Saturday, March 10, 2007

In Korea, having a foreign car = being an asshole

According to incredibly bad TV news magazine show Seven Days. This is from the website:

Are they outlaws on the road? Foreign car phobia
Last year alone there were 40,000 imported foreign cars! These days foreign cars are increasing, and it doesn't look so good. Last December a 780 million won ($780,000) foreign car, the price of ten domestic cars, got into an accident with an express bus. It cost 65 million won ($65,000) to fix the dmage to the back bumper of the foreign car, and the company employing bus driver Kim had to pay it. Last May Mr. Han got in an accident with a foreign car and had to pay 60 million won ($60,000), but insurance only covered 20 million won and since he couldn't pay back the rest he chose to go to jail. Even if you just graze a foreign car, your life can be changed forever . . . [their ellipsis] drivers of domestic cars think avoiding foreign cars is the best plan. As much as the burden following an accident, people point to the unreasonable driving of foreign car drivers as a problem. According to the police agency 60% of those caught speeding at over 200 kph (124 mph) are driving foreign cars. The repair fees are so scary that foreign cars don't usually even get towed, and can park illegally with impunity. What is the source of these murderous repair fees?
Who is bearing the burden of these repair fees 7 or 8 times those of domestic cars? Seven Days's cameras are pursuing the hidden problem behind these horrific fees that others are made to pay.

Not to belabor the fact that everyone involved in producing the show probably drives foreign cars, the whole show played as a smear on foreign cars and their drivers. There were a preponderance of "A Current Affair" style slow-motion evil shots of foreign cars pulling slightly illegal maneuvers on the road and lots of security guards complaining blusterily about the bad parking habits of foreign car owners. The show seemed to miss the point that Koreans in general tend to flaunt the rules of the road, and instead chose to foment class conflict, I imagine to give a boost to the market for high-end domestic cars.
I definitely shouldn't be taking this show so seriously. the next segment was about how so many are getting divorced so fast these days, and they had an 'expert' talking about how this was due to hormones and not, say, immaturity and getting married for the wrong reasons. They used a diagram showing two brains in silhouettes, with a giant heart engulfing both which waned over time to describe this scientific theory. It wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't so definitely influential on the way people think.

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