Here's a letter I sent to the Joong Ang Daily newspaper today. It's not as eloquent an explication of my views as I'd like, but with any luck you'll get the gist. On a personal level, this new regulation strikes awfully close to home, as it means that I'll have to give up my dream of joining the Korean Chippendales.
Seeking to protect "the social order and ‘good’ social conduct," the Korean Justice Ministry announced this week that it will ban foreign spouses of Korean citizens from working in nighttime entertainment venues such as nightclubs, massage parlors, and singing rooms. In taking this step, the Justice Ministry claims that it is promoting a "proper" multicultural family environment.
The officials responsible for this measure evidently believe that their positions in government give them an unusually keen sense of morality. Yet, as the recent sex-charged corruption scandal in Busan shows, government officials have hardly shown themselves over time to be noble guardians of "good social conduct" or "proper" family environments.
Quite simply, no moral transformation occurs when a person moves from the private sector to the government sector. Government officials have the same foibles as everyone else, but by dint of their position they have the power to force their values upon society. As the ongoing scandal in Busan shows, government officials' pronouncments on morality merely serve, more often than not, to highlight their own arrogant hypocrisy.
Update: The Joong Ang Daily published this letter on 3 May, 2010.