Viewers of Extraordinary Attorney Woo may remember the character Bang Guppong.
Bang Guppong, played by actor Koo Kyo Hwan, was a character in the ninth episode of the drama who faced trial for kidnapping the students of his mother’s academy.
In the episode, it was revealed that Bang Guppong had taken the children, with their permission, so that they could play rather than study.
Netizens praised the episode for highlighting the immense stress Korean children are under. In the episode, children were shown going to afterschool until 10 pm. This is common in the hyper-competitive country. Children as young as six study for up to 15 hours a day.
THIS SCENE HURTS ME SO BAD 😭it’s not necessary to constantly repeat the message that they need to get good grades. Instead, be there to support your kids when they hit a problem and let them know that they should be proud of their best efforts. #ExtraordinaryAttorneyWooEp9 pic.twitter.com/0VMPA2eaGh
— ell ⁺⁺⁺ 🐳 (@crinolineruffle) July 27, 2022
to those who grew up as achievers but later on became unhappy in life, tonight's episode of Extraordinary Attorney Woo is super relatable and saddening at the same time. hugs frennies🥲#ExtraordinaryAttorneyWooEp9 #ExtraordinaryAttorneyWoo pic.twitter.com/tkuHjvnzU5
— ~♡Joy (@Multistan_26) July 27, 2022
In the episode Bang Guppong called himself a member of the Children’s Liberation Party, explaining the party had only three rules.
Children must play immediately. Children must be healthy immediately. Children must be happy immediately.
— Bang Guppong
Now, adults in Korea are taking up the mantle to fight for the country’s overworked children, and they are using Bang Guppong’s teachings to guide them.
Demonstrations erupted in Korea when on July 29, Education Minister Park Soon Ae reported to President Yoon Suk Yeol that her ministry would begin discussing lowering the entry age for Elementary School to five.
Currently, Koreans enter Elementary School at six years old (Korean age). Although children can enter earlier if they choose to, early entry is incredibly unpopular in Korea, with only 537 students choosing early admission in 2021.
Koreans have expressed outrage over the new law that could take effect as soon as 2025. Korean children are already suffering from hyper-competitive academic stress and rank last in child happiness among other OECD countries. Many Koreans held signs with the words of Bang Guppong ,who, in the drama, lamented the current state of Korean children.
The enemies of Korean children are the schools, academies, and their parents. They are scared of healthy, happy children. They manipulate laws to make children busier and bad so that they turn their backs on the world by the time they are adults.
— Bang Guppong
It seems government officials are seeing how unpopular the new proposal is. Due to the backlash, the Education Minister has backpedaled on her efforts stating that she will postpone any formal discussion of the new proposed law.
Stay tuned for updates.