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Friday, June 04, 2004

Keeping kosi exam crammers from losing their mind

Chosun Ilbo has a piece of a "resting place" for government exam crammers, who are residing in huge numbers in Sillim-dong, southern Seoul. The article says there are some 30-50 000 exam crammers residing mostly in special dorms (kosiwôn). This so-called kosi-village is close to where I used to live; due to the continuous demand the neighborhood scenery was constantly changing in that part of the area, higher dorms and one-room apartments being built on lots which used to have smaller 2-3 story houses.

The place mentioned in the article is operated by a Catholic lawyer, teaching religion and giving a resting place for the exam crammers, who are said to have quite a lot of mental problems. And that's nothing to be surprised about, residing in the worst case years after years in a dog-house sized dorm room, reading for the exams, taking it and failing and doing it all over again.
There was this one case of a mentally unstable woman (see the picture) who went around Sillim 2-dong carrying some kosi textbooks with her, stopping at times in street corners to keep some kind of a monologue. With some of the neighborhood people we thought that she had most likely gone mad for excessive cramming, as "there were a lot of talk about cases like that."

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