Thursday, June 9, 2011

South Korea is the laziest nation in Asia? Well..

A while ago, CNNgo had this article published on their website. I don't personally believe in most of things CNNgo posts - often times they are crappy articles. I have seen many articles on CNNgo that were probably written by 'authentic' Koreans, but the articles themselves failed to represent the Korean culture/nation as a whole, and only showed author's personal thoughts. But enough of that...

Third line down the article, it says this :
South Korea has been ranked the 15th laziest country in the world (and the first in Asia) by The Daily Beast. And there's every reason to assume they'll get even lazier.

So I looked up the study by The Daily Beast. How they made this list was pretty simple. They took the 24 countries from the OECD, only the ones with the following scores available : Calories Per Day, Television Viewing, Aversion to Playing Sports, Internet Usage.

Basically they looked at which countries had its citizens sitting on their asses being couch potatoes, watching tv, not playing football, and playing World of Warcraft while doing all that. So... amusing to read, but no credibility or scholastic value to it. (Not every country was studied, and they only looked at very limited factors only if they were available). Below is what their list says about South Korea.

#15, South Korea
Calories per Day: 23 Television Viewing: 17
Sports Aversion: 11
Internet Usage: 2 (Silver)
Word from the Couch: It makes complete sense that South Koreans rank second for most number of hours devoted to surfing the Web—they have one of the best high-speed connections in the world, especially compared to Americans. The demand in South Korea for video-streaming and online gaming and shopping is partly responsible for the government's priority to advance digital technology. "I think there are a quite a few lessons," Taylor Reynolds, an International Telecommunications Union analyst, told CNET. "Most of the growth is tied to effective competition, which you don't see in a lot of places in the United States."

So basically according to this, South Koreans with their fastest internet service in the world, online gaming/non-gaming communities, and damn best delivery services (have you ever tried delivery service in Korea, called Takbae? it's hella quick), we're on our way to become those fat spaceship people on Wall.E. Great.

In all seriousness, South Koreans have been ranked the first among OECD nations as the hardest (longest) working people in 2008 (Forbes link here). Working overtime is kind of expected for salarymen and salarywomen in Korea too. Overtime pay laws are not as well made and enforced as the US. Students, starting when they are in elementary school or kindergarden, start their infamous Korean private education craze, ending their days well past sunset everyday. Lastly, South Korea, especially Seoul (where 40+% of the entire population lives) is a VERY densely populated place. 

A few byproducts of that overpopulation : 
South Korea I believe, has one of the best public transportation system in the world, but at times it's so damn crowded I really admire people who go through this every morning.
PC-Bang. The picture they used on CNNgo was the first image result on google.
I could go on forever about this overpopulation, PC-bang, and all that shenanigans, but I'll address my original intent. As you can see above, Korean people eat pretty healthy (23rd out of 24), and watch a healthy dose of TV (17th out of 24). However, 11th place on Sports Aversion and 2nd in Internet usage comes from that overpopulation problem. Unlike the US, not much space is available for playing sports and exercising in Korea, especially Seoul (i'm not saying they don't exist, I'm saying there's not enough). That's when PC-Bangs started rising everywhere with the launch of Starcraft back in the 90s, and that trend continues today.

Now next time you get your butt handed to you on Starcraft, Warcraft, or whatever it is that people play these days, by a Korean, maybe you'll have a bit of understanding on why. 

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