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If You Were the President of Korea

May 24, 2015

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Ah yes. Now that I’m President of Korea, I’m going to make a huge change. A change that was talked about in this very video. A change that will help all Korean people. Mandatory Siesta! Now not all parts of the world have siesta, Canada does not have it, but when I visited Croatia and Italy I had the chance to experience this lovely practice. I remember my family trying to grab a late lunch and being shocked at every place being closed at an odd hour. We thought it might have closed early for a holiday but then we saw everyone hanging around eating, sleeping, or chatting. That’s when my dad remembered that we were now in the siesta zone. For those of you that don’t know what it is, a siesta is basically a time period in the day (usually during the hottest time of day) when the country says “HEY. IT’S TOO DAMN HOT. SCERW THIS. I’M SLEEPING. LET’S ALL NAP AFTER EATING! GREAT IDEA!” It’s already been scientifically proven that a short nap can be super helpful for productivity and that human beings are actually less productive when working non-stop.

I’m sure most of you know that Korean people work really really hard. Whether it be when studying as a child or working long company hours, there isn’t a big culture of slowing down and relaxing. Considering how damn hot and humid it gets in the summertime, it would totally make sense for Korea to have a mandatory siesta culture. And not one of those fake laws that aren’t enforced in Korea after a certain amount of time. Like the one that said “students shouldn’t study so late, it is unhealthy, no more afterschool study programs after 10pm” but then the after study schools just turned off their outside lights to pretend no one was inside. I mean a real culture change. Something that everyone can get behind and say, “yeah, you’re right we DO need to relax more. Maybe if we weren’t so constantly stressed, we could be a more creative and generally happy people.”

And this would apply to ALL fields of work INCLUDING people in giant mega-companies. There would be no pressure from your boss to secretly skip siesta in order to get a raise or to climb the later, it would be looked down upon to NOT take siesta. It would be deemed irresponsible , like you’re not taking care of your body and mind. I can imagine a team saying, “Listen, we’re worried you can’t be the creative and hardworking person we need for this project because you’re clearly burning yourself out by working too long.” And this would apply for kpop stars and actors/actresses as well. Dance practice, driving in cars, or music shows during siesta. Skipping siesta? Do you want to get injured and ruin your dancing career? It would be irresponsible to your body to not relax between shows, and as your manager I need to see that you’re taking this job seriously by taking some time off. Especially when you have an injury. Otherwise it could become a permanent problem and doom your future in dance which would be bad for all our careers. I wish this kindof attitude shift could happen in Korea. I wish people could see that non-stop working does not equal non-stop productivity. So vote for me, Martina, as President of Korea and mandatory siesta time will begin!

So I’m curious if anyone is from a country of siesta-ing. Is that a word? Can I verb it up like that? Siestaing is the best! I’d like to know if there are any major cons you feel happening due to siesta culture and any pros as well! So what do you guise think about my plan? Do you agree with it or do you have plan of your own? Let me know in the comment section below.

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If You Were the President of Korea

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  1. In my home country we practice “siesta” (well, not everyone), but actually is the after eating rest that it’s healthy for everyone to do. So, if you can…”siesta” has to be practiced between 5-10 minutes everyday after eating (if you do it more time than that means you are lazy lol).

    3 years ago
  2. Oh my gosh you have my vote right now! Also, if you created your own country and implemented this rule I would move there immediately!

    3 years ago
  3. Martina, I agree with your plan. Rest and sleep have many health and psychological benefits, and to miss out means stunted creativity, poor memory, shorter tolerance, and just better performance at work/school overall. I think in North America we are steadily moving away from shaming rest time and realizing how important it is.

    If I were the President though, the first things I would do (even though siesta time is important!) would be to implement social programs that would help the underprivileged. I liked the comment about legalizing gay marriage, and I was touched by your video on single mothers — I would like to create programs that would actually benefit them, and also educate the public on not stigmatizing these mothers. I would also create programs to help the homeless and elevate women’s rights. I also think introducing an actual sex-ed program (not just “abstinence-only” program) is essential in any country.

    Maybe I am inaccurate in my observation, but Korean has a very huge gap between its technological/economical achievements and its social progress. I think it is high time that Korea starts to close that gap — education is not only about the topics covered in school, but about the world around us, the people we live with, and how we perceive them.

    3 years ago
    • No one ever takes the time to look at history … every time a great nation starts to turn their emphasis away from being a very productive but morally strict culture into one that focuses on leisure and “fairness” … it isn’t long before that nation falls apart and/or is destroyed by outsiders.

      3 years ago
  4. More or less related: As a political science grad, we often get asked if we want to become politicians and potential political leaders. The problem with being a leader, is that you kinda have to lower your intelligence in a way where you end up doing things that make no utter sense, and/or offend groups of people.
    Also, there are reasons as to why we can’t just give everything that could benefit the people. Most of these involve the political theory of how politics work, and I dont really want to go into it.

    3 years ago
    • That’s the major problem with modern-day political science: too much politics, not enough science. Political power should be based purely on ability, not good looks, charisma, fundraising ability or your family name. And instead of lazily electing slick-talking demagogues to “lead” us like sheep, the citizenry should be thinking and directly acting for themselves. I really have a problem with the labeling of today’s governments as “democracies” when most of them are just watered-down oligarchies, most notably in the United States.

      Hillary Clinton is being primed as the next “Democratic” candidate. If she wins in 2016, that would mean that four of the last five Presidents have been from a dynastic political family: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton. It would appear that the aristocracy is still alive and well.

      3 years ago
      • If I remember correctly from a course, it is extremely difficult to be a successful politician in the US. It is basically a who has the most money and who has the most powerful connections. In the long run, you’ll be in your 40s or 50s by the time you’re successful. But, even then it is not guaranteed.

        I do have issue with people voting blindly and people who decide not to go out and vote. People should have a choice on if they want to vote for these parties based on policies and what they’ll do for us. Not because parents say so or because someone looks good.

        Actually, the science part of my political science degree is mostly on technological side. It’s more calming for me.

        3 years ago
  5. Wait, is the new president trying to get rid of English teachers? I’m about to head in to the country to teach…

    Anyway, I agree! The siesta idea sounds wonderful. My parents and I may live in America, but we (especially my parents) believe in working extremely hard and for long periods at a time. My parents work from 3-4am to 10pm. If they are lucky, they finish at 9pm.

    Korea has an abundance of “workaholics”. I even saw a map of the world once, where it listed what each country/ state mainly produced, and Korea was listed as “Workaholics”.
    Based off what I saw while I was in Korea, the average work day for a Korean is 14-16 hours if you work under a company or something, and those with their own businesses may have late hours, but they actually have to arrive early to prep for everything that day. If you work for a company, you’re definitely not paid the wages equal to what you work, sadly. My cousin always complained about that. If you have your own business though, you can make a little better money.

    Korea needs to learn to relax > <

    3 years ago
  6. Ah, roleplaying as a dictator and telling people what to do? One of my favorite pastimes! :D

    Koreans definitely work too hard and therefore inefficiently. I’m sure these problems will be worked out gradually as society progresses, but unfortunately they’ll always be hampered by their geopolitical situation. Happy and creative societies tend to have four things in common: wealth, civil liberties, security and free time. South Korea is close to achieving the first criterion but the other three are still far out of reach.

    A belligerent North Korea, increasingly assertive China and acrimonious relations with Japan all present constant existential crises for South Korea, and the United States’ role as a manipulative paternal figure has only served to hamper diplomatic reparations. Until these issues are worked out, South Koreans will always be fighting an uphill battle to survive and outcompete their neighbors rather than being happy and fulfilled individuals. That said, things such as a more generous welfare system, labor laws and generational succession will help in the meantime.

    If I were Dictator of South Korea (and not President since they don’t have this kind of authority), I would completely throw out the current political system. I’d replace the presidential republic with a meritocratic direct democracy, where all qualified members of society would have an opportunity to vote on issues rather than leaving it to a small handful of politicians. It’d basically be a synthesis of Grecian democracy and the Chinese Confucian exam system; the best of both worlds. There’s a laundry list of specific laws I’d love to introduce, not just in South Korea but worldwide, but I’m sure this would take care of much of society’s problems all by itself. :)

    3 years ago
  7. Mandatory siesta would be cool, but I think there are people who don’t like naps (looking at you Martina^^) or some days you just don’t feel sleepy, so I’d make it a mandatory rest time instead. Like if you want to sleep, on the fluffy beds every company would have. But if you don’t want to, do anything recreational: read a book, chat with friends/family on your phone, enjoy a cup of tea/latte/any beverage that you like…
    Also, pop corn in the shape of dinosaur teeth sound amazing. Someone make it happen!

    3 years ago
  8. I’m from Spain, and here is very common to… sleep siesta? I don’t know how to say it (we say “dormir la siesta”). We wake up around 6-7 am and have lunch at 2-3 pm. After having lunch, we usually feel full and sleepy, so we sleep siesta around 15-30 minutes and then we are ready to keep doing whatever we have to do until dinner time at 9-10 pm.
    So I think siesta is a thing here due to:
    1) We have both lunch and dinner really late compared to other countries.
    2) Lunch is the most important meal of the day, it tend to be copious.
    3) Hottest time of day? It could help, but I’m from Galicia (a cloudy and rainy region) and we sleep siesta like they do in the rest of Spain.

    Sorry for my bad English, I hope you understand what I’m tryng to say ^.^”

    3 years ago
  9. I may have done a fist pump for the person who said, “Gay marriage.” Incidentally, congratulations to any Irish people reading this, for being the first country to legalize gay marriage by a popular vote.

    3 years ago
  10. I’m 100% behind Dinosaur Land!!!!

    3 years ago
  11. I agree 100% with you martina. It’s useless to work just to work and be unefficient. People critizice France a lot because apparently we have a lot of vacation. However, we are still one of the most productive and efficient country. I’m not saying that French system is perfect (because it clearly is not) but we still try to balance work and life a bit more.
    If I’m not mistaken the “siesta zone” in Europe may contend a lot of Mediterranean country (so Italy but also spain, portugal, greece …). The first time I went in spain, i didn’t understand why everything slow down between 1 pm and 2 pm. Only tourist were visiting during that time. Ah ! Good times !!
    Anyway as usual I really enjoy watching the speaking corner. Thanks guys ! (Oh, by the way I watched the Eurovision while reading your tweet, that was fun ^^. But sadly France’s song was not that great)

    3 years ago
  12. I like the siesta idea too.

    But I thought Martina didn’t like naps . . .

    My first presidential decree would be an enforced work-life balance.

    3 years ago
  13. I’m actually first? Well, if I were President I would actually sit down and chat with Kim Jong Un – no preconditions, no demands, just find out exactly what’s on his mind and how much he wants his Korea to succeed and what he thinks of the South, then have him listen to me. More good comes from sitting down face to face than through megaphone diplomacy.

    3 years ago
  14. Just wanted to say…I FINISHED WATCHING ORAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB! IT WAS AMAZING!

    3 years ago