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[Opinion] Buying “Social Service” with Money

Posted November. 24, 2003 22:43,   


People with some power or with a considerable amount of money in the 1970s tried everything that they could do to avoid the training sessions for reserve troops. It was a frequent occurrence to see these people bribing the commander to allow for their absence or paying another person to attend the training as a proxy. Chauffeurs and daily workers were often disguised to be sent to the training as proxies. There even is a person, one of the known people who did this, who proudly says, “I’ve never gone through a single reserve troops training in my entire life.” We can also frequently read gossip articles related to the news that some entertainment stars were prosecuted because they had missed the training sessions due to performance schedules or shooting.

The commoners had only one choice: to drag their bodies out and actually attend the training. That is why there were some cases of a “to-make-a-living type” proxy in which those who took pity on their brothers or friends that could not attend the training volunteered to attend the training and hold the gun instead. I have witnessed a woman proxy once during the training of the local army reserves one early morning during the mid 1970s. She was replacing her husband, a technical worker away on a long-term business trip in another city. The company commander requested the battalion commander to make a proper decision about the woman in order to heighten the spirits of the training. The battalion commander said, “We highly appreciate the woman’s devotion to stand up in any possible case for her husband,” unusually recognizing her presence as a proxy. The army reserve troops gave a round of applause, and the atmosphere of the training was more highly encouraged than at any other training session. This story sounds very romantic in one sense but very unreasonable in another.

The Court of Justice has ordered social services of less than 200 hours to underage criminals with probation and social services of less than 500 hours to adult criminal offenders with a suspended sentence. However, it is reported that there are an increasing number of cases that these people have violated the order of social service by the Court of Justice and sent proxies instead. There were 600 reported cases of violation during last year alone, and a person who manipulated the social service record was arrested for the alleged misfeasance. It turned out that one can buy social services with money. Now that I think of it, it was a beautiful story that this woman had attended the army reserve training for his husband.

The order of social service is to help children with mental disorders or people in need, or to participate in various law-abiding campaigns instead of going to prison. Acts of being idle to these responsibilities are definitely acts of crime without any will to repent. The case where one has to miss one of the army reserve training sessions could be tolerated to some degree since it is in preparation for times of emergency. But the order of social service is for criminals who deserve punishment for their misbehavior, so those who avoid or violate the order undeniably deserve harsh punishment. Buying social services with money is utterly nonsense. Speaking of which, the manpower responsible for dealing with more than 45,000 people required to perform social services is only 93 people. How one can expect that social services will be properly executed? That is another problem.

Editorial Writer Oh Myeong-chul, oscar@donga.com