Monday, November 12, 2012

Thursday, November 01, 2012

평화의 전당

Grand Peace Palace (평화의 전당, 和平殿堂)
Standing at a vantage point inside Kyunghee University's Seoul campus is a Gothic-inspired ornate building, which to the the uninitiated, could easily be mistaken as a cathedral. The Peace Palace (평화의 전당), as it is named, has a "stormy past", quite opposite of what its name may suggest.

Construction of the Peace Palace started on June 1976 but it was not until October 1999 that the building was officially open. From the start to completion, two decades was a long time to wait and the reason was not that of magnitude or difficulty in construction. According to my teacher, construction was halted due to security concern. Some classified building was said to be in the vicinity and the height of the Peace Palace was assessed a security threat. It was not until the classified building was moved that the construction was allowed to resume. The Peace Palace stood half-complete and unchange for many years and for that, it earned itself the nickname, "봉비누". "봉비누" is a kind of soap bar commonly seen in toilets in Korea. It is normally blue in colour and has a hole in the centre meant for insertion onto a metal holder. The interesting thing about this soap is, its egg-shape (except its size) does not change, no matter how much it is being used.

The Peace Palace occupying the vantage point in the campus
The Peace Palace is a prime venue for graduation ceremony, arts and cultural performance. With a seating capacity of 4,500, it is billed as the largest performance venue in Asia. The irony about this building is the public uses it more than the students of KHU. The only time I got to see the interior of the building was when I bought a ticket to a musical staged there. As I entered the building, I was instantly overwhelmed. Everything about it, was nothing short of grandeur and splendour. Above the main entrance, which led into the grand hall, were these wordings - 《인간에겐 사랑을 인류에겐 평화를》 (Love to Human, Peace to Humanity).

Interior of the Peace Palace

For a good view of the building's interior, you can watch the following music video, by a new duet group, 15&, which was filmed there.

"I dream" by 15&
(Some thought after watching the video: How do you nurture talents? Give them a stage.)