16 September 2005

Banning the National Pastime?

In an apparently unpatriotic move, osensibly triggered by health concerns, GNP Representative Park Jin has launched the "Group for Cleaning up Boilermakers." Sporting signs denouncing the drink, Park launched the campaign Sept. 14. In an apparently partisan move, Uri Representative Yoo Ihn Tae declined joining the group and was quoted as saying "How can I live without boilermakers?" Vice Speaker of the National Assembly Park Hee Tae said "I cannot join the group, as I'm the leader of the boilermaker lovers."

For those who don’t know what a Boilermaker is, watch any Korean TV drama, or go out for an evening drink with a politician, businessman or gangster (or someone who is all three). Or just see the recipe here.

On a more serious note, this new anti-boilermaker campaign comes shortly after the release of a study by Hongik University professor Chang Keun Ho, which notes that, in 2002, Korea ranked fourth in the world in consumption of distilled liquor (like whisky and soju), trailing only Russia, Latvia and Romania. According to his study, Koreans drank some 4.5 liters of distilled liquor in 2002 (and that doesn’t count beer). The average Korean over age 21 consumed 68 bottles of soju and 248 bottles of beer in 2003. Some 20 percent of Korean adults have signs of alcohol addiction, according to the study.

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