This Dong-A Ilbo article plainly shows the lengths of fuckedupness Korean people will go for the slightest edge in getting into a better college. The article is in Korean; translation follows.
Mysterious College Entrance Exam Injection Tempts Parents
"Studying is hard, isn't it? One shot will take care of the fatigue."
Exam re-taker [the Korean's note: it is common for Korean students to not enter college after high school right away, but study for a year to re-take the College Entrance Exam, held once a year] Mr. Yoon (19 years old, Seoul Gangnam-gu Gaepo-dong) [TKN: it is common for Korean newspapers to only write last name for the sake of anonymity] recently visited a gynecologist with his mother. His mother took him to the clinic, hearing from an exam-taker next door that there was an injection effective for relieving fatigue.
"Exam takers have a 'May slump', but after the shot I think I can concentrate better, although it could be just me," Mr. Yoon said. He added, "I have several friends who said they received injections from dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, and other clinics."
As 2009 College Scholastic Aptitude Exam approaches in five months, there are increasing cases among parents in Seoul Gangnam area [TKN: read "wealthy"] having their children receive so-called "well-being injections", such as placenta injection [TKN: holy shit], garlic injection [TKN: what the fuck], licorice injection [TKN: licorice is actually a common ingredient in oriental medicine, but nonetheless, seriously?] which are said to lead to better conditions and increased focus.
* High-priced Injection Gains Popularity - They were initially popular among middle-aged women as "Health Injection" or "Anti-Aging Injection", but they are recently referred to as "Entrance Exam Injection", as words spread that they were effective in fatigue relief and illness prevention.
Placenta and licorice injection costs $50 a shot, and garlic injection fetches $100 a shot. Placenta injection is administered usually twice a week for ten weeks, totaling up to $1,000.
G Cosmetic Surgery Clinic [TKN: G is not the name, just an initial for the purpose of anonymity] in Seoul Gangnam-gu said "we have five, six students who come to receive these shots," adding "there are many cases right before midterm or final exam period."
Administrator at H Skin Clinic in Seoul Gangnam-gu Yeoksam-dong said "Parents choose injection therapy to supply nutrition for exam takers, who don't have a lot of time," and also said "the advantage is that they are fast-acting, because the healing substances are concentrated to multiple degrees."
Among wealthier students, there are cases in which they fly over to Japan in order to receive "Immune Cell Injection", which cancer patients use as a natural therapy. Mr. Han (47 years old, Seoul Seocho-gu Jamwon-dong) said "I heard from business partners in Japan that Korean students come to receive shots," and said "my son, who is senior in high school, is a bit sickly so I had him receive an injection in Japan last winter."
Because Immune Cell Injection takes two weeks to culture the cells taken from one's own blood, it requires two trips to Japan. Mr. Han spent roughly $5,000, including $3,000 medical cost, flight tickets and hotel.
* Experts Concerned about Dubious Benefit and Side Effects - Professor Ye, Sang-Gyu, of Seoul National University Pharmacology, said "it is said that only immune cells are separately selected and cultured in the process of creating immune cell therapy injection, but in the culturing process the immune cell may multiply into other types of cell, breaking the balancing of immune response." He also warned,"If the immune response is too strong, other disease that did not exist before may develop, such as allergy or asthma."
Professor Yoo, Joon-Hyeon, of Samsung Seoul Hospital Family Medicine, said "If placenta is turned into an injection without treating it for latent virus, it may cause viral infection," adding "There is no persuasive empirical data about the benefits of placenta, and it is a problem that people receive shots without checking the medicine's safety."
Official at Food and Drug Safety Administration advised "Because these injections are not approved for fatigue relief or immunization purposes, one should not trust exaggerated or false advertisement or unconfirmed rumors." [TKN: Um, then why aren't you banning them?]
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at email@example.com.