Posted : 2013-01-16 17:52
Updated : 2013-01-16 17:52

Meanings behind figures

By Kim Ji-soo

It's funny how numbers can mean so many things.

I don't know if its people in the news industry or maybe the effects of the Dec. 19 presidential election that had so many people attuned to support ratings or rather it's just me but some of the figures seem to jump out of the news screens these days.

Zero percent.

That was the rating that new cable channels such as jtbc, TV Chosun and others posted in the first year of founding.

But a big hope looms on the 6.9888 percent, the rating posted by popular new weekend drama "No Kids, Good Life" on one of these channels. The near 7 percent rating is akin to the 40 or 50 percent that networks achieve with their popular weekend dramas and thus provides a glimmer of expectation for the channels still floundering in their infant years.

Written by a legendary hit-making writer, the drama aptly captures the fast-changing family dynamics in 2013 Korea by featuring a three-generation family living under the same roof, but mainly focuses on one member, the eldest son and his wife and three children. The three children's characters reveal how the social fabric is rapidly being re-woven. The daughter is a single mom judge, one son does not believe in marriage and the youngest son is bouncier than a rugby ball. In print and in English, these kind of characters are common.

But against the background of Korean society, the drama's content is alluring because it dares to push to the fore the small changes that are likely to soon become a dominant trend in Korean society. It's interesting to see how the subtle social shift is reflected in the program.

The figure 48.8 percent. That is the portion of Korean voters who voted for opposition presidential candidate Moon Jae-in. It's the number the seemingly conservative President-elect Park Geun-hye must embrace in her administration with new policies and all-embracing orientation.

Politics in Korea is very much a sport, rather than an art of compromise as textbooks dictate, so even the voters are eventually divided into loser vs. winners. Park has pledged to provide 100 percent government support for medical treatment of four grave health areas of cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and rare diseases and prop up ailing medium-sized companies among other promises.

An average of 2 percent. It is the economic growth that experts are projecting for 2013. The Korean economy has been declining since its peak growth in the 1980s, but 2 percent is about the average growth for advanced economies such as the United States in the past few years. This dismal outlook, coupled with the rising won is alarming Korea Inc. and its members — each and every household.

Sixty-five kilograms: that's what the average a women should weigh, declared renowned golfer Pak Se-ri. The charismatic queen of golf nearly sermonized about weight while appearing on one television show, providing immense comfort to a large number of women always battling their weight. Korean women are known for dieting like mad to maintain slim almost chopstick-like figures. Celebrities have confessed to starving themselves before going on stage while others tell of the agony of working out a few hours every day to keep slim.

No. 1. That's where "Gangbuk Dandy," written by comedian-turned songwriter Park Myung-soo and performed by fellow comedian Chung Hyeong-don, ranks on domestic online music charts such as Melon and Soribada in the second week of January. Undeniably fashioned after Psy's worldwide hit "Gangnam Style," the entertaining song has a strong electro sound with fast beats. Its climb has the domestic pop industry wondering just where they might have gone wrong in this situation where so many singers and groups long to top the charts but a reality-show star can seemingly get there in an instant.

Of multitudes of figures floating daily on websites, Facebook-style social networking sites and newspapers, these are just some examples that capture the daily attention of one Seoulite.

  • 1. Korean language becomes college entrance exam subject in France
  • 2. Arrest warrant requested for Samsung chief in corruption scandal
  • 3. K-pop star Rain, top actress Kim Tae-hee to marry
  • 4. Court backs foreign worker fired for absence
  • 5. 'Stop wiring money illegally'
  • 6. Moon, Ban begin race for presidency
  • 7. K-pop's HyunA tunes up for North American tour
  • 8. LG launches AI-ready air conditioner
  • 9. US eggs to go on sale this weekend
  • 10. Whistleblower of Choi Soon-sil scandal unaccounted for