who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

national make-a-baby day

a few days ago, i learned that sk has one of the lowest birthrates in the world. since hearing this fact, it has become unavoidable to observe the lack of pregnant bellies, baby strollers or even the odd toddler's presence in public.

wednesday 20th jan was south korea's national make-a-baby dayin an effort to boost the birthrate, the government have decided to lead by example - shutting down all civil offices and decreasing office hours to encourage their employees to spend more time with their families ... and, well ... y'know.

the experiment was conducted for the first time, this wednesday,  with the ministry of health turning off all it's lights and literally shooing it's employees off to bed.  apparently they plan to do this on a monthly basis, in the hope that it will establish a culture of understanding the importance of "family time", across the nation.

online, it's opened up some interesting debates - most arguing with the sentiment that it's not the long working hours that have affected the birthrate - but rather the extreme expense a raising a child here:

education is one of the most highly regarded priorities.  the kids here are tutored for an average of 11hrs a day.  they spend very little time playing games, in the outdoors and experiencing team sports.  most families who can afford it, will add private english tutoring onto the normal schooling system. so generally speaking, the koreans will spend around 50% of their income on their children.

in addition - a woman is not exactly a down-trodden citizen.  she is allowed to work and appears to enjoy respect and equal treatment in the workplace. however, once a mother, there is an unwritten rule - understood and internalised by all - that she cannot return to work, and will stay at home to take on the role of raising the child.  for this reason, young koreans delay the start of their families which has also impacted on family size and growth rate.

on the ground, there was not much talk of the day.  i suspect that it would not have been viewed as very polite conversation.  at face-value, they are incredibly conservative people (although a deep and dark sexual subculture runs thick beneath the surface - but more on that some other day).

the bbc made a bit of a thing of it, and there were mentions on other foreign news networks - but for the average korean on the street, it was just another day.

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