Friday, July 28, 2006

When is a cliche not a cliche?

I got a bit of a giggle out of this in the Joongang:

There is something horribly cliche-ridden about branding random Asian cities with the names of famous European capitals.  Why should the Han River be "Asia's Seine" or Huistenbosch "Kyushu's Netherlands"?  

Yet when it comes to Tongyeong, a snug port city on the southern coast of South Gyeongsang province, some of the comparisons made with the city are understandable, if in odd ways.  

There is Tongyeong the "Naples of Asia," an image which parallels raw images of the Italian port, surrounded by dingy fishermen's restaurants and old, run-down motels.  Then there is Tongyeong the "Salzburg of Asia," a catchy slogan, which the city government swiftly picked up after a German reporter used it to describe the site of a music festival that was held in the city in 2000 as a homage to exiled composer Yun I-sang.  

Whether it's a coincidence or not, both Mozart and Yun happen to share the composition of serene and melancholy music and a sense of pathos in their lives. 

So there is something horribly cliched, except of course when a reporter and a city are too lazy to market a city otherwise?


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