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Which Family Are You?

Posted December. 16, 2005 08:34,   


Park (27) is a fourth-year student at a local college.

He graduated the first spring semester of 2005 and obtained a leave of absence due to fears of unemployment. He decided it was better to prepare meticulously for employment before facing the real world.

At school, students like him are called “old boy.”

After graduating from a college in Chungnam two years ago, Lee (25•female) has continuously failed the seventh-rank Civil Serivce Exam. She envies her working friends, but is enduring a civil service prep institution.

Lee is so called a “Gongshi Family.” It shows how the 7 to 9 rank Civil Service exams are as difficult as the administration, bar, and diplomacy exams. A “Gongshi Cripple” means the same thing. Places like Noryangjin, where civil service prep hakwons are rife, are called “Gongshi towns.”

Still Difficult After You Get In-

Kim Tae-hoon (29), who is employed at a venture business, and lingual therapist Choi Hyeon-yeon (27) are part of a “Saladent” couple.

A combination of “salary man” (office worker) and “student,” saladent means, “studying office worker.”

Kim is currently attending the MBA program at Hanyang University at night, and Choi, who works as a welfare worker in Seoul treating the linguistically-challenged, is attending rehab graduate school at Daegu University.

Another word for this is “Neo Geese Family.” This denotes the office workers, who, struggling with employment and old age insecurities, go to medical school, schools of pharmacy, or Oriental medicine schools for professional jobs, leaving his or her families.

“Battery Families” are those family members in their mid-thirties who have been fired or who have quit and who are taking some time to recharge themselves.

“NATO (No Action Talking Only) Families” are those whose talk is just that: talk. Office workers who always claim “I’ll quit” and never do so are part of this family.

New Words Reflect the Times-

“Jummarella” blends ajumma and Cinderella to describe beautiful and aggressive married women in their thirties and forties. They have a tendency to be spendthrifts.

“Change Families” with husbands and wives turning around their traditional roles are also increasing.

An honorary Korean literature professor at Kyunghee University, Seo Jeong-beom (79), says, “Newly-coined words or trendy words have satire and reflect society” and added, “That there are so many words going around means there is that much negativity in today’s society.”

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com