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Crime and politics

NEW!!! The expense of failure

As the sun comes up on the horizon, its bright warming fingers reach out over Korea. Across the nation, the sound of cars, lorries and buses that restricted the natural silence and stillness of the previous night prevails into morning. The punters from the evening line the streets, piling into taxis to ferry them home or straight to work. Other droopy-eyed proletarians wipe sleep from their eyes as they drag themselves into their workplace. The elderly, alert and active, converge and power-walk together in circles. It’s the birth of a new day and the death of another.

Koreans take great pride in their country, their history, their ‘pure’ Korean blood, their culture, the patriarchal society, and – what is most admired by westerners – their industrial and economic growth.


NEW! Scramble for success

For many (myself included) a happier time were the carefree days of youth. A time when play spanned from getting up in the morning until the closing of one’s eyes at night. That blissful period of life is sadly missing from many children in Korea. From an early age, the youth of Korea are impelled into a highly competitive world.


The fat kid, a man on a ladder and smut.

On a trip to Daegu last year I was fortunate enough to catch a street performance. The entertainers were all between the ages of five and ten years old. And each one of these youngsters was involved in either singing or dancing. I must have arrived shortly after their performance had begun as they had already attracted quite a crowd. About one hundred people surrounded a tiny stage in the middle of the high street, with the entertainment in full swing. The crowd was bouncing merrily to the music and I couldn’t resist bobbing my head accordingly as I strained to find a gap that would let me get a glimpse of the antics. Looking around, I saw that one man had anticipated this throng and had brought a step ladder with him in preparation. In a sense, he became part of the performance with his balancing act on the ladder. One hand clutched a small digital camcorder while the other steadied him from falling among the spectators. All he needed was an anorak.


The Korean and the foreigner

Living in a foreign country as an expat there are certain customs that one is expected to adhere to. However the same society that invites them to help better their country and community must offer a certain level of hospitality.

Korea is no different, being an English teacher means you being involved in a trillion Won industry (billion US dollars). Private English hagwons (institutions) are constantly popping up inviting freshly graduated people to teach the next generation of Koreans.


Korea’s Captain Planet and other jobs.

The world is still reeling from the economic crisis. Unemployment in the US is just under 10%, England and France  are not far behind with almost 8% (April 2010). Greece’s economy has been in turmoil with a rescue package drawn up to save them. And what of Korea? Their unemployment is almost half of England at 3.8% (April 2010), so what are they doing different? With electronic giants Samsung and LG, car manufacturers KIA and Hyundai, they are contributing to Korea’s expanding workforce with their desire for a bigger global share in their respective markets.

One way to keep unemployment low in a country is to remove all bins in populated areas, that way people are either forced to carry their rubbish further, therefore increasing their journey or they can drop it.


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