Greeting the New Year with the People

I am greeting the New Year with our citizens.
This year, I promise to look every Seoul citizen squarely in the eye.

People say that it is darkest just before the dawn.
Just as dawn overcomes darkness, I will make 2015 a year that is the opposite of darkness, despair and impossibility.

I will look for questions and answers for every Seoul citizen.
By looking only at Seoul citizens, I will help the coming of a “spring” for Seoul citizens.

A Warm Round of Applause for “Growth” as Well as “Success”

I look back on this year.

Did I send a warm round of applause for “growth” as well as “success” this year?

Did I choose “right” instead of “quick”?

Once again, I recommit myself to the vision I have long held dear.

The dream of our citizens is the dream of Seoul.
Together with our citizens, I will make Seoul a city where the dream of “More” is realized. I wish you a great New Year of 2015, where the lives of our citizens are enriched and full.

Now You Can Use Your Credit Card at Traditional Markets

Guess what I’m doing in this picture!

I’ve just signed an agreement to start using credit cards at the traditional markets in Mangwon Market, in Mapo-gu, and now I’m testing it!

Starting on January 1, customers can use their credit cards and even transportation cards at traditional markets, including Mangwon Market in Mapo-gu, Gildong Market in Gangdong-gu, Sinwon Market in Gwanak-gu, Sinchang Market in Dobong-gu, Yeongcheon Market in Seodaemun-gu, and Jeongneung Market in Seongbuk-gu. Also, when you use a transportation card, you can get a transfer discount as well! If you just touch the bus card on the reader, the transaction goes through automatically. The fee is nominal, you can just buy a batch of spring onions, and when you use public transportation, you even get a discount!

There were tons of people at Mangwon Market today. I will do my best to make it a huge hit!

Efforts to Break Down Silos in Workplaces

Several days ago, the Seoul Metropolitan Government conducted an “experiment” of removing the cubicles in offices to strengthen cooperation and communication among departments.

On the 18th, from 3pm to 6pm, I got together with about 50 deputy mayors and director generals in the Main Conference Hall, on the third floor of the City Hall, in a program called “Collective Intelligence Square.” There we worked without cubicles, freely discussing and collaborating together.

This Collective Intelligence Square was modeled on Hyundai Card’s “Market Place,” where workers carry out discussions and conversations only with their laptops and necessary documents in a place without silos.

The Seoul Government officials who participated in the Collective Intelligence Square program also do not have designated desks, and they can work wherever they want. Particularly, when you need cooperation from other departments and divisions, you can freely exchange information and opinion through impromptu meetings.

The Collective Intelligence Square will consist of ▲ Office without Cubicles (Workplace) ▲Open Office of the Mayor ▲ Finale Discussion Room (Meeting Hall) ▲ Anybody Consultation Room ▲ The Wall of Post-It Discussions ▲ Sparrow Mill, and ▲ Seoul Imagination Place. Through face-to-face communication, our government was able to realize the need and the effects of cooperation among departments.

I was doubtful of its effects at the beginning, but it was amazing! So we will continue this program. So stay tuned!

Think about Those Who Will Spend the Cold Winter without a Place to Call Home…

Thinking about those who will have to spend this cold winter without a place to call home, I paid a visit to the dosshouse town in Dongja-dong.

Do you know where the place in the picture is located?

It’s a place you think more of when it gets cold.

Everyone has some kind of a memory here with his or her parents.

It’s a place where you become more honest.

Can you guess where it is?

Today, we were all there, fully clothed.

This place, a bathhouse no longer in use, was turned into a great meeting place for the residents.

If you think outside the box, your life can change.

Now that the popular Korean drama “Misaeng” (Incomplete Life) is over, I hope that you spend this weekend looking in on your neighbors.

Paths exist for us all to walk forward and to look around ourselves.

Presents from Santa-for-the-Day

I put on a Santa costume and paid surprise visits to Seoul residents currently experiencing many difficulties in this freezing cold weather.
I went to Gwanak Residents’ Association, an organization that has consistently helped better the lives of the district residents. Along with 100 citizen Santas, I delivered gifts of rice and other necessities to the elderly living alone.

This program wasn’t simply the one-off delivery of presents, but rather, the people in the program became family members of the elderly by continuously providing support and forming a relationship with them. Indeed, it was like a “birth of a family.”

For this winter, I plan to continue inspecting the lives of our citizens, until the 25th, to personally meet with low-double income families and Seoul citizens with a disability, listen to their hardships, and come up with ways to make improvements in their lives.

Enacting the “Seoul Charter of Human Rights”

I would like to bow my head and apologize to every Seoul citizen and those citizens, who were part of the Citizens’ Committee to pursue the enactment of the “Seoul Charter of Human Rights,” for the events that have taken place in the process of enacting the “Seoul Charter of Human rights.”

And I believe it is certainly heartbreaking that the Seoul Metropolitan Government was unable to come to an agreement with the Citizens’ Committee.

I should have been more cautious and more responsible, yet I could not.

And I am keenly aware that all the unsavory incidents that took place during the discussion are my responsibility,

I confess that it was a tough and severe time for me as my whole life’s work has been wrongfully repudiated through this incident.

But on the other hand, I was able to reflect on my life.

I lost sleep over preserving my identity as a former civil rights worker and a human rights lawyer, the rigid fact that I am currently the incumbent mayor of Seoul, and my vision of becoming a mediator of conflict.

I was lost for words for a while.

Since the “Seoul Charter of Human Rights” is a social agreement and a promise that our citizens voluntarily proposed, I believed that the process of coming to an agreement is important for all.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government was unable to attend the declaration of the “Seoul Charter of Human Rights.”

But we fully appreciate the devotion of the Citizen Committee members who were dedicated in their resolve to draw out an agreement.
However, despite their efforts, I thought that we needed more time and deeper social discussion as we are faced with this brutal conflict.

I will fully take responsibility for all that follows my choice.

And I will work hard to eliminate all existing discrimination from where I am currently standing.

I still stand by my “initial pledge” to create a “Seoul without discrimination,” standing against every kind of discriminatory activity.

Anyone up for a Part-time Job in Seoul for the Winter?

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and 25 districts are recruiting 1,652 university students over the winter vacation for part-time jobs at the city government. They will be able to experience many of the different tasks that city officials have to take care of, such as helping citizens file complaints, supporting programs at the Citizens’ Hall, as well as assisting in administrative tasks, operating programs at Safety Experience Centers, the Arisu Study Class, and helping citizens use automatic complaint kiosks.

The work period will be from January 9, 2015, (Fri) to February 6 (Fri), and selected students will be assisting in administrative tasks for 25 days. They will work five days a week, five hours per day (not including 1 hour for lunch), and will receive a payment of KRW 32,900 (KRW 5,000 for lunch included).

The application, eligibility, and results of the application process will be available on the Mobile Seoul App, or you can contact the Dasan Call Center (120) or the Administrative Division at Seoul City Hall.

Although it’s not much, I hope this can be an opportunity for students to gain great experience over the vacation.

A Ceremony for the Appointment of Seoul’s Honorary Ambassadors

Today at lunch, we held a ceremony for the appointment of Seoul’s honorary ambassadors, who will share their love for the city and help realize the dreams of the city.

Here are the pictures of the honorary ambassadors who will be with us for the sixth term of the mayor elected by popular vote. Guess who they are!

These honorary ambassadors will be with the ten million citizens of Seoul in happiness and in sorrow despite their busy schedules. We thank them very much.

Seoul, a Historical City

It’s a Saturday, but even today, we’re thinking about “Seoul, a historical city.”

From 10am this morning, we’ve been holding discussions on various topics, including buried cultural properties, architecture, and folk customs from the site of ancient Seoul Baekje around the Songpa area to the Goryeo Dynasty, Joseon Dynasty, and the modern times.

Based on the results of these discussions, we will come up with a master plan for “Seoul, a historical city” and cultural contents spanning 2000 years.

A Memorial for the 4.16 Sewol Ferry Tragedy

Last April 16 was a day when the sky collapsed with sorrow.

“We’re sorry, and we’re sorry.” ‘
We could find no other words to say.
With our resolve to “never forget,”
We endured our sorrow.

The hearts of every single person who resolved to “never forget” will be gathered together at the permanent “Memorial Place for the April 16 Sewol Ferry Tragedy (3rd floor of the Seoul Public Library).

Here, the victims of the April 16 Sewol Ferry Tragedy will become stars in our hearts and guide us as a compass.

There is no future for those who forget the past.

Please come today to the first commemorative ceremony at the new “Memorial Place.”

With the families of the victims of the tragedy, the service starts at 1:30pm.

Seoul’s Pucca Bus

Following Tayo Bus and Larva Subway, now Pucca is here!

On the 17th, we signed a business agreement with Vooz Co., the creators of Pucca, regarding the use of Vooz’ characters. Prior to the signing of the agreement, the kiosks and shoe repair station in front of Lotte Department Store in Myeong-dong had been recreated as a Seoul train station and trains. The shop owners are happy and the passersby are taking pictures and loving it as well!

A fun and exciting Seoul will continue!