[Youth Future Expedition Team 100] The proposals of Korean Millennials
Korean politics is one of taking sides. Let us not frame politics into simply ‘progressives and conservatives’.
We want a nation where adventurous students can grow along with model students.
Coding class is great but, instead of making it mandatory, students should be able to choose.
These days, it is widely said that people in their twenties are frustrated and angry about injustice. What do the youths think?
With the 100th anniversary of the Chosun Ilbo on March 5th 2020, six students in their twenties who participated in the Youth Future Expedition Team 100 – which sent one hundred students to countries around the world – sat down to discuss.
The Youth Future Expedition Team is now halfway through with 54 students having completed their journeys.
The six were: Hong Kyun Kim, 22, who experienced the young culture of American politics, Yoo Kyung Yang, 27, who met the Native Americans of Ecuador’s Amazon, Jung Ook Sung,27, who visited the unmanned autonomous ports in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Seung Joo Lee, 20, who explored Iceland where the government does not set minimum wage, Yoo Na Kim,21, who experienced the culture of respect towards the American soldiers, and lastlly Sun Kyo Ok, 23, who experienced Seattle’s computer education.
“DON’T JUST CAGE US UNDER THE FRAME OF FAIRNESS”
“In America, I met a student my age who was a member of the Democratic Party. But he had a best friend who was affiliated with the Republican Party. He says that they have become an inseparable pair since debating in middle school,” said Hong Kyun Kim.
When his group revealed their political preferences, they automatically got branded as a progressive or a conservative.
“Tactlessly bringing up a conversation about politics, you will either get an awkward silence or an angry divided crowd. As soon as those words come out of your mouth, they weave your entire life with your political ideology,” he said.
Yoo Na Kim supported this by saying, “Whether a progressive or a conservative, a person can have different opinions on different issues. I believe that it is incorrect to knock in a person’s identity by simply asking ‘Are you a Progressive?’ and automatically assuming, ‘Then you must be an activist’.”
Yoo Kyung Yang explained that she often felt that the older generation was trying to define them.
“Recently, I have come across many analysis on how people in their twenties are infuriated by the ‘unfair society’. Well… Will everything be solved as long as fairness is guaranteed?”
She continued by adding that she felt that the single word ‘fairness’ was being forced into a single frame.
“Sort of like ‘I’m following it so you should follow it too’ ? In reality, this is limiting. What kind of purpose would that serve? Politicians often speak of justice and fairness, while I want a society that guarantees diversity, creativity, and exploration,” she said.
“But since the politicians cannot ensure those values, it is like they are saying ‘let’s at least be fair’ and forcing our generation to follow that attitude.”
Seung Joo Lee agreed. She said that in today’s society, too many things are forced upon people.
She currently receives minimum wage in her part-time job. In Iceland, she added, the government does not set the minimum wage.
Instead, the companies and its workers freely and flexibly choose the wage amount.
On the other hand, the Korean government decides the minimum wage and even this becomes a political issue that creates a fissure in government between the assenting left and the dissenting right.
“And with these sort of automatic political definitions, it is difficult to have a proactive debate,” she said.
“WE WANT THE RIGHT OF CHOICE AND DIVERSITY”
“We want the right of choice and diversity”
Sun Kyo Ok flew to Seattle, USA, to explore their coding education site first hand.
She was surprised by the amount of choice that the students there enjoyed.
“I was most envious of the fact that middle school students could choose classes that they wanted to take,” she said.
From classes on the Korean language, English, Math, Social Studies, Science, or even Music, all Korean students are required to take same classes.
Thus, when she wanted to learn coding, it was impossible.
“So, I thought… the American system that encourages each student’s passion was a big takeway. Our country has suddenly incorporated mandatory coding lessons as the importance of computers increased. I believe that giving students a choice by saying ‘you can learn coding’ versus obligating students by saying ‘you must learn coding’ is completely different.”
Translated by Jee Ahn Lee, Intern of Future Planning Desk, Chosunilbo