The Lone Soldier

2015-02-02 13.14.17As with the troves of buses, it has become commonplace to see young policemen roaming the streets downtown by the palaces and city hall. What strikes me is not the duo of policemen seen walking around, as if their movement is to instill order in the city’s pedestrians; rather, it is the single policeman (never have I seen the single policewoman) that stands watch in various locations around the area. This one stands right outside the Kyobo Building in Gwanghwamun, and he looks not only bored but too young to actually do anything substantial if something were to happen. So then why the single policeman? Surveillance, yes, but what can he do (and see, and hear, and experience) that the countless CCTV cameras sprinkled around the city cannot do? His seeming disinterest in his post cannot escape the passerby, but perhaps his presence alone is enough to widen the gaze of the State. And his youthful exterior? He, like most (if not all?) of the policemen in the troves of buses and duos roaming the streets, are conscripted soldiers assigned to this ‘outpost’ of sorts. But let’s save the separation between military activities and police activities for another day.

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