[Editorial] Fixing the Core
[Editorial] Fixing the Core
  • 임리영 기자
  • 승인 2006.06.01 00:00
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   Like Samsung Electronics' seemingly eternal television commercial entitled 'Another Family,' in which clay animation appear to portray an ideal image of a loving family, numerous corporate advertisements are focusing and using the concept of family to increase sales and earn popularity with the public.
  This trend of reviving and emphasizing 'familism,' a term that seems to be evaporating in contemporary households ever so rapidly as Kafka's notorious notion of  "Metamorphosis" has long ago alluded, is everywhere nowadays. The important thing to note here is that this tendency of the corporate world to preach family ties comes at a time when the most fundamental problem of today's society is the evaporation of such family ties from today's homes.
   How grave is the evaporation of family in South Korea? First of all, South Korea's divorce rate ranks third among OECD countries. According to the National Statistical Office, 867 couples get married and 352 couples concluded a divorce every day. Moreover, among the 867 couples who get married, one quarter of them are remarried pairs. Also, divorce rate among people over their mid thirties has more than doubled in ten years. Secondly, a survey conducted by Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs suggest that a majority of the young generation no longer believe in the positive aspects of families and marriages. In 1997, 73.7 percent of females believed that they should bear a child, yet only 23.4% believed so in 2005. Lastly, studies done by Ministry of Gender Equality and Family noted that only 4 percent of teenagers are willing to talk openly to their fathers.
   These statistics all add up to demonstrate the severity of the loss of ties within South Korean families, and this loss begets, one social ill after another: the dramatically plummeting birthrate of Korean citizenry, the increasing suicide rates among adolescents, and the increased communication gap between generations due to digital divide, furthering the marginalization of the aged .
   As the world's twelfth largest economy and a role model for many developing countries, it is crucial for South Korea to mend ties within homes. Surely, global icons such as Samsung and Hyundai are enhancing South Korea's international position and reputation.
   However, without a firm basis, even the most advanced and mightiest nations are doomed to fail. Thus, for sustainable growth and brighter future, every single civic component of this nation must make an effort to fix our core rifts and stimulate communication in homes. Perhaps, it is your duty as the next possible leaders of this country to first reach out a hand and send a wholehearted message to your family, not tomorrow, the near future or anytime else, but today.

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