To Live in the Modern Korea - The UOS Times
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To Live in the Modern Korea
Park, Bum-soo Reporter Shin, Dong-won Reporter  |
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[0호] 승인 2004.09.09  
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Humans are social animals’ Aristotle said. Humans cannot live alone. So they gather together and make a society that is developed through the thought of its people.

Korea also has its own society. Indeed, Korea has had a succession of societies starting from King Dangun and continuing down to the 21st century’s Republic of Korea. Today, Korea is a 21st century society consisting of complex and dynamic interrelationships.

The speed of change is becoming faster than every before, in much the same way that new electrical products are being developed more frequently than ever. The character of modern people is conditioned by their society. But it is also true that it is often hard for people to adjust to life in their society.

Due to the rapid speed of change, people sometimes uncritically accept their changed society. Such unreflective acceptance can lead to consequences in the whole of society.

Problems facing 21C modern humans in their society

1. Problems with the Internet

The mass media - such as computers, television, and radio - exerts some of the strongest influences on the modern human. Moreover computers have become essential part of life in the 21C, since it now seems impossible to live our everyday life without them. However, as well as the convenience we gain through our use of computers, on the other side of the coin they also cause some negative side effects in our life.

A computer is a link that connects users to the Internet. A user can hide his identity because the Internet is connected to via computers. Thus, anonymity has become a motif in our society along with the improvement of Internet services.

The culture of anonymity allows the modern people to act without showing their identity. So people can slander someone anonymously, disseminate others’ personal information, spread false rumors and so on, which are serious crimes even though the perpetrators may have no sense of guilt. And they gradually start to think of these crimes as ordinary matters of life. Moreover those who have been attacked by cyber criminal are likely to do the same to others.

2. Changing concepts of love

‘The love between a student and a teacher, a husband and his sister-in-law, homosexuals or lesbians.’ These situations have been something unimaginable no more than a few years ago. But they talk about them these days. And the mass media that has such an effect on the modern human deals with these issues.

For example of popular TV serial dramas, ‘Loving you’ and ‘Romance’, dealing with the love between a teacher and a student. The former features a male teacher and a female student, the latter a female teacher and a male student. These programs talk openly about the love between teachers and students. But this is different from the common, traditional love that exists between a teacher and a student.
As for the second situation mentioned above, namely where a husband loves his sister-in-law. ‘Snowman’ is the best example of this kind of drama recently.

The contents of this drama are unique. Yeun-wook lost her parents when she was 8 years old. She lives with her older sister, who sacrifices herself for Yeon-wook as if she was her parents.

Yeon-wook falls in love with her sister’s husband, her own brother-in-law.Thus, the drama takes as its story the love between a woman and her brother-in-law, which is not common in real life.
The third issue is between homosexuals.

Some years ago, homosexuality wasn’t accepted anywhere in Korea. Do you remember the movie ‘Happy Together’? The government for a while has banned the movie from being shown. But recently, another movie on homosexuality has been released. It wasn’t directed or acted by foreigners. It was 100% Korean. And it has been accepted without a doubt. What has been changed in the last few years?

The examples given above represent a new territory of love that has not been accepted in earlier times. These kinds of love can seem very exotic to many people who haven’t been in the situation.

It is a fact that things like love between a husband and his sisters-in-law or teachers and students don’t happen commonly, rather they are situations among very few people. “Why not me?”, you might think. The answer would be, “Why you?”

3. The birth of yupgi culture

All Koreans would have heard ‘It’s so yupgi’ at least once. In the dictionary ‘yupgi’ is defined as pursuing things that are bizarre. Sometimes the word is used to define an action or thing that are abnormal or abnormally.

However nowadays, people use the same word with a very different meaning. People see the word ‘yupgi’ as meaning a surprising, unexpected thing or something unique or fun. Our society is getting away from the normal path that it should take, as more and more people use the word yupgi in public.

And what’s worse is that we are becoming part of this trend. As an example of ‘yupgi’, there was a short movie called ‘Yellow Soup’ that gained a lot of popularity among netizens. In the movie clip, a man eats food and vomits and then mixes the vomit with rice. In the very last scene, he eats the mixture. This movie clip is only a few minutes long but sure enough it created a huge stir.

It was so popular that even students in elementary, middle, and high school either watched or knew about it. This kind of yupgi stimulus will make people desensitized to yupgi things and they eventually may look for even stronger stimulus. And where the demands arise, the supply will rise with it, which will eventually make people want to create stronger and more bizarre things.


The primary responsibility for today’s social problems lies with the members of society. Depending on how the members of the community act, the whole shape of society can be changed. However, the members of a society can also be influenced by the society that they live in. These influences are the ones that can’t bHowever, it’s not an easy thing to adjust to the giddiness of this society. So they accept the require-ments of their society without any critical reviews on them.

This situation effects to the people and parts of the society.e controlled easily. So in order to solve social problems it is necessary for every member of society to act. In other words, everyone who wants to show the spirits and strength of the will has to stand up against the bad.

However it’s not easy, as there are many elements that have an effect on people.

These elements include things that are gained from computers, the new kinds of love that are breaking up our own traditional cultures, the yupgi things that are increasingly in the spotlight as time passes. All of these things are entering people’s everyday life to change and to disturb people’s minds.

Not only that, there is also a danger in the speed of change, which creates even faster change in people’s minds, making it hard for people to think. Therefore to stand up against these effects, as mentioned before, it is the people that should prepare themselves. People should be aware of things and be more critical of things in the future.
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