When the South Korean property market saw explosive growth during the 1980s and 1990s, Gangnam-gu was one of the districs that benefited most. During this time, it attracted wealthy, highly educated people. Most of them, especially the mothers, were keen to provide the best education possible with their abundant time and resources. With a lot of apartment communities and only negligible number of ‘anti-educational’ businesses such as bars, Daechi-dong gained fame as Korea’s ‘Mecca of private education’.
With only 3.53 km² area of land, Daechi-dong boasts about 620 hagwons (private institutions) as of 2009. When class ends, the students of the major hagwons in Daechi-dong flood out, and the adjacent roads are filled with their mothers’ cars, as they shuttle their kids to even more hagwon classes. The mothers, so-called ‘Gangnam mothers’, are not just drivers; they put a lot of effort to stay up to date with private education by having ‘coffee meetings’ with fellow mothers. Some of the meetings are highly exclusive, just as some hagwons only allow ‘competent students’ to attend their classes by passing an admissions test. In most cases, the mothers are under as much stress as their children.
In this context, the public notice from the chief of an apartment office in the picture below is a reflection of the over-zealous attitude to pre-university education, which is quite the norm in Gangnam. Korean netizens have found the note absurd, criticising it heavily. While they generally agree with apartment residents being considerate towards others, they are also disturbed by the mentality behind the note, emphasising that the world shouldn’t revolve around middle school and high school students.
A Common Notice in Daechi-dong Apartment Blocks
[Translation of the notice]
For Your Attention
Title: Providing a quiet environment for our kids during midterm exams
There are midterm exams from 19th to 30th of April at middle schools and high schools in Daechi-dong. Since GPA is an important factor to get the best result at the admission test, students and parents are highly agitated during this time. It is therefore necessary for us to be cautious so as to help the students get decent grades. For those of you planning to redecorate or do DIY work, I would like to ask you to delay the plan; the rest of the residents are also recommended to be prudent –even a single nail should not be easily driven.
The apartment office staff will put their best effort to create a quiet environment during the exam time.
The chief of the apartment office
Comments from Daum:
Why are they asking for such nonsense? The residents paid for the apartment. -_-
I’m a student but this public notice went too far ke ke ke ke ke
Oh.. I thought it was heart-warming… ke ke ke ke ke
It’s dire… It’s hard on both parents and children… I haven’t lived long but… while university is important, it’s more important to work hard at what you like doing, and to live well.
어디선가 날 찾고있어!:
Something’s wrong here.
I think the chief is right. Isn’t it common sense not to disturb your neighbours?
It’s not heart-warming! It’s common sense to keep quiet for your neighbours, yet it’s too much to ask ‘to delay interior design work’. Besides, it’s impossible to prevent the noise that is created outside: there are kids and other noise creators running around.
I went to eat at Gimbap Heaven in Daechi-dong the other day, and it was quite a sight.. They were studying while eating: memorising English vocabulary, summaries on Korean modern history and so on.. ;;;;
I don’t understand the mentality of Daechi-dong residents.. There are an unbelievable amount of hagwons, and restaurants full of students in Daechi. I’m a student, but this education obsession is ridiculous.
I hate this. I’m gonna run around the apartment corridor! Ha!
It’s the exam period, so it’s right to try to be nice and quiet for your neighbours, even if that means you have to postpone your interior design works. But’s a bit over the top to say ‘don’t hammer a single nail’.
Being quiet shouldn’t be limited to midterm exam time… Corporate workers can be cranky after working all night. And what about university students? — they have to juggle both exams AND homework. The note isn’t really pleasing to see, considering those students are not the only people who need a serene environment. ke ke ke Is the note implying to say that it’s okay to make disruptive noise after the exam?
I don’t think the students are going to study at home, anyway;;;;. Being quiet during the exams doesn’t make much difference. It would’ve been understandable if the note had asked them to keep general etiquette as apartment residents.
I think it sounds like a good idea?? I guess there’s at least one student in each household in the apartment block.
Good students do their work no matter how noisy the environment is, whilst the bad ones simply don’t. Don’t we all have excuses? Their exams aren’t the most important task in the world.
I guess the people from the apartments are so ready to blame the chief for their children’s incompetent scores with their eyes on fire.
It sounds like a high school dormitory.
But… the thing is……An apartment community is home for a lot of people.. I know it’s important to go to a decent university, but there are many people living under the same roof. Mmm.. Ah! I’ve so much to say but…..