2024 3 Taiwan DongGang,

A morning in the busy fishing port DongGang in the south of Taiwan. Hundreds of fishing boats moored at the kay dispose of their frozen cargo: tuna. It is a gruelling sight. Tails and fins have been cut from the fish and they are one by one sent on their way to shore on slides. There they are weighed further and transported with shovels.

The manual work, cold and hard, is done by Indonesian crews.  They are cheerful and proud of their work. They provide for their families with a smile.

2024 3 South Korea Seoul
Want to work quietly on the internet in Korea? Go to a coffee shop. Many families have limited space at home and many youngsters live with their parents so a cold latte gives you entry to good wifi and a space to do your thing.

Jisoo Bae (27) has worked for AK, one of the huge conglomerates that rule the Korean economy. These jobs are not easy to get as competition is fierce.

“I went to Yonsei University, one of the best in Korea and did 4 internships before I managed to get this position. This job meant working from 9 to 7 and sometimes to 1 or 2 am on marketing and media projects without much prospect on advancement.”

Her way out is to start her own business on the internet and she decided to make her shop “On Friday” on the all-powerful Naver platform selling fashion.

Korean owned monopoly Naver rules search and digital commerce in Korea; no Google here. There are plenty of wholesale clothing companies in the Dongdeamon area in Seoul. She presents their fashion her way on her marketplace.

Living in Korea means following a lot of rules and “mores”. Pursuing happiness and personal development is not high on the list for Korean youngsters. They are too busy doing what is expected from them, like visiting historical places and putting on traditional costume wear.

“When I have time for myself it is sometimes frightening. Prescribed behaviour gives some peace, I do not have think, but I realise I have to find my way.”

Disagreeing with elderly with more status is not done leading to a complete retraining program for Korean Air crew. The number of accidents and near accidents to just following orders of the first captain was getting out of hand. In 2014 the ferry Sewol went down with 304 passengers. The captain (who himself left the ship) announced they had to stay in their cabins. And they did even when the water entered.

Jisoo has lived in Sweden for a year. A look into a different society structure may have changed her view on the life she wants to live.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.