Namdaemun Down in Flames

Last night, “a guy in his 50s” torched Namdaemun— Korea’s national treasure number 1. Karl thinks National Treasure number 2 played a role. Joking aside, I really can’t express how I feel about this.

I am more than a little angry that the nation has literal hordes of riot police to “protect” every square inch of Seoul were one might run into an American, but they can’t spare one or two to guard it’s number one national treasure?

Apparently, some of the blame lies with the firefighters who “thought” the fire had been extinguished. You know, in some countries, firefighters check every inch of a fire to check for smoldering… The president-elect has said it will cost $21 million and take three years to rebuild.

Update: A classic example of why Korea will always be foreign to me. The arsonist has been caught. He was trying to get attention to his cause (a property compensation dispute) and was caught last year trying to burn down one of the palaces. Are you kidding me? Seriously, is there any other culture where that would make sense? This is like someone in the US destroying the Liberty Bell to protest losing part of their yard to a road widening project.