Tuesday, April 14, 2015

201200340 Do young Kim/ Alcohol domination/ Thurs 56

Social life in Korea is dominated by alcohol. This is not an understatement because alcohol consumption has become a vital and integral part of the social culture in Korea and we all wonder why such painful and miserable tradition has taken root within our society. The answer is very simple. Alcohol is the link between the people and it is painful yet necessary medication to remedy the side effects of Confucianism.

Koreans have long lived under the influence of Confucianism and this has made them one of the most polite and self-conscious race in the entire world. This has made them become more introverted in a way that it makes it nearly impossible for them to be friendly to a stranger and build a relationship with an unfamiliar person. But someone has to start somewhere to build this relationship in the awkward atmosphere and this is where the alcohol comes in. Alcohol has the general effect of making people feel lightheaded and loosen up. And when your minds is carefree and out of control, you tend to forget about the Confucianism that has been suppressing you for so long and start to act more friendly and extroverted to strangers and unfamiliar people. Alcohol is essentially the magic elixir that undoes the introversion caused by Confucianism.

Another reason that the alcohol has become an integral part of Korean social culture is that there is a need for people to relax with all the constant competition and stress. Korea is one of the countries that emphasize the need to work together as a group yet it also makes the environment nearly impossible to not compete with one another at all times. From school to work, life in Korea is all about competition. Who gets a better grade, who gets a better job, and who makes more money. Yet Koreans foster this idea of working together as a group to achieve a common goal and to sacrifice for the greater good. Such environment in work and school are very frustrating and people need to just blow some steam off after work or school and this is where alcohol works its magic. People are not competing or stressing each other out when they are drinking anymore. They are just relaxing and drifting their worries and stress away as they drink at the end of a hard day at work or school. In other words alcohol serves as a magic spell that makes people forget their worries and stress for the night.

This reason may be the biggest reason of them all as to why alcohol has become such a huge part of the Korean social culture: the need for fun. People want to have fun. But the options in Korea are so limited for so many people. Korea is not the country where a group of people go to play sports together or enjoy hanging out at each other's houses. Korea is a country where people tend to hang outside of homes and being invited to a person's home is something that is so intimate that only close friends would dare to attempt. Alcohol is cheap and it is everywhere. It is pretty much the only solution to a group of friends, colleagues, and co-workers after they are done with their school or work because there is not much they can do and there is nowhere they can go. So they sit down and start drinking and as they get drunk, the night becomes that much more fun. Korea is a stressful environment especially for the younger generation and their need to have fun is always on the rise as the competition and stress levels rise higher. Alcohol serves as their source of entertainment and escape from harsh reality.

Alcohol may be scorned upon as a toxic substance that makes people do unreasonable and dangerous things. But in such a stressful and competition heavy environment of Korea that is under the heavy influence of Confucianism which makes all the people introverts to a certain degree, alcohol is the temporary magic that these people need in order to bond, to nurse their tired minds, and to have fun. Alcohol is a necessary evil in Korean social culture and it will continue to be so as long as such highly competitive and stressful environment continues to dominate Korean society. 

1 comment:

  1. First of all, your title was short yet eye-catching which prompted me to read your essay over others. Also, I find that your essay was overall well-written not to mention interesting. Yes, alcohol is bad for the body but the social and cultural meaning it has on Korean society is quite significant and I agree with your opinion that it is a necessary evil. ( 201202968 Lim Jung-Yun)