It's common to have a work of art displayed at a lobby. In our building, a wooden sculpture made by an African artist is displayed (and ignored most of the time) at our building's lobby.
One plastic surgery clinic in Gangnam, however, has raised, or perhaps lowered, the term 'work of art' to another level.
Last year, I blogged about the prevalence of cosmetic surgery in Korea. In the Korean society, having or undergoing plastic surgery is not just a status symbol. It's also a source of personal pride, where one's self-esteem is basically dependent on how many parts of one's face were chiseled, overhauled, restyled, reduced or enlarged. (For a moment, I thought those words were describing a living room. Ha-ha-ha!)
Once I walked through the Sinsa Station, where photographs of the 'before' and 'after' faces of patients (and now, models!) filled up the cold walls of a train station, and realized how difficult it was for someone who wanted some 'improvement' on his or her physical appearance to choose which clinic to run to. There must be hundreds!
So, it wasn't a surprise to read the news last week that one plastic surgery clinic was fined because it displayed a collection of the bones chiseled off from the faces of the patients who wanted the shapes of their faces tapered. I was thinking, over these decades of plastic surgery, someone somewhere had collected, stored and piled up those bones as a trophy of achievement. Eww!
And the individual bones on displayed had the names of the patients who gave up a part of their facial anatomy in return for some self-esteem they weren't born with.
According to the news, the fine of three million won was for 'violating medical waste disposal regulations'. Even hospitals had to abide by these regulations. But in the case of this clinic, these bones are not medical waste, they're materials for a lobby display! I wonder how I would actually feel if I walked into its lobby. Walking into a cemetery with those bones and skulls would feel weird or eerie; and walking into a plastic surgery clinic's lobby with those sawed off faces would feel...glamorous??
I wonder where those bones are now. Perhaps, incinerated? Or maybe pulverized and sold as a powdered beauty drink? Another 'Eeew'! Ha-ha-ha!
Now, was your facial bone part of the display?
(Name that bone: A photo of the displayed collection of facial bones; photo from the Chosun Ilbo news)