Editors’ Note: This article contains the contents of one of the first editions of KOMMON. While we are proud of this work, you may notice that it is a different style than our current publications. In this phase of KOMMON, we were still experimenting to find what style worked the best for us. Additionally, if you were an early subscriber, you may notice that this post differs slightly from the original version; we have gone back and edited for clarity, consistency, and accuracy.
Edited by: Fred McNulty and Amal Kadir
Hi, friend! 🍀 Today, we have two issues in Korea for you.
1. Controversy over a legislator's pink polka dot dress👗
2. The death of an athlete changed the concept of the sport🏂.
😮Before we start,
💁Corrections from last week's newsletter
1) We did not introduce the main arguments in favor of nuclear energy enough.
We introduced the arguments people have against de-nuclearization in favor of nuclear energy last week, but we did not feel that our coverage was as balanced as it should have been. Here are some additional arguments.
1. Nuclear energy prevents as much carbon dioxide from being generated as by coal power plants.
2. Nuclear energy is a stable source of energy supply because uranium (base material for nuclear energy) exists in various countries, plus it is easy to transport and store them.
2) We gave you insufficient information about the gypsy moth.
We introduced gypsy moths as a harmful insect. This is true since the hairs on their wings can cause allergic reactions . However, it is the caterpillar that is more dangerous. The fur of gypsy moth caterpillars is toxic and can cause dermatitis. Also, the caterpillar feeds on leaf tissue as quickly as possible and destroys the ecosystem.
Editor’s Note: Since publication, the term “gypsy moth,” referring to the lymantria dispar dispar insect, has fallen into disuse. The reason for this is the term “gypsy” has long been considered to be a slur against people of Roma origin. Its contemporary common term is now the “spongy moth.”
👗 Heated Debate over Rep. Ryu Ho Jung’s Dress
[Photo by Newsis]
What's going on😵?
Rep. Ryu Ho Jeong (류호정) is a proportional representative of the Justice Party (정의당) and is the youngest female legislator in the history of the National Assembly. On the 4th, Rep. Ryu appeared at the plenary session of the National Assembly wearing a pink polka dot dress. She said she wanted to break the practice, saying, "In every plenary session, most (lawmakers) are male, middle-aged, and show up in a suit.” However, her chosen attire has sparked controversy over whether it was a suitable outfit.
Why was it controversial?
Currently, there is no separate regulation on the attire of lawmakers in the National Assembly. Only a comprehensive provision of “regulation for maintaining dignity as a member of the National Assembly” exists. However, some argue that the dress was just “too much👎". They argued that her outfit was inappropriate considering the “TPO” (“time, place, occasion”) and that wearing a suit is one of the ways for lawmakers to respect the plenary session of the National Assembly. But others advocated👍 for the “freedom of the dress.” They also argued that lawmakers should be evaluated by their work rather than their clothing. Some mentioned that her dress is a symbol of defying authoritarianism at the National Assembly. Sim Sang Jeong (심상정), Chair of Justice Party, supported Ryu by saying, "A dress is an outfit that many women love to wear to work." Rep. Ryu said🙋 that she did not know why her clothing was controversial and why she should even need to clarify regarding this matter.
What else has happened...😶
There were also reportedly sexist remarks made about Ryu's clothes. Inappropriate comments such as “Be careful of the male legislators” or referring to Ryu as a “prostitute” were posted on social media such as Facebook. Even when Rep. Ryu visited the flood-damaged places on the 8th, reporters were still only asking about the dress.
This is not the first time
Ryu has done similar actions in the past. On July 16, she attended a plenary session wearing shorts and a jacket, and four days later she paired up jeans with a white shirt.
Meanwhile, there was another lawmaker who appeared in similar clothing in 2003. LegislatorYoo Si Min (유시민) appeared at the National Assembly wearing cotton pants. However, after receiving a huge backlash from other lawmakers, he decided to wear a suit and tie the next day.
How about in other countries? 🍀 In November of last year, Catherine Dorion of Canada was dressed in a hoodie and jeans at the Quebec Parliament to commemorate Halloween and was dismissed for the day. But it is said that she still loves casual attire. 🍀 The National Assembly of France is known for having a strict dress code. In 2012, when Cécile Duflot, the Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing, appeared in a parliamentary speech in a blue floral dress, several male lawmakers were whistling at her. She responded by saying, "If my clothes cause anger, I will take my clothes off right now." 🍀 In the United States, in 2017, Senator Martha McSally wore a sleeveless dress. Her decision was a protest against the case where female reporters of CBS were expelled from the Capitol for wearing clothes with exposed shoulders.
Sport for the Nation? 🙅
[Photo by Newsis]
Death of promising triathlete by severe abuse😡
Amid Korean athletes’ exclusive, outcome-based culture, human rights violations are a common occurrence among elite athletes. The suicide of Choi Suk Hyun (최석현) proved that the Korean athlete’s community has failed to reform itself. Choi Suk Hyun, a promising triathlete, who had suffered for many years from physical and psychological abuse by her coach, teammates, and team’s doctor, committed suicide on June 26.
Consecutive abuses in Korean athletes
Since ex-tennis player Kim Eun Hui’s (김은희) sexual abuse became an issue in public in 2016, there have been various #MeToo movements among athletes. Shim Suk Hee (심숙희), a member of the short-track speedskating national team and Olympic gold medal winner publicized her coach Cho Jae Beom’s (조재범) sexual abuse in 2019. Recently, the assault allegation of Lee Seung Hoon (이승훈) - a member of the national Speed skating team - towards his teammates, became an issue.
“Structure matters, not the individual” 👪
Some argue that the causes of successive abuse are due to the “state-centric” and “outcome-based” culture that pervades the Korean sports world. Before the amendment of ‘The law of national sports promotion’, it was stated in Article 1 that the purpose of the law was “to increase the fitness of people by promoting national sports and to assist people to lead a happy life by cultivating a sound mind, and further to contribute to the promotion of national prestige through sports.”The emphasis on promoting national prestige in order to gain an international reputation as a sports powerhouse turn these Korean sports into a tool to rapidly produce elite athletes who win medals. To win a competition, adolescent athletes are put under enormous pressure up to the point that they end up missing most of the classes in school🎓, which deprives them of other careers outside of sports. Under these circumstances, adolescent athletes and their parents depend on coaches to promote their careers, which gives the coach a great amount of power. The trust given to the coaches became a perfect environment for physical and psychological abuse. What makes it worse is the pervasive military atmosphere that allows physical punishment. According to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea’s (국가인권위원회) survey on 2019 November, 33% of university athletes experienced physical violence and 9.6% said that they experienced sexual abuse.
😨 No one was listening
Choi had tried to seek help since last February, filing complaints and petitions with the authorities with the risk of ruining her career, but was only confronted with dead ends. Amid dissimulating the atmosphere among authorities, the victim became isolated with despair.
🏂 Sport for everyone👪?
On August 4, the National Assembly voted for an amendment which attempted to reform how sports are configured.
🍀“Enhancing national prestige” from the law’s first clause was replaced with “solidarity”, “fairness”, “human rights” and “happiness”. 🍀Instead of sport human rights centers under the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee, a new sport ethics center which is independent of the sports world will be established. 🍀A penalty to the team and coach related to irregularity, such as physical violence, will be strengthened. They could be punished by noncooperation to investigate if they fail to prove a justifiable reason. The period of suspension of qualification will be increased from 1 year to 5 years for the coach if found to be guilty.
💘What's trending now
Boknal (복날)🍉 : Bok (=very hot) + Nal (=a day)
Meaning: A very hot day💦 which occurs between June and July of the lunar calendar.
Kinds: There are three ‘Boknal'; Chobok (초복, First Boknal), Joongbok (중복, Second Boknal), and Malbok (말복, Third Boknal). Together they are called ‘Sambok’ (삼복). ‘Sambok heat(삼복더위)’ means 'the hottest three days of the year'.
When is Boknal in 2020? Two 'Boknal's have already passed, and Malbok remains.
Chobok (First): July 16, Joongbok (Second): July 26 , Malbok (Third): August 15
Every year on Boknal, people in Korea eat food to prepare themselves for the heat. Samgyetang (삼계탕, a chicken soup with ginseng) is the representative for this event. 😊
Campnic🚵 craze in South Korea!
Have you ever heard of the word ‘Campnic?’😉 (캠프닉) It’s a compound word derived from “camping” and “picnic.” Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, people are preferring 'un-tact traveling' (언택트, a Korean term intended to mean the opposite of “contact”) and 'Campnic' is one of the options.
#1. A South Korean farmers' cooperative said on Thursday that it has clinched a $150 million deal to barter sugar for North Korean liquor and food products, bypassing sanctions banning cash transfers. 👉Link #2. Last year, South Korea's public sector reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent from its appointed goal. 👉Link #3. An entertainer from Ghana, Sam Okyere (샘 오취리) apologized after he criticized students who had their graduation pictures taken while wearing blackface. He was blamed for uploading the students' pictures without blurring out these minors’ faces. Nationalist internet users dug up several obscure internet comments that Okyere had made in the past that gave off the impression that he was insulting Korea. 👉Link
#4. The Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (국민권익위원회) advised the Metropolitan and Provincial Offices of Education (시,지방교육청) to allow female students to choose between skirts and shorts for their school uniform. So far, the skirt has been considered a basic element for girls' uniforms. 👉Link(Korean) #5. On Thursday, three vessels were overturned at Uiam Dam (의암댐) in Chuncheon (춘천시). Categorized as a marine accident, it left two rescued, four dead, and 2 missing. 👉Link #6. Several of South Korea's most famous YouTubers are facing criticism following allegations that they "deceived" fans by not disclosing paid promotions. 👉Link