Fighters in the ring of the law
As the year winds down in Seoul, highly-educated fighters dressed in business attire gather for a dramatic showdown. A sky-blue colored dome theater is the venue, and this year, it was again prepared for the upcoming event. Chairs, tables and other office furniture are stacked up on the floor to block people from entering rooms. Police officers stand guard as they surround the domed theater to prepare for any emergency situations. There are ambulances and medics. All entrances to the theater are closed, with tight security allowing only those with prior authorization to enter.
The match begins. Hundreds of people, who don’t look like mixed martial arts fighters, gather in front of the gate of the main event room. They are defenders. They discuss and plan their strategies. Chanting “Keep the position,” they form scrimmages. The opponent’s fighters roll up into the hall. The offenders also make a plan on how to break through defenders’ scrimmages. They stand ready to rush. Somebody from the attackers shouts “Let’s go.” All of the offenders including dozens of women make a dash. There’s pushing and shoving. The hall is filled with screams and shouts. Camera flashes are fired at them. It’s like a red carpet ceremony. Some fighters fall and collapse. One wounded person cries with pains. Immediately medics come and take her to a hospital.
When the bell rings to signal half time, both sides are separated for bracing up. Broken glasses, stray shoes, split ID cards and many belongings are scattered around the hall. A huge glass door at the main entrance is unsightly broken. All done? No! It was just the first round. There is more excitement to come. Now we are moving to the main theater, also known as ‘National Assembly plenary session hall.’ From the comfortable seats in the gallery, we can watch the main event.
The terms of victory are simple. It is all about taking over the speaker’s seat. The ensuing fight is similar to the one during the first round. There are two sides; one wants to keep their position and another tries to break them. Dozens of defenders stand around the speaker’s seat. Offenders slowly tighten their circular formation around the defenders. The offenders rush and dispose of the defenders one by one. Shouting and screaming echoes everywhere. Water bottles and paper signs fly over them. Aged and experienced participants sitting at the back side enjoy the situation and exchange jokes. Finally the winner of the 2010 sky-blue colored dome match is the offenders.
Where was this? Who are the fighters? I’m sorry to say it was the National Assembly and the participants were the country’s lawmakers and their legislative aides. They are lawmakers, not professional wrestlers or comedians. It looks like fun if you’re just watching this event on television. But this was a major political incident that warranted close news coverage. The honorable fighters normally continue their fighting for several days and nights. This year I was lucky. It finished in just one day. One local paper reported it as an international disgrace, carrying a Reuters Picture Highlight page of the event. I believe that it was indeed a disgrace. But the show will go on at the end of next year.