The Haeundae District Office has decided to rename a discriminatory “foreigner zone” as the Sun and Fun Zone and to allow anyone to use the area.
In late May, the office agreed to scrap its plan to have the Special Zone for Foreigners on Haeundae Beach and find an alternative name through a poll in collaboration with The Korea Observer.
The Office agreed to rename this zone as the “Sun and Fun Zone” which received the most votes on the poll.
“We plan to put up the new sign, Sun and Fun Zone, next week and will offer a small gift to those who suggested the winning name,” Sohn Jeong-sik, head of operations at Haeundae District Office, said.
He said they plan to allow anyone to use the area regardless of nationality or skin color.
“We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the Sun and Fun Zone received the most votes in the survey because it is the slogan of Haeundae Beach. The name accurately conveys the spirit of Haeundae Beach and the theme of the parasol-free zone.”
“Sun and Fun Zone,” proposed by Samanthi Kariyawasam and seconded by Susanne Bergmann, topped the poll with 124 votes, followed by the Parasol-Free Zone with 96, the Sports Zone with 49, the Sunshine Zone with 48 and the Activity Zone with 38.
Samanthi said she could come up with the name because she was in a “fun” mood and stayed in Busan early May. The expat from South Asia, however, said that she was not aware that her proposed name coincided with the slogan of the beach.
“Now I have another reason to visit Haeundae Beach,” she said after being informed of the Haeundae Office’s decision to name the area as the Sun and Fun Zone.
Both Samanthi and Susanne will receive a gift in appreciation of suggesting the winning name when they visit the district office.
The Haeundae District Office drew a great deal of criticism for its decision to have a foreigner zone with the excuse of securing a parasol-free zone claiming that they wanted to cater the needs of foreigners who prefer tanning or engaging in sports activities rather than staying under umbrellas on the beach.
Panicked by the snowballing attention over its alleged racial segregation policy, an official of the Haeundae Office told some local media outlets that it would name the disputed area as Sports Zone, one of the names that expats suggested on The Korea Observer’s website.
The office, however, realized that it failed to honor the pledge to properly consult with expats to weigh in on the most appropriate term to describe the parasol-free area and requested the Korea Observer to run a poll.
The office also paid close attention to the opinion of some expats who suggested not naming the area.
“Why name it at all? Why not just have an area that’s parasol free?” a netizen with the screen name Sassafraster suggested.
In this regard, Sohn Jeong-sik said that he agreed with the view of Sassafraster but the office will name it as the Sun and Fun Zone as it accurately describes the spirit of the beach and received most votes in the poll.