Chris in South Korea: What inspired you to go into the hagwon business?
Lee Min Woo (through translator): It was always about the money - the education was just the thing to make parents give it to us. If I could have opened a cell phone store or a Korean restaurant, I would've done that. The money needed to open up a school is pretty small - any old building with smaller rooms, a few old textbooks on the shelves, and some decorations.
CISK: Were there any problems in getting your business started?
In a stunning tell-all autobiography, a hagwon owner admits to 'just doing what the parents told me to do'. Lee Min Woo, a 57 year-old hagwon owner, recently wrote what has become the #1 bestseller in Korea. The title translates to I Did What the Parents Wanted, and with the help of a translator, the author was kind enough to sit down for an interview with this reporter:
It all came down to the final round. Both contestants had practiced for years to reach this point. And it all came down to the very last loogie – what may become known as the ‘hock heard around the world’.
Park Loo Sen, a 56-year-old Korean had set a new world record in this competition for both the loudest loogie-making process (99.4 decibels from one meter away – about the same as a motorcycle) and the farthest distance at 6.95 meters. After the world record was announced, he gave a toothy grin to his friends, took another swig of soju and returned to his personal park bench.
why they're the answers. They simply need to know what the correct answers are so they can get them right for an English-language test."
His business model certainly seems sound. Instead of charging for petty things such as textbooks, he allows students to consult with tutors - and pay - on a question-by-question basis. That way, Dr. Who says, "the students are only paying for the answers they seek - nothing more, nothing less."
Like most hagwons, Just the Answers claims to cater to anyone willing to pay its fees / tuition, with one major difference - Just the Answers gives you, well, just the answers. According to Dr. WHO Shin Kan, founder of the hagwon: "People don't necessarily need to know
- Avoid foreigners as much as possible, since they don't eat kimchi, and all Koreans know kimchi cures the swine flu.
- Be sure to read the 'washing hands' chart - just before you check your hair and leave the bathroom. If you do wash your hands, be sure to use as little water as possible - and never use soap. Most bathrooms don't have soap anyway.
- If your employer requests it, submit to a health check. Have your temperature taken by the same thermometer as everyone else in your office.
- Be sure to cover your cough. Cover your mouth with your hands, then shake the hands of your boss.
Earlier today, the Korean government issued a number of new directives aimed at making people aware of the swine flu. Despite many recent stories in the Korean media about the swine flu outbreak, some people are apparently still unaware of what to do. Now translated into English, the first few regulations for Koreans have been summarized as such: