For most Koreans, Yanghwa bridge (also known as Yanghwa daegyo) is more than just one of the many iconic bridges spanning the wide waters of the Han River. Yanghwa daegyo is also the title of a song by Zion T. which was made famous by the chorus: 행복하자, 우리 행복하자, 아프지 말고 (haengbokhaja, uri haengbokhaja, apeuji malgo – Let’s be happy, you and me, let’s be happy, let’s not hurt).

As I’m writing these lines, I’m sitting and gazing out on the Han River with thousands of Seoul’s neon lights reflected in the black water, which softly flows under an illuminated Yanghwa bridge. I’m listening to this song on repeat, and never did the lyrics seem more powerful than they do tonight.

행복하자, 우리 행복하자, 아프지 말고

Let’s be happy, you and me, let’s be happy, let’s not hurt

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