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[Opinion] Lee Hae-chan Stress

Posted March. 08, 2006 03:07,   


“Korea will have the largest mobile phone subscription rate in the world. The freezer compartment of the refrigerator will become bigger. There will be less political news on newspaper front pages.”

Back in 1997 when the nation was undergoing a financial crisis, SERI (Samsung Economic Research Institute) suggested this would be an image of Korea 10 years later. Such an accurate prediction was possible because Korea was then functioning under a “highly stressful social structure.” SERI predicted that the desire to escape from the stress of having to save time while cooking or suffering from severe traffic jams would change trends in Korean society.

“Well-being” is a popular trend these days and is ultimately related to the desire to heal the worn-out body and soul. As society becomes increasingly stressful, businesses that help relieve stress, such as sports, entertainment and leisure, are thriving. Experts divide stress into two categories—the “good” type that helps stimulate the person, and the “bad” type that affects the person in a negative way.

According to a paper authored by POSTECH professor Kim Kyung-tae and published in the March edition of “Endocrinology,” stress only accumulates in the body and cannot be relieved. He mentions that catecholamine, a hormone that is produced when the body is in stress, gradually increases but never decreases. Kim’s advice was “Do not bear stress—avoid it,” but of course avoiding stress is not an easy task.

Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, who is under fire for playing golf on March 1, Independence Movement Day, is said to enjoy golf to relieve stress. The day after he frustrated the nation with his malicious expression and arrogant speech during Assembly hearings, he resolved his own stress by shouting, “nice shot” at the golf course. He may soon have to resign from his seat, but the people are left with the catecholamine from “Lee Hae-chan stress.”

Han Ki-heung, Editorial Writer eligius@donga.com