I had only a brief 24 hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Enough time to see some key highlights, but not really to explore the city in depth. Just down the street from my hotel was the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which seemed like a rather nice shopping mall in the area.
Outside the mall was an exhibition of the United Buddy Bears. These fiberglass sculptures are meant to promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. Over 140 countries are represented with a bear to promote the United Buddy Bears message of different nations and cultures living in peace and harmony.
The fiberglass gives a nice shiny luster to the bears as they're all decorated quite differently. The creation myth in Korea has Hwanung, the son of Hwanin (the Lord of Heaven), wanting to live on Earth. Hwanin allowed Hwanung and 3,000 followers to depart heaven and live on a sandalwood tree in Baekdu Mountain.
A bear and a tiger lived in a nearby cave, visiting the sandalwood tree everyday to pray to Hwanung. After a challenge from Hwanung, the tiger failed, but the bear passed the test and was transformed into a beautiful woman. Eventually the woman became lonely and Hwanung made her his wife, and they had a son named Dangun who eventually founded Gojoseon, the first Korean Kingdom. Through this mythological story, the bear in Korea carries the significance of being the first mother.