an age fades away


I was 9 when the city of Daejeon hosted the first international exposition in Korea. My memories are so dim now that I can barely remember the really long queue of people, waiting for entrance, with the glimpse of the Hanbit tower in the background. There had been words that day the cumulative number of visitors are close to a million (or two or three? I just don’t remember but the total visitors exceeded 14 million after all) and the millionth visitor is going to be given a big prize.

I was daydreaming about being the one amid the heat of late summer, further fueled by so many people in those really long queues. In fact, the entire event of the Expo itself was about dreams—a dream of successful international event à la the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic, a dream of brighter future with cutting-edge technologies (one of the most popular pavilions was named Technopia Pavilion, which my family couldn’t make it through then due to too many queues), a dream of continuous development as the nation did in the 80s. Even the mascot was named Kumdori, with kum (꿈) meaning dream.

I think it was someone far ahead of us in the queue. The millionth one. The rest is history as we’ve seen. The IMF stormed in four years later and so on. In 2012, another Expo was held in Yeosu and proved a failure.

And few days ago a picture drew my attention: of a Kumdori statue being removed from the Daejeon Expo Science Park, the former Expo site which is now going to be renovated into a Hallyu drama town.

An age fades away—with those numerous dreams.


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