Wednesday, February 08, 2006

PMS: Numbers don't match!

Having visited Cheonggyecheon and blogged about how beautiful it was (Click 'HERE'), I decided to find out how much it cost.

On the official Cheonggyecheon website, it was quoted that:
Actual amount spent by September 2005: 386,739 million won

- Cheonggye official website

Hang on a minute...

Check out the cost breakdown posted on the website: 386,739 million Won seems to be the cost incurred only in 2005!

If you look at the cost breakdown carefully, you will find that something funky is going on. Try adding up the cost over the 3+ years, it's a total of 1,487,138 million!

Quoted numbers & cost breakdown DON'T match!

For those interested enough to see the cost breakdown page for yourself, go to the Cheonggyecheon homepage, and follow the links - Home > History > Restoration > Background.

Here's another point too ~ For convenience sake, let's just take the cost as USD$386 million. I was scratching my head like... Is it possible to plan, tear down 6 kilometers of highway in a densely populated urban area, remove all that rubble, re-route massive traffic, fancy publicity/PR, build a bunch of fancy monuments, throw in 3+ years, and spend ONLY USD$386 million??

In 2002, Yonhap news came out with a story with cost estimates prior to the start of the project. In the article, it mentions that it will cost (I quote) 900 billion won to restore Cheonggyecheon and 12 trillion won to develop the 792,000 square meter region over the next five years. Now that sounds a wee bit more reasonable!

I'm no accountant, but I believe this deserves to be tagged as Pretty Much Senseless (PMS). If it were a few dollars and cents, I really couldn't care less. But we're talking in the scale of hundreds of millions and billions of dollars here!

I believe this is quite a big boo boo. With all the PR going on, I don't think I'm the only one in the world watching this project. It is also quite a unique project, as far as scale, environmental impact and necessity(?) are concerned.


At February 08, 2006 10:53 PM, Anonymous G said...

"With Kurios1978 on the job, nothing slips by."

Seriously, though - good work, Holmes.

Reading about all of that money reminds me of the endless articles on the Big Dig in Boston (where they tore out a stretch of interstate and dug a tunnel for the traffic, while making parks and such in the newly-free space).

At February 08, 2006 11:38 PM, Anonymous Antonia said...

Most Koreans I know would see Cheonggyecheon as yet another national achievement. Them Koreans and their Korean pride, you know.

At February 09, 2006 8:32 AM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

G: That job is HUGE! Didn't that job go on for like... 6 years or something? Last I saw it in 2004, there were still on-going works! I wonder how much that costs... *evil grin

Antonia: Believe me. Living here, even the smallest Korean (or partly) related thing would be taken with great pride. BTW, welcome to the blog!

At February 09, 2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous Antonia said...

Thanks for the welcome~ :)
I kinda forgot where I got your link from.. probably from one of the blogs you read there. I'm a regular reader of (who's a fellow Kuchingite!)


At February 11, 2006 10:14 AM, Blogger Max said...

The project may have been expensive, but it really transformed the downtown area of Seoul. It's been a huge success as a local resident attraction, and also has succeeded in lowering the polution and summertime termperature levels of the surrounding area.

In perspective, perhaps the project's price wasn't that much. Flipping through a Seoul Visitor's Guide that I found neglected on my shelf, it quotes the 2002 daily local tax income for Seoul at 25,800,000,000 won. That's a lot of money to play with in a compact city.

Maybe it's even too much tax income, so I propose they cut the repressive fuel taxes and foreign product taxes!


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