Richard Marx displays his considerable crisis management skills and subdues a drunken brat on Korean Air. This drunk had another incident just 3 months ago. His dad owns a multinational cosmetics company. Why is this incident so troubling but also so deja vu? We provide an in depth analysis of what precipitated this incident and another similar incident that preceded this one. The problem of class continues to be the festering wound that defines all aspects of life in Korean society.

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Do people have the full story on the ugly incident involving a drunk passenger subdued by Richard Marx?  I hadn’t heard of Richard Marx in eons but the blast from the past played a significant role in subduing this drunken idiot.  This happened on a Korean Air flight from Hanoi (Vietnam) to Seoul.  At the time, only pictures of what the drunk did was made available.  Now, videos of the incident are circulating on Youtube and it’s absolutely horrible.

Another 'chabeol brat' behaving badly: this drunken idiot spits at least five times on Korean Air stewardess.

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You can see the drunk being roped by a male stewardess, whom he yells and spits at.  I count him spitting on the stewardess five times in a 2 minute span. The drunk’s foamy spit lands on the right side of the stewardess’s face and his glass lens, who can’t do anything about it because he’s trying his best to immobilize this nitwit.  All this happened after the passenger became inebriated on 2.5 glasses of whiskey.

Now, if you do a deep dive into what’s being reported in the Korean language press, you will gain some insight into why so many find this incident troubling but also deja vu. We’ll provide an in depth analysis of what this incident, and another incident that preceded this one, represents for Korean society.

The passenger has been identified as Lim Beom-Joon (임범준), age 35, who resides in a tony part of Seoul, Gangnam.  He is the son of Lim Byung-Sun (임병선), who founded Doojung Products (두정물산), a South Korean company that manufactures cosmetic brushes.  Doojung  is not a conglomerate on the order of Samsung or Hyundai; it is a medium-sized company.  But it has international operations and has manufacturing facilities in China and Vietnam.  Its Vietnamese subsidiary in Hanoi opened in 2011, which explains why the younger Lim was returning from Vietnam and was on the same flight as Richard Marx.  Here’s Doojung’s website (it’s down now due to too much traffic generated from the publicity surrounding the incident).

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Doojung makes facial and eye brushes that are sold to brand retailers like Chanel Cosmetics and Giorgio Armani.

Why is this important or even relevant?  Well, because South Korea is a class-conscious society where the tension between workers vs. management is so palpable.  If you’ve watched Korean dramas, the constant running theme is chaebols vs. workers or the rich and powerful vs. working class families.  The most popular running plot involves working class women being courted by sons of chaebols and encountering various conflicts in the process.  In fact, we can say that without class conflict, Korean dramas would not exist. Since South Korea is rather homogeneous ethnically, the differences that become accentuated are class, family background, and wealth (or lack of it).  Sons and daughters of chaebols being involved in ugly incidents is nothing new, not even for Korean Air.

Back in 2014, there was an “air nut rage” incident involving the daughter of the owner of Korean Air, Heather Cho.  Not satisfied with the way the flight attendants served macadamia nuts to passengers, Cho assaulted a member of the flight crew, made him kneel, then ordered him off the plane, requiring the plane to return to the gate and delaying the flight by 20 minutes.  The incident received worldwide publicity.  However, were it not for other similar incidents, it would not have been remarkable. Here’s the video of Heather Cho on her way to the courthouse, being mobbed by reporters.

Another chaebol brat (daughter of Korean Air CEO), Heather Cho, apologizes to the public.

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So whenever an incident like this happens, reports of the perpetrator’s family background inevitably surface.  And it is no different this time.  It’s the ‘chaebol brat’ once again getting into trouble, acting out, acting loud, screaming and hollering, and going on a drunken rampage and even physically assaulting those whom he regards as inferior.

And we are getting some details that are sure to enrage more people.  Lim was involved in another incident just 3 months ago on another Korean Air flight from Hanoi to Seoul, when he got drunk, acted disorderly, damaged air line property — he was purportedly drunk and also on drugs at the time.  He is supposed to be on a “black list” by Korean Air but he somehow got on board.  When the plane landed yesterday in Inchon, Lim was released  to his family pending investigation.  He has since lawyered up, however, and it isn’t clear when he’ll be interviewed or what charges, if any, will be brought against him.

Understandably, many Koreans are angry and they are embarrassed that Richard Marx had to deploy his considerable crisis management skills to immobilize this drooling retard. But putting this incident in proper perspective requires an understanding of the long-standing issue of “class” in Korean society.  There are problems with race relations in the U.S.  The Middle East conflict is a religious one.  In Korea, the issue is “class,” which defines every aspect of Korean life.  It is behind just about every incident that captures the ire of the public — everything from Choi Soon-Sil to the plot of your favorite Korean drama.

The latest manifestation is this drunken, spitting brouhaha above 40,000 feet, ably defused by Richard Marx.  If Marx understood the issue underlying this incident, he would probably say, “Wherever you go, Whatever you do,” you can’t escape the issue of class in South Korea.  “It will be right there waiting for you.”

 

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