A drawing that has
recently been floating around the Internet shows happy-looking couples
skating hand in hand on an outdoor ice rink. The scene includes a young
girl who has slipped and fallen, and is kindly being helped up by her
boyfriend. With white snow falling lightly over the happy lovers, it's
perfectly romantic and sentimental.
However, in the corner
of this beautiful but contrived scene is a sullen-looking female
crouching on a sleigh, looking sad and all alone. While the rest of the
picture is rendered in soft pastel colors, she is in dirty gray and
black and looks like a cross between Golem and a gargoyle. Her name is
Solo, and according to the drawing's creator, she represents the fate of
single people all over Korea.
The drawing is one of
a series of nine works by Chung Son-young, titled ``I Am From the
Invincible Solo Brigade.'' The series is tongue-in-cheek and is akin to
``Where's Waldo?'' except in Chung's illustrations, viewers are asked to
find Solo in a crowd of couples.
Chung said the
pictures were based on her own experiences.
often go shopping to buy things,'' she said. ``One day when I was on my
way home struggling to carry a heavy shopping basket all by myself, I
saw a woman whose boyfriend was carrying the bags for her. I was
envious. I thought that it was very possible that other single people
could also have the same kinds of experience. So I drew on it as work
for my major subject.''
Her sad shopping
experience became the inspiration for her first Solo drawing, which she
uploaded onto her personal Web site (www.cyworld.com/son02da) in May.
Since then, Chung, a 22-year-old illustration major at Kongju National
University, has completed eight other pictures in the same vein, in such
romantic settings as coffee shops, playgrounds, rainy streets and
Her drawings have
struck a chord with singles in the nation. Hundreds of Internet users
visit her homepage every day and each of the nine pictures are being
continuously scrapped. Her message board is also overwhelmed with
various comments from wishing her luck in finding a nice boyfriend to
expressing their gratitude for having presented such pretty and funny
pictures. One poster wrote that although the pictures were very funny,
he felt somewhat bitter at the end, because he was reminded of his
lonely situation as a single.
Chung's pictures are
part of a loose movement of Internet artists called ``Solo Pudae
(Singles Brigade),'' offering a humorous look into single life. The term
was first coined last winter by 25-year-old university student Kim Min-hyung,
who jokingly urged young single people to fight against the domination
of Internet galleries by romantic couple pictures. Kim created parodies
of propaganda posters from World War II and anti-couple slogans like
``Heaven for Single, Hell for Couples'' and ``Christmas Is Best When You
Spend It With Your Family,'' rather than with a date.
``Solo Pudae'' went
onto become one of the top search words in Internet portal sites last
winter, and it is again so this holiday season. Also, a small
cyber-battle began when couples then counterattacked with the creation
of ``Couple Pudae (Couples Brigade).''
Along with Chung's
popular Solo drawings, the ``Solo Brigade'' have rounded up other
allies. Yang Jae-bong created an e-card titled ``Ill-Natured Carol
Song,'' which is available at the Web site Barunson (www.barunson.com),
where he works as a manager. It features songs and animations showing a
single person who spends Christmas alone, determined to ruin the
romantic mood of couples during the holidays. In contrast to the
sweetness of the card's melody and the cuteness of the characters, the
lyrics are quite hateful and bitter (``I'm the one who is single/ It
drives me mad'' or ``You couples are all dead''). Nevertheless, it has
become the most popular card on the Web site for four consecutive weeks
since its first appearance on Dec.7.