To swim, or not to swim

A few years back, a random stranger claiming to be a fortune-teller told me that I might not have wealth, fame nor power in life, but I had been born never to starve. Not that I took his words particularly seriously, but it is true that I have never needed to worry about a next meal and I am genuinely grateful for that.

Where am I going with this? In South Korea, a country known to be the world’s 11th largest economy, a considerable size of population are still below poverty line, and a lot of kids live solely on free lunch provided in their school canteens. Surprised? Wait, there is more. The sitting government has now cut taxes on the “middle class”, but at the same time has abolished subsidies on the provision of free lunch in primary schools.

No, I am not trying to be a fashionable socialist here. I always feel that I don’t know enough to talk about isms. But I can tell you this much. When a councillor of the GNP [the party in power] said, “Why should all tax money be spent for smaller schools in rural areas while others are in need too? Some primary schools in Gyeonggi province can’t afford to change the water in their swimming pools”, I literally felt nauseous.


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