Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A very protective country?

From the Joongang Daily

A man won 62 million at KangwonLand Casino but:

Kangwon Land Resort & Casino said it would
withhold payment to Mr. Seo, because he
lived in the vicinity of an erstwhile miners'
village. The casino was located there to help
residents overcome mine closures, and rules
have been set up to protect them, as the
area remains relatively poor.

So they are protecting him by keeping him from his money? Koreans have to show their ID card before entering the casino. Mr. Seo's was examined and he was allowed in. I wonder how many times they might have let him in accidentally had he kept losing?

Still, this post is about the Korean government protecting it's citizens. I can understand how and why the casino, and several others in Korea, are off-limits to most Koreans even though I am not sure I approve. In general, I don't approve of casinos but it seems strange to open several but only allow foreigners in, as is the case in most Korean casinos.

I have swam at many pools and beaches in Korea. At pools, users are protected by lifeguards sitting their staff office most of the time but coming out every hour to whistle everyone out of the pool for ten minutes mandatory rest. I tried reasoning with the guards; that I had only arrived 10 minutes ago, or that I wasn't tired, but they wouldn't let me swim. Usually, as a sort of passive defiance, when I hear the whistle, I just keep swimming and flip turn at each end so they can't be certain I saw them.

At beaches, I experience the same over-protectiveness. Gangwondo coast has great beaches but the buoy lines are only about 5-10 m from shore. To go past the line is to have the guard wail on their whistle for a long time, they are really very determined or patient. They may also have a point. Despite, I guess, 100 km or more of open water, the landlubbers that rent power boats feel safer just offshore and so race along not far from the buoyline. I think the same bad judgment in handling boats can be found at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada every summer.

Anyway, the Korean government seems determined to protect it's childr... I mean, it's citizens.

Except against fire.

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