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Rubber Ducks and Selfie Sticks

Lurking in the monstrous shadow of Seoul’s, yet to be completed, 123 floor Lotte World Tower, is a rather unassuming creature.

Vivid yellow, rubbery, with a bright orange beak and cute little tail, it’s pure childhood fantasy. It’s 20 metres of giant rubber duck, brought to Seokchon Lake, to soothe the ruffled feathers of the masses. You see, according to Florentijn Hofman, it’s creator, the Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesnโ€™t discriminate people and doesnโ€™t have a political connotation.”


Standing in front of it’s giant bulk, it’s obvious. The duck surveys the mass of visitors with placid black eyes fixed on a point impossible for mere humans to discern.

The duck, it seems, is meditating.

No matter. The crowd is oblivious to the duck’s serenity. Armed with cameras, smartphones, couple look and cutesy poses, they converge upon the scene en-masse, each more determined than the other to capture the selfie of the century.

I, on the other hand, stand on the sidelines unsure of whether the gargantuan rubber duck, or plethora of obnoxious selfie sticks is more photo-worthy.

*Let’s play, count the selfie sticks!!

It’s not that I haven’t seen the selfie stick before. In Gangnam, home of the ultra self-obsessed, the doenjang girls wield their new weapon of choice this way and that, seeking the perfect angle from which to take their next Instagram selfie, completely unaware of the normal people walking down the street trying not to get speared.

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As if it wasn’t hard enough to navigate Seoul’s super congested streets as it is…?

The Rubber Duck Project
Created in 2007 by Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, the giant rubber duck aims to “spread joy around the world,” by recalling childhood memories. So far, the duck has floated in 22 different bodies of water in 15 different countries, including France, New Zealand, Vietnam and Azerbaijan.

Built of over 200 pieces of PVC, the rubber duck has experienced not just joy, but also great suffering in it’s short life. Deflated and re-inflated in both Hong Kong and Seoul, stabbed 42 times in Belgium, exploded in Taiwan and swept away during floods in China, it’s a wonder the duck is able to maintain its easy demeanour.

The giant rubber duck (or lover duck as it’s known by many Koreans – haha), is floating atop Seokchon Lake in Seoul until November 14th.

Has the selfie stick made an appearance in your hometown? Yay or nay? What do you think?

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the duck! We actually just saw the selfie stick not too long ago here in wine country. I thought it was a very inventive idea but I don’t think my purse is big enough to carry it with us!

    November 7, 2014
    • I was wondering if it had made it to North America yet!! It’s completely taken over here, and it’s literally hard to walk in some areas for fear of losing an eye. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      November 7, 2014
  2. That duck has been everywhere. Last time I saw it was in Sydney! Also, Seoul was the only reason why I too, have a selfie stick haha. Safe travels!

    November 7, 2014
    • The duck is indeed a world traveler. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lol… you succumbed to the selfie stick while here!!? Haha…do you also use it at home now?

      November 7, 2014
  3. The selfie stick is all too real everywhere I’ve been lately, and I can say I’m among the people that has been hit by somebody with a rogue selfie stick, unaware that there are people trying to walk around. At any rate, the Rubber Duck project sounds cool!

    November 10, 2014
    • Serious?! The selfie stick is in Italy?! I am surprised that it’s made it all the way there. My goodness, it’s getting ridiculous. I feel like I need safety glasses to walk the street of Seoul these days!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yeah, the rubber duck makes me giggle. I thought it was pretty amusing that it’d been stabbed 42 times in Belgium. I wonder what the social statement is there??

      November 10, 2014
  4. Love the idea behind the rubber duck but think, like you, I’d probably be more entertained by the selfie sticks. I’m sure it gets quite annoying for you, but I had to chuckle at the thought of trying to dodge them in the streets!

    November 10, 2014
    • I was actually in total awe of the sheer number of selfie sticks in the crowd. I swear every other person had one there! I mean, there were so many, it distracted me from the 20 metre tall glow in the dark floating rubber duck… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      November 11, 2014
  5. I haven’t seen a selfie stick. I only saw it on an flight brochure. I didn’t think people actually use it. And now to see that many … whoa!
    You gotta love public art.

    November 16, 2014
    • OMG! You haven’t seen a selfie stick yet? I thought they’d taken over the world for sure… ๐Ÿ˜€ They are everywhere here. Gah!! Honestly they’re kind of annoying, mostly because people are kind of oblivious to the fact that other people are around, trying not to get stabbed. I’ve survived so far though… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      November 16, 2014
  6. Ah I should have known the selfie stick would become big in Korea! They seem to be gaining popularity here in the UK too though… I feel like they could maybe come in handy if you were travelling and didn’t want to always ask other people to take a photo of you, but that probably isn’t what they are being used for ๐Ÿ˜‰

    November 18, 2014
    • Lol, they are outta control here. Well, having lived here, you know what the level of self-absorption can be like. My goodness, it’s getting difficult to walk around the city unscathed! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Totally agree that it would be useful when traveling for taking photos of yourself, or even a group without having to ask someone else. I know there are many times when I wished for such a thing while on the road…

      November 19, 2014

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