Friday, March 30, 2007

days of the week

Many cars in Seoul have a color-coded sticker on their windshield that is associated with the government's "No-Driving Day" campaign to reduce pollution and traffic. In short, once a week (Monday-Friday) you should leave your car at home and take public transportation just to be nice to the environment and other people living in this bustling metropolis. Additionally, according to an announcement on the Seoul Metropolitan Government website there are some major perks involved:

At present, car owners participating in the "No-Driving Day" system receive a 5% discount on their vehicle tax, a 2.7% reduction in car insurance premiums (Meritz), and a 50% reduction in tolls for passage through the Namsan Tunnels 1 and 3.

Good stuff! Other incentives are being developed, like free public parking (starting 7/07). But you have switch to the special new electronic tag because the old paper sticker won't get you any good stuff come July. These new ones were developed so they can catch the people driving on their "No-Driving Day" with some kind of super-Korean technology (or just RFID tags). 오빠 is watching!

Of course, I love this program because it's attempting to do something about the nasty air in Seoul--even if they are kinda tricking/bribing people into doing it. But here's the funny bit, before I knew anything about this campaign I was just tickled by these stickers. For someone like myself--a non-driving, sticker-loving, lazy student of the Korean language--these stickers served a whole different purpose. Since my mind is like a sieve sometimes, I created a little game for myself. As I walk through the city I quiz myself on the days of the week in Korean. I get points, and if I do well, I take myself out for ice cream or allow myself to buy yet another a new journal with bad English on it. I mean you can never have too many of those anyway, right?

Moon Day

Fire Day

Water Day

Wood Day

Gold Day
VIOLET (but it should be yellow)

There aren't stickers for the weekend, but SATURDAY is 토요일(Earth Day) and the easiest is SUNDAY, 일요일 (Sun Day).

1 comment:

Joe in Korea said...

There is nothing more frustrating than being cut off or nearly killed by someone driving a car on their "off" day.

"HEY! You shouldn't even be driving today! How dare you cut me off!"

I'm glad to hear that they plan to go with an electronic version. Too many people abuse the current system in order to get the perks.

Currently, I don't have the sticker because I don't want to face that moral conundrum. (I really want to drive, but it's may day to take transportation, but I really need to stop off at Costco on my way home... but I'm not supposed to drive... Oh crap, I'll just drive and hope I don't get stopped at the random checkpoint.)