Young South Koreans look to oust old guard they blame for‘Squid Game’ economy – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-10-22 03:25:00 –

For decades, Seoul Central Market, with its shabby shops and dirty street food, has been a gathering place for retirees looking for cheap food, clothing, and kitchen utensils.

Recently, they are increasingly competing for space between heel hipsters and Birkenstock, which is ruining the chic restaurants and cafes that sprout between the perforated rice shop and the noodle junction. Ambitious chefs and first-time business owners (some have given up working in South Korea’s vast family-owned conglomerates like Samsung Electronics) have raised rents and battlefielded the neighborhood in a cross-generational feud. I am remaking it.

The old side is indignant at the new residents, claiming that they are relatively wealthy, thanks to the efforts and frugality of those who supported the rise of the nation after the Korean War. Meanwhile, young crowds have accused their ancestors of making home ownership unrealistic and creating fraudulent rat races depicted in Korean-made dramas such as “Squid Game” and “Parasitic”.

“The more I see these flat tires, the more I’m worried about the country’s future,” said Lee Yong-jae, 78, who has been running a second-hand kitchen equipment store since the early 1980s when the country began. .. March to become the 10th largest economy in the world. “They complain about the injustice of our society, but life is unfair — get used to it! What they are doing is about the system, willing to thank what they have gained. Just complain. “

Just a few yards away, a 33-year-old telecommunications employee, Choi Eun-byul, defeated Lee’s complaint while taking a sip of ice latte in a flashy café that was once a devastated rice shop.

“It’s completely nonsense,” she said. “In his time, if you studied and worked hard, people could afford to buy a house and get a top-notch job. Now it’s only in history books.”

Choi is part of South Korea’s Gen Z, Millennials in their thirties and Gen Z in their twenties, claiming that social and economic disparities are worsening. Some MZers ridicule themselves as “the generation who gave up” and ridicule their country as “Hell Joseon.” This is a reference to a dynasty that reigned on the peninsula for half a century.

Loose monetary policy, and more recently a pandemic-induced surge in real estate, has pushed up home prices, which has caused worldwide repercussions and dissatisfaction, but the conflict in South Korea is particularly serious. According to Pew Research, released this week, about 90% of adults say there is a strong conflict between supporters of various political parties associated with the United States, the highest percentage of the 17 developed countries surveyed. increase.

However, traditional loyalty may have diminished prior to the March election to replace President Moon Jae-in. .. Both the left-wing Democrats of the Moon and the conservative opposition have accepted the populist slogan to appeal to those who are dissatisfied.

South Korea’s poverty rate is 16.7%, the fourth among the 38 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The wage gap between men and women is the highest at 32.5%.

House prices in the Greater Seoul region, home to about half of the country’s 52 million people, have doubled in the last five years, raising wages by 20%. The overall unemployment rate is about 4%, more than double that of workers under the age of 30.

“Today’s reality is just cruel,” Choi said. “No matter how hard you work, you can’t afford to buy a house in Seoul, and even if you graduate from a prestigious university, it’s very difficult to get a decent job.”

Such stress is detailed in movies like the Academy Award-winning Parasite. In this film, members of a poor family plan to inflate their qualifications and pretend to be unrelated to secure a job in a wealthy family. Similarly, “Squid Game” is a deeply cared-for more than 400 people who play a series of deadly children’s games to make a fortune for the entertainment of a few super-rich VIPs. I am following.

In a corruption scandal, some of the young voters who helped Moon expel the conservative President Park Geun-hye are complaining that he did not narrow the division. The moon was considered a typical “586er” — attended college in the 1980s and was in his fifties when the term was coined. It is a generation that rebelled against authoritarianism, brought about democratic elections, and came to dominate Korean society.

Former human rights activists have also promised to eradicate interests between the government and the powerful “zaibatsu” conglomerate. Instead, Moon’s corporate reforms stalled, and his administration was upset by a scandal of power abuse, including the allegation that the then Minister of Justice used his influence to enroll children in prestigious colleges. ..

The controversy has undermined the Democratic Party’s former credible support among young voters. And they instead warmed up against the right, who rebranded themselves as the People Power Party. According to a Realmeter survey released last week, PPP was backed by the traditional foundation of the block among Koreans in their 20s and 30s, and voters in their 60s and 70s.

“It’s basically not a matter of intergenerational conflict,” said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul. “The real problem is that, with the exception of the progressive 586er, many people, including older generations, think that our society is not fair, it just favors the powerful 586. . “

Earlier this month, Gyeonggi-do governor Lee Jae-myung, who promised a “basic income” of 500,000 won ($ 420) a month, defeated the moon’s allies and secured the party’s presidential nomination. Lee Jae-myung, 56, said he promised to make the country more equal by starting real estate reforms to keep house prices down and combat corruption after the victory.

But even his bid clouded a scandal involving one of his peers who made a profit on land transactions. PPP is seeking an independent counsel to investigate.

Meanwhile, PPP chose a 36-year-old Harvard graduate with little political experience as a leader. The promotion of Lee Jun-seok, who has never served as a member of parliament, is appealing to the dissatisfied MZ generation faction.

President-elect Lee Jun-seok told Bloomberg News in July, “I’m confident that I’m really looking forward to the next president-elect election in March,” a young man who believes in the current system. He added that there are many voters. Supports rich and connected. He called for a “qualification test” to assess the ability of candidates to use computer programs. This is a suggestion of a slight view of “586ers”.

Lee Doye, a 58-year-old social welfare worker, said he had little sympathy for the MZ generation. Her criticism reflected the intergenerational divisions that are emerging around the world.

“The younger generation these days are too individualistic,” said Lee, who lives in Chungcheong Province, which is expected to be an important battlefield for elections. “They prioritize their personal interests over the interests of the community and easily quit their jobs when they think their interests are undermined.”

Many MZ generations choose to quit marriage, have children, and buy a home. People like Hee-seop Choi of Seoul Central Market argue that it makes more sense to focus on taking care of them.

“It is doubtful that the country’s president-elect, on behalf of anyone, can solve the problem,” she said. “But I hope he or she is at least more sympathetic and trying to make our society a little more fair than it is now. Someone I am willing to fight for that fairness. I’m going to vote for. “

Young South Koreans look to oust old guard they blame for‘Squid Game’ economy Source link Young South Koreans look to oust old guard they blame for‘Squid Game’ economy

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