If you have ever driven in Korea, you really know what I am talking about when I talk about Koreans who don’t follow their own laws. If a Korean thinks a law is useless, they just don’t bother to follow it. This is especially true when it comes to traffic laws. If there is a stoplight, the Koreans don’t take it as a hard and fast rule that they must stop. Many take it as a suggestion that they follow if it seems expedient. If there is a certain speed limit posted, the Koreans only follow it also if they feel like it. Out on their big highways, there are cameras posted every so often, and between those cameras, the Koreans speed, but if they get close to the camera, they slow down. They know that the police will not stop them for going too fast and give them a ticket, but if they get a picture taken on that camera of them going too fast, then they will get a ticket. If there is no place to park, and legally, they can’t park on the sidewalk, they are going to park on the sidewalk anyway. They won’t get a ticket, but they may get a yellow sticker on their windshield that is difficult to remove. If the Koreans don’t feel like it, especially with traffic laws, they just ignore them. As far as they are concerned, certain laws are not laws, but suggestions. The Korean government has made another law that has been in effect for several months now, but it looks like the people are taking it as a suggestion rather than a law. They are just ignoring the law.
The new law is made to help the small children’s Korean abilities grow faster. Korean parents are notorious about pushing their kids in English, but not in Korean. They know that when their kids reach a certain age and want to go to work, there is a very difficult English test they all must take, and the score on that test makes a big difference in what kind of job they can get. They may not even have to use English much in their job, but if they have a good TOEIC (the name of the test) score, then they will get more consideration in the hiring process. It is just a fact of life in Korea, so the Korean parents begin pumping English into their kids as early as they can. There are private schools everywhere teaching English for kids of all ages. It is a big business in Korea. They are also taught English in the public schools. Korea is “English” crazy. Everyone is trying to learn English, but it happens to be a very difficult language for them because all the language concepts in English are exactly opposite of Korean and there just are not any words that the two languages share except for very modern words the young people have adapted to Korean from English.
The Korean government has made a law that before a certain age, they are not allowed to teach their kids English. My daughter said when she heard about the law, she was afraid that teaching English for little kids would go underground, and only the rich parents would be able to find and pay people who taught English for little kids. However, everywhere you look, the schools are ignoring the law as if it wasn’t even made. Some are using semantics to get around it. This morning, we were talking to a friend who has a four year old daughter who goes to nursery school. Theoretically, it is against the law to teach her English, but he is proud because she is using some English words. He asked them at her school about the English law, and he said their reply was, “Oh, we don’t “teach” English. We play games with the children that just happen to require English, or maybe we play songs in English, and if the children want, they can sing along.” The schools are finding ways to ignore this law too, not just the traffic laws. The parents are please because they want their kids to learn English.
You would think that countries would learn that when they try to take away people’s freedoms, there would be rebellion. If they thought about it like a good parent thinks, they would make more progress. When my kids were small, I taught them to listen to me, but I didn’t try to become a dictator and be unreasonable because I didn’t want rebellion. I only made rules if it put the kid’s life in danger or something like that. I expected them to understand that they should not put their hand into fire or play so close to a swimming pool that they would fall in. However, if they wanted to play in the mud, even though I would have to make sure they got cleaned up afterwards, I didn’t make rules that they couldn’t play in mud. I wanted them to listen. I didn’t want to fight with them. I tried to be reasonable. If my son wanted to go to a party and dance like an idiot, which he did (He called it ‘head banging’), I let him, but he also knew it would be unacceptable if he went to a party and got drunk and he understood why, and he never did it.
In America, we seem to make laws that are of little or no consequence, but then allow things that let people get killed. I remember when they made the seat belt law, and everyone obeyed, but many were saying, “They are taking away our freedoms. It should be up to us if we want to wear a seat belt or not.” We never wore seat belts before, and one girl said to me that when her dad had a car wreck, if he had been wearing a seat belt, he would have been trapped in the car and would have died,” but I also heard arguments that seat belts save lives. Most Americans have seen the commercials on TV that feature crash dummies. We grew up riding in the back of pickups and it didn’t kill us, and the seat belt law just seemed silly to many, but we follow it anyway. We Americans don’t have the same attitudes about following laws that Koreans do.
However, Americans also made laws that women could kill unborn babies just because they couldn’t see them and they were inconvenient for some reason. Maybe the woman felt the baby didn’t fit into their lives or maybe some guy forced her to sleep with him, and we were all supposed to be sorry for them and go to extremes and say, “It’s okay, you can kill the child.” America’s laws, at times, make no sense. If that law had made sense, so many states wouldn’t be overturning it now. Following that law actually does put lives into danger. That is why states are repealing it. We need to made laws to protect lives like parents make rules to protect their children’s lives. We don’t need to make laws that cause rebellion or make laws that let something terrible like killing someone legal. Laws only need to be made to stop people from getting hurt, not to make decisions for the parents or reach so deeply into private lives that they make laws that are of little consequence like the seat belt law. I actually wonder if the car companies lobbied someone to make that law because they wanted to charge more for cars.
This “no English while the children are small” law is just making Koreans law breakers again. They don’t have the same strict attitude toward following laws as Americans do. For the most part, the Korean people are a more moral thinking people than Americans. In most things, they will be more conservative than their laws, but if they think the law is useless, they just won’t follow it, and the Korean government ends up spinning their wheels again. In many ways, in Korea, the society governs itself more than the government governs it. Just because a group of guys in an office somewhere said they can’t doesn’t mean they won’t if they think it is fine. The Korean government has made another law it can’t enforce.