Monday, November 21, 2005

Secrets of the Korean Rich

An article I found through connectkorea (pretty much a dead site these days) a long time back. I started to write up a post, saved it half-finished as a draft, and then forget about it for a while. Fortunately for all of you who yearn to be rich without having to go through the usual route of actually working hard and coming up with an innovative thought, I found it and now here it is.

While expecting the usual 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' advice that we've grown accustomed to on this topic, I was delightfully surprised to find this 'research' was from one Dr. Moon Seung-yeol who exemplifies Korea's special brand of home-grown scholarly logic. 

Some of the more entertaining entries:

3. The wealthy live longer. They say the more money you have and the higher your position, the less stress you suffer and the longer you live. But research has shown that rather than absolute size of their fortune, people’s lifespan is determined by whether they have the confidence that they are better than the rest.

Research has shown you live longer if you are confident you are better than everyone else? Is this an explanation why Korea men have the lowest lifespan among developed countries?

Anyway, that's great news for me. As a typical white American male, I assume this means I will live to the age of 150.

And do the French EVER die?

4. The wealthy respect their partners as investment consultants and advisors, rather than merely as wives or husbands.

Perhaps, but I don't think this respect gets in the way of rich ajoshis dropping a few million won a night at a dallanjujum or banging their secretaries.

5. The rich have "wealthy lines." The faces of the rich are lined owing to the fact that they are always smiling, Dr. Moon observes, apparently fixed in a rictus of permanent glee at their own success.

Bill_gates_windows_xpKind of makes you want to start hating rich people, don't it?

Is this for real? Do rich people really have more 'smiling wrinkles' that the average Joe? My feeling is that our good 'Dr.' is just making this shit up as he goes along.

8. The wealthy invest in their children's education. The ratio of incoming Seoul National University students who are the sons of wealthy white collar workers is growing by the day.

And the less-wealthy people in Korea do not give a damn about their childrens' education?

I would replace the words 'invest in' with the word 'buy'. The rich move to Kangnam to get their kids in the best schools, shell out a lot of money on private tutors and send their children abroad to master English to see to it that their spoiled kids stay above the unwashed masses. This 'secret of the rich' sounds more like a 'fuck you' to all families of lower incomes who can't afford to compete with the well-off.

9. Red is a symbol of wealth. The color denotes passion and strength and contains hope, says Moon.


How exactly is this a 'secret' of rich people's success? Do rich people claim red as their favorite color? Do rich people wear red more often (assumedly not, as #7 on Moon's list states they wear 'understated clothing')? Do they always bet on red when playing roulette? What the hell is the point here?

11. The wealthy look south. Even in the most expensive locations like the Tower Palace in Seoul's Gangnam district, prices can differ by up to W600-700 million (about US$ 600,000-700,000) depending on the direction the apartment faces. The most expensive ones face south. Anyone who has lived in a north-facing apartment in the northern hemisphere knows why.

Ok, rich people pay more for houses/apartments that face south, thus getting more sunlight. What other shocking 'secrets' of rich people will Dr. Moon tell us about next? That they prefer BMWs to Ticos? They usually eat in expensive restaurants rather than Mcdonalds? They don't buy their Rolexes from some guy selling watches out of a suitcase by the subway station? They wipe their asses with pricey 2 ply toilet paper rather than bargain brands? 

Unless Dr. Moon is alluding to geomancy, I'm not sure of the relevance of this information.

12. The wealthy are born in mid-winter. Four out of ten of Korea's wealthy were born in winter according to the Gregorian calendar. This phenomenon holds true outside of Korea as well. 10 of the 40 self-made men selected by the business magazine Fortune were born between late December and late January.

Shocking. I thought they would all be born in the year of the Pig, in accordance with ancient Chinese superstition wisdom.

Interesting trivia though. A little note to the good doctor, however. Coincidences happen, especially with a low sample size. If I flipped a coin ten times, it is not out of the question for heads to come up 8 times out of 10 in one particular stretch. However, if I continue to flip that same coin a few hundred more times, soon we will see that our early 'finding' was wrong. Let some competent researchers who know what it means to conduct a study with true random sampling and appropriate sample size and I'm sure we'll find that this is bullshit.

I looked up the birth months of the top 10 richest men of all time and only one, Paul Allen, was born in December or January.  Warren Buffett was born in August, as was Lawrence J. Ellison and John Jacob Astor. Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in November, as was Andrew Carnegie. And the richest man in the history of the world, John D. Rockefeller, was born in July (the same birth month as this decidely unrich blog author).

Hmm, according to my 'research' it is better to be born in July or August. Could have fooled me.


By the way, though Donald Trump was born in June, a hairdresser capable
of taming that abomination on his head is still yet to be born.


Here's another example of this silly kind of research, suggesting that people who's surnames are on the first half of the alphabet are more likely to be rich (I can just see millions of Koreans named "Park" and "Seo" scrambling to change their names to "Choi" now).
Would you like to learn more about how to become rich? Dr. Moon is a 'consultant' who runs his own 'Rich School' program for morons   enterprising people who believe that such 'success' programs can actually do something (other than make the person running said program richer).

Someone please tell me that this entire article is not just a paid-for advertisement by the good Dr. Moon. That's one characteristic of wealth he did NOT mention: knowing the value of sleazy and shameless self-promotion.

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