Meeting Mao in Busan, Korea

Who would have thought that Communist leader Mao Zedong leaves a rare legacy in the land of K-Pop?

During my visit in Busan, South Korea in late November, I had the chance to eat at this casual dining restaurant which is a few blocks away from our hotel in Haeundae. It was the second day of the Busan Global Civil Society Forum (BCSF), the preparatory meet of CSO representatives for the High-Level aid forum, and some civil society friends thought of eating a hearty dinner somewhere near after a tiring day. They tugged me to this restaurant, interestingly named after Mao.

Entering the cozy resto, one would notice the two Mao portraits (one was of young Mao and the other of adult Mao) adorning the walls. Other paintings depict Chinese culture (unfortunately I cannot read Chinese characters inscribed on and below the paintings).

But the catchiest display of all is the rare ten-feet long panoramic photo of Chairman Mao with dozens of Red fighters taken in 1964. As I gaze over the photo, I felt like I discovered a rare gem in the midst of metropolitan jungle. This is not the kind of material usually displayed in mall museums and art exhibits.

[Trivia: Mao did not set foot on the Korean peninsula]

Close-up: Mao (second from the left, front row) sits beside Zhou Enlai (man in black robe), China's first premiere.

Indeed it was a treat taking shots of the paintings and old photos that I forgot to pay attention to the exquisite taste of the food. In fact, I don’t have photos of the marinated pork slices and soup which we ate. 😐

In any case, the presence of the panoramic photo in Busan still puzzles me. Could it be that the owner of the resto is a believer of the socialist cause? Or did he/she buy it somewhere? I know I should have been extra inquisitive on that night, my regrets.


Happy birthday Mao!


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