Lonely Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream winds through downtown Seoul, a once bustling but fouled waterway that was concreted over after the Korean War to build the expressways needed to accommodate the city’s expansion.

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Now reclaimed, the stream is a public park. With the city emptied out during Lunar New Year, it becomes a place of pilgrimage for solitary walkers—almost always men—tiny against the massive pillars and the pale expanses of yellowed grass. The sepia landscape, the half-demolished infrastructure and the whiplash winter winds blowing down from streets that have emptied for the holidays lend the whole city an apocalyptic air.

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Shrinking family sizes, an ageing population and a gradual deterioration of the traditional sense of Confucian duty are creating an atomised society and driving an epidemic of loneliness in urban Asia.

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

Photo Credit: Peter Guest / Jamaica Discipline

© Peter Guest

 

May 18, 2018

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