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Korea: What would you do if you encounter behavior that goes against social norms?

When you encounter people or behavior against social norms, what do you do? If it is especially from the underage, do you feel some responsibility to do something as an adult? Would your concern be taken as as pure as you intend? A netizen on a portal site asks for opinions about his experience and he received not a few.

내 성격에 도움이 필요한 사람을 보면 그냥 못 지나친다.지하철에서 무거운짐 들고 계단올라가는 할머니 보면 달려가서 들어 줘야하고
안 도와주면 집에와서 마음이 불편해서 살수가 없다.

근데… 나는 눈에 거슬리는 것을 봐도 그냥 못 지나친다.

얼마전에 아침에 운동을 나가는데 골목에서 교복입고 담배피우는 학생 두명을 봤다. 내가 다가가는데도 빤히 처다보면서 다리꼬고 앉아서 담배를 입에 물고 있길래 담배 끄라고 했는데도 멀뚱 멀뚱…순간 열받아서 면상을 손바닥으로 몇대 갈겼다.

그리고 몇 시간 후…경찰관이 그 학생들과 함께 우리집에 와서는 나를 조사할게 있다며 지구수비대로 데려갔다.

나는 경찰서에서 조서를 썼고 결국 단순폭행죄로 법원에 넘어갔다…

벌금형이 나올꺼 같다는데….

학생들이 담배피우건 말건 그냥 지나쳤으면 아무일 없었을것을 왜 끼어들어서 벌금내고 전과자 되고..ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

근데 웃긴건..
처음에 그 학생들이 나를 경찰에 신고할때 강도로 신고했다는 것이다. 물론 조사 과정에서 아니라는게 들어나서 단순폭행죄로 낚겼지만..

전과자 되는거 정말 우습다…나도 이제는 다른 사람들처럼 남일에 끼어들지 않기로 했다.

I can’t pass people who need help. If I see an old lady who walks upstairs and carries heavy stuff in the subway, I have to rush to her and help her. If I just pass her, my heart can’t be comfortable even back home.

In addition, I can’t pass what isn’t acceptable. Several days ago, I went out to working out. I saw two students smoking in school uniforms in an alley. Even though I was walking close, they just looked at me and held the cigarettess in their mouths, crossing their legs. Even though I told them to put the cigarettes out, they still looked at me. I was mad and beat their faces several times.

And several hours later… policemen came over to our house with those students and asked me to come along with them in order to investigate me. I wrote a report at the police station and my case was sent to the court for assault. It seems that I might get fines.

No matter whether students smoke, I should have passed them. But I couldn’t. Then I have to pay fines and could be a criminal. The funny thing is… when students reported me to the police at first, they said I was a robber. Of course it was proved I wasn’t during the investigation.

It’s really easy to be the criminal… I shouldn’t intervene into other people’s matters from now on.

Here are several interesting opinions.

당신이 무슨권리로 애들을 떄리나? 전과자 된거 당연하네

With what right do you beat them? It’s so expected for you to be the criminal.

모 일단 폭력은 잘못된 거지만… 후우… 담배피는 학생들 머리몇번 쥐어박은걸로 전과자가 되기에는 세상이 좀 우습지 않나요? 후우…앞으로는 부모가 자식을 혼내도 전과자가 되는 세상이 올지도 모른다는 생각이 드네요.

Anyway, violence is wrong… huh… But isn’t this world funny to be a criminal because of slightly beating students who smoke? From now on, the world could change so that parents who give their children a good scolding could become criminals.

고등학생이 담배를 어디서 구했을까요?? 그것도 불법 아닌가요???세상이 거꾸로 돌아가네요..,글쓴분처럼 사회를 생각하는 사람이 드문데..,그런 사람을 전과자로 만들다니

Where could those high school students have gotten cigarettes? Isn’t it illegal? Does the world reverse? There are not a lot of people who are concerned about this society like the writers… we made him as a criminal.

저도 같은 학생입니다만 길가에서 당당하게 담배피는 또래 애들보면 한심하더라구요. 나이훨씬많으신 어른의 입장에서 그런 학생보고 답답하신건 이해합니다. 버릇없이 잘못한 줄도 모르고 당당하게 쳐다보는 눈빛에 화도 나셨겠죠 하지만 떄리신 건 잘못했다고 생각합니다. 경찰에 신고하시던가 좀더 현명한 방법이 있지 않았나 싶습니다 […]

As myself a student, it looks pathetic to look at children who smoke in the street. As an adult who is much older than them, it’s understandable that he felt heavy to look at the students. He must be mad to look at their rudeness and impoliteness, but it was wrong to beat them I think. He could choose wiser methods such as reporting them to the police.[…]

저도 담배를 피우는 아이들을 보면 그냥 지나치치못하는 사람중의 하나입니다…처음엔 말로 뭐라고하는 경우가 대부분이죠 하지만 숫자가 많거나 좀 논다하는것들은 니가 뭔데 라는 표정으로 쳐다보죠 담배도 안끄고 말이죠… 그럼 어쩔수없습니다 숨어서 담배를 피우는 아이들이면 그냥 타이르지만 대로변에서 사람들이 많이 오가는 거리에서 교복을 입은채로 담배를 피우는 아이들을 그냥 어른이 말로한다고 들을거같습니까?? 제생각엔 어른 무서운줄알아야하고 청소년이 담배를 피우는게 잘못되었다라는걸 가르켜줘야하는게 어른이라고생각합니다.

I’m also the one who can’t pass children who smoke. At first, I usually warned them verbally. But if the number of juvenile smokers is a lot or they are juvenile delinquents, they just stare at me and don’t put out the cigarettes… then you can’t do anything. Do you think that they will listen to you? They’re smoking in the middle of crowded streets and wearing school uniforms. Adults should teach them that they should respect adults and that juvenile smoking is wrong.

5 comments

  • Grace Lim

    I agree that the act of striking or acting in any assumed violent manner is wrong. However, I agree that intervention was necessary. In places like the United States where there are citizens acts, we can be held liable for becoming an inactive bystander when a criminal act is taking place. In this sense, I believe that it was appropriate for you to intervene. The irony of the situation is that police don’t always take care of these situations in a non-violent manner. Are we indirectly washing our hands of violence when we turn over issues to the police? Isn’t it hypocritical to tolerate violence by people who are to maintain civility?

  • Dbird

    ‘In addition, I can’t pass what isn’t acceptable. Several days ago, I went out to working out. I saw two students smoking in school uniforms in an alley. Even though I was walking close, they just looked at me and held the cigarettess in their mouths, crossing their legs. Even though I told them to put the cigarettes out, they still looked at me. I was mad and beat their faces several times.’

    Tell me this post and the responses are not serious. You actually hit some one for smoking and looking at you, and think you are justified? Others do as well? This is madness. Even more to the point: how do you get through the day (and how is it that you are not already incarcerated) if you think something like this merits a violent response?

  • […] Hye-jin of GlobalVoices has an interesting thread that deals with what happens when older ways of thinking and societial convention… (you know who you are), in Korea.  Just how does one draw the line between proper social […]

  • Hugh

    Village mentality – all adults in the village feel completely free to confront and enforce discipline with juniors and ‘inferiors’ (for example, foreigners!)

    City mentality – I have no right to enforce morality on strangers.

    My comment to the writer is, sorry, but it is time for you and Korea to leave behind the village mentality and accept that you are a major, industrial, globally-connected nation and accept the city mentality.

  • […] Artikel erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch Clemens Harten, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

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