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[Opinion] Serving Tea

Posted April. 08, 2003 22:10,   


It all began from `serving tea` practice. Whether the primary school principal, who killed himself amid accusation, repeatedly told the female contract teacher to serve tea or it happened just once or twice, we cannot know. The school and the family of the late principal disagree to what the Korea Teachers` Union says. Apart from how wrong it was, KTU saw it as a discriminatory act against women in workplace and believed that the school put undue pressure to the woman when she refused to do so. The so-called `serving tea` practice remains a thorny issue even as women increasingly become key workforce in this 21st century.

Young women complain they have to serve tea only because they are women. It not only offends their feelings, but also might hurt their ability to concentrate on work and thereby overall competency. Some brave women refuse to follow the unwritten rule even at the cost of their jobs. A majority of men, however, sees it as overreaction. Officially they take side with women, but among themselves they are more sarcastic, saying `it dose not break their wrists`. Their view seems to be related to the traditional way of thinking that men are happy when they are served by beautiful women.

Kim Hyo-sun, who won a master`s degree on women study, worked as an editor in chief for a women`s newspaper and headed a women`s portal, wrote a book titled `You Can be a True Winner as a Woman`. She advises in her book that women should not care about something not that important. You must not trade your job for coffee. Refusing to serve tea may be politically correct but in the short term it serves you no good. It will cost friendship with coworkers and even your job. You serve tea but it will not last for good. Some times later you will have your chance to work for something meaningful, so you must have a long-term approach.

Young women who just graduated college might find it hard to understand. According to some studies on the correlation between human nerve systems and social biology, however, feminism is rather contradictory to the science of human nature. Women are neither tamed nor discriminated. It is just that women and men are different. Women are more relationship-centric while men are more work-centric, for instance. Survival strategies in the jungle called workplace might differ among individuals, but wise people know when to give up something not that important for something truly important.