Awards ... and rewards

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Awards ... and rewards

The votes are in and August is nearly done, so it’s time for Itaewon Wanderings to name its Excellent Itaewonian.
If you missed it, back in our June 24 column we started a survey, coinciding with a similar one by BBC World, in which we invited JoongAng Daily readers to vote for their favorite Itaewonian. The winner, we said, would be honored in this column and maybe get a cool prize.
As for the BBC’s survey, you know if you watch TV that the BBC folks had for months been hyping their “Great Briton” poll, and saying they would release the results on TV in August. But August is here and there’s no sign yet of a televised program about the results. The silence reminds us of that Hutton Inquiry that Great Britain is staging now, to determine whether Tony Blair or the BBC is the bigger liar. Early on, when it looked bad for Mr. Blair, the BBC was all over the “sexing-up” story. But now that the facts are coming in ― and it looks bad for the Beeb ― they’re ignoring it.
Despite the TV silence, the BBC poll results have been posted on its Web site. We were pulling for Winston Churchill, who is far and away the greatest Briton, especially considering how much he drank. Dismayingly, though, the Nazi-slayer finished second to Isaac Newton, with 17 percent of the vote to the gravity geek’s 21 percent. Word is, science-minded Indians flooded the vote. And suggesting how many dumb people are walking the earth, Princess Diana came in third, and John Lennon sixth.
Actually, we’re pretty sure that Churchill would have won the survey hands down if not for one small thing ― dead Jews weren’t allowed to vote.
Our favorite for Excellent Itaewonian, Mr. Lee from Stompers, also failed to win, as our vote was flooded, too. Regulars from the Seoul Pub all voted for their man, Tony Brown, one of Itaewon’s most longevitous expats.
We were all set to honor Mr. Brown, but then we suddenly got a call from an official at the Ministry of Gender Equality who had heard about our poll. She wanted the award to go to a female, she said, and promised to wine and dine us if we would arrange for that.
Not wanting to be the only persons in the country turning down bribes, we agreed to the request, and have chosen an excellent woman, Park Jeong-ah, as the Excellent Itaewonian.
Ms. Park, who drinks J&B and Coke, mixes an intriguing and sometimes intimidating blend of foxiness and moxiness. She has been living in Itaewon and working in its bars since 1988, when she outgrew and fled her native Busan. Despite 15 years of staying up all night and drinking men twice her size under tables, she looks great.
Until recently Ms. Park, age unknown, was working at the Attic, a few steps from Burger King. Before that she worked at joints like the newer place Justin or the prehistoric place Bonanza. Over the years she’s stolen scores of men’s hearts, which she keeps at home in a kimchi refrigerator.
What’s Ms. Park’s prize? We’re talking with the ministry about that. Hopefully the government can bleed Hyundai of a little more cash and send it our way.

by Mike Ferrin
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