South Koreans Rename Their Country 'Hell'

Welcome to South Korea's 99%
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2016 4:15 PM CST
Young South Koreans are generally frustrated with their country.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(Newser) – For young South Koreans, hell isn't just "other people"—it's just about everything. Their complaints include long hours, low pay, irregular paychecks, jobs without benefits or security, and the sense that wealthy people have it far too easy, the Washington Post reports. "It’s hard to imagine myself getting married and having kids," says 26-year-old TV writer Hwang Min-joo. "There is no answer or future for us." Their vision of life is summed up by the phrase "Hell Joseon," a five-century feudal dynasty that regulated Koreans' lives and divided haves from have-nots. A modern map titled "Hell Joseon: An Infernal Hellfire Peninsula," reprinted in Korea Exposé, divides today's South Korea into regions like "Lair of Self-Employment," "Pool of Joblessness," and "Gate of Birth (Hell Gate)."

"Onerous education and service in the abusive military are the norm, and the only goal for the young [is] to become servants of the mighty corporations that rule the realm from its heart," writes Se-Woong Koo in the Exposé article. Then there's the comedown from South Korea's economic boom in the 1960s and '70s, and arrival of democracy in the '80s; now corporations like Samsung and Hyundai are laying people off or requesting early retirements. Seizing the zeitgeist, the novel Because I Hate South Korea became a best-seller last year and the article "The Declaration of a Ruined State" recently went viral. Is it really so bad? A Reddit user says websites and mobile games are devoted to hating the country, while surveys show fewer South Koreans today feel they can guide their own destinies, the Diplomat reports. (It could be worse: They could have this guy as their leader.)

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