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∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Saturday, February 28, 2004

(Korean history) More Korean war photos at Ohmynews

I had an earlier entry  on Feb 23 about Korean war photographs in Ohmynews. Since then, three more pages of photographs have been added there. Here are the links (opening in a new window now that I've learned to have it so), and below one linked pic from each page:

Part 6
(DPRK POWs, refugees etc), Part 7;(refugees etc.), Part 8;(Incheon landing etc.)

1950. 8. 18. 포로수용소 천막 안에서 밥을 먹고 있다 (POW camp)

ⓒ2004 NARA

1950. 8. 23. 머리에 이고 등에 업고 앞에 붙들고... 고단한 피난 행렬.
ⓒ2004 NARA

1950. 9. 23. 서울 탈환을 눈앞에 둔 노량진에서 바라본 끊어진 한강 철교 (Han River Steel Bridge seen from Noryangjin) ⓒ2004 NARA (Han River Steel Bridge seen from Noryangjin)ⓒ2004 NARA

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Friday, February 27, 2004

What "hunjang"

Why am I keeping a blog, and why is it called Hunjangûi karûch'im? As a Ph.D. candidate, working on a thesis about Korea, removed from Korea in Helsinki, I have been making net notes on Korea since last spring, to keep up with the developments since my last visit in summer 2002 and make notes of what interests me. Beginning this year I finally decided to change to a blog format.

As my anthropology thesis is about keepers of small neighborhood shops, and that kind of an environment is where I've spent the longest periods of time in Korea (see the header pics above, except on the right), my blog entries are mostly about small businesses, "ordinary people", social categories, urban space, and the like. It is indeed fortunate that info on South Korea is so well accessible in the net; someone in a reversed position in Seoul would have it much more difficult. Most of my entries are in English, but I will allow myself occasional ones in Finnish and Korean, too, depending on the subject and my mood. I'm following mostly Korean-language media and sources, so most of the links are to Korean-language documents, and I also often leave long quotations untranslated in my posts, just to save time.

Hunjang is a village teacher or schoolmaster in the old Korea, teaching Chinese characters and Confucian classics in a sôdang, village school. The name of the blog, hunjangûi karûch'im means "village schoolmaster's teachings." That should give an impression ironic enough. These are supposed to be notes and commentaries on things of interest to me and in the best case to some visitors as well. Chal put'akhamnida.

(Now that I think, tongnehunjang would have suited better for my time in Korea and sounded funnier...)

Here's a picture of a hunjang (third from right in back row) with his students in Kangwon-do in the late 1950s, taken from professor Lee Mun-woong's Visual Anthropology Archive; there are lots of interesting photographs from 1950s and 1960s.

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

(Family and kin) Lottery money and a divorced but coresident couple

A Munhwa Ilbo article in Media Daum: A couple who had divorced but stayed together is now in court over lottery money won by the husband. A man and a woman, both 39 in Korean age, were married in '87, had two children, and ended up getting divorced after 13 years of marriage. They had nevertheless stayed together for the sake of children.

The woman had (for some reason not given in the story) after two years of divorce again made a marriage registration without telling the man. He had learned about this only one year later, and demanded a divorce again. They still remained together "for the sake of children." (Making a marriage registration in secret from the other part must have been possible by using the other's seal [tojang]; one can still not help wondering what the level of civil administration is. Remember a case a few years back when the mothers of a man and a woman had made a marriage registration of these two, deciding that they'd make a good couple. And the registration was good, since the two people had to apply for annullment of the registration.)

Now the man in question, living together with his ex-wife, won 6.5 billion W [4.3 mil €] in the lotto, which made 5.1 billion after taxes. He decided he can't live with his ex-wife at all, and demanded a permanent separation with a 200 million won [130000€] alimony (?, wijaryo). The ex-wife demanded instead that the man pay him half of the lotto money, because it should have been seen as a their common property, to which she has contributed with her full-time housework. She applied for a provisional seizure (?, kaamnyu 가압류) of both his housing property and the lottery money, but only the former was accepted by the court. (Seems that pogi ôryôpta is a common phrase in court decisions; "it's difficult to think that...[these two had been in a proper marital relationship or that the woman had contributed to the lottery prize winning.]" The final decision is coming later.

ADDITION: A Yonhap story of the same case in Hankyoreh tells that the husband had given a tacit approval to the woman's re-registration of the marriage, and that the couple had been formally married when he won the lottery.

A couple of more stories of how lottery breaks marriages and friendships: piece of news in Hankyoreh; "lottery-like gold digging" (a story, perhaps fictional), some more lotto talk.

Should perhaps begin to collect Korean lotto folklore. And do the Korean posals know how to tell the correct numbers for the Finnish lotto? I'd have some use for that.

Here at the Empas search there's a good list of fortune tellers, who also give lottery advice. Below are some examples.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

(Social categories) It's "sômin" time again

Now that the election time is approaching again, we will be most likely seeing competition over who represents the "ordinary people" the best, or who most genuinely belongs to the "ordinary people" herself, or who gets the most genuine support from the "ordinary people." This category of ordinary people is sômin (庶民), to which I've paid a lot of attention since I noticed how widely it is being used in Korea, both by the ordinary (or not ordinary) people themselves and by politicians and all, newspapers. (Scholars on Korea on the other hand have been for a long time been harboring the idea that minjung (民衆) as a concept of "people" would have a specific meaning and a special significance in Korea. Those who go around and talk with and listen to people will have a different opinion. But let them have their idea of the "progressiveness of the masses", to which the minjung concept suits brilliantly.)

Now couple of notes on the title topic.

"Ordinary people's food samgyôpsal knows no bad economy" ('서민형 음식' 삼겹살 불황 모른다); an infomercial article in Chosun Ilbo about the good prospects of samgyôpsal (English?) beef restaurants despite of the economic slump. This kind of "ordinary people's food" (sôminhyông ûmsik) is popular at the time of bad economy, and the usually good rate of steady custom (? tan'gol) base and quick and quick change of customers (meaning they don't stay too long) makes it an attractive shopkeeping alternative. For reference let's jot down the shop opening expenses in the two cases introduced in the text. (1) Franchise fee 5 mil W, interior 45 mil, equipment 10 mil etc; expenses without shop space 55 million [37 000€]. Monthly sales average 35 mil, net income (sunsuik) 7000 000 W a month. (2) Shop space excluded, combined expenses 90 million [60 000 €]. Average bill per customer 10000W, monthly sales 45 mil W and net profit 8 million.

Chosun also laments the state of the ordinary people under the first year or Roh in today's editorial. Or perhaps in this case, sômin should be translated as "poor people" or the "not-haves", as it's about the growing income gap. In 2002, the top 10% tier's income was 8.25 times that of the bottom 10%, but in 2003 the difference was 8.93 times. Chosun's measures are less populism and old ideologies, acknowledgment of the limitations of social programs and distribution, and economic growth. (Doesn't actually sound that different from the current North European social democracies...)

Here's also a bit older "ordinary people" reference from Hankyoreh21 weekly; "Sômin scrathing for the big turn of life" (subscription doesn't seem to be needed), story on how the government is filling its coffers and emptying the ordinary people's pockets with the help of all kinds of lotteries. The idea that the article conveys is that while income taxes are kept relatively low, all kinds of leisure and gambling taxes are bringing in good income for the government, and thus burdening the "ordinary people stratum" (sôminch'ûng) more than the wealthy.

Here's sômin also in a usual context, at the losing end of government measures; as concept for people who are dreaming of a big lottery win (taebak), used in a somewhat patronizing sense.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

(Social groups) Study on social stratification in Seoul

Chosun Ilbo prints a Yonhap piece of a recent Ph.D. dissertation in Social education (?, Sahoe kyoyukhak), which is a study of social stratification in Seoul, showing how wealth and education is concentrating into the few ku's south of the river. (This is of course no news, but the results are still interesting.)

In the age group of 49-59, Gangnam and Seocho have the highest proportion of 4-year university graduates, 55%; Seoul average is 21. In Dongdaemun-gu north of the river, the proportion of uni grads is lowest, 10%.

Some figures of housing prices compared to the educational level of the area: the dongs with the highest educational level (the article doesn't tell which ones) have an average chônse price of 7.2 million W per p'yông [1500 € per sq.m] and selling price of 16.68 mil.W [3400€/sq.m].

The 16 dongs (cannot tell why 16) with the lowest educational level: chônse price per p'yông 4.1 mil W [830€/sq.m], and selling price of 6.3 mil W per p'yông [1300€/sq.m]

In Gwangjin-gu, in which the housing prices and the educational level are on the average of Seoul, the number of high scores (over 350) in math in the aptitude test (or whatever the sunûng sihôm is in English) in one school was third of what it was in a certain Gangnam-gu high school.

Below is map showing the number (not proportion) of university graduates in Seoul in each dong in 1995. It's linked from the homepage of "Space and Information Planning System", which is a kind of a research insitute. "Social and economic maps of Seoul" from '90 and '95 are worth taking a look at. (The info is in Korean.)

And just for something else on the same subject, Hankyoreh tells of alternative schools, which for the most do not give officially accredited education, but which still are designed to (and supposed to) offer educational chances for school dropouts.

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Concert of the late Kim Kwang-seok in the net

Update, August 16, 2005.
Due to frequent googlings, I came to revisit this posting after a long time to only see that the link below is unfortunately dead. But I'll leave the posting ass such for my appreciation of the late singer.

(Original post)

Found a site with a lots of downloadable (haven't really checked out yet) music and concert videos at http://me2u.co.kr.One gem at the site is a Kim Kwang-seok concert from 1995 one year before his suicide. It can be found from the Music Video II link on the left, and then clicking 김광석 수퍼콘서트 (Kim Kwang-seok superconcert) in the list. Below is the set list.

1995년 6월29일 KMTV 실황 (공연시간: 71분 27초)
1. 바람이 불어오는 곳
2. 서른 즈음에
3. 거리에서
4. 잊어야 한다는 마음으로
5. 사랑했지만
6. 이등병의 편지
7. 어느 60대 노부부 이야기
8. 두 바퀴로 가는 자동차
9. 나의 노래
10. 너무 아픈 사랑은 사랑이 아니었음을
11. 일어나
12. 그녀가 처음 울던 날 (앵콜곡)

(Picture of Kim Kwang-seok linked from Ohmynews; here's a short article of how his music is still loved and performed.)

Monday, February 23, 2004

(Small businesses) Campaign for better looking signboards

Joongang Ilbo is campaigning for better looking (more beautiful, arûmdapta) business signboards. There's no denying that having some order in the signboard (kanp'an) wilderness of Korea would make some sense - but on the other hand the disorderliness of the street scenery is also a part of the charm, going beyond the ideas of "beautiful" and so on.

Joongang writes of the results of signboard renewal in Noyu Street near Kôn'guk (Konkuk) Unversity. The plan for the experience was made in 2001; the number of sigboards was limited to two per shop (as if two wouldn't be enough), one wallboard (?) and one protruding board. The size of the boards was limited, and red color (pulgûn saek) was forbidden.
노유거리 바꾸기 사업은 사실상 2001년 시작됐다. 우선 간판은 가게당 벽면간판 1개, 돌출간판 1개로 제한하고 붉은색 간판은 금지시켰다. 간판 글씨는 전체 간판 크기의 8분의 3을 넘지 않도록 했다. 한전 분전함과 전신주 등 도로 적치물은 치워지거나 지하로 들어갔고 보도블록도 예쁘게 단장했다.
The shopkeepers resisted at first, but now after one year, the results are reported to be good. Sales have gone up, as well as the premiums (kwôlligûm). ("Premium" is the price of the business besides the shop space that is paid when a shop or a business space changes the occupant. It has no legal base, and it has formally nothing to do with the property owner, transacted only between the shopkeepers.) "Land price has doubled since the renewal, and shop 'premium' which used to be 30-40 million won can be now as high as 200 million."

It is so interesting to see the amount of English-language and Latin character signboards. Cannot help smiling looking at how awkwardly Latin characters fit into the protruding signboards - it really seems one cannot do without them. I guess the street scene in the picture to the left is an improvement over what it was before, but I really cannot think of it as that different from other places. And the red color; I know I don't get the difference between ppalgan saek and pulgûn saek, but I see quite many red signboards. Perhaps the regulations have been followed in a creative and selective manner...

("Commie" is ppalgaengi and "Red Square" is Pulgûn kwangjang, so I guess Koreans either don't have that much distinction between the reds.)

Anyway, good luck for Joongang in its campaign.

Too bad I don't have a linkable picture of an early 30s cartoon showing a shop with a signboard some three times higher than the building itself, ridiculing the tendency to compete in loudness with signboards.

Sillim 4-geori at night (c) AL 2000

(Korean history) Korean war photographs in Ohmynews

A reporter writing for Ohmynews has been visiting US, and he's been to the National Archives and Records Administration to dig up some photographs from the Korean War. I don't know if these have been published elsewhere because I haven't been reading much of that war, but at least for me they are new. There are now five pages (one, two, three, four, five) of pictures. I have linked below one picture from each page. The Korean texts are copied from the article, with some English added by me.

1950. 11. 2. 거리에 버려진 아이들이 트럭에 실려 고아원으로 가고 있다. 눈망울이 초롱한 아이는 그 후 어떻게 되었을까? (Abandoned children being taken to an orphanage)ⓒ2004 미국 문서기록보관청

1950. 7. 29. 마을 소년들이 주먹밥을 만들어 군인들에게 나눠주고 있다 (Village youngsters giving rice to soldiers.)ⓒ2004 미국 문서기록보관청

1950. 7. 29. 경남 진주 부근에서 생포한 빨치산(?). 원문은 포로로 되어 있다. (Capturing partisans [?] near Jinju, Gyeongnam.)ⓒ2004 미국국립문서기록보관청

1951. 1. 5. 한미 합작의 한국군 병사 장비. 신발, 겉옷 , 모자 : 한국제. 코트, 소총, 탄환 : 미제 (Korean-made shoes, coat, and hat; US-made coat, rifle, and ammunition.)

1951. 5. 28. 38선 부근 6마일 남쪽 마을에서 탱크의 포화소리에 귀를 막는 소년들. 이들의 누더기 바지 차림이 그 무렵 소년들의 대표적 옷차림이다. (Tank firing near the 38th parallel. The boys' rag pants were typical for that time.)ⓒ2004 미국국립문서기록보관청

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Sunday, February 22, 2004

(Small businesses) Pork cutlet shops and else

The problem with articles such as this in Chosun Ilbo is that they are not articles but rather like infomercials. Like in this case, the article itself written usually by a newspaper reporter is accompanied with a text introducing someone like a franchise owner. But I won't deny that stories like this would be of help to someone.

The article/infomercial tells that as the economic slump is continuing, shops combining two or more items (chômp'o pokhaphwa) are getting wind under their wings (which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone). These are the examples:

1) Pork cutlet (tonkkasû)+udong+ ch'opap ("vinegar rice") – all Japanese-originating dishes. Tonkkasû became famous as a very profitable dish when Kwon No-gap, the old time confidant of Kim Dae-jung, told that he had financed the Democratic Party (Minjudang) from the profits of his wife's pork cutlet place.

2) Espresso and "herb" (hôbû) shop; got to admit my ignorance about the latter one; most likely some drink.

This is supposed to do good where there are lots of younger people like university and office areas.

3) "Shabushabu" and samgyôpsal place; here's another I need to check out – seems that shabushabu is kind of a beef dish, or a way to prepare thinly sliced beef. (Shabushabu with k'alkuksu in the linked picture)

4) Children's book and video lending;

And the examples of succesful businesses of the above items: Pork cutlet, udong, and vinegar rice shop and a children's book and videa lending shop.

The woman who opened the pork cutlet and all restaurant did so because felt her husband's job was unsecure. "The money I earn is a lot more than my husband's monthly salary, so he comes directly from work to the shop to help me." She is lucky to have such a ch'akhan husband - or the husband is lucky to have such a good-earning wife. Expenses and income given in the text: 43 sq.m shop, opening expenses 90 million W (60 000 €); after 5 months, average daily sales 7-800 000 won. Net profit last month 7 million W (4700 €).

Friday, February 20, 2004

(Money, taxation) Tax deductions from registered "cash card" transactions

Chosun Ilbo reports that a certain amount of cash purchases through "cash receipt" system can be deducted in taxes, beginning next year. To put it simply, the authorities want to have more purchases registered and more business income under taxation, and are planning to use these tax incentives for private persons to promote it. Business keepers can have the registration machine, connectable to a creedit card machine, free from the Tax Administration. The cash purchase can be registered using a credit card, cash card (hyôn'gûm chibul k'adû), membership card or a like, and the purchase gets registered in the Tax Office (Kuksech'ông).

Tax deduction: 20% of the total amount of registered cash and credit purchases, which exceeds the 1/10 of one's yearly income can be deducted. (I'm pretty sure I got this wrong, so let's try it this way: henkilö voi vähentää 20% vuositulojen kymmenesosan ylittävästä rekisteröityjen käteis- ja korttiostosten summasta.) Someone has a yearly income of 50 mil. W, and has registered credit, bank, and cash card purchases of 25 million. This exceeds the 10% of his yearly income by 20 mil. W, of which he can deduce 20%, that is 4 million won.
직장인 A씨의 연봉이 5000만원이라고 치자. A씨가 1년간 사용한 ‘신용·직불카드 사용액’은 1500만원이고, 국세청에 통보된 현금사용액은 1000만원일 때 얼마나 소득공제를 받을까. 카드 사용액과 현금 사용액을 합친 2500만원(1500만+1000만)이 A씨 연봉의 10%(500만원)을 초과한 금액(2000만원)의 20%만큼인 400만원을 소득공제받을 수 있다.
What does the shop get then? Reduction of the value added tax worth 1% of the registered cash purchases (현금영수증 발행액의 1%만큼 부가세를 면제).

To me it seems that the government is really desperate to get money transfers and purchases registered and more income taxed to implement a system which sounds as complicated as this. I'm really sceptical of people's willingness to have their money transfers this closely watched, knowing the general suspicousness towards the government reaching for people's (Koreans') pockets (I'm not saying this is a natural human characteristic, because there are nations with people willing to trust the government with their tax money), and even more sceptical of shopkeepers' willingness to have all the transactions connected to the Tax office.

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Action photographs from Korean politics

Is this capoeira or "tourist bus dance" in an office?

No, it's a Democratic Party (Minjudang) local chapter meeting in Kyeyang. (Picture from Hankyoreh)

Another shot of the same performance (from Chosun Ilbo)

The undergarment that is colloquially called "wife beater" in the US is called "party fraction beater" in South Korea. This is Minjudang fractions discussing politics last autumn.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

"Korean food healthiest in the world"

Hankyoreh reports of a research which would show that Korean staple diet is the healthiest in the world. Leaving aside the unnecessary Guinness book of World Records type of record-making, there should be few that dispute that Korean food is healthy - if eaten in a reasonable manner. Overeating, enormous amounts of grilled meat and alcohol are also Korean ingestion habits, and they should be of no help for the most of us. Despite of the potentially healthy diet, Korean do find their ways to die young.
연구팀은 “심장병 사망률이 미국은 인구 10만명당 130.1명, 그리스 79.8명인 데 반해 우리나라는 24.8명으로 아직 낮은 수준이지만 최근 상당한 증가율을 보이고 있다”며 그 이유로 서양식과 외식의 증가에 따른 동물성 지방 섭취 과다를 꼽았다.
But actually the main reason for this entry is that I have this photo of the recent Finnish-Korean meal of ours: kimchi soup, five-grain rice and kimchi.

(c) AL 2004

(Social groups) Descendants of independence heroes not doing well

Kyunghyang Sinmun (or whatever the Latinized/Englishized form of the newspaper name is) has surveyed how the descendants of the "independence meritorious" (tongnip yugongja) are doing in the contemporary Korean society (via Media Daum). After the liberation from the Japanese rule, the ROK government nominated more than 9000 as having been meritorious in the independence struggle; at the moment some 300 of them are still living. Kyunghyang made the survey together with the Minjok Munje Yôn'guso, literally "Research Institute of National Problems (questions)" but for its official name "Insitute for Research in Collaborationist Activities" (thanks to Oranckay.

The survey shows that these descendants are not doing well; 80% have high-school graduate education or less, and 60% think of themselves as belonging to the "low statum". (The strata/classes given as alternatives in the survey were low [하층], middle [중층] and upper [상층] stratum.)

We cannot know whether the intention of the research was to prove the widespread notion that having taken part in the independence movement during the Japanese occupation/colonial era has brought nothing but misery to the people themselves and their descendants. (This is a common theme, and to hear it the speaker doesn't need to be so-called progressive, even though that helps.) Minjok Munje Yôn'guso concentrates on "cleaning" the remnants of the Japanese era, and has been compiling a record on the collaborationist Koreans (for which the Parliament refused additional funds), so its agenda is clear; Kyunghyang Sinmun, which I read very rarely, is usually regarded as kind of progressive, and I'm under the impression that it's favored over Hankyoreh by those for whom Hankyoreh is too Minjudang/Roh/Uri Party(depending on the time)-minded.

Here are some comments on the survey results: "history cleansing (yôksa ch'ôngsan) gone wrong", "movement for correcting the history (역사바로세우기 운동을 ) must be done before it's too late" and so on. This issue is on the chopping board (to borrow the Korean expression) again; "Producer's Memo" (PD Such'ôp) in MBC television has recently aired to programs with the topic "Pro-Japanese are still alive" (part 1 and part 2), to which Chosun lbofelt the need to respond and defend its position.

(This is also one theme in Jo Jung-rae's 10-volume novel Han'gan, which I've started to read again. One of the characters is a former member of Kwangbokkun (Independence army) trying his luck in politics, and another, a powerful politician, a former colonial police chief of a kind. And yes, there is also a schoolmate of the main characters, who is a son of a deceased independence fighter.)

What I would like to see someone to do is to compare the Korean situation after the liberation not to France but to the three Baltic states, which in my view have much more in common with Korea. (Except that there are not millions of Japanese living in Korea, with Japan bullying Korea and demanding better treatment for them, as if there had been no occupation.) Not that the comparison should give any guidelines as to how to act, but that it would be much more meaningful.

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(Korean language) Gay marriage in a Korean dictionary, 2

Earlier I had a note of this unexpected discovery in Donga's Prime Korean-English Dictionary. Now I have proof in the picture for the unbelieving eyes. (According to the Chinese characters for yubunam, the word means "a man married to a man", although it's stealthily given only as "a married man.")

Korea is more liberal and open than I ever thought, even though it seems that the legislation and the "public morals" are lagging behind the progressiveness of dictionary compilers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

(Urban space / family and kin) Intra-familial strife over land ownership

Media Daum has a complex case of landownership dispute between older sister and younger brother in a family of 5 daughters and one son, which goes back to early 70s when the 65 p'yông (215 sq.m) piece of land in question was pretty much worthless. Due to redevelopment the land price has skyrocketed, and that's when the family trouble started.

This case has many central features of the Korean recent history of the last few decades: steep hike of land prices and subsequent riches made by good or lucky investments; emigration (the older sister was a coming-and-going emigrant to the US), potentially disastrous effects of the modern development on the families. (The piece of land is of all places in the very heart of all land price hikes, in Kangnam.)

The oldest sister bought a 215 sq meter piece of land with her severance payment from a bank in 1970, and registered it in her father's name. Due to regulations at the time, the father couldn't get a construction permit on his own, so he prepared documents which made it look like he had sold the land to his second son-in-law (husband of the second daughter), and also had it registered so. The oldest sister emigrated to the US, believing that the piece of land was still her possession.

The father died in 1982; the second daughter told that taking care of the lot was too difficult, and let others know that she wants to get rid of it (ch'ôbunhada). She gave 10 million W to the mother as money from selling the lot, but actually she didn't sell it and kept it as such. Meanwhile the area was being redeveloped, and in 1988 the value had gone up to 310 million W (3억1000만원). Mother thought the land was sold, and bought a small apartment with the money for the oldest daughter.

The oldest daughter returned from US in '88, and learned that the lot was registered under the 2nd daughter's name. He consulted her brother, and they gave 20 million to the 2nd daughter for the money (10 mil W) the mother had been given and for taking care of the lot. Now she was back in possession of the land. Before the went back to the States, she had the lot registered under the brother's name to be taken care of while she was abroad. The brother went and sold the lot for 1.67 billion (16억7000여만원) [1.1 mil €] without telling his oldest sister.

She sued her brother after again returnig to Korea; first she lost the suit because "nominal trust" (?, 명의신탁) could not be acknowledged, but the appeal went to her favor, and in the end the brother had to pay the 1.67 million to his sister. During the appeals, the brother claimed that their mother had given a false testimony over the land ownership and paid therefore fines. But what had actually happened was that the brother had used his sister-in-law (처제) to make a complaint against the mother, who was ordered to pay fines, which were paid by the brother unbeknownst to the mother.

Sounds complex enough, and is made even more complex with the difficult Korean legalese and my insufficient knowledge of English legalese...

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Monday, February 16, 2004

(Korea nostalgia) Drinking with a retired ship captain...

... or how I almost got a man killed by soju.

There was this small restaurant (see the small picture) in the neighborhood where I was staying during my research time in Seoul and where I've kept going back every time I've returned to Korea. Usually I didn't do much drinking in that neighborhood, since keeping one's head clear is the best way to make sense of what people say, and too drunk people are usually of no help for anthro fieldwork. Appropriate amount of drinks are of course a different matter, and I very rarely chose not to go to drink and snack sessions (see the picture) with a certain circle of neighborhood ajôssis. They were people who mostly drank moderately, especially since many of them needed to get out early. The rice mill keeper (whose head looks like growing out of my shoulder), hosting the gathering in the picture, is usually before 7 at his shop.

Anyway, I was having a late afternoon lunch in this small restaurant, when an older man approached me and invited me to his table. He turned out to be a retired sea captain, who was happy to see a European; he had been given such a good treatment as a captain of a ship in Europe, compared to the low status of his occupation in Korea. "Sônjangûn sangnomida" (sea captain is a low person), is what they think in Korea according to him. [Here's the almost compulsory Korean social structure part of this post.] He wanted to treat me well, as if repaying the esteem he had been given in Europe and elsewhere, so there was no end to the flow of meat and soju to our table. Next time I went back to the place I was told we had emptied 7 bottles. I was also told that the retired sea captain shouldn't have been drinking in the first place because of his heart condition, and that he had been really ill after treating me and himself. I never saw him again. (Let's say I was pleased that nothing more serious was supposed to have happened to him.)

And now? I don't even know what's a fair price for a pint of beer anymore. (And this is what many around me are happy about.)

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Saturday, February 14, 2004

(Korea nostalgia) Makkôlli in Chônju (Jeonju)

The brisk, cool taste of makkôlli is something I sometimes miss being away from Korea; most of the other tastes are available here. One can get even soju by adding 1/3 of water to vodka-like liquors, but it's something I've grown away from lately. But a bowl of cold makkôlli after a sweaty mountain climbing! These reminiscenses come from an Ohmynews travel article, in which the writer visits Chônju (Jeonju)
막걸리 탁주(濁酒)는 농주(農酒)로도 불리며, 노동주(勞動酒) 또는 서민주(庶民酒)로서 소주(燒酒)와 함께 오랜 동안 사랑을 받아왔다. 예로부터 '밀주'라는 것이 '밀'로 담근 술이어서가 아니라 관청의 미곡(米穀) 절약 차원에서 단속이 심하여 끊고는 살 수 없거나 농사와 제사 축제 때 꼭 필요한 음식이라 비밀리에 또는 처절하게 몰래 숨겨가며 가양주(家釀酒)로 담가먹던 '밀주(密酒)'라는 뜻이다.

Tongtongju of Chônju ⓒ2004 김규환 (Picture linked from Ohmynews)

The writer refers above to the situation in which makkôlli had to be brewed and drunk in secret from authorities, who were responsible of the enforcement of rice saving measures. That gave makkôlli yet anothe name, milju (密酒), "secret liquor". The novelist Jo Jung-rae (Cho Chông-nae) in his Han'gang also writes of the makkôlli brewed of other than rice (was it wheat?), which had no taste. My mother-in-law is supposed to brew tasty makkôlli - too bad I haven't yet gotten to taste it.

(For Finnish speakers, "riisikilju" is what best defines the drink.
Alcohol and Korea - that is a lengthy subject, something to have an entire blog about.

Friday, February 13, 2004

My obligatory DPRK entry

I never intended to make entries about DPRK or the South-North situation, but there is something I needed to get off my chest, so here it comes.

The first Korean I ever knowingly met (knowing that the person is Korean) was North Korean. I was with my friend in Berlin in the last year of German partition, and we also went to East Berlin, as we didn't need a visa for such a short visit. There we were in the Brandenburger place looking at the wall from the eastern side. Some others were there, too: a German-Russian man, who constantly tapped my shoulder with his forefinger, and a couple who we understood was from North Korea. I remember him admiring my camera; "Cosina, ooh" became the joke between me and my friend every time I took up my camera.

Ambassador Kim Pyong-il in Poland
The highest-ranking Korean (this is of course subject to debate) I've ever met is North Korean. Kim Pyong-il, Kim Jong-il's half brother (born to Kim Il-sung's second wife) served as the ambassador to Finland in the 1990s before DPRK closed the embassy in Helsinki. (Kim Pyong-il was sent to serve as the ambassador to Poland, where he still is.) There was all that talk that Kim Pyong-il was sent far away from DPRK so that he wouldn't become a threat to his older half-brother's power, as he was said to be more intelligent and capable than KJI.

So the piece of intelligence concerning Kim Il-sung's son that I hereby declassify is his visit to a Helsinki bookstore to buy a Russian textbook for his son. At the time I used to do some part-time work in that store in the language and textbook section, and I also had started studying Korean, so I knew who the guy was when he strolled in with his two children and embassy entourage. Too bad I couldn't help him as we didn't have an English-language textbook for Russian in stock.

Kim Pyong-il resembles so much his father that it's almost scary. No wonder his older half-brother doesn't want to have him around, if that talk is true.

(There weren't that many places where both Koreas had embassies before ROK-Soviet relations: Scandinavian countries, Switzerland I think, where else? An interesting history could be written of the ideological competition in those places - if it hasn't been done already.)

And now back to topics that are closer to my interests concerning Korea

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

Small businesses) Wrath of flower wreath businesses expected

KBS 화환사절 / KBS's refusal of flower wreaths청와대 비서실장 문희상의 큰딸 결혼식에서 현 대통령과 전 대통령이 보낸 화환만 예외하고 모든 것을 돌려보냈다는 소식과 이어 공영방송 KBS도 윤리위원회의 결정에 따라 모든 축하 화환, 축하 난(蘭)을 받지 않기로 했다. 이러한 정부와 산하 잔체, 기관의 윤리강화와 풍습 변화를 인해서 화환업체들을 큰 위기감을 느끼고 있으며 업체측은 큰 반발에 나서고 있다. "정부의 한국인 정서와 어긋난 화환거부 정책을 즉각 중단하기를 강력히 요구한다"고 한 20년동안 화환업을 운영한 박모씨가 주먹을 휘두르면서 울부지었다. 또 화환배달원들은 돌려보낸 화환들을 운방하기에 큰 어려움을 겪고 있으며 업체즉과 임금인상 협상을 하고 있다고 보도됩니다. "예전에 화환만 놓고 돌아갈 수는 있었는데, 요새 자꾸 받지 않은 화환들 때문에 노동 부담이 크게 늘어났다"고 한 배달원이 불편을 표한다. "이래서는 안 되겠다 싶어서 업체측에 임금인상을 요구할 수밖에 없었다"고 배달원들의 일치한 목소리다.

사회지도층의 화환 풍습이 이제 바뀌고 있음으로 앞으로 꽃집과 선거사무실이 외부인들에게 구별하기 더 쉽게 된다고 예상된다. 선거철 때마다 선거사무실에 들어가고 예쁜 꽃 좀 포장해 달라고 창피를 당할 가능성이 줄일 전망이다. "지난 지방선거 때 어느 후보의 선거사무실에서 찍은 사진을 어머님께 보여드렸더니 꽃집인 줄 아시더라"고 한 외국인도 했다고 한다. 또 한편으로 올 4월의 국회선거 후보들은 화환, 꽃배달이 더 이상 들어오지 않으면 사무실을 어찌 구미겠는가 하는 고민을 하고 있다고 전해진다. 그 결과로 화환, 난(蘭) 배달이 줄이고 있는 가운데 선거사무실의 인테리어 디자인은 새로운 사업아이템으로 떠오를 것으로 보인다.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

(Small businesses) Implications of the 5-day workweek

Two articles on the implications of the 5-day workweek in Chosôn Ilbo:

<고객과 유대감 형성이 중요·주택가·도심외곽 활기띨 듯>, written by a small business consultant, which should be taken into account when reading.
바야흐로 주5일 근무 시대가 활짝 열리고 있다. 2002년 금융권을 중심으로 시행됐던 주5일 근무가 오는 7월부터는 공기업과 1000명 이상 사업장에도 본격적으로 시행된다. 또 오는 3월부터는 전국의 초·중·고교 중 일부 학교도 주5일 수업을 시범적으로 실시한다. 주5일제는 이제 코앞에 바짝 다가온 현실이 됐다 (Government-owned companies and private companies with more than 1000 employees begin the 5-day workweek in July this year, and select grammar, middle and high school in March this year.)

It's expected that residence areas (chut'aekka) will emerge as important business areas (sanggwôn 商圈), when families have more time to spend together with the implementation of the 5-day week. Also the areas around cities or downtown areas are expected to do well, with families wanting to get out of the cities. Rejô sanôp (leisure business) will do well, as has happened in developed nations (sônjin'guk) with a 5-day week.

<'주5일 근무'시대 창업…외식형? 레저형? 편의형?>
올 7월부터 단계적으로 시행되는 주5일 근무제는 창업시장에 큰 변화를 가져올 전망이다. 한동안 침체에 빠졌던 가든형 음식점이나 전원 카페 등이 살아나고, 주택가 상권도 활기를 띨 것으로 보인다. 또 늘어난 여가시간을 활용하는 레저와 외식산업은 호재가 될 전망이며, 이틀간의 주말시간을 활용하는 투잡스(Two jobs)족 등장도 예상된다.

There's a list of businesses which are expected to do well with the coming 5-day work-week, with couple of businesskeepers introduced more closely. Note again the use of chônmunjôm, "specialist shop" as the designation for these businesses, giving the air of expertise and professionalism. (Not that these shopkeepers didn't have expertise and professionalism, but there's still a long way in status to "professional" profession.)

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(Small businesses) "Business opening" site at Yonhap

Googling took me to an info page for small business opening (ch'angôp) at Yonhap News of all places (or perhaps not; it's clearly competing with newspaper and economy paper sites in this). For some strange reason, the English equivalence of ch'angôp (創業) is given only as "Foundation." The site itself seems to be full of useful info for
Ad banner from the Yonhap site
small business aspirants; small businesses in Korea are getting constantly reproduced, new items are developed or introduced from abroad, and there are eager entrants. Even in a not-so-affluent neighborhood in Sillim-dong in Seoul where I've been following things for several years, emptied shop spaces get a new tenant usually very soon. (Even neighborhood "supermarkets", which are not supposed to survive at all, find a new keeper, except for the smallest ones.)

Here are pics of a shop space in a Sillim-dong street. In each of the three visits after '99 there's been a new business in the place; the pork hock (?) (chokpal) place closed in late '99, and in early 2000 the owners of the house (who themselves had a book shop at the other end) were keeping a "dance room" there. In 2001 (no pic), there was a game room, which didn't do well at all. And in 2002, a hairdressing shop had opened in the place (the owner of which was able to pay the rent).
199920002002 (c) AL

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Kim Ki-duk's five seasons, or "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring"

Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (Viisi vuodenaikaa) opened in Helsinki last Friday, and we went to see it right away. While Kim Ki-duk is not someone from whom to learn how to live as a man and a woman, he manages to captivate with his artistic vision.

In one of the final scenes the young monk, now in his mature years (played by the director himself), after returning to the floating temple in the pond, ties a handmill stone on his waist and starts climbing the mountain as if to repent his previous deeds, with Kim Yông-im’s heartbreaking singing of Chôngsôn Arirang in the background. The monk, bared from the waist up, struggling up the mountain with the millstone hanging from a rope is a strong image, but it’s Kim Yông-im’s voice that almost made me lose my cool.

Here's Chôngsôn (Jeongseon) Arirang sung by Kim Yông-im as an mp3 file (5.4M). (From a site of Korean traditional music) and as a TV performance by the same singer.

Small businesses) Market fish seller grandmother

Story of an old woman selling fish in a small marketplace shop in Ohmynews, titled "Who needs a shop signboard." Sympathetic but romanticizing story, using vocabulary that's common in describing people like her: salmgwa aehwan (life, and joys and sorrows), insim (人心) chohûn saengsôn halmae (good-hearted fish granny). The woman is 65, so she's referred to as "grandmother" (halmôni) and not as "auntie" (ajumôni, ajumma).
이정자 할머니(65)가 이 자리에 앉아 생선을 판지 벌써 20년이 넘었다. 언제부터 이곳에서 장사를 시작하셨는지 묻지 않았다. 애초부터 그런 것은 아무 의미가 없기 때문이다. 비바람과 함께 생선을 파는 동안 6남매는 모두 자라서 어느덧 막내딸까지 모두 시집을 가고 이제는 노부부만 남았다. 비록 크게 출세한 것은 아니지만 각자가 자리를 잡고 살아가는 것을 보니 그저 감사할 따름이다.
The granny leaves for the wholesale fish market at 3.30 in the morning, and is finished with the day opening preparations between 9 and 10. The day ends when all the fish is sold. And then the granny goes home and keeps the household for the grandpa (yônggam in the article); it's not said what he does or has done. She is making a living, perhaps for the both of them, and we can guess that her share in raising all the six children has been considerable, if essential. The writer tells that there's a constant flow of customers to granny's shop.

Picture linked from Ohmynews ⓒ2004 홍지수

Monday, February 09, 2004

(Family and kin) "Skirt breeze"

Not that this piece of news (Media Daum) was so important, but it was interesting to see the term "skirt breeze" or "skirt wind" (ch'imaparam 치맛바람) in a story about the increasing number of applications for a postponed grammar school entrance. Skirt wind refers to the activities of women, especially concerning their children, and it's not that positive in tone. In this case, "skirt wind" is taken to mean the women's increasing concerns over the appropriate age of school entry and the increasing pleas to doctors to write a diagnosis in favor of school entry postponement. The reasons are said to be the worries over how the often sole child of the family will do in school, will she be bullied or left behind in grades, and the postponed entry is supposed to help the parents (read: the mother) to prepare the child better.
서울 신사동 S소아과와 개포동 P소아과도 멀쩡한 아이를 데려와 진단서 를 떼 달라는 사례가 지난 1개월 동안 평균 3, 4건 정도. 서울 수유리 L소아과 이모 원장은 “대체로 찾아오는 아이들이 정상인 경우가 많아 취학을 권하지만 부모 의지가 워낙 강할 때는 ‘학습능력 저하’로 진단서를 써주기도 한다”며 “때로 완강한 부모와 서로 얼굴 을 붉히는 경우도 있다”고 밝혔다.
Hagwon keepers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Friday, February 06, 2004

(Small businesses) Plight of the fried chicken places (2)

(See, also Hankyoreh has a ch'angôp theme in its internet news, under the topic Pench'ô, Chungso kiôp [Venture, small and medium enterprises]. See the list below the quoted article for other ch'angôp pieces.)

An article in Hankyoreh tells that chicken places have until the bird fever epidemic been the most popular small business franchising item; fried chicken restaurants (not sure if they can be called restaurants) have seen sales fall 40-50%, and new are hardly being opened at all. One chain does not receive new franchisers at all, since the branch outlook is so gloomy, and there's enough work with the already existing places.
치킨점 프랜차이즈업체 관계자는 “가맹 문의가 끊기고, 점포 개설을 진행하던 사람들도 미루고 있다”며 “아무리 안전하다고 강조해도 사람들이 먹지 않는 데는 도리가 없다”고 말했다. 프랜차이즈 본사에 투자금을 물어내라고 요구하는 점포 창업자도 있는 것으로 알려졌다. 프랜차이즈업계는 지난달 말 ‘치킨외식산업협의회’를 만들어 농림부에 대책 마련을 촉구하기도 했다.
The chicken businesses have hit the wall, and the otherwise dark economic perspectives are not encouraging for others considering a small business either. As the article says, chicken places (ch'ik'injôm) need only little capital and not much skill either, which make them a favourite kind of small business for beginners - until now.

==> Note the term saenggyehyông ch'angôp [생 계형 창업], "livelihood business opening", meaning to open a very small business with which one person or family is able make a living.

Two fried chicken places in Sillim-dong, Seoul
(c) AL 1999

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

(Family and kin) Brother's wife's brother (sadonjigan) 2

Prosecutors' investigation into the case of the 65 billion W (43 mil. €) fund collected pres. Roh's older brother's brother-in-law is growing, and the opposition parties have pointed out suspicioins that it may have been intended as a slush fund for the coming parliamentary election. I didn't intend to touch the subject, but I run up to the picture below. (Linked from The Independent, through Hankyoreh's bulletin board.) (My previous entry.) Min boasted in an interview that he had collected a 65 billion won investment fund, but it turned out that he had no registered investment company and no formal contracts with the investors, and many other things also gave reason for suspicions.

Min has now been arrested
(Chosun Ilbo; Chosun's Min Kyông-ch'an investigation special), and his home and office have been searched.

Hankyoreh's latest article (from Yonhap); links to further articles at the bottom of the page.

Sadonjigan in the header means "in-law relation", this time referring to the relation between pres. Roh and the wildly succesful fund collector Min. Min is Roh's older brother's wife's (most likely) younger brother. "Older brother's wife" is hyôngsu(nim), but as there is no term (as far as I know...) for older brother's wife's younger brother, Min is referred to as "Roh's sadon". He is also called "Roh's older brother's brother-in-law", which is of course much more compact in Korean, hyôngûi ch'ônam or ch'inhyôngûi ch'ônam, in case ch'in ("real") is added to distinguish "actual older brother" from a friendship relation (or from a gangster organization) in which kin terms are used.

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(Family and Kin) Upper-class affinal relations 2

Ch'amyôsahoe Yôn'guso ("Research Institute of Participatory Society") published last month the first part of the study on marital relations of the South Korean elite (upper classes or "leading stratum", chidoch'ûng), which showed that the most important axis of these relations is the LG group, with Samsung second. (My earlier enty on the issue on Jan. 13)

The main result of the marital relations mapping was that the social mobility has been slowing down and that the upper class ranks have become more closed. (From my previous entry: marriages to non-upperclass persons among the conglomerate families are by age groups as follows: people in their 50s 33%, 40s 27%, 20s and 30s 13%.)

The Research Institute has now published the marital webs as charts, which is the top news in today's internet Hankyoreh.

Here's a chart of the marital (affinal) relations around LG Group (from Hankyoreh):

In LG, marriages have been a part of company management, which is said to stem from the family background of the founder Ku In-hoe. He was a son of house without any special property, who was married at the age of 14 to the daughter of a rich (ch'ônsôkkun, "thousand rice-bag farmer") neighbor. Later, Ku made sure his offspring was married to a rich or an influential family. Ku also has a lot of offspring, about 100 now in the 4th generation.

Hyundai marital web (from Hankyoreh):

The marriages of the offpsring of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee are more various than is usual of the tycoons, "from chaebôls and media owners to ordinary people (p'yôngbômhan sôminch'ûng)". --> The "ordinary people" husband of Lee Kun-hee's oldest daughter is actually an ordinary white-collar employee (hoesawôn) in a Samsung affiliate company, which does warrant the use of sômin, at least in regard to how the term is most often used in Korea.

This all becomes too complicated and toilsome to bring to a blog entry, so the rest will be in the Hankyoreh article.

Marital web of 30 big conglomerates (750Kb picture in Hankyoreh)

In the adjoining article, the researcher in charge recounts the motives and aims of the research.
"You must have had difficulties. - We couldn't expect help from the subjects, so we needed to check out everything directly, bit by bit, by ourselves. From the internet, from person database of the media, death notice and obituaries, women's magazines. We checked alltogether about 700 chaebôl marriages. Even an hair artist [note that people who do chaebôl people's hair are not hairdressers or barbers but hair artists, 헤어아티스트] had put the names of chaebol family bride and groom to internet was help to us.

재벌 혼맥이 부정적으로 비쳐지는 것에 대해 당사자들은 억울하다는 반응인데. =재벌들의 혼맥이 비난의 대상이 되는 것은 과거 정경유착 등을 통해 그들 스스로 빌미를 제공했기 때문이다. 하지만 이번 연구가 재벌들을 비난하기 위한 것은 아니다. 어느 사회이든 지도층은 존재하는 것이고, 그들끼리 결혼하는 것을 무조건 나쁘다고 할 수는 없다. 그러나 지도층이 자신들의 사회적 지위에 맞는 도덕적, 사회적 의무를 다하고 책임의식을 갖는 게 중요하다.

Here is a direct link to the research report in the institute website.
(Click the picture below for a big 1.6Mb chart in the research institute homepage.)

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Family and kin) Weddings, and filial daughter-in-law

Hankyoreh has a couple of pieces of modern and traditional Korea, so to speak.

(1) The oldest daughter of the head of the Presidential secretariat (청와대 비서실장) Mun Hui-sang got married in Lotte Hotel in February 1st. No invitations had been sent, "to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding", and all congratulation money (ch'ugûigûm 축의금) and flower wreaths (hwahwan 화환) were refused. (It was most likely Mun who did the refusing and not the couple, since the literal expression is that it was Mun who had his daughter's wedding, 문희상 청와대 비서실장이 1일 낮 시내소공동 롯데호텔에서 큰 딸 수현씨(32)의 조촐한 결혼식을 가졌다. Mun even discouraged the government dignitaries to participate, saying "it's ok if you don't come" to those who had heard that there will be a wedding. Only president Roh's and former president Kim Dae-jung's wreaths were accepted, others were refused (사절했다, 돌려보냈다). So only few dignitaries were present, and the wedding was held mainly in the presence of families and friends. The bride is 32 and the groom 38 (!), a noch'onggak indeed, but he is a SNU politics dept graduate, he has passed the law exam (sapôp kosi) and has finished his law training.

Several years ago, during Kim Dae-jung's presidency, there was the wedding of the offspring of Kwon No-gap (or Kwon Roh-gap, I'm not sure), who is a long-time KDJ confidant and who was in an important party position at the time (after serving some time for the Hanbo scandal). He also didn't send any wedding invitations, but according to different police estimations, 3000 to 5000 people turned up to give their congratulations. The closer to the president the person is, the closer events like this will be watched, and more careful those responsible need to be. The fact that extra carefulness needs to be excerted and weddings intentionally downplayed tells of the continuous importance of the institution.

(2) People in a village in Southern Kyôngsang (Gyeongsang) have given a "Filial Daughter-in-law price" to a woman, who has not lost her smile and friendliness despite taking care of an ailing mother-in-law and working full-time in the township office (myônsamuso). (Hyobu 孝婦 = filial, dutiful daughter-in-law.)
송씨는 특히 시어머니가 중풍으로 병상에 눕자 식사수발과 대소변을 받는 병수발을 마다않고 힘겨운 집안을 척척하면서도 늘 밝고 성실하게 면사무소 공무원으로일해 마을주민들로부터 칭찬이 자자하다.
"People around help me a lot, so this is not hard at all", said Mrs Song in the village hall in the awarding ceremony. "I'm sorry and ashamed to receive such a big price, because I'm only doing what a civil cervant and a daughter-in-law is supposed to do."
Giving awards like this is what makes the blood boil in certain circles, who would call for a more equal burden of homework between spouses and for less practice of filiality through the daughter-in-law. And it shouldn't be in Hankyoreh's editorial policy to advocate filial daughters-in-law who don't spare toil in taking care of their mothers-in-law, as it sounds so patriarchal and conservative. But perhaps it's fitting for the "productive welfare" policy (or what was it called) of the present government. (The article was from Yonhap.)

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Monday, February 02, 2004

Korean soundbites

Happened to check if some of the links in my browser are still active; these few are perhaps of interest to some, so let they be made public here.

Korean history in songs and sounds (Korean), a site with songs and sounds related to Korean history. Parts 7 (modern history) and 8 (contemporary history) are the most interesting, as they contain authentic contemporary recordings like a speech by Kim Ku on August 15, 1946. (There are also some questionable choices, like attaching an H.O.T song to represent 8.15.)

The sound files are in real player format, and download directly (no stream). My links given here as examples are not to the sound files but to the pages with the files and explanations. (I haven't listened to all the files that I link to, so no guarantees are given.)

5.16 coup (1961) radio broadcast

New Village (Saemaul) song (lyrics Park Chung-hee), a song that many grew tired of hearing ever morning from village loudspeakers. "Let's live well" (Chal sara pose), another song from the authoritarian development era, encouraging people to work hard to make t´he country prosperous.

"Road to Seoul", a song by Kim Min-gi ("좋은 약 구해 갖고 내 다시 올 때까지 집 앞의 느티나무 그 빛을 변치 마라") and for a contrast, a poem by Kim Chi-ha (간다 / 울지 마라 간다 [...] 팍팍한 서울길 / 몸 팔러 간다).

"Give me some water" (Mul chom chuso), song by Han Tae-su from 1974, prohibited as soon as it was published, as the censors understood that thirst was about freedom.

"Kû ttae kû saram", song by Sim Su-bong. Sim Su-bong was entertaining the guests in the dinner during which Park Chung-hee was killed.

Music from Korea; a huge collection of traditional Korean music, may not follow the letter of law in every respect, but since the page is linked from the collector's own homepage, I'll give it a go. Those who want to hear what the p'ansori epic Ch'unhyangga sounds like before rushing to buy a CD set, here it is.

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Sunday, February 01, 2004

University and high-school graduate wage differentials diminished

Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (KRIVET, 한국직업능력개발원) has published a study, which shows that wage (income) difference between university and high-school graduates has diminised remarkably in the last 20 years (reported in Chosun Ilbo). 20 years ago the average income of a university graduate was twice the income of a high-school graduate, but at the moment it's 50% higher. Vocational college (전문대학교) graduate's income used to be 40% higher, but now it's almost on the same level with high-school graduate wages.

The average income by educational levels in 2001: high school graduates 1.24 mil. W, vocational college 1.28 mil W, 4-year university graduate 1.89 mil W.

In the case of gender differentials in wages, among high-school graduates in 1981 men earned 78% more than women, in 1991 65%, and 2001 50% more. Vocational colleges: 48% --> 47% --> 38% between 1981 and 2001. University graduates: 51% ---> 37% --> 36%.

--> More proof of the devaluation of university education; as people are of course aware of this, one cannot expect the vicious educational competition to dwindle. (Developments like this also guarantee that small businesses will continue to be a viable alternative, with the sector continuously reproduced, as uni education doesn't guarantee a [relatively] good income.

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