South Korea's ‘Poop School’ to change name

South Korean students. (AFP)
Updated 18 August 2017
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South Korea's ‘Poop School’ to change name

SEOUL: A South Korean elementary school whose name means "shit" has decided to adopt a more fragrant moniker, school officials said Friday.
Many Korean names and words are based on Chinese characters, so when rendered in the Hangul alphabet they can have the same spelling, but multiple meanings.
The unfortunate consequence for the Daebyun Elementary School in Busan is that human faeces are the first thing that come to mind when Koreans hear its name.
"Are you from Poop School?" was a typical taunt students and former pupils have endured for 55 years, reports said.
They have mounted a campaign to change the name, gathering more than 4,000 signatures since April, a school official who declined to give her name told AFP.
"We want to have a pretty school name," read a banner put up on the school wall by the students and their parents.
A school committee will choose among three options next week and submit a request to local authorities to change the name, she said, with permission expected to be granted from the spring term next year.
One of them, Haeparang or sea waves, would flush away the stench of the past, while the other two are geographically based.
Founded in 1963, the school, which has 77 students, was named after a village called Daebyun-ri, a shortening of the nearby Daedonggobyunpo port, or Daedong Warehouse Coast.
The Kyunghyang Sinmun daily said other schools also have embarrassing homographs, including Jungja (sperm), Junggwan (seminal duct), Yadong (pornography) and Mulgun (prick).
None of the four said they were considering changing their names, they told AFP.
"Absolutely not," said an employee of the Mulgun school, in the southeastern county of Namhae. "That would be absurd."
Last year, Japan's Kinki University bowed to years of foreign sniggering by changing its nomenclature to the less saucy-sounding "Kindai".


Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

Updated 15 June 2019
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Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

  • The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years
  • The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan in urgent need of protection

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: An ancient tower dating back 2,000 years in the historic Afghan city of Ghazni collapsed this week, local officials said, raising concerns about the vulnerability of the country’s cultural heritage and the government’s ability to protect them.
The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years due to decades of war, heavy rain and neglect.
The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan — ranging from the pre-Islamic Buddhist center in the Bamyan valley to the 12th century minaret of Jam in a remote area of Ghor province — in urgent need of protection.
Officials in Ghazni, which nearly fell to the Taliban last year in some of the heaviest fighting seen in the war, said the tower collapsed on Tuesday following heavy rain. A short video posted on social media shows it crumbling but local residents say negligence also contributed to its collapse.
“The government paid no attention to the sites and didn’t build canals to divert flood water,” said Ghulam Sakhi, who lives near the citadel.
“We have warned the government about the dire condition of the citadel but no one visited,” Sakhi said.
Mahbubullah Rahmani, acting director of culture and information in Ghazni, said heavy rain and recent fighting had contributed to the tower’s collapse but said the government was working on a plan to protect the site from complete destruction.
He said a German archaeologist had worked at the site as recently as 2013.
Ghazni, a strategically vital center on the main highway between Kabul and southern Afghanistan and two hour drive from the capital, is home to a range of cultural and archaeological artefacts, some of which date back to pre-Islamic period.
The province and its cultural heritage was officially declared as Asian Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a Morocco-based body created in 1981, supported by UNESCO.
The collapse of the tower in Ghazni follows concern over the condition of the 900-year-old Minaret of Jam, in Ghor, which has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.
The Taliban during their austere regime from 1996-2001, before they were toppled by the US and coalition force in late 2001, blew up two giant Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province, calling them idols.