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[Opinion] Samdol

Posted May. 09, 2005 23:20,   


It reminds me of Oh Young-jin’s musical, “The Wedding Day,” which is a story about the wedding of Maeng Jinsa’s daughter. There is an assistant character as important as the main characters in the musical, which is “Samdol.” Samdol is the Maeng family’s servant who wholeheartedly serves the Maengs and their daughter, Gapbun. He dances at the news that Gapbun would get married to the son of Kim Panseo, the town noble. But hearing the rumor that Kim’s son is not physically healthy enough to be a good husband, he cries, “What a pity, my lady!”

There are many Samdols in novels, films and musicals about Korea’s old days. Samdol symbolizes a man who faithfully serves a madam and lives a peaceful life in her care. It is also the keyword of a recent book, “To Become a Madam,” which teaches women how to control men in life. The book says, “First and foremost, pick a good Samdol. An ugly Samdol is all right, but never select the one who lies or is too good to their parents.”

A matchmaking company asked 345 single women what they expect the most from their future husbands. About 51 percent of the respondents answered that they wanted a Samdol-like mate. This means that women prefer those men who assist them well and share domestic responsibilities to those who earn high salaries or are from good families. About 34 percent of 407 single men answered that they were willing to meet such expectations. That may be because of an increasing number of successful women and blurred gender roles.

A single woman made an interesting remark, saying, “I would rather live a madam’s life with a Samdol-like husband, even if he doesn’t have an ideal background, rather than serve a noble-like husband with an ideal background for the rest of my life.”

It might be even better if women could transform a noble into a Samdol-like husband. “Chogang Jicheo” is a term for a faithful wife who endures all the hardships for her husband. But now, a new term, “Chogang Jibu,” might be coined to depict a husband who does the same for his wife. Then, “The Wedding Day” would become “The Day to Meet a Samdol.”

Song Young-eon, Editorial writer, youngeon@donga.com