Koreans embrace new dining culture in wake of anti-graft law [2016/10/19 10:49]

On Oct. 4, a government employee surnamed Kang working at a ministry in the center of Seoul met a college friend for lunch. At the end of lunch, Kang and her friend, a journalist, stood in front of the cashier, each holding a credit card to pay for their portion of the meal.

There was no tug-of-war over the bill, which is -- or was -- considered proper etiquette in Korea.

Behind the change was the implementation of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Law which, went into force Sept. 28.

“We went Dutch just to be perfectly on the safe side since we both (as a public servant and a reporter) are subject to the new law,” said Kang.

The new law, dubbed the Kim Young-ran Act, named after the former Supreme Court justice who drafted it in 2011, is reshaping South Korea’s dining scene.

During lunch or dinner, civil servants, journalists and teachers as well as their spouses -- some 4 million people are subject to this law -- now enjoy a lot fewer free meals. That is because the Kim Young-ran Act bans them from receiving meals worth more than 30,000 won ($26.50), among other strict stipulations.

The act’s effects are already apparent in Yeouido, where the National Assembly is conducting its annual audit.

Lawmakers are flooding the in-house cafeteria to eat inexpensive meals. In the past, they would have been treated by government officials hoping to curry favor with the members of parliament while under inspection.

With no free meals, those affected by the law have seen their meal options reduced, while splitting the bill has become the new normal.
출처: 주니어 영자신문 주니어헤럴드(junior.heraldm.com)