Posted June. 20, 2017 07:15,
Updated June. 20, 2017 07:20
“What does your father do for a living?” the teacher asks his students Dong-soo and Jun-seok, slapping them in the face in the movie “Friend”, a popular South Korean movie released in 2001. Dong-su’s father is a mortician, and Jun-seok’s father is a retired mafia boss. They are hard-pressed to give an answer to their teacher. While Dong-su takes the beating, Jun-seok cannot take it anymore and gets ready for a fist-fight with the teacher. In the end, Jun-seok thinks better of it and takes the beating, and the teacher beats him up with fists. Who has an issue here?
An inability to control anger might be manifestation of biological factors or a result of an unbearable amount of stress that life entails. It is difficult to draw a clear line between the two types of factors. What is clear is Korean society is witnessing a growing number of “anger crimes’. According to the Statistics Annual Report 2015 of the National Police Agency, of 372,723 violence cases such as injury and assaults, 41.3 percent of the cases was triggered by accident or owing to the individual’s dissatisfaction about life. Of 975 felony cases such as murder or attempted murder, 41.3 percent was committed for the same motives.
A series of recent crimes such as the shocking murders of a visiting cable repair man and a high-rise building painter, as well as the parcel-bombing committed by a graduate student against his professor, are all categorized as the cases of anger management disorder. In most cases, the perpetrators are relatively underprivileged. Amidst the fierce competition in society, a growing number of “emotion workers," often forced into offering kind services, are suffering extreme emotional labor before finally exploding. Such a trend is so worrying that the journalist ponders over the need for institutionalized channel for venting anger like those on the streets serving as a human punching bag for money.
From the early 2000s, many companies in Korea have provided counseling services for their employees to soothe their anger and distress. Such an effort is designed to appease the anger that people feel at home and work and prevent irrevocable consequences. It goes without saying that each of us needs to make an effort to control our anger. However, the role of fixing unfair social practices that fuel anger should fall on the shoulders of politics. That said, however, this journalist is angered as the Presidential Office and the ruling and opposition parties of South Korea are showing no signs of cooperation and turning a blind eye to pending issues.