Why do Koreans always seem to be in a hurry? Introducing South Korea’s Ppali-Ppali Culture

Koreans have been recognized and admired globally because of the 빨리 빨리(Ppalli Ppalli) culture or the ‘Do it Quick’ culture that they strictly abide by. Korea is a fast-paced country, Interestingly even South Korea’s internet speed remains the finest in the world. They are quick and show great efficiency in almost everything they do.


Does this imply that Koreans possess the innate instincts to perform everything briskly starting from the simplest everyday chores to the expansion of the nation’s infrastructure?
This might come as a surprise to you, but not only 100 years ago, Koreans were relaxed and unrushed. Moreover, looking at the records from the 19th century, westerners regarded Korea as a slow-moving country. So, what lead to the advent of the Ppali- Ppali culture?


Ppali ppali which literally translates to be Fast or Abrupt in English, has become a lifestyle for the people residing in South Korea. Further picking instances from the habitual behavior that South Koreans show are, if the website does not load in three seconds, then they would close the tab right away, while in an elevator they would press the close door button instantly without waiting for the machine to automatically do its work, and also, by literally putting their hands in the coffee vending machine seconds before it offers the beverage, somehow All of the examples above portray their eagerness to complete the tasks quickly.


Reflecting back on time, following the independence from Japan, the ppali ppali culture came into existence after the Korean War (1950-1953). Leaving the country to face the consequences of the conflict, hence to cope with the situation and the war damages the government encouraged its people to move more quickly in order to recover from the war’s effects and rebuild the nation’s economy and society. As a result, in today’s world, this can be seen as a major factor for Korea’s tremendous economic growth in such a short period of time.


Now coming to the question that does this ppali ppali culture only happens to be seen in Korea, well, the answer to this is No. The Do it Quick, culture can be observed in quite a lot of East Asian countries, especially the ones that are developing.
This Fast-paced culture can typically be linked to the phenomenon of industrialization. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the developed countries started the process of industrialization, they adopted the same Do it quick lifestyle, to build the country’s economy. On the other hand, Korea became an industrialized country only a few decades ago, pertaining to which today’s developing countries still stick by the hasty behavioral practices.

The Do it Quick culture, like everything else, comes with its advantages and disadvantages. When the Korean War ended in 1953, there was nothing that was left in Korea. And still, South Korea thrived to accomplish rapid economic development owing to the ppali ppali culture, despite having small territories and scarce resources, Korea’s GDP expanded more than 1200 times from $1.3 billion in 1953 to $16.3 billion in 2020, making it the world’s tenth-largest economy.

On top of this, it has made a massive contribution to making people live a convenient life as the corporate customer service centers are very quick with their responses. The majority of gadget repairs are handled within a day, and the complaints are immediately resolved. The shipment is particularly fast, Food is delivered within 30 minutes, a delay can only be observed if the authorities are exceptionally busy with the orders And parcels can be delivered anywhere in the country in just three days. Even during the Covid crisis, Korea’s swift action was notable. As the transmission of Covid-19 was widespread, doctors suggested that a system is required to test individuals on a large scale. Immediately after making the arrangements to facilitate this service, a drive-through testing system was established in Korea.

Regardless of all the merits listed above, there are a few aspects of the Do quick culture that are distressing and have a negative impact on the mental health of the country’s youth in specific.

Haste contributes to impulsive generalizations that are made without any fact-checking. There are a lot of unsubstantiated news pieces that get published and people are too quick to believe in their authenticity.
Sadly, through all these years, South Korean society has emerged to stress over one’s success and achievements so much, that failure has become a big deal for the Koreans. People are terrified of failing, so they aim to attain great heights without expecting any obstacles in the process.
As a consequence, many refuse to embrace the lessons taught by their failure and are even reluctant to try again. A person who behaves slowly for any reason, such as physical limitations, is regarded as incompetent and sluggish. As a result, many people suffer psychologically and emotionally adding up to the melancholy and agony in their lives.

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