Journey To The Land of S(e)oul (Part VII) : Jewel in the Palace

Months before my visit to South Korea, I registered for Cheong Wa Dae tour. My main objective is simply to see the presidential palace with my own eyes. Little did I know that the Blue House, which was the centre of the government of modern Korea is located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was the home of the King and government of old Joseon. I was not even a South Korean, but I was proud to see the Blue House, where current government located itself near the great old palace, as if mimicking the great Joseon Dynasty. It brings the people closer to home, closer to the root they were proud of.

Entering the Gyeongbokgung Palace
The emerald green filled the interior of the palace inspired the background colour of The Palace scarf

The scarf is framed by yellow, blue & orange lotus flowers motives which mostly found on the doors of traditional houses in Bukchan Hanok Village
Our guides for Cheong Wa Dae tour consisted of government officials.  Most of them were handsome with their tall built, all dressed up in crisp suit. They wore earpiece and I stood there waiting for our turn while wondering if I was in a K-drama.  The government officials were helpful and friendly too.  I wondered if most the royal guard in the past were as good-looking as they were portrayed in the drama.

My tour session was scheduled together with kindergarten students.  While having to fight the din of schoolchildren's voice, it was a great experience to be able to see their happiness and pride to be on this trip.  Kids don't lie.  Event their eyes speak the truth.  I remember how proud I was to be able to explore the historical Malacca when I was their age.

Gyeongbokgung Palace was a fantastic historical building and it was once the home of The Great King Sejong.  Even the gate looked grand.  With Haechi guarding it left and right, it was hard to forget how Joseon was a sovereign and respected kingdom in the past.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
When I visited the Blue House, I can't help but notice some similarities in current presidential palace and the ancient Gyeongbokgung Palace. Of course, the many colours that hold different meanings in the old palace was absent on the Blue House. However, the prominent architecture was there if one looks properly at both palaces. The most noticeable to me was the console, or bracket structures that hold the head of the structure. I felt honoured to be able to witness the great legacy being passed down through generations and being displayed to silently speak the remarkable culture of Korea.

Gyeongbokgung Palace was intensively damaged during the Japanese invasion in the early 1900s.  The government of the Republic had put mass effort in restoring it to its previous glory.  It got me thinking about why we did not restore our Malacca Palace. It will remind us of our glory days and motivate us to continue defending the sovereignty of our country.

After all, as George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

...continue in (Part VIII)...


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