"Squid Game" Realistic "Participants" Borrow to Repay the Loan

  The loan life of former IT white-collar workers in Korea

  The Korean drama "Squid Game", which was launched on the streaming media platform Netflix on September 17, has detonated a worldwide upsurge of watching dramas.

This black drama is believed to point out the failure of Korean capitalism and is also a portrayal of Korean social problems.

  According to foreign media reports, in South Korea, where loans are as easy as buying a cup of coffee, household debt has soared in recent years.

According to the relevant report of the Bank of Korea (Central Bank), in the second quarter of this year, preliminary statistics on household debt in the country show that as of the end of June, the total household debt reached 1805.9 trillion won (approximately RMB 10.03 trillion), which was relevant since 2003. New highs since statistics.

  The Bank of Korea analyzed that due to the increase in demand for housing loans and living expenses loans, coupled with the public offering of shares by some large companies in April, these factors have comprehensively driven the growth of household credit.

More and more ordinary people in South Korea are in a real debt dilemma like the characters in the play.

  story background

  South Korean household debt scale

  Record increase

  In recent years, the debt burden of ordinary people in South Korea has increased, and at the same time, the gap between the rich and the poor in the country has continued to widen.

The rise in unemployment among young people and the rise in housing prices in big cities to levels beyond the reach of most ordinary workers have further exacerbated this situation.

As "Squid Game" shows, sudden layoffs, investment failures, or simply because of successive bad luck will force people to high-risk lending institutions, and this is only to temporarily avoid being drowned in debt.

  Lee In-cheol, CEO of the Think Tank Economic Research Institute, said that the popularity of "Squid Game" shows that the pain caused by huge debts is a common experience that people can empathize with.

  However, Lee In-cheol emphasized that it’s no coincidence that the story of "Squid Game" is set in South Korea: "The scale of Korean household debt is increasing at a record level. This means that even if you save every penny of your annual income, you Still unable to pay off the debt. And the number of people with debt problems is rising exponentially."

  Related analysis believes that due to the overheating of the asset market, many South Korean individuals and families have put together money to invest, and even borrowed money in order to make investment profits.

  On the other hand, the Bank of Korea data shows that as of March this year, the proportion of floating-rate loans in bank loans is as high as 70.5%, which means that once interest rates rise, household debt will be directly affected.

  In response, the Korean Financial Services Commission and financial regulators also responded, stating that they have decided to take action to prevent more Koreans from falling into debt distress, and explained, “This is why large banks have taken action to curb borrowing.” But. At the same time, a question was raised: "Is this really helping people during the epidemic?"

  Real life

  Resigning to start a business is hit head-on by the epidemic

  Former IT employees fell into debt

  In "Game of Squid", 456 contestants who were dead end used their lives as a bargaining chip to play some childhood games, and the last survivor received 45.6 billion won in prizes.

In real life, Choi Young-soo, a 35-year-old part-time food delivery man from South Korea, would not be abrupt in the contestants of the series, but his desperate situation is real, not fictional.

  Choi Young-soo is one of a large number of ordinary Koreans whose number is growing rapidly and is overwhelmed by debt.

Like many people in the play, he fell into debt trouble at an alarming rate.

  Two years ago, Choi Young-soo was an IT engineer in a company, and he entered Pangyo, known as the "Silicon Valley of South Korea".

However, all year round working overtime and staying up all night damaged his health.

He and his wife thought a lot, and after another year of planning and saving, they finally decided to open a bar in their hometown of Incheon.

This became a decision they regretted.

  Unfortunately, their business was quickly hit head-on by the new crown epidemic.

In order to prevent and control the epidemic, bars and restaurants must be closed at 9 o'clock in the evening.

"Sometimes we don't have a single guest, but only the two of us, playing loud music to cheer us up, even though we know this means paying higher electricity bills. But we can't turn it off."

  There are fewer and fewer customers, and eventually they are completely gone.

After being in arrears of rent for four months, they went to the bank to seek a loan.

They found that loans are easy, but the interest rate is as high as 4%.

Nevertheless, within a few months, they borrowed money from five banks and mortgaged the house.

  However, in order to repay their existing loans, they had to borrow more money and ended up borrowing loans with an interest rate of more than 17%, just like many troubled business owners.

Choi Young-soo recalled: "I don't care about how high the interest rate is. I have received too many calls and text messages. The debt has taken over our lives. My wife said that she even heard me thinking about it in my dreams. interest rate."

  In order to get out of the predicament, the couple gave their two young children to their parents to take care of them.

His wife went to work in a restaurant out of town, while Choi Young-soo became a part-time food delivery guy in Seoul alone.

  After midnight, Choi Young-soo appeared in a run-down alley in the affluent Gangnam district of Seoul.

Only at this time of the day did he dare to leave the room "just a little bigger than the coffin" in the cheap hotel.

"I think other people can see that I am a loser, so I only go out at night to smoke and look at stray cats."

  Choi Young-soo also heard a lot about "Squid Game", but was unable to participate in this global movie boom.

"You have to pay to watch, and I don't know who will let me use their Netflix account." He said, "Besides, why do I want to watch a group of people who are tired of debt? I just look in the mirror."

  Number "crash"

  Men receive more than 4,000 harassing calls every day

  In the early scenes of the show, a mysterious man handed his business card to the protagonist who was heavily in debt. The business card had an eight-digit phone number, and the person who made the call would unknowingly be invited to participate. In the competition, the winner will receive a huge bonus.

  "Who are you?" said Cheng Qixun, the protagonist in the play.

This sentence has attracted fans of "Squid Game" all over the world.

You know, in more than 90 countries, this drama has unexpectedly become the most watched program.

In reality, fans of the show dialed this number in droves from South Korea to South America, seeking contact with the show.

  This is a pain for people who have this phone number or even a similar number in South Korea. The crazy "calling" of fans around the world has caused them great distress, adding unexpected horror and even extreme anger.

  A Korean man in his 40s became a victim of the global calling frenzy of "Game of Squid" because his phone number is exactly the same as the fictitious number in the play.

In a media interview a few days after the show’s premiere, the man said that he received more than 4,000 unfamiliar calls every day, one every 20 seconds or so.

Now, he needs medicine at night to fall asleep.

This man is a small business owner, he dare not change the number easily, because it is related to his business.

His wife was also "bombed", and only the last phone number of her was different from her husband.

The man said that the harassing phone calls usually said that they wanted to participate in the "Squid Game", but the man who had never watched "Squid Game" did not know what the other party was talking about, but "a lot of pressure and nothing to do."

  Kim Hannah, a 26-year-old office worker in Seoul, South Korea, was also harassed.

She believes that the nightmare brought to her by "Squid Game" has surpassed the excitement of the show.

Before that, she liked the TV series very much and recommended it to friends. She did not notice that the number in the show was only two digits away from her own number.

  According to the Korean Film Association, South Korea restricts the use of real phone numbers in movies, but does not restrict TV shows.

The association is a government-affiliated agency responsible for issuing pre-approved virtual numbers. The association said that local TV productions usually obscure numbers or produce virtual numbers for use during broadcast.

  In response to such an encounter, Kim Hannah once asked the producer Netflix and South Korean production company Siren Pictures how they would handle these prank calls, but the other party said that they would not provide her with financial compensation.

Ms. Jin said: "It makes me very angry, although I watched "Squid Game" very happily."

  In addition to phone harassment, some South Korean politicians have begun to take advantage of the hot spots of "Squid Game". Xu Jingning, who has announced his participation in the presidential election of South Korea next year, said recently that he is willing to buy the phone number from the small business owner for $84,000. However, He did not get a response.

At the same time, Xu Jingning also announced his mobile phone number online.

"Now, I receive a call every second." He said.

  Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News Correspondent Lin Rong Luotian

Keywords: squid game, choi young-soo, netflix, south korea, participants, it white-collar workers, loan life, wife, streaming media platform, experience, household debt, loan, dramas, statistics, customers