South Korea: Against Wanton Desires

The crowd stood in awed silence as soldiers and customs officers heaped expensive clothes, cosmetics, toys and dress accessories into a vast pile and poured gasoline over it. With torches they set fire to the whole lot of goods, while women shrieked: "What a waste!" When the bonfire had died on White Sand Beach near Seoul last week, $20,000 in small luxuries had been destroyed. Since then the brightest lights on Korea's bleak landscape are from bonfires: a $100,000 blaze in Pusan, a $40,000 fire in Masan. Other fires are due in Seoul until $230,000...

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