Hannu Salama: Kosti Herhiläisen perunkirjoitus
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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ 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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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Mountain climbing at night

Mountain climbing at night in Ansan, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul ( Joongang Ilbo, 2003.12.23)

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(Social categories) Less equal income distribution

Digitalmal, the site of a monthly magazine (Mal) which is more likely to use minjung (民衆) for "people" than sômin (庶民), has a story based on reports on income distribution: "Sômin and marginal strata growing, middle stratum shrinking". I've never seen the term han'gye kyech'ûng, which is apparently a translation loan from the English "marginal stratum."

What is defined here as the marginal stratum, that is those with 50% or less of the median income (chungwi sodûk), were 11.7% in 1996, 13.2% in 1998, 13.5% in 2000 and 14.6% in 2002. Those with 50-100% of the media income are defined as the sômin stratum; their proportion has increased from 22.9% to 23.6%. On the other hand those with 150% of the median income have decreased from 38.2% to 25.3%.

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Monday, December 22, 2003

(Social categories) "Seomin politician"

Here's another politician woving to make sômin policies, Kim Chong-rin of Hannara (Grand Korea) party (Chosun Ilbo). He claims to be of "sômin origins", and has decided to run in the parliamentary elections because he'd be a good representative for the many sômin in Hwasông-gun as he himself is of sŏmin origins. Kim lived in Hwasông until the middle school. He wasn't able to enter the university due to family circumstances, and went to the officer school instead, and was placed in the reserve as a captain (taewi). He spent 10 years as a civil servant in the Defense Ministry, and started a apartment caretaking (kwalli) business.

Lately he has been heading an environmental organization (hwan'gyông tanch'e) in his hometown after returning there early this year. (Does that make a profitable business?)

So what makes this man a sŏmin (or what is sômin in his origins)? Mainly the fact he was not able to attend university due to the economic circumstances of his family, and also the economic circumstances themselves.

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Friday, December 19, 2003

(Small businesses) "Seomin-type" businesses in favor

"2003 business opening trends: sŏmin-type business favored in the economic slump" (Chosun Ilbo)
The economic slump has affected small businesses as well as any other; big hoe fish restaurants and other large-scale food places, which have been opened in big numbers after the "IMF crisis", have been hit in hard way

Still, "business opening rate" (ch'angŏp hwaltong chisu) in South Korea is 3rd highest in the world. The rate is measured as the proportion of economically active people working in business establishments less than 42 months old; the figure in Korea is 14%, which ranks 3rd after Thailand and India.

à Of course this shows not only the rush to open new businesses due to the insecurity of wage employment, but also the insecurity of small businesses, and the propensity of people to found new ones in case the old one goes bust or is not profitable.

The rest of the business opening trends: ◆경영 능력에 따른 ‘빈익빈 부익부’ 심화 ◆인기 업종의 양극화 ◆청년 창업 활기 ◆가맹점 관련 법규 시행 원년 ◆인터넷 사업의 성공 가능성 발견

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Monday, December 15, 2003

(Housing) Illegal sale of tenancies

About illegal selling of tenancies in rental apartments: 임대아파트 불법 거래에 서민은 '두 번' 운다 (Ohmynews). (It’s the sŏmin who are the victims in these schemes.)

There is this huge apartment area somewhere in the Seoul metropolitan area. The rental apartments are allotted for cheap rental prices with a low deposit: for a 15 p’yŏng apartment the Housing Corporation price is 14 million won (11 000 €) deposit and a 89 000 won (71 €; really this cheap?) monthly rent and for a 19 p’yŏng apartment 20 million won (16 000 €) deposit and 150 000 won (120 €) monthly rent. Checking a web site of a realtor, the same places are being rented for a way higher prices, 250-300 000 won a month + 20 million deposit, or 400 000 won a month with a lower 1 million deposit.
19평형 A타입은 보증금 2000만 원에 월 25만∼35만 원도 있고 보증금을 1000만 원으로 낮추면서 월세는 40만 원을 받는 매물도 비일비재하다. 그러나 주택공사는 이아파트에 대해 15평형은 보증금 1400만 원에 월 8만9000원, 19평형은 보증금 2000만 원에 월15만 원 선에 공급한 상태다.
Transferring the allocation to another person is possible only with certain conditions, like the transfer of job, emigration, divorce, military service; the original occupant is able to retain the allocation right, and the new occupant pays only the designed rent. But now these allocations are being sold; realtor confirms that it’s the people who originally were allotted the rental apartments that are doing the re-renting.
그렇다면 이렇게 임대아파트의 불법 거래가 공공연하게 이뤄지는 까닭은 무엇일까? 먼저 임대아파트가 임차를 하거나 재테크 투자로 적격이기 때문이다.
현재 안산고잔지구 내 15평형 원룸 월세의 경우 대략 보증금 3000만 원에 월 20만∼25만 원 선이다. 이 일대 임차를 희망하는 수요자 입장에선 다소의 위험을 감수하더라도 주공임대아파트에 입주하는 게 보증금 측면에서 훨씬 유리하다.
반면 국민임대아파트 최초계약자 입장에선 제3자에게 임차를 하는 게 이득이다. 대다수가 영세민인 최초계약자들은 매달 납부하는 관리비와 월세가 부담스럽다. 결국 제3자에게 임차를 할 경우엔 자금 부담에서 벗어날 뿐만 아니라 웃돈의 보증금과 월세를 받는 게 낫다는 인식이다.
So it’s good for the legal occupant to illegally rent the place again for a higher price, and good for the new occupant as the deposit in the Housing Corporation apartments is markedly lower than in the private ones.

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