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Ferry disaster reveals dark side of Korea’s ‘compassionate’ cultureNational
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Updated : 2014.09.20  00:34:48
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  <Ferry disaster reveals dark side of Korea’s ‘compassionate’ culture>

  T
his is the fourth in a series of articles that examine Korean’s preparedness for disasters and social risks in light of the recent Sewol tragedy. ― Ed.

(1) Compassion is a virtue valued highly in Korean life. It has been credited with bringing Koreans together for its rapid economic rise and helped (2)maintain social cohesion to create a more inclusive culture.

But the recent ferry disaster has (3) brought to the fore compassion’s dark side. Analysts say that “compassionate” officials in charge of the social safety system (4)tend to overlook minor violations of safety rules upon emotional pleas of the offenders despite the risk of the offenses leading to a deadly safety fiasco.

“If you stick too strictly to rules, standards and principles in Korea, your life will get difficult. You’ll (5) be labeled a maverick and a real stick in the mud, or be criticized as cold-blooded,” said Kim Sae-won, international commerce professor at Seoul’s Catholic University.

“Thus, there arise (6) a series of loopholes here and there in our safety system. In the area of social safety, we actually need (7)stubborn, callous and professional civil servants.”

Kim pointed to (8) rampant cronyism and favoritism in Korean society, stressing that Koreans focus too much on school and regional connections, and other personal ties, and (9) tend to make unprofessional, emotion-driven decisions.

(10) “Personal ties, warm-heartedness and emotional attachment ― what we call ‘jeong’ in Korean ― are very crucial for Koreans. (11) To keep the relations, they even dare to distort rules or modify them,” she said.

(1) compassion is a virtue valued highly : 동정심(연민)은 상당히 가치 있게 여기는 미덕
(2) maintain social cohesion to create a more inclusive culture: 더욱 일체가 되는 문화를 만들어 가는 사회적 통합을 유지한다.
(3) brought to the fore compassion’s dark side : 동정심의 어두운 면을 전면에 등장시켰다.
(4) tend to overlook minor violations of safety rules upon emotional pleas of the offenders
범법자들이 감정에 호소하는 간청을 하게 되면 ( 동정적인 관료들은) 경미한 안전 규정을 간과하는 경향이 있다.
(5) be labeled a maverick and a real stick in the mud : 독불장군이며 상당히 보수적이라고 꼬리가 붙는다
(6) a series of loopholes 일련의 허술한 구멍들
(7)stubborn, callous and professional civil servants. 완고하며 감정에 치우치지 않는 전문적인 공무원들
(8) rampant cronyism and favoritism : 만연한 정실인사와 편애
(9) tend to make unprofessional, emotion-driven decisions : 비전문적이며 감정에 이끌리는 결정을 하는 경향이 있다.
(10) Personal ties, warm-heartedness and emotional attachment emotional attachment :
인맥, 인정, 정서적 애착
(11) To keep the relations, they even dare to distort rules or modify them : 관계를 유지하기 위해
공무원들은 심지어 법을 왜곡하거나 수정까지 하고자 한다. 

By Song Sang-ho
Published: May 22, 2014
Source: The Korea Herald

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