Monday, October 12, 2009

Korea news links for October 12, 2009

Weekends are generally slow news periods, barring some unexpected disaster or major crime spree. The big news — and the franticness practically jumps out at you when you read it — is that the number or unmarried women during their most fertile years has been going up and up and up (Joongang Ilbo is source for above graphic). As long as single motherhood remains widely unacceptable, this trend is very bad for the overall birthrate, which remains in the 지하5층, circling the lot looking for a parking place.
  1. Number of unmarried women in their late twenties jumps to nearly 60%; unmarried women in their early thirties and late thirties are 19% and 7.6%, respectively (Yonhap, Donga Ilbo, Joongang Daily, Korea Times, Korea Herald)
  2. Two-month-old infant and 64-year-old man bring South Korea's H1N1 "swine flu" death toll to fourteen (Korea Times)
  3. Despite biting criticism of Lee administration's North Korea policy earlier this year, commentary on North Korea's official website says Pyongyang wants closer ties with Seoul (Yonhap)
  4. In wake of defection of eleven North Koreans by boat, both Pyongyang and Seoul are tightening supervision of "maritime border" between the two Koreas (Donga Ilbo)
  5. State-run Korea Development Institute says ROK's economic recovery is being maintained (Yonhap)
  6. Consortium of Italy's Saipem and South Korea's Hyundai Engineering and Construction win $1 billion contract to build fertilizer plant in Qatar (CNBC)
  7. Seoul Ministry of Education rehires teachers who were dismissed in September after being called back in August in the wake of firings in July shortly after massive recruitment in June among pool of teachers laid off in May who had been contracted in April (Yonhap)


  1. Dude!.. Seven posts over the weekend? Get out a little!

  2. Major project keeping me inside. Blogging during breaks because it actually helps me maintain my sanity.

  3. Btw... regarding your first news link... This is going to sound really un-PC... but THATS what happens when you GIVE women EQUAL rights!... they choose not to have babies!

  4. You have a link that works for the last item?

  5. 자하5층. you might wanna edit this.

  6. Brian, the link is what it is.

    1994, good catch. Fixed. That was pretty sloppy finger work on my part.

  7. Edward wrote:
    Btw... regarding your first news link... This is going to sound really un-PC... but THATS what happens when you GIVE women EQUAL rights!... they choose not to have babies!

    You're right, Edward. That sounds really un-PC.

    Frankly, I don't think it's that simple. While they have equal rights, they don't have equality in other areas, including pay, division of labor at home, etc, etc.

    If things were equal in, say, division of labor at home, then a lot of working women wouldn't feel so burdened with the office and then home life that they can't manage another baby (or a baby at all).

    In other words, I don't think this is exactly a "choice" not to have a baby, but a decision to take the path of least headache, which is fewer babies or none. Or no marriage or whatever.

    Actually, I think if we're directly talking about the article itself, we should discuss marriage, not having babies. Many choose not to marry as early as in the past, but they still choose to get married. The vast, vast majority are still married by the end of their thirties, so they're getting married, but just getting married later. So it's not really a choice to not have babies, or a choice to not get married.

    Am I making sense here? What I'm saying is that people still want what people wanted in the past, but they have so many more hurdles to overcome in order to get it. I'm a Gen-Xer who has not yet married, even though I want to get married and have kids, because of professional and then academic priorities and obligations. Though I'm a man, I can see a lot of career women in Seoul who are in a situation much like mine.

  8. "You're right, Edward. That sounds really un-PC."

    I got the idea from the Christian Science Monitor actually. I think back in 2005 they had an article about how traditionally paternal societies simply have higher birthrates and what that meant, etc.

    Trying to find the article... but can't right now.


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