Sunday, November 22, 2015

Leave the Beer Alone!

In December 2014, the Seoul High Court ruled that forcing large retail stores to close two Sundays every month was illegal because (1) the law limited consumers' right to choose where to shop and that (2) there was no evidence to suggest that the law actually helped small retailers or traditional markets.

For a while, I was hopeful that there might have been some sense in Korean courts. However, the Supreme Court made sure that common sense and critical thinking stayed dead and buried when they overruled the Seoul High Court and sided with local municipalities.

According to the Korea Times, one of the justices said,

"A regulation for the public good is not only important but also necessary. However, it can hardly be seen as depriving consumers of their right to choose as large retailers do not need protection."

Don't ask me how that makes any sense.

Of course, this is not the only instance of the government meddling in the economy that has screwed over consumers.

The Mobile Device Distribution Improvement Act has shackled all telecom companies to offer the same discounts to their customers, thus forcing people to pay more for their smartphones.

The Book Discount Law prevents retail bookstores from selling books at a discount any higher than 15%.

And a year ago, the Korean government was mulling the International Direct Purchase Law; a proposed law, which would have regulated how much, how, and what individual consumers would have been able to purchase from international websites such as Amazon or eBay.

But now someone has really messed up. Now there are rumors that the government plans to regulate discounts of imported beer.

Let's be frank. Shutting down large retail stores two Sundays out of a month is no big deal. People can plan ahead or just shop online. Making smartphones more expensive pissed off some people, but thankfully smartphones are becoming cheaper anyway. As for books, who reads books? And regulating online foreign purchases sound like it would be easy to skirt around.

But mess with beer? Do they not know what country they're governing? There has been debate about the accuracy of the claim that Koreans drink more than anyone else in the world. but it's without doubt that Koreans are heavy drinkers.

So dear Korean government, you done goofed. If you think the protests have been violent so far, wait until every single pissed off salaryman joins the fray. There will be hell to pay!

So if you know what's good for you, for God's sake, leave the beer alone!

Image Source

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Unbearable Easiness of it All

Punditry, especially social media punditry, is easy. It is easy to say:

1. I told you so. They are reaping what they have sowed.
2. They are all evil and should never have been given refuge.
3. Pray for the victims.
4. I am outraged.
5. We should fight against all religions.
6. They were escaping that same shit that followed them here.
7. I stand with France. And look at my new profile picture.
8. You care about it now because white people are dead? Where have you been while non-whites were dying?
9. Radical Islam is the enemy and we should treat it as such.
10. Of course you would think that, you racist!

And the list goes on and on and on and on and on. They are all easy to say, easy to share, and easy to hashtag.

The only ones who are facing any difficulty, and this is real difficulty, are the people who lost family members, friends, and lovers. The whole world can stamp our feet in unison or sing "We will Overcome" in perfect harmony and it will not take one iota of pain away from them.

To those who are suffering -- really suffering, the rest of us are nothing more than infuriating sources of noise pollution.

But what can we do but talk and make noise? The world is for the living, after all. And yeterday's tragedy is always forgotten and/or exploited if that is what needs to be done to win tomorrow's election.

I did not lose any friends or family members in the Paris attacks. So I am not grieving a loss or thirsting for blood. I am quite dispassionate about it all. Thank God.

What I am upset over is that the whole thing is just so fucking easy.