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338 Book Café 2 – Part 1

 Newspapers covered the Chinese young artists' avant-garde art exhibition to be held in Korea. The three major newspapers: Chosun, Joongang, and Donga Ilbo were making an issue out of the exhibition, as well as other daily newspapers, and economic and local newspapers.

[Korea's art lovers will have a chance to meet the great artworks of the Chinese young avant-garde artists who are currently receiving a lot of attention worldwide. Their art exhibition will be held at GH Gallery in Sinsa Town, Gangnam District from September 10 for the two weeks of the period. Their artworks have been highly recognized for their experimental spirits and artistic values.]

Newspapers posted an art critic's comments along with one of the artworks which would be presented in the upcoming art exhibition. The painting on the newspaper looked strange to Gun-Ho. The newspaper said that the specific painting depicted the historical incident of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests figuratively.

Gun-Ho made a phone call to GH Media's President Jeong-Sook Shin.

"I just read about the art exhibition in a newspaper. They were making an issue out of it."

"I'm actually expecting to see another news article about the art exhibition once again during the exhibition."

"Really?"

"Art critics or journalists in the art field will possibly talk about it after they see the paintings themselves."

"If you need more hands in getting the artworks, just let me know. I can send the workers from GH Mobile."

"That's okay, sir. The art gallery which I used to work for offered me help."

"That's good to hear."

"The book café will open the door tomorrow as we are done with displaying books today. We also installed a coffee machine. If you have time, please visit us there."

"Haha. Of course. I will be there tomorrow."

The following day, Gun-Ho went to Seoul to visit the book café in his building. He went to the rooftop with Director Kang. There were already customers in the book café. Some of them were smoking a cigarette and some of them were having a cup of coffee. They seemed to be the workers of the companies in the building.

"Haha. How did these people learn about the opening of the book café?"

"We placed some advertisements for the book café in the building elevators. I guess that's how these workers of the building found out and came to check out the place. Also, the rooftop is a good area for smoking."

"Really? I didn't notice any flyer in the elevator when I took it on the way here. I guess I didn't pay enough attention to notice it. I was preoccupied with another thought. Oh, my gosh. It seems there are more females than males who smoke here."

"I guess people will not toss the cigarette butts on the ground any longer."

Gun-Ho and Director Kang entered the book café. Director Kang asked for the female worker.

"This is the president."

The lady gave a bow to Gun-Ho, but she didn't lift her head after the bow. She acted as if she was guilty of something.

'I think this lady is the one who is living with Jae-Sik Moon. She doesn't even want to make eye contact with me.'

Gun-Ho thought that she was just a shy person, and he wanted to make her feel at ease.

"This could be a hard work. If you encounter any difficulty while you are working here, please don't hesitate to let Director Kang know."

"Thank you."

The lady responded while still lowering her head.

At that moment, Director Kang said loudly while looking down on the rooftop.

"Huh? The workers just arrived to hang the banner."

"What banner?"

"We are hanging a banner for the art exhibition for the Chinese young avant-garde artists. It's huge. President Shin wrote the wording. They will also hang a banner for the book café."

"Really?"

"I will have to get down to check it out."

Gun-Ho was reading a newspaper in his office when he saw the banner hanging. The enormous banner was refreshing and neat. He could hear people talking about,

"GH Gallery? They open an art gallery here. I guess I can spend some spare time here during lunchtime. That would be really nice."

"Oh, this is the gallery where the avant-garde art exhibition will be held."

Gun-Ho felt good. Many people seemed to be interested in the art exhibition that would be held in his building.

When Gun-Ho was standing near the window while looking out of the window with a smile, he received a call. The life seemed to make a balance by giving Gun-Ho bad news when he was enjoying good news.

"Sir, this is GH Mobile's general affairs director."

"Mr. General Affairs Director? What's the matter?"

"I think you should come to Jiksan Town quickly, sir."

"Me? Why? What happened?"

"The third attempt of the wage negotiation with the labor union has fallen through, and the workers started sitting in."

"You have President Song and other executives there, who could handle the situation."

"The workers are demanding to talk with the company owner. If this sit-in escalates into a work strike in the factory, it could be a big problem."

"What do they want?"

"They are saying that their wages were frozen during the court receivership for three years, and they want their wages to be raised retroactively."

"That's all they want?"

"They want a 16.5% increase for the current raise."

"Okay. I am on my way."

When Gun-Ho was in a hurry, walking out of the office, Director Kang followed him quickly.

"What's going on, sir?"

"We will possibly be facing a strike at the factory in Jiksan Town."

"Dumb as*es! There must be people there who have a hidden agenda and who are connected to some external influences. You will need to find them and have them arrested."

Gun-Ho arrived at GH Mobile in Jiksan Town.

The general affairs director was waiting for Gun-Ho at the entrance.

"They congregated in the main auditorium. They said they won't move even an inch until they see you, sir."

When Gun-Ho approached close to the building entrance door, he could hear loud noises from the main auditorium. He could hear rallying cry and loud singing of some labor songs.

The internal auditor ran towards Gun-Ho when he saw him.

"We can call the police for this."

"Don't call the police. Where is President Song?"

"He is caught at the auditorium."

Once Gun-Ho entered the main auditorium, all the noises were stopped at once for a second.

"He is here!"

"President Goo is here!"

"The owner president is here."

Gun-Ho sat on the platform seating facing the workers. The people were wearing red headbands across their foreheads. It said 'Fight.' Gun-Ho wondered where they bought those hideous headbands. President Song walked up to the platform and sat next to Gun-Ho. He looked exhausted.

Gun-Ho grabbed the microphone.

"I came here as soon as I heard about the negotiation. I was in Seoul attending an event. I'm sorry that I came late. I am the major shareholder of GH Mobile, but President Jang-Hwan Song here runs the company on a daily basis. If there is a problem, we should resolve it by talking to each other. This is not the right way to find a solution."

The leader of the labor union grabbed his microphone.

"President Jang-Hwan Song doesn't seem to have enough power since he refused to accept our demands. We want to talk with the owner president."

People started shouting 'That's right!' in the background.

"I can accept any demand that President Song agreed to accept, and I cannot accept any demand that he refused to accept. But since I'm here, let me hear you out. Mr. General Affairs Director, please write down their demands."

The members of the labor union started listing what they wanted. They were making endless demands from A to Z. Many of the demands didn't even make any sense. They were simply asking too much.