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"Kill the Laziness" by Koo Kyung-mi

#Books on Demand l 2019-10-29

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It was my grandmother who put me in this “Laziness Treatment Center.” 


 나를 지금의 이 ‘게으름체료센터’에 집어넣은 사람은 할머니였다.



Published in 2008, Koo Kyung-mi’s “Kill the Laziness” begins with the narrator mentioning a place called “Laziness Treatment Center.” 


The narrator is a 26-year-old woman looking for a job. To her grandmother, a strong woman who has supported the family by running a tripe restaurant all her life, her granddaughter seemed simply a patient suffering from laziness disease. 


 

Interview by literature critic Jeon So-yeong

The main character did not choose to be lazy but was forced to. She is doing her best to find a job, but realistically it’s not that easy. The problem is that rather than blaming the youth unemployment problem on social structure, grownups are accusing the young jobless people of not trying hard enough. In order to emphasize the cold reality of today’s job market, laziness is seen as a disease that needs to be treated at the center.



To be more exact, I was being admitted to a camp, not a clinic.


Although Grandma insisted that laziness was a disease, it was, in fact, closer to a habit or a feeling of indifference. 


The head of this place was not a president, but a principal, and its employees were called teachers, not nurses. They called us students. 


But then why is this place called a treatment center rather than a school or a training camp? 


Perhaps the name was meant to demonstrate the center’s strong commitment to cure students. Or they could have chosen that name intentionally for people like my grandmother who believed that laziness was a disease. 



정확하게 말하면 입원이 아니라 입소가 맞다.

할머니는 게으름을 병이라고 했지만

사실은 습관이나 무기력에 더 가까우니까.


그래서 이곳의 우두머리는 원장이 아니라 교장이고,

직원들은 간호사가 아니라 선생이다.

선생은 우리를 교육생이라고 부른다.

그런데 왜 이곳의 명칭은 

학교나 훈련소가 아니라 치료센터일까.

어쩌면 교육생들을 철저하게 교육시키겠다는 

강한 의지의 표명인지도 모르겠다.

또 어쩌면 게으름을 병이라고 생각하는

우리 할머니같은 사람들을 위해 

일부러 그렇게 지었는지도 모른다.




Koo Kyung-mi (Born in Euiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do Prov., 1972)

: Debuted by publishing “Staying at Dongbaek Inn” in Kyunghyang Shinmun in 1999   

Works include “The Consistent Woman (2002),” “Idle Human (2005)” etc.

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