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WeAJa events raise 104 million won

Oct 21,2019
The 15th annual WeAJa charity flea market attracted crowds of people in Seoul and Busan on Sunday, offering them a chance to buy secondhand goods, bid for auctioned items donated by renowned figures from all walks of life and enjoy food and entertainment on the sidelines.

The proceeds from the two events were about 104 million won ($88,220), including 42.6 million won from Seoul and 61.4 million won from Busan, all of which will be donated to We Start and the Beautiful Store Foundation to help children in low-income families get a proper education and medical care.

Since the WeAJa charity flea market was launched in 2005, it has raised around 2 billion won.

This year’s WeAJa flea market ran from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Song Sang-hyeon Square in Busan. The events were co-hosted by the JoongAng Ilbo, JTBC and the metropolitan offices of Seoul and Busan.

Donations were made by a wide spectrum of high-profile celebrities, athletes, politicians and government officials, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, Tottenham Hotspur football star Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in of Valencia CF, Taemin of K-pop boy band SuperM, Foreign Affairs Minister Kang Kyung-wha and singer-actor Suzy, among others.

A piece of pottery donated by Prime Minister Lee was auctioned off for 1.1 million won in Seoul, which was the highest bidding price in both cities.

A 58-year-old man named Kim Yong-woo, who bought the pottery and also a celadon cup donated by the president and CEO of GS Caltex, Hur Sae-hong, said he has attended the WeAJa event for 15 years in a row and was collecting auctioned goods as a hobby. Kim paid 400,000 won for the celadon cup.

A framed calligraphy painting donated by Chun Ho-hwan, president of Pusan National University, sold for 1 million won, the highest amount in the Busan WeAJa auction.

Chun’s calligraphy paintings have been the highest-sold items in Busan’s WeAJa event for four consecutive years.

A recorder musical instrument that Kim Yo-han, lead rapper of the 12-member K-pop boy band X1, played with his nose on the JTBC entertainment show “Let’s Eat Dinner Together” was bought for 90,000 won by an ardent X1 fan in the Busan auction.

Two scarves donated by Foreign Minister Kang were bought for 70,000 won and 80,000 won by an 18-year-old high school senior who only introduced himself as Kim from Seoul.

“I’m a fan of Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. After I heard she donated two scarves to the Busan WeAJa event, I took a KTX bullet train from Seoul to Busan to buy them,” he said. “I’m excited to have won the auction.”

The high school student, who attended a lecture Kang gave when she was working at the United Nations, said he was touched by her words to “live life knowing what purpose you want to dedicate yourself to.”

“That’s when I set my life goals anew,” he said. “I think the scarves will remind me of the lesson she taught me.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, LEE EUN-JI [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]