Growing up, I used to fondly look forward to this time of year. Back then, we’d all sit together around the table: roll handmade sweets, mum would work relentlessly on our dresses, carols blew in the wind, midnights were synonymous with ringing bells, and our neighbourhood lit up with festivity. As I grew older, and struggled with which side of the fence — I was/wanted to be — when it came to organised belief; I slowly grew disillusioned with it all.

Last year, we spent this season in a mountain town, in the Himalayas. Strangely, we couldn’t escape the throes of commercial festivity. This year, the season has started with dissent — across the world. Here, in Seoul, it’s been a month since people have made it a point to make their voices be heard. Yesterday, it was the first snowfall of the season, and despite  temperatures dipping, everyone (including people on wheelchairs and children in strollers) came together, to what they say was the biggest turnout. And as we looked from the sidelines — I turned spectator again. Emotions were painted everywhere. There was anger, optimism, and a strange kind of joy. As anthems played, candles raised in unison, and voices chanted on the mike; far away from the main square, families posed for selfies, children slowly gathered, and smiled for the camera. A Korean friend of mine later explained, “We want to be heard peacefully without dampening the festivity.”

And that brings me back to where I started. What’s my favourite memory of this time? Why was I always happy around this time? The answer lies in the opportunity to start again. As we slowly inch towards a new year, we need to be optimistic, that we’d not repeat the mistakes of the past, and better sense will prevail.


Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.


Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.


Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.


The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

20 replies on “The Times They Are A-Changin

    1. Thank you for your comment, Irene. I believe, at the moment, every nation is going through enormous change (political or economic). And change is never easy. Optimism should hopefully keep us sailing through those turbulent seas of change. 🙂

  1. Certainly times are a changing each and every year, every moment event. It is interesting to see so many Koreans take to the streets and marching for what they believe in. Very huge crowds you captured there, and from what it seems, it seems to be peaceful.

    I have to agree with you about this time of the year – a time to start again. That we can learn the mistakes of the past now, and then move on. I am looking forward to next year since this year has been such a challenging one for me. Hoping to see more peace in the world next year 🙂

    1. Basil captured these pictures. It was too cold and I could barely keep my hand outside my jacket.
      I’ve had a pretty challenging year myself. I’m hopeful the next year will bring in an air of positivity. We need to be hopeful. 🙂

    1. Wow! I believe a lot many international news agencies were covering it. The turnout was phenomenal. We chanced upon it accidentally. Didn’t go too deep into the crowd and watched from the sidelines.

  2. You make an excellent point Cheryl… part of the excitement is definitely the fresh start!:) Hope the new year brings you & Basil much happiness:)
    Also,the attitude of the thoughtful people in Seoul is beyond inspiring …” We want to be heard without dampening the festivities “…

  3. I love how you’ve put it, yep, we need new beginnings, second chances and fresh horizons… even tho we make the same mistakes every year then, we are still given the chance to make a change…:) thanks for this post, Cheryl… it is full of hope 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alex. And I really liked the way you put it, “even tho we make the same mistakes every year .” Hopefully, there’s bound to come a time when we will get it right! 🙂

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