Living in Korea: “Hanjiang Monster” under high pressure

With rapid economic development, strong pop culture and advanced industrial science, South Korea is undoubtedly a successful country.

If Korea is likened to a painting, it is absolutely beautiful, even magnificent, with a little dreamy rose, but in the details of the picture, it is full of absurd, chaotic brushstrokes, and inexplicable symbolic expression.

For those who have spent a lifetime in it, each stroke always reveals an embarrassment—the pressure of intense competition, the pressure of military labor, the pressure of employment that you compete for, and the pressure of appearance as the king… …just like the funny dance of “Bird Uncle” in “Gangnam Style”, it is the “Hanjiang Monster” produced by the male and female desires in the Gangnam area of ​​Seoul and the grotesque and complex cultures in the Korean society.

First or failure
South Korea is a small country with a narrow population and a lack of natural resources. Its history of oppression, colonization and the horrific memory of the Korean War have made it somewhat inferior.

However, this nation, which has long been immersed in Confucian culture, is patient, indomitable, and nationally self-respecting, and has a consistent “hate (?)” culture, trying to make this country strong.

From the perspective of economic development, this has created many “world firsts”. This is the national root of Korea’s development of the chaebol economy, and it has also created the world-famous Hanjiang miracle. However, from the perspective of the general public, the fighting (fighting) that Koreans often hang on their lips has also filled the society with competitive pressures and even become morbid.

The rigid social class and the society that values ​​the difference between the noble and the poor have made the Koreans eager for success and yearning for the upper class.

The Koreans pursued the “first” in succession, as if they had achieved the “first”, they would be able to win face, gain respect from others, and even shine the family threshold. As for everything else, you can ignore it.

In 2005, Professor Hwang Woo-suk of Seoul National University declared that he had cultivated the first copy of the dog “Snaby” in human history, but was later found to be data fraud. Tracing back to the source, he was born into a poor peasant family, carrying a heavy dream of a head-to-head, and chose to take risks.

Like the skating sports star Kim Jong-il, who used to be ranked first in the rankings, she had a famous feeling when she missed the gold medal in 2011: after the game, she usually receives a lot of congratulatory messages, but this time, one sentence Congratulations, I have not received it. The champion and runner-up are treated like the first and last.

It is a Korean national disease that determines the efforts and achievements of a person only by ranking, but cannot “see” the process of hard work or other aspects. As long as it is not the first, it is the loser, the weak, and even the sinners of the nation. This culture is almost a heavy cross carried by all Koreans.

The pursuit of the first is also reflected in education. South Korea is a country that places too much emphasis on higher education.

Once in South Korea, I chatted with friends about his child who had just graduated from high school. He is trying to find a cram school for “guaranteeing admission to Seoul National University”. It was a cram school that was completely militarized and had a quota and needed an exam. Therefore, he must first sign up for another cram school to ensure that he can take this cram school.

In order to get a good university, I reported a good cram school. In order to get a good cram school, I went to another cram school. Is this very exaggerated? Actually not. In Korea, “the university entrance exam determines the child’s life” is a truthful existence. Passing in SKY (Seoul University, Korea University, Yonsei University), or just going to Seoul to attend a top-ranking university, it means that employment is guaranteed and has a decisive impact on the future.

In Korean families, children are supplemented with 8 subjects per week. It is quite normal to fill the whole subject. Even some parents invite “scholar brokers” to arrange tutoring courses for their children. South Korea has the saying that “four falls and five falls”, that is, candidates who sleep for 4 hours a day will take the ideal school, but if they sleep for 5 hours, they may fall. The closer to the age of the college entrance examination, the more crazy the tutoring is.

The pursuit of the first state of mind also makes Koreans generally have a “fire disease”, and everything is pursuing efficiency. The mantra of most Koreans is “Bari Bari” (????, describe it quickly). The rapid economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the events of the Sanfeng Department Store in the early 1990s, the rushing of workers by the Shengshui Bridge, and the illegal alteration of design by bribery officials, led to the collapse of construction. The pursuit of efficiency, but neglecting the issue of related security guarantees, has caused distortions in humanity and morality.

There is also a very absurd thing: in recent years, the “Damaze Conference” held in Seoul, the organizers hope to remind contemporary Koreans to slow down to relieve tension, but they should not be able to fall asleep and not laugh. In the field, the organizer will also check the heartbeat index. If the rules are violated, they will be warned. Finally, the first grade will be selected. (Question, what is the significance of such relaxation?

Group society under the eyes of others
One word commonly used by Koreans is “we” (??). This is a very special emotion. Different from Chinese, “we” is a plural noun, Korean? ? It is a collective “I”, a kind of more intimate relationship.

It may exist between members of a group, and this group may be linked through academic, blood, and geography. It may also be a region, organization or society. Through the connection of the “love” (?) within the world, mutual support and voluntary dedication, thus unanimously exerting great influence on the outside world.

The words “we” and “love” can be extended indefinitely. From family to fellowship, to two Koreans who have nothing in common with each other, they can produce “love”. Group members have a strong sense of relevance to each other and help each other in the face of difficulties. Everyone feels proud or shameful. In foreign universities, Korean students like to stick together and avoid students from other countries.

The whole of Korea is a big family. Every citizen regards state affairs as a family matter, and the country will naturally be strong. However, the feelings of love, care, intimacy and attachment developed by people like “we” and “love” have gone to the extreme, and they have become a society that only focuses on group but neglects individuality.

All standards are only “we” and not “me”. When “we” are pursuing the first, it is naturally difficult to tolerate other value judgments, and it also makes pressure more venting.

From a small place, it is easy to find out what clothes and film works are popular in the streets of Seoul. For example, pop music played in convenience stores and coffee shops is often the same single, just like saying good. It is filled with the idea of ​​keeping up with the popular pulsations, or the fear of “not being different from others.”

In Korea, it is necessary to pay special attention to the eyes of others. For example, in the case of male office workers, in addition to paying attention to their own dressing on the outside, they should attract the attention of others in a gorgeous manner like in the Korean drama, and they must be confidently filled outside, not easily tears, and cannot be separated. It is not allowed to cause trouble.

The problem of alcohol abuse in Korea has been very serious. Under the condition that the price of wine is cheap, the annual expenditure is still more than 2 billion US dollars. Many office workers are used to drinking alcohol to suppress, especially every Friday night, because of the “we” who can leave the company for a while, the three or five groups gather with colleagues or classmates, toasting, to relax a little. Of course, even this is another “we”.

In fact, the vast majority of people do not really do themselves, but the image of “I” in the “we” cognition, and thus the pressure. As long as there is a slight violation of “we”, the accusations of mercy will come, and people will be incomprehensible.

Professor Huang Yuxi mentioned in the previous article is a bloody example. The world-class fraud scandal broke the heart of “we”, and Huang Yuxi was dismissed from the title of the highest scientist, from the “scientific hero of the Republic of Korea” who was looked up to “the shame of the nation.” The South Korean Public Prosecutor’s Office further launched an investigation, and Huang Yuxi was further accused of fraud and violation of academic ethics by the Korean High Court. The whole world has seen this joke in South Korea and thrown the face of “we” abroad. It is not your own, and you don’t need to be too polite.

However, not many people have thought about it. Behind this whole thing, it is full of “we” paying attention to others and to being over-emphasized by “the whole world”.

Fragile life in a poor society
In the “Kowloon Village”, which is more than one kilometer from the Jiangnan Station of the subway and is only a six-lane road from the well-known Jiangnan rich area, you can feel the embarrassment of the status quo in South Korea.

It is the largest slum in Seoul. Residents live in low-rise shacks without house numbers, no heating, no refrigerators, and rely on picking up garbage for a living. Most of them have ID cards until 2011. The whole region has seen both the situation of dilapidation and disgusting, and this is hidden behind the prosperity of the Jiangnan District. It is not known to outsiders and is rarely seen by state or politicians except during the election period.

More ironically, it is the state violence that caused the village of Kowloon. It dates back to 1981 when the Quandouhuan government issued an order to “clean” the streets in order to organize the Olympics, and to drive out the poor, tramp, unattended children and people with disabilities in the city. Outside the Jiangnan District.

Like the average country, Korean society is also full of problems and challenges, but a boundless prosperous prosperity, with an endless fall and defeat, coexist in the same time space, this feeling is very magic.

Because South Korea has long supported the policy of big chaebols, it has not balanced its economic growth and redistribution of income. Resources are almost in the hands of the chaebol family. However, ordinary people are facing low wages, long working hours, high prices, and difficulties in turning over. Even the new extremely poor class has emerged.

According to the top 0.1% of the labor income in 2017, the average labor income per person reached 660 million won; the average income of the top 10% was only 690,000 won. The income of the richest ethnic group is almost 1000 times that of the poorest class.

The gap between income and class has continued to expand, and it has extended “cultural contempt” including birth, appearance, education and economic conditions. The aforementioned Kowloon Village is an example. When the poverty problem in Kowloon Village received international attention, Seoul Mayor Park Woo-soo was forced to propose to build a residential house on site in 2014. However, local residents protested that the poor class would lower the quality of living and Land prices will cause safety hazards and delay reconstruction projects.

In 2003-2016, South Korea has been the highest in the OECD countries for 13 consecutive years. In 2016, about 13092 people in South Korea died of suicide, that is, 36 people committed suicide every day. In less than an hour, people were killed. Among the suicides, the majority of young people and young adults aged 10 to 30 years old.

The suicide problem is very serious. In the 2018 New Year message, President Wen expressed that he would halve the number of suicides. The South Korean government also formulated the National Action Plan for Suicide Prevention for the first time.

What is causing the Korean people to go astray? The employment situation has not improved continuously, family debts have risen, class differentiation and poverty have become increasingly serious, and it is an important factor in the psychological pressure of ordinary people.

The high suicide rate among adolescents is mainly due to the lack of academic pressure. On average, 1 out of every 4 Korean teenagers experienced severe depression. The birth of the “Suicide Mobility in July” is because the college entrance examination has just ended, and many young people consciously play poorly and face their parents.

In the famous “Suicide Site” Mapo Bridge in Seoul, between 2007 and 2012, an average of more than 100 suicides chose to jump here. In 2012, Seoul City repaired the Mapo Bridge, installed 2,200 LED lights, and wrote Korean poetry and warm slogans on the handrails – “The sky is beautiful” “Did you eat?” “What do you think of a cup of coffee?” The words “Difficult things are like the wind blowing” are also accompanied by photos with a warm smile. In addition, the police patrol was strengthened. An emergency alarm and psychological negotiation telephone was installed on the bridge. The dynamic sensing device was used to sense whether someone climbed the railing and named it “the bridge of life”… However, the relevant data shows that even the Seoul Metropolitan Government With so much effort, 163 people tried to commit suicide from this bridge in 2013, and it is still the most “hot” suicide place.

In order to solve the problem of high suicide rate, the real solution is to improve the overall economic situation and social pressure, and open a complete social protection network.

Since 2018, the Korean government will conduct a comprehensive analysis of 70,000 suicide deaths in the past five years (2012-2016) to identify high-risk areas and high-risk individuals based on the police department’s suicide investigation record; The government has established a national suicide trend monitoring system that integrates the statistical data scattered among various institutions to achieve real-time control of the relevant status quo.

In addition, there is a Korean-style approach to the establishment of a suicide response system for idols and other entertainers, and the introduction of one-on-one psychological counseling services for artists through the Korea Cultural Industry Promotion Institute.

All of the above can be seen from the strong will of the South Korean government to get rid of the notoriety of the “suicide country”, but it is only how effective it may be.