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Korean old people rock

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24.08.2019
A sign hanging inside cafe Silver Made. Photo by David Tizzard
By David Tizzard

I'm sure all of you reading this know a few. Perhaps white of hair, loud of voice, and often wrinkled in features - yet despite what social media and the never-ending internet neologisms might suggest, I put it to you that Korean old people rock.

One should not forget the Korean elderly people are (in large part) the reason the country exists the way it does today, with its air-conditioners, Samsung Galaxy Note 10s, award-winning filmmakers, high-end department stores, and 24-hour kimbap-selling convenience stores.

The older generation toiled through and endured far more strenuous conditions (politically, economically, and culturally) yet still transformed South Korea from a country mired with poverty and war into the world's 11th largest economy.

It is always devastating to become aware of the fact that despite the Confucian tradition of venerating one's elders, that does not always transfer itself into actuality in a modern globalized 21st century society. Of course, the honourific language remains, but what does a bit of "jon-dem-mal" really matter when you are largely ignored by younger generations and asked to live out of eye-sight so as not to be a burden to those wearing tight shorts and XXXX t-shirts.

A 2016 OECD survey reports that half of those South Koreans over the age of 65 live in poverty - distressing statistics for a nation that has yet to really embrace altruism and charity to those in need.

Moreover, with nascent........

© The Korea Times