the poor usually the elderly living alone or day laborers.
Ea rly Wednesday morning, he swept garbage and fallen leaves together with street sweepers in southwestern Seoul. The amount of garbage is much larger than I thought. I think we need to make improvements in the recycling system and peoples awareness of waste dumping, Park said.
He then listened to the sweepers talk about their hardship, such as a lack of suitable places where they can eat breakfast or lunch.
The new mayor, an active tweeter with 187,000 followers, uses the social network service to communicate with citizens, especially the younger generation. He sometimes makes public his schedule on Twitter and heeds the opinions of his followers on city affairs.
He is considering broadcasting his inauguration ceremony through Twitter and YouTube. When to hold the ceremony hasnt been decided.
In that way, the city doesnt need to pay rent for a ceremony venue and send invitations to participants. It may also be able to highlight Parks vision of seeking practicality, an official said.
To dream the impossible especially in a corrupted country like ours. Damn all the top leaders are make worst that they are Muslim and Malay.