With enforcement of traffic laws being the travesty that it is in Korea, the plebeians of this mud-locked southerly prepuce must often resort to Mad Max measures when making their way through the grind of daily transit. Parking is a great example of this. Most of the cars you see parked on the street every day in Korea are in fact parked illegally—the laws are clear on that—but the authorities don’t make any sustained efforts to combat these innumerable parking infractions. This makes parking very convenient; it also makes life chaotic.
It’s sort of like how you can shoot an AK-47 off in Somalia like it’s nobody’s business. But that’s why Somalia’s Somalia.
With the absence of a central authority to keep the chaos at bay, people start engaging in low-intensity guerrilla warfare over illegal parking spots. This includes tossing old tires, plastic bins, and other junk onto the side of the road to act as strategic territorial markings. The smaller, heavier and more numerous the obstructive junk is, the better. It’s a lot like the Drachenzähne used to hinder tanks during WWII. This is maddening for those of us who live in “””villas””” because there’s no underground parking where we live, only Mad Max subterfuge.
One particular shop next to my place has prime parking real estate, but the owner got wise to us and put out a half dozen small, heavy plastic jugs filled with water in front of his business so that no one would bother to park there. Numerous heavy objects do the trick because they’re a pain to move, so I no longer park there. Now there aren’t any cars blocking the vinyl eyesores plastered all over his shop windows offering the exact same shit the guy across the street from him is offering. Hallelujah.
Another local business has caught on to this defensive ploy and has begun putting big, lightweight plastic shit all along the street to keep locals, particularly me, from parking there. I’ve responded by simply pulling into the spot and gingerly pushing the plastic shit out of the way with my bumper. When I leave the business owner restores the plastic junk to its original place, though probably more angrily each time. He tried half-filling his plastic shit with water to make it heavier, but it was still light enough to kick into the gutter without even getting out of the car. So not long ago he filled it to the top. In international relations studies, we call this the classic security dilemma. I then responded to his provocation by dumping the water out of his plastic shit late at night and throwing it on a trash pile a few blocks down the road, after sweeping the area for CCTV cameras, of course. Not sure what he’ll do next.