Sunday, September 11, 2005

Culture: Denial at its best......

Ferby (not his real name - my colleague) went out with this girl Y last week. She's a fairly nice girl, in final year of university, proper, and fairly innocent.

Looking like a good night ahead to get to know each other, they talk about school, go on about life, even about their favorite food. But when it came to the topic of Room Salons - since they walked passed one, the following conversation obviously veered sideways:

Ferby: "... so many Room Salons in Korea!"

Y: "That's not true! In fact, not many people go to these places, only dirty old men."

Ferby (retort): "Then tell me, why are there so many room salons and
love-motels in Suncheon ALONE, where the population is ~ 300,000 people?"

Y (agitated): "Like I said, only dirty people go there... only a few persons!"

Ferby (senses a "no-win"): "Whatever..."

... silence...

Y (sweetly): "Don't tell anyone in America about room salons ok? It's bad for Korea's reputation."

Room Salon ~ Businesses that provide discrete individual rooms to groups of men, who can meet socially, or for business, in the company of women who charge for their services. Alcohol, finger food, and music are thrown in with the night’s fun for a high price. Further on into the night, possibilities to solicit extended services from these women are not uncommon. Its a common place for 'business entertainment' purposes such as our industry ~ construction.

It just so happens too, that there was a report in The Seoul Times (Sunday) about this whole sex and related industry... You probably wouldn't believe it, but the sex-service and related industries like hotels and restaurants contribute significantly to the country's economy!

To put it in perspective:
  1. Sex industry in Korea ~ totaled about USD$20 billion last year, and contributed to 4.1% of the total country's GDP.
  2. Agriculture, which contributes 3.2% to the national GDP (2004)... is still overshadowed by the sex industry. Refer to the CIA World Factbook.
  3. Its a pretty HUGE number for an industry that's supposed to be illegal isn't it? Last year (2004), the government wanted to get rid of it once and for all...... Read here for exerpts.
  4. Official population count of Suncheon, where I live, is 270,574 in year 2003.
    Number of motels (only), whether or not they are involved with the sex-trade, is a whooping 220 in the official Suncheon Yellow Pages. I counted the phone numbers! Are there THAT many travellers, tourists and business visitors in our fair city?? I don't think so.

Conclusion...... This girl is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too idealistic and gullible. Get real!

P.S: If you were wondering what the barber shop lights in the picture means..... It's basically a Nore-bang (노래방) cum room salon. Will have a separate post on that later. There are subtle differences in the number of lights and the types of businesses they represent.


At September 13, 2005 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not right to mock of her. she's just..such a naive one, it's time to face the real world for her soon though.

anyway your blogs are nice read!

At September 13, 2005 8:06 AM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

I guess I tried my best to keep her name anonymous, so I guess I’ve done my part.

I just HAD TO bring it up. It was a conversation at its hilarious best! Its also interesting how some people go into ‘defense’ mode without looking at the facts, and I try to highlight that through this post.

Read on… ;)


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