What They Said is a regular series on the quotes Korea is talking about.
Et tu, Asiana?
Remember Korean Air’s Cho Yang-ho and his family’s corruption scandal? It all began with the CEO’s two daughters taking their anger out on their employees and contractors. Then more employees came out, criticizing all of the Cho family for gapjil (abuse of power against someone in a weaker position). Well, it turns out that Asiana, the second largest Korean airline, isn’t free from blame either. It started on July 1 when of 80 Asiana flights, 50 were delayed while 36 were operated without meal service. The next day, ten out of 75 were delayed while 28 had no meal service; on July 3, two out of 76 were delayed while 43 provided no meal service. The company provided vouchers to its passengers, encouraging them to purchase their food prior to boarding. Investigation into the matter revealed that in 2017 Asiana ended its contract with LSG Sky Chefs, which had catered for Asiana flights since 2003, when it refused to accept Asiana’s demand for investment in Kumho Holdings (Kumho Asiana Group’s holding company) and reported the incident to the Fair Trade Commission. Asiana then formed a catering unit called Gate Gourmet Korea (GGK) with China’s HNA Group. Then, in March, one of GGK’s under-construction factories caught fire, delaying the supply of meals for Asiana flights, which had been scheduled to begin on July 1. Asiana signed a three month contract with Sharp Do & Co., a GGK subcontractor.
In a strange turn of events, the CEO of one of the subcontractors of Sharp Do & Co. was found dead in an apparent suicide on July 2. Relevant people in the airline industry testified that Sharp Do & Co. did not have the capacity to supply 3,000 meals to Asiana, and that this debacle was anticipated when the companies first signed contracts.
On July 4, Park Sam-koo, the CEO of Kumho Asiana Group held a press conference and made an official apology.
I am sorry for having caused such troubles to the people of Korea with Asiana’s meal service fiasco. First, I am very sorry about the terrible misfortune that the CEO of a subcontractor suffered, and I would like to apologize to the family… I would also like to sincerely apologize to the passengers who were inconvenienced due to our meal service fiasco… Another thing is, due to the lack of preparation, many of our employees are under a lot of duress. Airline service and cabin service employees are suffering, and as the CEO I feel greatly responsible. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the executives and employees as well. 
— Park Sam-koo, CEO of Kumho Asiana Group. July 4, 2018.
As one scandal tends to lead to more scrutiny in other aspects of the company’s operation, reporters soon began to delve into other issues at Asiana, one of which was the recent appointment of the CEO’s daughter Park Se-jin as an executive at Kumho Resort on July 1.
The problem that people in the hospitality industry pointed out was that Park Se-jin had no experience in managing a company, as her last professional experience was at ANA Hotel Tokyo from 2002 to 2005. About her questionable appointment, Park said:
In the past, women didn’t participate in social activities or in companies. But I believe that women, many women should enter society and participate in companies these days.
Of course, in the past, when my brothers were working, we actually limited their participation because it wasn’t advisable for too many people [of the Park family] to participate in the operation of the group. But now the group has been divided. And she’s my daughter, but she is older and I believe she needs to have a work life. I don’t believe it’s right for her to never work.
I’d thought about it for a while, to have [my daughter] work, and in consideration of a lot of different things, I decided to have her start working on July 1 and to teach her.
Her position isn’t a great one in the group, and [Kumho] Resort is a small one, even in our group. And it’s not as important. I thought, it would be right for her to be trained there, to learn about life, about society, and about managing a company.
— Park Sam-koo, CEO of Kumho Asiana Group. July 4, 2018.
Meanwhile, Asiana employees have created an open chatroom to discuss their experiences with the CEO and his family and are holding candlelight rallies, protesting against and criticizing Park Sam-koo and his family’s gapjil and corruption.
The tragic life of a dead actress reexamined
In 2009, an actress, then aged 29, committed suicide. Considering that Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, it would have gone unnoticed, particularly because she wasn’t famous at the time, if not for the seven-page letter she left behind, now known as the Jang Ja-yeon list.
In her letter, Jang Ja-yeon left a list of high profile figures in Korea’s entertainment industry, politics, and the press, who had sexually abused her. She claimed that she had to provide sexual services to 20 people. The police investigated the case at the time but none of those who were named in her letter was found guilty, and the court ruled that the allegations lacked evidence. Only the CEO of her management agency and her manager were put on trial for physical abuse.
However, with the rise of the #MeToo movement, a petition calling for a re-investigation of the Jang Ja-yeon list was submitted to the Cheong Wa Dae in February 2018, receiving over 230,000 signatures. In June, two months before the statute of limitations ran out, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office reopened the case. Since then, more spotlight has been given to the case, with major networks such as KBS and JTBC conducting interviews with the people who witnessed Jang being harassed and assaulted.
On June 28, JTBC’s Sohn Suk-hee conducted an interview with a woman, Yun, who identified herself as a former colleague of Jang. She explained what she’d witnessed at the time and during the following investigation. To Sohn’s question about how she spent the ten years since Jang took her own life, she said:
I wanted to stay in the entertainment industry, but because I was in the management agency [to which Jang belonged] and because I testified [regarding Jang’s case], I was kicked out of TV dramas and films, so it was very difficult for me to stay. I also received psychiatric therapy repeatedly, and was even admitted to hospitals, even until recently. I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to correct this injustice done to Jang, who passed away, and I became afraid watching how what I said about what I’d witnessed was covered up. 
— Yun. June 28, 2018.
We have yet to see what the investigation will uncover, but many people hope the truth will come out this time.
The scariest film of a generation?
Have you seen Hereditary? A few of the phrases used to promote the film internationally included “the most terrifying horror film in years”, “the scariest movie of 2018”, and the like.
In Korea, the film gained popularity as “the film that terrified the translator”.
In April, Hwang Seok-hee, a Korean film translator, posted on his Facebook:
The next film I have to work on is a horror movie, so yesterday I figured I’d watch the whole screener before I go to bed. I’m usually fine with horror movies, but this was really… wow… damn… friggin’… I was so scared that I had to create a protective barrier around the screen (the clock on the bottom right says 2 am. shaking)
(Hwang attached an screenshot of how he was watching the film: with the video player window surrounded by images of cute puppies and a cartoon Deadpool).
This is not a film you can watch at home alone. I’ll let you know which film it is once they start advertising, but you have to watch it at a theater with other people. Don’t watch it alone.
— Hwang Seok-hee. April 13, 2018.
In a later Facebook post, he revealed that it was Hereditary.
Currently, the film is rated 5.8/10 on web portal Daum’s Movie section. Raters have mainly given it either a 0 or a 10, which seems to reveal a huge divide among viewers.
What’s your opinion on the film? Was it scary?
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