Article from Kyunghyang Shinmun:
Poster reads, “Do You Want to Collect Trash on the Streets or Travel the World in Your Old Age?”, Stirs Up Controversy in Portrayal of Seniors
A winning entry in a public ad contest encouraging people to sign up for the national pension service has been the target of criticism for its alleged mockery of seniors.
An official-looking version of the poster first appeared on February 13 on Twitter, igniting discussion.
Images of a hand cart, loaded with waste paper, and high-end luggage are placed next to each other in the poster, with a phrase in the middle reading, “At 65, which would you rather be pulling?”
Immediately below the title, the poster reads: “The National Pension ensures a decent retirement for you. Let’s begin the second chapter of your life with the national pension service.”
The gist of the ad is that the public pension allows subscribers to enjoy their retirement by traveling instead of collecting waste paper on the streets to make money.
The controversial advertisement took the second spot in the contest held in March 2010 by the National Pension Service, the contest was intended for university students. The poster is available on the official website of the NPS.
The judging committee is said to have included active and former journalists and college professors.
As the poster went viral, some Netizens lashed out.
Twitter user Mayday said, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for the NPS to say this. The NPS should have worked to at least make it seem like seniors don’t have to collect paper to survive.”
Another Twitter user, Kay, said, “The poster feels like going one step further than the motto (that previously drew criticism) reading, [the motto read: “Would you rather go on a blind date at university or work in a factory?”
In an apparent bid to quiet controversy, the NPS said, “The poster in question was selected after having gone through impartial assessment by a panel of outside reviewers. Though it may be viewed differently depending on perspective, we see the post as containing the message that the national pension relieves possible poverty among the elderly.”
Comments from Daum:
Can you even go traveling with what you get from the pension fund?
블루sea: [responding to above]
Seniors can go on a trip only if they receive national pension, collect waste paper and recycle spare LPG cylinders.
Those who are entitled to pensions, retired public officials or military officers, can travel, not subscribers to national pension, even with the maximum payout.
You can travel on the national pension? Stop dreaming! I just hope the national pension will not dry up by the time I become a recipient!
I doubt that I will receive the national pension. The NPS forces people to sign up for it but it’s not clear whether they are capable of paying you back. What a bunch of con artists!
I don’t even expect pension-funded travel. I just want back what I am paying in.
With no basic safety net available, the blame should be put on social systems driving poor seniors to the streets to gather waste paper for a living. Why does the NPS frame the elderly as lazy?
They’ve gone overboard. In the dead of winter, some impoverished seniors struggle to look for waste paper for a living. I am very sorry for them whenever I spot them on the streets. A public institution like the NPS must be really good at advertising! [sarcasm]
People in their 20s or 30s now will definitely be forced to collect waste paper if they rely solely on the national pension for retirement life.
I think the poster says the opposite of what the NPS intends. Subscribing to the national pension service makes you collect waste paper in later life, while depositing payments in your personal account at a bank will allow you to go on a trip.