Arts&Culture Lifestyle Social&Human Interest
In MyungJu-Dong, which is home to the most elderly residents in downtown Gangneung, the citizens live well and at ease. After the 2018 Winter Olympics, those secluded alleys became crowded due to so many visitors every weekend, and many old houses were turned into new cafes. ‘Little Garden’ was created by the elderly - they are all grandmas, and are addressed as ‘Unnie’(which means sister) - who have lived in this town for over 30 to 70 years. Once a month, the Unnies have a regular meeting. They grow flowers in the alley, take pictures with their smartphones, and share their photos with each other. And this year, they decided to make a short drama film about their own story. Can they endure the tough process of film-making, and finally produce their film? Can they protect their existence from the outside forces that are rapidly changing their community?
The 'century generation,’ the ‘grey shock,’ the ‘second act of life’... an aged society where the elderly make up the main part of the population in Korea is an unavoidable reality. Yet we are still frightened by growing old. The world tells us to take various insurances, perhaps start a business for our later years, seemingly as if a threat rather than an advice. Old people have become a ‘problem,’ and have lost their value as an individual who simply ‘exists.’ Old age is commonly described as a monotonous grey-colored life, but it could still contain a brand new start and a time to have an extensive life experience. Even though it’s a less active period, it can add great depth. What is really given up in old age is the amount of activity, and has nothing to do with existence. Just living in a different way, not in a bland way. They live differently but it is still a full life, or perhaps a more mature life.
People in their twilight years sometimes lose touch with family. Their parents have already passed away, their children have grown up and created their own lives. They are free from those responsibilities, and at last they step up into the world. It now remains for them to discover a new world of possibilities, and the friendships made with those around them. Through the ‘little garden’ project, we can find the truth of the bond among the ‘Unnies’(grandmas) who has been living together in the same town for 30-40 years.