Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chain Gang

One of the things that really sticks in my mind about the rural Japan of yesteryear is the way that when a new house needed to be built in the village, everyone in the community would get together and spend a day or so building it. The same thing also happened in Korea.

These days we're used to seeing cranes and heavy machinery of various kinds erecting our more modern buildings in the cities, but if those community builders of old could be brought into the modern day and given the task of constructing a small high-rise office block, I think it would look very much like the scene I captured in this photograph yesterday. A human chain passes metal poles hand to hand from the ground up towards the top of the building, and as far as I could tell, the only tethering some of the workers had to the scaffolding was that provided by wrapping a leg around the metalwork. While it was slightly unnerving to see, it certainly meant that construction was progressing at a rapid speed.

Meanwhile people walk by obliviously almost directly underneath... which raises some interesting questions, but this being Korea one must consider the maxim that if something bad happens to you it's probably your fault for not being more careful.

And what are they building? A hospital...

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