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Samsung wants to fix Korea's bad drinking habits with 119 rule

samsung medical center

Samsung is taking measures to curb what's been described as an "excessive drinking culture" prevalent throughout Korea. The Korean people are, according to the World Health Organization, the biggest consumers of spirits in the world, and drinking is an important part of business culture. Employees often gather for hoesik — Korean for "staff dinner" — to drink and bond with one another, and not participating in such events can stunt your career development. Back in August, Samsung implemented a strict code for hoesik, known as the "119 rule." The new code dictates that hoesik must be restricted to one venue, one type of alcohol, and drinking must stop at 9pm.

According to The Wall Street Journal, drinking is so ingrained within Korean culture that some jobseekers "detail their drinking ability on their resumes." Talking with Korean paper Chosun, an anonymous Samsung official said that the plan was to change business culture for good. "Bad drinking habits will be changed, so that a saying like 'you can't get promoted if you can't drink' disappears."

Hyunhu Jang contributed to this article

The Verge
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