Source: Coldplay Lab
Since May, more and more young Korean people have searched the Internet for “Mapu bridge”, which has instantly alerted the Korean police.
Mapu bridge is known as the “suicide bridge”. It is famous for more than 100 people choosing to commit suicide here from 2007 to 2012. Since then, many young people who can’t think of it will choose to end their lives in this place with a sense of ritual.
To persuade suicides, Mapu bridge is covered with inspirational words and warm pictures
What makes so many Koreans consider jumping the bridge is the collapse of South Korea’s virtual currency Luna, which fell from a high of $119.5 to less than 1 cent. Anyone who wants to heavily position it will lose money overnight.
Unfortunately, more than 200000 people in South Korea have invested in the currency.
But this is not the worst.
Luna coin is a microcosm of the virtual currency market. Since May, all kinds of virtual currencies have plummeted. Bitcoin, the benchmark of virtual currency, has fallen by 70% from the high of $69000 in November last year.
According to the statistics of the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC), 3.08 million people aged 20-39 are speculating in currency, accounting for 23% of the Korean population of this age group (13.431 million). In other words, every five young Korean people are frying money.
The collapse of the virtual currency has caused heavy losses to young people, and some even lost their homes overnight. Therefore, Mapu bridge was hot searched by painful young people in the middle of the night.
Seeing so many people thinking about the Mapu bridge, the Mapu police department, whose scalp was numb, hurried to sound the alarm and strengthened its daily patrol of the Mapu bridge, hoping to find and stop the suicides in time.
This is really a strange thing. Korean young people should have bright prospects.
In July 2021, South Korea was officially recognized as a developed country. In that year, its GDP reached US $1.67 trillion, surpassing Russia and ranking tenth in the world. You know, there are only 52 million people in South Korea and 146million people in Russia.
And the per capita national income of South Korea is 35000 US dollars, and the undergraduate rate is as high as 70%. Former president Moon Jae-in even proudly said that South Koreans should be proud of their country, because South Korea now ranks among the top 10 in the world in terms of economy, health care, democracy and epidemic prevention.
Why is the country developing so well that one fifth of young people are gambling their lives in Soha?
In March this year, a 30-year-old Korean youth died in his rental room.
Two weeks after his death, his body was found, together with a notebook that records the need to work hard, live hard and constantly cheer himself up.
Content in the picture: “eat on time to reduce verbal errors”
Effort is a label that Korean young people have been put on their forehead since they were born, but another word is more suitable – “inner roll”.
A Korean from birth, most of them have to face the four major hurdles of reading, employment, buying a house and getting married, while Korean youth passing the hurdle is like playing the game of squid, and the rest is king.
The college entrance examination is the first pass that determines the future and destiny of young people.
On the day of the exam, the whole society was pressed the pause button, parents were waiting at the gate of the school, police patrolled the intersection, and planes were grounded during the hearing exam. The younger students knelt down at the school gate and sent their blessings to the elder and elder students. This blessing comes from the bottom of my heart: please don’t come back and reread with me.
Good grades are “rolled out”, which is the consensus of Korean candidates. In South Korea, there is a saying called “four when five falls”. Only those who sleep four hours a day have the opportunity to go to the ideal university. If they sleep five hours, they will fall off the list. In the documentary “betrayal of learning”, Korean education broadcasting commune shows the forced life of Korean teenagers who get up at six o’clock, go home in the morning and spend 16 hours a day studying.
Time is fair. All “exam” time is equivalent to no “exam”, so Korean candidates began “exam” cram classes.
Nearly 73% of students will participate in various forms of cram schools. At this time, whoever can find a high-quality cram school will have a better chance of winning. Therefore, if children want to “roll” successfully, parents must first “roll” successfully.
Candidates’ parents will try their best to find partners with similar family conditions to build an exchange circle and exchange what they need. The better the circle is and the higher the quality of resources is, the higher the probability of their children’s success. Therefore, anyone in the circle who dares to divulge secrets will be kicked out mercilessly. Parents who successfully send their children to sky schools (equivalent to Tsinghua and Peking universities in China) will be treated with great courtesy.
After the whole family had to make great efforts and sacrifices for it, the successful Korean youth began the next level – “roll” workplace.
Young people in South Korea are very keen on “big factories”, such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG and Lotte.
There is a saying in South Korea that South Korea will face three things in its life: death, taxes and Samsung. Samsung Group’s annual revenue accounts for one fifth of South Korea’s GDP, and South Korea’s top 10 consortium has created 75% of the country’s GDP.
What matches the strength is a generous reward. According to the data of the Korean National Bureau of statistics, the wage gap between Korean large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises is as high as 2.7 times. After working for 20 years, the average annual salary gap between the two employees will expand to 550 million won (about 3.25 million yuan).
Only by squeezing here can life be turned over.
In these large factories, the proportion of the most popular positions has reached 500:1 in recent years. There is no doubt that it is no less difficult to get into a big factory than the college entrance examination, but many graduates of famous Korean schools do not hesitate to wait for employment for 1-2 years.
The remaining young people choose to “roll” another way – civil servants.
Civil servants are called “God’s profession” in South Korea, with stable work, good welfare and guaranteed retirement. According to statistics, the number of civil servants applying for the examination in South Korea is up to 260000 every year, accounting for 40% of the total number of job seekers in South Korea. Kaogong nationality accounts for 6.8% of the Korean youth population and 75% of the college entrance examination students.
How difficult is it for Korean civil servants?
There is a saying in the Korean public examination circle: three years of preparation is compulsory, five years of preparation is basic, and seven years of preparation is optional. The Los Angeles Times once quoted a set of data: in 2019, 200000 people in South Korea applied for civil servants, and finally only 4953 people were admitted, with an admission rate of only 2.4%. You know, the admission rate of Harvard University is 4.95%.
Therefore, this road is not much better than big factories.
Civil servants and big factories have become the only two goals in the eyes of Korean young people. Do Korean young people have no other choice?
too tired to try
Songzhengbin, 30, is preparing for the ninth civil service examination.
At 6:30 in the morning, he hurried to get up and wash, and began the day’s intense study. This state will last until 12 a.m., a full 17 hours, and the rest will be measured in minutes.
Songzhengbin is going to take the examination of a tax official. When he was at school, his parents’ canteen owed a lot due to poor management. They bowed before the tax official, and the scene of pleading in every way made him unforgettable.
In order to share the pressure with his parents, he once dropped out of school to work to pay off his debts, but finally found that this road was blocked, the national economy was in the doldrums, the unemployment rate soared, and the public examination was the only way out.
Unemployment after graduation continues.
In 2020, the Korean Bureau of statistics conducted a youth wealth survey and found that one-third of college graduates had become unemployed vagrants, and it took nearly a year on average to find their first job. By 2021, the unemployment rate of young people in South Korea will be as high as 25.4%, of which more than 3 million will be long-term unemployed.
Youth unemployment rate in South Korea
In order to find a job as soon as possible, many young people in South Korea are hungry. According to the survey of the Korean statistics office, in 2021, more than 50% of the employed were engaged in jobs unrelated to their majors.
Among every 10 successful employees, more than 4 have a monthly salary of 1.5 million won (about 8600 yuan), which is lower than the minimum wage in South Korea (about 10000 yuan); One in five people is at risk of being fired at any time in his first job.
Seeing the minimum monthly salary of 10000, some people may think it is quite high, but for young Korean people, this is only the bottom line of survival, because it matches the high price.
In April this year, some netizens shopping in Korean supermarkets found 1500 won /100g (75 yuan /kg) for a kilo of sweet potatoes and 2100 won /100g (84 yuan /kg) for apples, equivalent to 17 yuan for an apple. This trend of high prices has been rising. On June 21, the Bank of Korea once again said that the consumer price inflation rate this year is likely to exceed the record of 2008, breaking the forecast value of 4.7%.
But compared with this, high housing prices are really desperate.
The most populous place in South Korea is Seoul. As the political, economic and cultural center of South Korea, Seoul only occupies 0.6% of the territory, but it accommodates a quarter of the population of the country. The “capital circle” with Seoul as the center is more than 80% of South Korea’s state-owned enterprises, more than half of the hospitals and schools, so nearly 50% of the people flock here to try to find opportunities to turn over.
So many people flocked to the capital, and the rent rose with the tide, so there was a kind of rental house called examination house in South Korea.
The examination institute is for those who work hard for life or are unable to buy a house. They are transformed from old houses facing the street in the business district. Each room is divided into less than 10 square meters. Those with a better environment can also be equipped with a table and chair. Those with a poor environment can only set up a bed, or even have no windows. Once people come in, they are more oppressed than being in prison.
If you are unlucky, if there is an accident in the rental house that no one knows, you will “die alone”. In the examination institute in Seoul, nearly 50 people “die alone” every year.
But even so, the young people living here are still full of energy. They live in the examination room and work hard for the imagined future. In this small room, books, electronic products and notes are scattered, on which can be seen everywhere the traces of studying hard for examinations and employment.
However, there are several ways to write the word “frustrated” by the continuous education of housing prices.
During his tenure, Moon Jae-in said many times that he wanted to let homeowners have their own houses. According to the data of the National Bank of Korea, in May 2017, when Moon Jae-in became president, the average price of buying an apartment in the capital Seoul was 607 million won; By 2021, the average price will reach 1.21 billion won.
The average price of apartments in the capital circle (Seoul, Gyeonggi do, Incheon) and the whole country is 770million won and 540million won respectively.
According to the “administrative statistics of middle-aged and middle-aged people in 2020” released by the Korean Bureau of statistics, 6 out of 10 middle-aged and middle-aged people (aged 40 to 64) have no real estate under their names. “Now I can’t buy a house all my life just by salary.” Cui Zaicheng, a post-80s Korean, complained.
Middle aged people who have worked for decades can’t afford to buy houses, let alone young people. In response, former president Moon Jae-in can only bow and apologize: “I regret the failure of real estate policies, which do not provide sufficient opportunities for the public, especially young people and newlyweds, to buy their own homes.”
Can’t afford to buy a house, can’t afford to get married, and can’t see hope. South Koreans who tried their best to get involved soon realized how insignificant the proportion of efforts in success was.
On November 17, 2021, a survey released by the Korean Bureau of statistics showed that 60.6% of the population over the age of 19 believed that there was no possibility of personal social and economic status rising, and only 25.2% were still hopeful.
So the tired Korean young man lay flat.
They mock themselves as “office bugs”. They go out in the morning and return home at midnight, crawling between the company and home like bugs every day. Others call themselves “IKEA generation” – highly educated and experienced. Like IKEA products, they are cheap and can be thrown away or replaced at will.
Lying flat young people learn to give up, known as “N-throw generation”. The first batch of “three discards”, that is, abandoning love, abandoning marriage and abandoning having children. After the “five tosses”, three tosses plus interpersonal relationships and houses, and then seven tosses. In addition to the five tosses, we also abandon dreams and hopes. Finally, completely abandon the future and choose suicide.
Zhao Chengjun, 28, hasn’t found a job yet. He doesn’t have any expectations for the future: “he used to think that he could buy a house by working hard to earn money, but now he feels that he can’t afford it even after working for 20 to 30 years. Occasionally, I think, if only my parents were rich.”
What makes young people desperate is not only the housing price, but also the solidification of the class that can make their children and grandchildren unable to afford housing.
In November 2019, the Korean media “Culture Daily” conducted a public opinion survey in cooperation with the Korean Society for social sciences. When answering the question “how to become a wealthy class”, 66.5% of people believed that “it is more important to be born with a golden key than to work hard the day after tomorrow”.
This is the reality of South Korea.
At the end of 2016, the Korean Institute of health and social research conducted a survey on 1342 men aged 25-64. The survey found that from education to occupation, the hereditary phenomenon in South Korea is becoming more and more serious, and the trend of class solidification is becoming more and more obvious.
In terms of education, the final academic qualifications and economic conditions of Korean parents will be passed on to their children from generation to generation. The proportion of fathers and children with college degrees accounted for 64% in the industrial era, and further increased to 89.6% in the information age. In the workplace, the proportion of both fathers and children in management professional positions has increased from 17.4% in the industrial era to 37.1% in the information age.
This intergenerational transmission of academic qualifications and occupations has led to the solidification of social strata. The proportion of fathers and children in the upper middle class was 26.3% in the industrial era and 39.7% in the information age.
This situation means that it is more difficult for ordinary people to get into a good university. If they fail to get into a good university, they will not be able to enter a big factory, and they will probably fail to get into a civil servant. They will not be able to afford a house for a lifetime, and their life will be bleak.
What if you don’t want to lie flat? Then bet. Use the luck of uncertainty to fight against the solidification of certainty.
A group of gamblers split out of the laiping faction, and gamblers began to buy stocks and virtual currencies. Try to overtake in this corner and realize the counter attack of life.
Bloomberg reported that South Korea is the third largest virtual currency market in the world, second only to the United States and Japan. In January this year, cryptocurrencies worth US $6.8 billion were traded in South Korea. Whether it is the famous bitcoin or other virtual currencies with a wide variety of names, South Koreans are flocking to it.
According to the latest survey of South Korean insurance agency Ritchie planning consulting company, 80% of South Korean young people in their twenties and thirties invest in wealth management, involving stocks, funds, cryptocurrencies, etc., of which more than 350000 shareholders under the age of 20 hold Samsung Electronics.
A young Korean said in an interview, “I began to be indifferent, but the experience of my colleagues made me completely change my mind. If I don’t take risks, I may never buy a house.”
Nowadays, the cryptocurrency market and stock market in South Korea are full of such young people, who are reckless in order to achieve class breakthrough.
But from the current situation, many young people obviously failed to gamble.
Park Yuzhen, who resigned and concentrated on money speculation at home, lost all his money. In an interview with South Korean media, he said dejectedly: “people call speculation money gambling, which is unfair, but I admit that what they say is somewhat reasonable.”
Watching the virtual currency thunderstorm, causing losses to the country. EN sung soo, chairman of the Korean Financial Services Commission, angrily said, “the government has no obligation to protect them. If they make mistakes, we adults must warn them that they are making mistakes.”
As a result, the young Korean asked him to step down and angrily said: your 40-50 year-old people’s real estate speculation disrupted the national economy and the people’s livelihood, and our 20-30-year-old people just learned a little from you.
However, young people who only know this “fantastic skills” naturally cannot compete with social trends.
In 2021, Korea Radio International reported that the polarization between the rich and the poor in South Korea has been very serious. Including financial assets, housing and other non-financial assets, the wealth of the upper 10% accounted for 58.5% of the overall wealth, with a per capita of 1051300 euros. However, the wealth of 50% of the people in the lower reaches only accounts for 5.6% of the overall wealth, with a per capita of 20200 euros, and the gap between the two is as high as 52 times.
The more you work hard, the more you fail, which makes young people in South Korea feel deep despair.
Looking back, they have been in the “roll” since birth. After doing their best, they found that not only their own transition was hopeless, but also their descendants lost the opportunity under the solidification of class. Unwilling young people chose to gamble on a squid game in order to fight for their lives, but reality completely defeated them.
South Korean young people who are under too much pressure have begun to die.
In 2020, the number of suicides in South Korea was 1319500, and the suicide rate ranked first in the organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD). This is not the first time for South Korea to win the championship. The suicide rate in South Korea ranked first in the organization for 13 consecutive years, which is 2.4 times the average suicide rate of the organization. Looking at the high suicide rate every year, South Korean news media ridiculed South Korea as a “suicide Republic”.
Korean young people who tried their best still can’t see where the more promising road is.