Conservatives Destroy Popular “How Are You Doing” Posters

A poster entitled “How are you doing?” by a 27-year-old Korea University student has sparked a youth movement in South Korea. Business student Ju Hyun-u’s handwritten poster struck a chord with many young people who were disenchanted with the Korean government’s treatment of recent political issues. In response to charges that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) interfered in the 2012 presidential election, that the government is preparing to privatize the national railway and healthcare, and the Miryang electricity tower controversy, his poster asks, “I just want to know, are you okay with ignoring these things because they’re not happening to you, or are you hiding behind the self-justification of political apathy?” His concept has spread like wildfire, resulting in the creation of a Facebook page with over 260,000 likes, poster “replies” and rallies at schools all over South Korea.

However, not all of the response has been positive. At the conservative Internet community Ilbe, users have drawn attention for tearing down some “How are you doing?” posters at universities, and putting up photo evidence of the damaged posters. They have also organized a counter-protest, one which will publish their own posters stating that students don’t have their facts straight about the railway strikes and Miryang controversy. The majority of netizens are outraged at these actions, calling Ilbe users cowardly for hiding behind their screen names on the Internet, and not daring to protest in public.

From Yonhap News:

Ilbe Netizens Organize Counter Movement Against “How Are You Doing” Posters

On December 10th, a Korea University student’s “How are you doing?” poster quickly spread to every school; this led to a movement by Ilbe against the poster.

In the poster, Korea University senior Ju Hyun-u mentioned the railroad strike, Miryang transmission tower problems, and suspicions that the presidential election was rigged, urging students to pay attention to these issues.

[poster translation]
How are you doing?

1. Yesterday, after a strike that lasted just one day, thousands of workers lost their jobs. It was simply because they opposed the privatization of the railroad that 4,213 people were removed from their positions. Isn’t Park Geun Hye’s claim that she will not push forward without consulting with the people just an excuse to take disciplinary action against those who oppose railroad privatization?! In the past, young Jeon Tae-il set himself on fire to protest for better laborers’ rights, but at this rate, the right to strike may disappear!! Because strikes against the government and capital are all defined as unlawful! Despite the suspicions of a rigged presidential election and a national institution’s unprecedented election intervention, a member of the National Assembly that has the right to impeach the president is at risk of getting expelled for telling the president to resign. This makes me question whether this is indeed the 21st century.
In a rural town, construction of electricity transmission towers have led to a resident committing suicide by drinking poison. For the sin of resisting the “ripoff” capital and management, fired workers were charged with thousands of millions of won in fines and imprisonment. When they asked for job security, they were given temporary jobs. In these strange times, I don’t know if everyone is “doing well”!!!

2. As a member of the so-called 880,000 won generation, they say we don’t know anything about poverty in the world. We grew up in a generation of abundance, so they say we don’t understand the politics, economy, or worldly affairs. But after the 1997-98 IMF’s intervention, our generation, not even understanding the circumstances, had to keep our houses warm while both parents were out trying to bring home double paychecks. Wasn’t it our generation that was pressured to be silent about the students who commit suicide every year after the national university entrance exam? It’s not that we don’t care or know about the politics and economy. It’s just that we were not encouraged or allowed to ponder such issues and voice our opinions!! We just believed that we would keep on living like this without any big trouble.
But now, we can’t even be like that. Because this world I have described is the one that we live in. I just want to ask. Are you “doing well”? Are you living free of trouble? Are you okay with ignoring other people’s issues because they are not your problems?! I just want to ask, are you okay hiding behind political apathy to justify yourself? In case you are not doing well after seeing all these problems, then say something, don’t try to stifle your cries—whatever they may be. So I want to ask you one more time! Are you all doing ok!

Business Management, Class of 08 [entering year]
Hyun-u

The movement spread quickly, leading to response posters put up at other domestic universities such as Seoul National University, Yonsei University, and Sogang University, but also at foreign universities such as UC Berkeley. On December 14th, in response to the poster, 200 students rallied together and participated in the railroad labor union’s candlelight vigil at Seoul Station.

Students rally together to say "I'm not doing well!"

Students rally together to say “I’m not doing well!”

On December 14th, around 7:32 p.m., a confirmation photo with the caption “I ripped up a poster at Korea University about the railroad strike” was uploaded on the Ilbe website.

After damaging a poster written by a student in Korea University’s math department, this member explained the reason behind it: “I hate to see commies dishonoring the school like this.”

The torn poster led to controversy on social media, and the writer of the post on Ilbe apologized on the Korea University online community “Ko-pas” around 4:00 p.m. on December 15th.

In his apology, he wrote “When I saw the poster, I disagreed with it, I tore it in half” and “I apologize, and seek forgiveness.”

Afterwards, the poster requested “the safekeeping and the deletion of the post out of concern for legal action” from Ko-pas’s system administration; thus the apology can no longer be seen online. The relevant post on Ilbe is still available.

Similar things happened at Sogang University and Konkuk University.

On the same day, at around 4:00 a.m., a post along with a photo titled “I democratized a poster at Sogang University” was uploaded to the Ilbe website. At Konkuk University, there were also posters damaged by Ilbe members.

ripping up poster

An Ilbe netizen’s proof photo of a ripped poster with the Ilbe hand sign.

Ilbe also had members who planned to make their own counter posters.

The counter poster contained a draft proposal titled, “How are we doing? I am doing well!” and stated “The government said they have no plan to privatize the railroad” and “non-stakeholders, don’t exaggerate things.”

That morning, a photo titled “Catholic University counter poster” was uploaded onto Ilbe.

The member who uploaded this message wrote “Because of the people constantly asking “How are you doing?” I am not doing well” and “If you support the railroad strike, you’re seen as being concerned, but if you don’t support it, you’re seen as being indifferent.”

Also on this day, the conservative student group “Alliance for Free College Students” came forward in an open call against the “How are you doing?” poster.

The alliance announced that they are recruiting people who can reveal their real names and affiliations and put up posters. These people would write a declaration of their identity and objective on the poster and leave empty space at the bottom for the participants to write their own comments. The alliance will also cover expenses and provide legal service.

Some say it is ‘ghostwriting’.

The alliance responded, “It’s not ghostwriting” and “our affiliations and names of our writers are on the poster, if it was ghostwriting, there would be no reason for us to reveal our affiliations.”

At Kyungbuk University, in response to the “How are you doing?” poster, a counter poster was put up in the name of “Mr. Park, a Business Management senior.”

On December 12th, on the official “How are you doing?” Facebook page, there was an unending stream of posts depicting “response posters” that were put up at each school. As of 5:30 p.m. on December 15th, there were over 168,000 “likes” on the Facebook page.

Comments from Naver:

hsle****:

Down with Ilbe.

dons****:

As citizens grow increasingly apathetic, the government becomes more corrupt.

shss****:

Let’s behave sensibly so that we don’t have to call Cesco [pest exterminator].

sit7****:

I guess bugs wriggle when you step on them? Ilbe bugs!

vlsk****:

Ilbe bugs: “Don’t ignore us because we are bugs!! We are not lonely! We…are not…lonelyㅜㅜ. I’m not lonely but why these tears… In fact, I’m lonely, really lonely. People’s anger, actually, I enjoy it. So I became an Ilbe bug.”

ssw1****:

When I see Ilbe people in real life, they all seem normal. They cannot say that they are Ilbe members in front of other people so they know that it’s embarrassing, and only become warriors when they are in front of their keyboard.

copa****:

They can’t tear up posters in broad daylight, so they just do it in the dark, ke ke. What righteous bugs, ke ke.

p030****:

Wow there is such a difference in standards among students at the same college. Instead of tearing the posters, they should put up counter posters with clear arguments and real names.

je66****:

If you don’t like their claim, then write an opposing piece and put it on a poster.  You shouldn’t tear up the posters-it doesn’t make sense, it’s pathetic and dirty.

Students post their own "replies" to the original "How are you doing" poster at various colleges and universities.

Students post their own “replies” to the original “How are you doing” poster at various colleges and universities in South Korea.

nokt****:

So they damaged the posters first before anything else… That’s so like them, Ilbe bugs.

dark****:

So there are still people who have the delusion that Ilbe is conservative. Ilbe is not conservative and they are not being criticized for being conservative.

lhy1****:

There isn’t an appropriate cause to rally around, and there’s no logic to their opposition, so there’s no point…

p030****:

I will acknowledge them if they go public with their real names and put up opposition posters. They are entitled to their opinion, but they shouldn’t rip up others’ posters to live up to being Ilbe bugs. It’s pathetic;;;

kans****:

Judging by their actions ant words, isn’t Ilbe the true den for commies? What they do is more of a commie act than praising North Korea. If you cause internal divisions and emotional battles that result in the country being overthrown from the inside, you are the real spy. In South Korea, if you directly praise North Korea, there will be immediate repulsion, so pretending to cuss out North Korea while dividing South Korea into enemies is the main method used by spies. It seems to me like Ilbe is taking this path…

runa****:

Why are Ilbe bugs still living, tsk tsk.

Photos of “counter” posters were also posted on Ilbe. The following posters were posted at Korea University where the movement first began.

counter-post2

How are you doing?

A few days ago, a brave Korea University senior student posted a handwritten poster at the back of the politics & economy department building. He was wondering how anyone can be okay in these strange times where thousands of employees opposing railroad privatization got removed from their positions, illegal interference was involved in the last presidential election and a resident of Miryang killed himself by drinking poison. The message went viral, gathering support from many other students, some of whom put up their own posters.

The poster controversy continues, but one thing is certain, the Republic of Korea is a free democracy. Anyone can express their thoughts in spoken or written form. Therefore, I have no qualms about putting up posters to share ideas and taking action together. Expressing opinions is essential in a democracy.

However, I want to ask you a question. The senior student claimed that he wrote the very first poster purely out of personal interest. But when the Korea University student protesters headed to the Seoul Station Square, there were already protesters from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the railroad labor union and civic groups demanding that President Park resign. I want to believe that he started his campaign out of pure passion. However, I cannot get over the feeling that this poster movement turned into yet another political tool of the old factions. I think they are undermining our students’ true intentions. What do you think about this?

I want to ask you one more question. In these strange times where one of our current lawmakers planned to stage a rebellion, there is controversy about the air defence identification zone between Korea and China, and North Korea regularly abuses South Korea’s government and military, I dare ask you how anyone can be okay. Along with the issues the student brought attention to, these are also our social problems. It seems our students are very vocal about the former but turn a blind eye and remain silent on the latter. I want to ask you whether this is real justice.

The true “socially aware citizen” is an individual who critically and independently judges and takes actions with clearly defined values regardless of their political orientation. But these days, only those who criticize the government and the ruling party while supporting the opposition party are regarded as “aware citizens”. “Lee Myung-bak-geun-hye” is almost treated like an “axis of evil”. When you agree with the Conservative voices and show a favorable attitude towards the government and the president, they ask, “are you an Ilbe bug?” If you question or criticize the opposition party or the Progressive’s claims, you are accused of being a part-time employee of the NIS or the Saenuri party. That saddens an ordinary student like me who isn’t an Ilbe user and has no relation to any political group or national institution.

The true Progressive is supposed to be considerate to social minorities and respect diversity, but young Conservatives who have become minorities are despised by young Progressives in this land. The young Progressive voice is so much louder than the young Conservative voice. It is helpless. We have no power. I have no desire to overturn or run away from this harsh reality. I just want to ask you whether you are all “okay”. Whether you ignored others’ opinions or called them conservative idiots to their back or whether you’ve been a young Conservative who’s been marginalized with no proper voice.

Therefore, I want to ask you for the last time. How are you doing?!

From the Korea University Class of 2013, Lee, who wants to be okay

counter-poster1

Your own “How are you?”

Upon seeing this poster, you might have gladly assumed that there is yet another socially aware student on campus. However, this poster is directed not to the government that you guys bemoan, but to those “socially aware” students. I guess there might be some who wonder what I’m on about while everyone is marching against the “evil” government. The righteous march to fight a boogeyman that was mad cow disease. The disciples of the truth who fought against scientific evidence of the Cheonan sinking with their intent to reveal the truth. The defenders of freedom who have incessantly claimed that the presidential election was rigged. After having seen them, I cannot help but doubt the good intentions of the “are you okay” protesters. No, I stand corrected. I do not doubt your good intention and passion. I can feel that from numerous posts on Facebook. But I’m worried whether your self-righteous path is in fact leading to Hell. In other words, I want to know whether you are tilting at an evil giant or a harmless windmill.

Rumors about privatization are relentlessly being posted on social media by those “aware” people. I smell a hint of another mad cow disease incident. I predict there will be claims that Korean public companies are more prone to privatization infection than foreign counterparts or that mutant privatization prions can be spread through the air [echoes 2008 claims made about mad cow disease infecting South Koreans]. While reading numerous posters and supporting arguments for the railroad labor union’s strikes, I kept coming across the claim that “history repeats itself.” I want to ask you. In that history, is the shameful history of the Progressives not included? Is that your version of history where the inconvenient part is selectively forgotten? If that is what you mean by history, then maybe I will have to rethink myself for underestimating the risk of mad cow disease that indeed made holes in your brains.

If you guys are truly defenders of freedom, justice and truth as our school motto says, I wonder whether you have rightfully felt disturbed by the lawmaker’s rebellion scandal. If you refrain from jumping to conclusions because his trial is still in progress, I wonder why such cautiousness is not applied to the privatization controversy. That’s why I cannot help but doubt the direction as well as the destination of your good intentions. If your good intentions, passion and courage mean changing your picket sign from “Lee Myung-bak OUT” to “Park Geun-hye OUT” and labeling the heathen corrupting the holy creed as “Ilbe bugs”, I would not be hesitant to become jaded. When you guys come out to the streets and chant “All for one!”, what it reminds me of is unfortunately not beautiful solidarity but the madness of totalitarianism.

In the first poster that sparked this “How are you?” movement, he said we’ve been pressured to be silent. I would rather ask you whether you aren’t asking us to voice one opinion while suffocating all other voices. Also, I want to ask you whether you aren’t unfairly calling other people ignorant or indifferent cowards while you praise your awareness and courage. Through this poster, I wanted to tell you that not everyone is marching together to the beat of your drums. There are other voices out here. Thank you.

Artsy 2013, Seong-min

Jay.h also contributed to this article. koreaBANG will soon cover the railroad privatization controversy which sparked the initial fierce debate online.

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  • commander

    The poster controversy emerged amid the absense of any mechanism that offers compromise and adjustment for starkly different views with the National Assembly effectively in paralysis as a result of clashes between rival parties over the NIS reform.

    The controversy is getting mote heated after the freedom of speech that was significantly suppressed during the Lee Myung-bak administration is strongly unleashed in Park’s apparent one-sided push that is reminiscent of her predecessor’s bulldozer-style leadership.

    In a mature democracy, various interest conflicts are a natural occurence.

    Instead of opening debates and building a national concensus on contentious issues just because of anticipated opposition from skeptics, pushing ahead with its own views will inevitably face tremendous objections from those skeptics and those who challenged the way any unilateral plan is enforced without discussions.

    And many online forums, including Ilbe, appear to focus more on groundless vilifications and revive a MacCathyism specter again, disrupting reasonable discussions and debate.

    • bigmamat

      The Korean Foreigner has a very good 3 part piece concerning this issue. His latest installment part 3 pretty much mirrors this same assessment of the situation. I was impressed with his candid observations regarding the government’s attitude and actions. It isn’t often you find a staunch self proclaimed supporter of unfettered capitalism willing to admit one of their fellows has committed a mistake.

      • Sillian

        I just found out about the blogger. Thanks for that.

        http://thekoreanforeigner.blogspot.ca/

      • commander

        Thanks for your tip.

        A third party perspective at the present state of affairs can be more insightful and impartial.

    • chucky3176

      President Park and the ruling Conservative party can’t do anything if the opposition Liberal parties won’t engage in debate with the government, and refuses to exercises their right of votes on passage of bills. If they won’t vote on the bills (knowing that they don’t have enough votes to defeat the motions), then what can the government do other then continue with the votes? It is up to the opposition parties to participate in the democratic duties, but if they stay away and refuses to debate and vote, and not only that, try to disrupt the democratic votes through violent means, then it is they who refuses to participate in democracy, and they should not complain that it’s not democratic.

      • bigmamat

        What violent means are you talking about? Was there a riot? Did people get hurt, property destroyed? I didn’t see anything on that, do you have a translated article?

        • chucky3176

          Have you never seen Korean parliamentarians duking it out? It’s usually when one party tries to stop a vote from taking place. Several years ago, they tried to vote on a bill, the Democrats refused to vote on them, knowing that they didn’t have enough seats and enough votes. The Conservatives ended up convening alone to vote to ram the bill through. The Democrats appeared and physically tried to stop the vote from taking place. The Conservatives retreated to a closed off room. The Democrats took a hammer and started on bashing the door open, while another lawmaker used a chain saw to try to cut through the door. The democrats succeeded in busting the door open and one well known left wing radical law maker from Gyeongnam province started to attack the Conservative lawmakers by standing on top of a table, and started his Taekwondo kicks aiming for the heads.

          • bigmamat

            LMAO. But has there been any violence concerning this particular issue? I think it would be great fun to turn on CSPAN and see congressmen rolling in the isles and doing flying spin kicks on each other. Now that would be political spectacle. lol

      • commander

        Let’s face the reality more accurately.

        What supporters of the Park administration call the unreasonable refusal of the opposition party to cooperate withe ruling party on parliamentary business comes from what opposition parties regard as the ruling side’s unjustifiably stubborn rejections of growing calls for the probe in the NIS presidential election intervention and the spy agency’s reform.

        By any standards in an advanced democracy, the intelligenc agency’s meddling is an incident of great magnitude and should be prevented from taking place again.

        But the governing side appears reluctant to take a step toward an entrenched democracy by taking a passive posture in investigating the NIS scandal.

        Several months after the shocking scandal was divulged, the public still remains in the dark about the depth and breadth of the spy agency’s intrusion in the 2012 presdiential election and about countermeasures to make sure that it will not happen again.

        All the public really want is the truth, unembellished and unvarnished.

        Isn’t it that we want too much?

  • Kevin

    It seems like Korea is in transition between authoritarian, McCarthy State and modern, democratic state. Let’s hope that good guys win.

    • Sillian

      Who might be the ‘good guys’?

      • bumfromkorea

        I’m gonna go with the side that didn’t have the national spy agency and military intelligence conduct psyops against the entire electorate.

        • chucky3176

          bumfromkorea, the type of internet and media manipulations are done all over the world, not just Korea. This includes the US where the elections were marred with charges of vote count frauds and internet twitter manipulated comments in the social media.

          http://www.wellesley.edu/news/stories/node/31088

          Nobody in the US accuses Obama and the Democrats from rigging the election. Social media manipulations may end up swaying some crucial votes, that’s debatable. But could that be equated as rigging an election which needs to be nullified? But this kind of throwing out the baby with the bath water seems to only happen in Korea. Instead of targeting the problem and fixing the broken pieces, too many people want some kind of a clean sweep revolution to go back to year zero and start all over again.

          • bumfromkorea

            There is an ocean of difference between presidential campaigns playing dirty, and having the Korean equivalent of NSA/CIA and the Military Intelligence run psyops to favor one candidate. The Pacific ocean, to be precise.

          • Chucky3176

            Agreed. The former is much worse. Because the candidates are directly involved in playing dirty.

          • Boris

            The former is much worse?

            Both are bad, but to say the former is worse is a joke. The Korean equivalent of NSA/CIA and the Military Intelligence run psyops to favor one candidate pretty much negates ‘free and fair election’ as the voters votes are worthless.

            Politics is a dirty game, politicians will play dirty. But these agencies will ask for favors and we have seen what Korean agencies have done in the past and if we go by what their big daddy (USA) does, then we know it will get worse for people.

  • Jen

    The expats (specifically white males) in South Korea just pay attention to the matters of North Korea and its cruelty, how to save Korean girls from Korean men and families, and how to condemn Korean nationalism. They are not interested a bit in democracy, equality, and freedom of expression of South Korean people, which are not their business. It is why Korea Bang looks at South Korea only with one eye, closing the other. Though always scolding South Koreans for their anti-imperialist slogans that may work unfavorably to white males, did it ever deal with the issues about the problems white/black women from the western world may have staying in South Korea, and more crucially, the inequality against immigrant workers from China, West Asia, South Asia, and Indo-Chinese peninsular?

    • bigmamat

      Not so not all, don’t fall into the same trap as you have attempted to spring for the expats. There are lots of blogs on Korea and not all of them are about how to get a korean chick without any money or the dangers of too much soju. I didn’t even give you any examples of blogs devoted to travel only, food, music or literature. How else do you expect non Koreans to learn anything about Korea? If some choose to only focus on the disgusting misogynistic and racist rants of a few expats then that’s all they were looking for in the first place.
      http://thekoreanforeigner.blogspot.com/

      http://thegrandnarrative.com/

      http://roboseyo.blogspot.com/

      http://www.thekoreanlawblog.com/

      http://www.humanrightskorea.org/

      http://www.mappingwords.com/

    • Harald Olsen

      Jen, I respectfully disagree, we at koreaBANG have always tried hard to cover every aspect of Korea, not just North Korea and “how to save Korean girls from Korean men and families”. I would refer you to some of our diverse reporting here: http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/xenophobia-against-newly-elected-filipina-korean-spreads-online.html
      here: http://www.koreabang.com/2012/features/can-korea-become-a-welfare-state-netizens-discuss.html
      or here: http://www.koreabang.com/2013/pictures/one-woman-anti-multiculturalism-protest-ignites-debate.html

      In addition, we have supported causes dedicated to protecting all women from harassment and abuse in South Korea, including “white/black women from the western world”, notably in partnership with The Korea Gender Cafe: http://www.koreabang.com/2013/stories/rebuttal-why-korea-is-ranked-108th-in-gender-equality.html

    • chucky3176

      Perhaps the expats have seen this all before, like the 2002 Candle Light vigils protesting against the US, for the deaths of those two girls by a US armored vehicle accidentally running over them. This type of emotional farting in Korea is nothing new, and it’s happening again like the weather cycle.

      • Courtland Miles

        I’ve had numerous expats here in South Korea, who have been here long enough to see liberal and conservative administrations, say the same thing. One said that Koreans always give their new president and their administrations about a year before they go berzerk with accusations of deceit and ineptitude. The same expat reminded me of how terribly unpopular Roh Mu-hyeon was at the end of his presidency, and how Lee Myung-bak had a ladnslide victory. Another expat theorized that the constant fist fights in the National Assembly and emotional protests may be another avenue for Koreans to vent the stress they feel from their conservative, hierarchical and competitive economy and culture. Korea is definitely polarized politically at the moment, just like the US. Where are the moderates?

    • Sillian

      Maybe there are certain traits that echo what you roughly described among some frat boy mercs fresh out of college. But I think Korea has actually begun to have some Intelligent western long-timers, professionals and researchers. It depends on your personal circles after all. And I see a variety of topics on this website.

  • chucky3176

    This protest posters are the 2008 Mad Cow protests all over again. Masses once again, without having all the information, jumping to the gun and coming up with their own conclusions. The case of railroad strikes, where the government fed up with trade unions giving themselves fat raises when the rail system is losing money by the fist loads, and expecting Korean tax payers to bail them out, are a perfect example. And now they’re claiming the Korean elections were rigged when at the polls, the Park Geun Hye government had an overwhelming majority popularity and approval rating when she got elected, and still command over 50% approval rating. If the National Security Agency got involved in the elections, then it’s the matter of reforming the NSA, it’s not about rigging the election. If that’s a rigged election, then so is the American elections where internet is often manipulated too.

    I support the Ilbe users, at least they got their heads screwed in correctly and try to look at this thing with all facts, instead of going all emotional.

    • Eric0912

      Ripping the posters apart can hardly be considered trying “to look at this thing with all facts, instead of going all emotional”, can it?

  • bumfromkorea

    The biggest reveal from the KORAIL fiasco is just how little the Korean electorates trust PGH. It literally is the difference between whether you believe her that KORAIL will be legally protected from privatization or not.

    In other words, this is about PGH’s inability to effectively communicate with the Korean public.

    • chucky3176

      The average wages for the train driver at KORAIL is at over $90,000 a year, which is not too far below an airline jet pilot for Korean Air. Almost half of the income that KORAIL earns is used to pay out wages for their employees. Where’s the money to maintain the trains, all the computer and rail systems? The wages to income ratio at KORAIL is ridiculously high, compared to other countries with very strong trade unions like Sweden, France, and Germany whose wage to income ratio are all below 25%, as opposed to Korea’s 50%. Yet the union at KORAIL has no problems striking for months for more wages. Their crazy wages increases have basically been covered by Korean tax payers through runaway KORAIL deficits, how much more can the government just sit by and do nothing while the runaway costs deteriorate the services? If they can’t cut the wage growth, then they have to start cutting services.

      • Eric0912

        They are not striking for higher wages. And when have they ever been on strike for more than a week? Would like to se where you got those percentage stats from too.

        You just can’t make money on everything.

        • Chucky3176

          I got the stats from here.

          http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/12/27/2013122700272.html?news_topR

          Look at the graphs, it’s eye opening. You can’t make money on everything, but it’s unrealistic to think that you can lose fist full of money year after year, and expect no changes to stop the bleeding. If they cut services, then KORAIL staff must also be cut because there’s less need for same level of unproductive overpaid labor.

          • Eric0912

            I don’t read Korean (and I probably wouldn’t chose Chosun Ilbo even if I could), but I think there’s more to those numbers. DB and SJ have their fair share of problems too, to say the least. Either way, of course you can. That’s why citizens pay taxes. But sure, cut everything but the Seoul-Busan line, and Korail will make a lot of profit. The rest of the nation? Well, why can’t those people just hire chauffers?

        • Chucky3176

          The 4200 KORAIL workers were removed after they refused to go back to work, while on an illegal strike. It’s no different when Ronald Reagan replaced all the striking airport traffic workers in 1981 after they went on an illegal strike and refused to go back to work.

          In the KORAIL case, 4200 fat cat spoiled union workers were removed, but another 4200 more eager and deserving new workers got hired.

          • Eric0912

            Am I understanding you correctly, that you’re using Reagan and his handling of unions as a comparison? In that case, the “it’s no different” says a lot.

            Those scabs should be prosecuted, at least. Whether it is illegal or not is what much of the conflict is ultimately about. But yeah, seems you got the striking thing all wrong.

          • jon777

            No such thing as an illegal strike. That’s what we call fascism. Workers ALWAYS have the right to strike.

      • bumfromkorea

        I would actually be open to KORAIL privatization, or at least a partial one (though to give only the lucrative sections to privatization does seem like a bad opening policy). But none of that matters because PGH and Saenuri failed in their duties as democratically elected representatives. And I don’t blame the Korean electorates at all for losing faith in their current 여당.

  • goldengluvsk2

    its interesting how i didnt see any pictures of them ripping the posters off in broad light… Ilbe people have the right to disagree but theyre just embarassing. in the other hand, I’m glad more and more people decide to speak up… the way the government allegedly tries to distract the citizens with entertainment news is insulting.

    • Chucky3176

      Are you American by any chance? If you are, you would probably interested to know that those poster supporters are heavily anti-American too. The poster supporters are just a loud minority who repeatedly mouth off about democracy but who really don’t understand the concept themselves.

      • jon777

        Yeah, well, america’s political system sucks. It is only rational to be anti-american. The US is the biggest cancer on this planet right now.

        • Chris Tharp

          But China is just fine, huh? Knee-jerk much???

      • Chris Tharp

        Yup.

  • KCdude

    This proves that Korea desperately needs the British style Westminster system to bring more social harmony to the public. The American style presidential system doesn’t work in Korea at all. It’s dividing the whole society.

    Long live the British Empire! Long live the (possibly) British-influenced Korea (that completely lacks the American influence)!

    • David

      Because it is working so well in Britain. If you know anything at all about Koreans you know they want strong presidential leadership.

      • namepen

        It is actually and not only in Britain, the Westminster System is working well all over the world.

        Although KCdude’s comment was a little strange, he is right about the benefits of the Westminister system of government.

        The ‘파행 국회’ problem wouldn’t exist if they adopted a form of government which didn’t seperate powers in the way it does in a presidential system.

        • David

          What do you base “it is working well all over the world” on? Britain has as much trouble balancing its budget, reconciling differences in ideology and refraining from passing repressive legislation as any other country. Also, I find it the height of hubris to suggest that what Koreans need to do is scrap the system they put in place and have used for 60 years and adopt the Westminster system to fix everything. The idea is as stupid as the comment about the British Empire that no longer exists. Now go read your Kipling and let the Koreans figure out their own problems without you assuming the white mans burden for them.

          • Ruaraidh

            I’m sure this is old hat by now, but I’ve never heard of Britain, Australia or New Zealand shutting down their governments for two weeks because of a political tantrum…

          • jon777

            Nah, they are right. Westminster system is much better. Power gets more balanced and it becomes less corrupt.

          • Chris Tharp

            I clicked on his KCdude’s username and read about 20 comments he’s posted on different articles on this site. He constantly harps on about the “Westminster system” while delivering disturbing and dated platitudes toward the British Empire and the Queen. In short: the dude’s a total tit.

          • David

            I think you hit the nail on the head. Even if you believe the system is better (debatable) I don’t see how you could know anything about the Korean people and not understand they like a strong leader running their government. Even if it is better for Great Britain, does not mean it is better for Korea. Just my opinion.

    • guest

      Britain has change a lot, it’s a part of EU now, which I blame for many failures.

      Let’s look at North America, where Canada has the Westminister model and America has its more adversarial system, and both countries have been neighbours for a long time.

      In Canada, though some voters are beginning to forget…nobody votes for a leader or even a party, they vote for an MP, someone in their voting district to represent them, their voted person can be from any party, and can SWITCH to any party.

      In America, people vote for a President, which have been nominated by a major party. After the election is over, the ‘loser’, Al Gore, John Kerry, then disappears.

      …in Canada, the ‘loser’, or the SECOND place person: the ones who got the second most support from the /MPs/, gets to be the leader of the opposition, gets a seat in the parliament that gives the runner-up the right to question the winner.

      Four American presidents have been murdered, and fights have broken up where it’s clear that one side might want the other DEAD. In Canada, so far, no Prime Ministers have been murdered – long may it stay so. When NDP’s Jack Layton died of cancer, Conservative’s PM Harper held a state funeral for Layton. Although there is a lot of yelling during the parliament, MPs from different party are very part of each other’s lives between the elections – it’s harder to dehumanize the opponent.

  • mai lin

    ….

  • Chris Tharp

    More candlelight vigils over rumors? Here we go again. While many folks in this country are unhappy, it is once again clear that the Korean left is capitalizing on this to get people out in the streets and undermine the government–just like they did in 2008 with the “Mad Cow” brouhaha. Remember that? All the fear-mongering? Conspiracy theories? Rumors spreading like brush fires? How many of those histrionic predictions came true? Zero. While the current administration is indeed out-of-touch and run by the same chaebol forces that controlled the previous one , I have absolutely no faith in the Korean left–perhaps the most nationalist, xenophobic left-wing movement in the world. These are the guys that would have you believe that, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, the big bad USA sunk the Cheonan in order to further its constrictor-like grip over innocent, weak Korea. After all, their “brothers” in the North couldn’t possibly have committed such an act, now could they have?

  • Kiwi

    How you doin’?

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