Monday, May 02, 2005

A visit to hunjangui karuchim

Antti Leppanen has a wonderful site that I don't visit enough. I went there this morning and found:

An article on big-box stores squeezing out the smaller shops.

Taebaek marketplace trader:"65% of the population
in Taebaek are families of small and medium
businesskeepers (chungsosanggongin). It is usual
that with one huge retail establishment seven
marketplaces (chaeraesijang) disappear. 65% are
making a living in small shops (kumĂ´ngkage) and
marketplaces, so what happens when E-mart
comes? We are going to make this known at the
Shinsegye [owner of E-mart] headquarters."

I include this here as it specifically discusses Taebaek, which is in Gangwondo. Also, I think I noticed a few stores closing with the opening of Sokcho's E-mart. For what it's worth, I feel bad for the small shop owners but I like my western food that I can only get at E-mart.

In the quoted section above, I see "marketplaces (chaeraesijang)". That's an entire market, right? Not just a supermarket or single store?

The second article I looked at eased my concerns about understanding the Korean language as it seems Koreans have the same difficulty.

Three of four have according to the survey difficulties
understanding documents which contain information
and techonology needed in a new workplace (we're not
told what kind of a workplace). The proportion of
people who have trouble understanding texts needed
in everyday life like medication dosage is 38%, way
higher than the OECD average of 22%. The survey
looked at people's understanding of documents like
employment applications, tax forms, traffic
timetables, maps and the like.

The percentage of people who understand complicated
text containing information of the latest techonology
is no more than 2 or 3 in Korea, one tenth of what it
is in Norway, Denmark, Canada and so.

Apparently, a part of the problem is use of hanja or of words with Chinese roots. I'm reminded that in Quebec, French is the official language and must be used in formal documents. Engineers often hunt desparately for an appropriate French word then put the English one in brackets next to it so others can understand.

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