Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Government Works

On the walk to school yesterday, I noticed that the railing on a section of the sidewalk along the main road to Gimpo Airport had been removed. They just finished putting it in a few months ago, when they were reorganizing the bus flow.

The inter-zone and station buses now travel the center lanes of the main roads in my area, as part of a plan being phased in throughout the city. This meant the construction of islands for the bus stops, and sidewalk railings to funnel bus passengers to the crosswalk--or at least discourage them from making a dash across three lanes of traffic to catch a bus. (Scroll halfway down this post and you can see a couple shots of the new bus stop.)

Anyway, I pointed this out to Mr Hwang, and he gestured to this large Hi Seoul banner that was strung up overhead. "It says, they are replacing walkway with new bricks," he told me.

I looked at the sidewalk. The pavers were straight, even and in good shape. I looked back at him and smiled. "Yeah," I said, "just look at these bricks. They just lay there, and don't do anything!"

He got it, and laughed.

"Seriously, though, why are they replacing them? There's nothing wrong with them."

"It is coming up end of year," he pointed out. "So government must spend--"

"Ah," I said, "they must spend their budget, or lose it in next year's appropriation." We nodded, wise in the ways of the world. "It's the same in America. Still, they could just buy more books for the library," I suggested. I like libraries.

Cut to the end of today. I have classes back to back with Miss Lee 이정헌 on Thursday, and we usually spend some time deconstructing the week's first grade lesson. Miss Lee, incidentally, turned up this week with a new hairstyle and some new clothes, a fact noticed with approval by the 1500 teenaged boys of Young-il HS.

At the end of our debriefing, she tells me, "By the way, if there are any books you want for your students, you can tell to the school librarian, and she will order them for you to be purchased for Young-il High School Library."

Yeah, I have looked through the English section of the school library, and it took two minutes. So, I start to list some things we might get, and point out I'll take a few days to work up a list. Readers are invited to make suggestions via the comment form below.

She says that's fine, and adds, "Right now is the good time of year to place the order with her, because--"

"Ah!" I said. "She must spend all the budget money before the end of the year."

"Yes, how did you know about this thing?"

I smiled. "I think America invented it."

1 comment:

Chris said...

Where the Red Fern Grows....and Fight Club. I think those are the only two books I have ever read word for word. Haha!