Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Man Caught Helping Poor People "May Be Crazy"

Police said a 37 year-old man caught giving away flat-screen TVs to homeless people may require a psychiatric evaluation as he is showing abnormal behavior. They also charged him with living on the street even though he has a family, a criminal offense in Korea even though polls consistently show that many see the option as preferable to sitting through another Chuseok dinner listening to in-laws pretending how much better their lives are.

The man had obtained the TVs from the walls of hospitals and restaurants, where they largely played adverts in loops to disinterested patients and customers, interspersed by the occasional reality program or soap opera. Without the televisions to interfere with their mental processes, it's said that many people quickly became sick of the high bills they were paying in the hospitals and restaurants, which had previously gone unnoticed. Conversely, the homeless, who typically live in abandoned buildings or Seoul's subway system, said the TVs had given them a welcome distraction from their poverty-stricken lives and a sense that there was still a chance for them to be part of the Korean Dream.

The Korean Dream, a beneficial psychological phenomenon designated as Intangible Cultural Property Number 4, is typically available to graduates of prestigious universities and the children of political and business leaders, but it was never intended to be shared by the lesser people, and Seoul's wealthy elite were angered by the TVs for the homeless project which they said lowered the prestige their own TVs gave them.

The flat-screen TV case evokes the memory of Korea's legendary 34 year-old heroic outlaw known only by his surname Kim, who shot to fame in the 12th century after he began a campaign of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, which later provided the inspiration for the British copycat outlaw, Robin Hood. Little is known about "Robin' Kim", because he was much better at being a mysterious outlaw than his inferior British rival, but when he was eventually betrayed by his wife's mother and brought to trial, the court famously established the Korean legal principle that anyone helping poor people at the expense of the rich is probably mentally ill and should spend the remainder of their life in a psychiatric facility, as Robin Kim did.

Since then, Korean society has been modeled on the principle of taking from the poor to give to the rich, backed by an increasingly sophisticated propaganda machine which convinces the poor that they actually aren't. Under the circumstances, police say that the taking of the TVs from the rich was not only therefore counter-cultural any mentally unbalanced, but it also possibly represented a sophisticated attempt to encourage rebellion among others by depriving them of their required daily amount of television exposure.

The Ministry of Justice has again warned people against helping people of lesser social status, even if it wrongly seems the right thing to do. "Anyone thinking of helping the poor should go to hospital immediately." said a 59 year-old government spokesman.

Related Links
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