A middle-aged son who insists on climbing mountains barefoot, a young father addicted to amusement parks, and a schoolgirl addicted to watching football. These are the problems on this episode of Hello Counsellor. The special guests are actress Kim Hye Eun and magician Choi Hyun Woo. Read about the format of the show here.
PROBLEM ONE 제정신이니? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?
78 year-old mum is worried about her son (Hello Counsellor 331, KBS)
A 78 year-old mother holds back the tears as she describes her shock at discovering that her son (51) loves climbing mountains BAREFOOT. And not just little city mountains like Gwanaksan (629m) in Seoul. He’s also climbed the highest mountains in Korea: Hallasan (1,950m) in Jeju Island, Jirisan in the south, (1,915 m) Soraeksan (1,708m) and Taebaeksan in the east. (BTW we’ve been to Soraeksan). He’s also been up Mount Fuji in Japan…
Even if the mountain is covered deep in snow or the temperature is as low as minus 30 degrees, he still goes barefoot! His mum is worried that he will hurt himself badly one day.
the son explains the importance of his goals
The panel is gobsmacked because this is obviously very dangerous. The son (who in fairness does look very fit and healthy) explains that he wants to challenge himself. A mountain that can normally be climbed in a couple of hours he will race up in 30 minutes. So far the most challenging mountain was Hallasan in Jeju Island because it’s a volcano and very rocky and was painful under his feet. Mount Fuji was also tough because it was very windy and it’s over 3,000 metres high so he got altitude sickness.
This all began when he suffered with debt during the 2007 financial crisis. He had a lot of stress and turned to hiking to get away from it all. Hiking helped and now he goes to the mountain every day. Then a friend suggested he climb the mountain barefoot and since then he’s never looked back! He is incredibly fit. He climbs a local mountain every morning at 5am before work and spends two hours in the mountains after work including a workout in the ‘mountain gym’. (City mountains often have outdoor exercise machines. Take a look at Korean mountain park gyms here).
He knows that his mum is worried about him but he simply says that he still has lots of mountains to climb including the Rockies in the USA and the Himalayas including of course EVEREST. (OMG)
the panel show little empathy for the son!
Both the guests vote that this is a problem and the studio audience agrees with them. He gets 158 votes. A high score.
Well, I’m shocked that anyone would try to climb a mountain without footwear! But I’m on the fence about whether this is a problem! On the one hand I can understand him wanting to challenge himself. It’s what’s making his life worth living. Yes, I agree he’s causing stress to his mother but it’s his life. On the other hand, he is being irresponsible by not having the proper footwear and equipment for difficult terrain and if he does hurt himself he will have to rely on his friends or the emergency services to save him.
I don’t see the son changing his habit. The discussion starts going around in circles when the panel keep asking him if he ‘understands’ how his mother feels. She is on the verge of tears. But he simply repeats that he KNOWS how she feels but he has his GOALS!
So he’s not going to stop. In fact he’s looking for even harder mountains to climb. When Young Ja suggests he climb Mount Gyejok as this mountain is specially designed to walk up barefoot, he says he has no interest in that mountain because it’s not a challenge! Members of the audience look frustrated. Everyone clearly thinks that he should stop climbing mountains barefoot and put some hiking boots on. But I have seen men climbing up mountains in flip-flops and women in high heels.
Hiking became very popular after the 1997 economic crash when a lot of salarymen lost their jobs. Many fired workers turned to hiking and it’s still a hugely popular social pastime. Our barefooted hiker may not be interested in climbing Mount Gyejok but I am. A red soil footpath designed for walking barefoot sounds lovely. I’m planning a trip there as we speak …
PROBLEM 2 왜하필 WHY THIS?
a wall rock graphics reveal the wife’s angry reaction!
A young mother is frustrated with her husband because he constantly pesters her to go to amusement parks! They go at least once or twice a week. If she doesn’t want to go he sulks and so she even has to go when she doesn’t feel well. It’s not fun for her because she doesn’t go on any of the rides. She stands and holds the baby while he enjoys himself on the Viking Ride etc. It also costs loads of money (around 100,000 won each time) and he doesn’t earn much. He doesn’t consider his wife’s feelings and needless to say he doesn’t help around the house either.
the husband tries to explain himself
The husband has never considered how much money they spend on his ‘hobby’ or the fact that his wife might not want to traipse around amusement parks when she’s just had a baby! The panel is taken aback by his thoughtlessness. The big shocker comes when the name of his own baby escapes him! Surely he is joking? It seems not. The only thing he can think about is going on amusement rides. Once they went to two different amusement parks in one day. He drives all over the country to get there.
His wife says she has considered leaving him as he shows no interest in her or their child.
audience members react to the problem
Of course everyone thinks this is a problem. They get 149 votes.
This was a sad story. They are a young couple but it seems like the father is totally not interested in having a family. They got a high score but fewer votes than the previous problem. But I think this problem is worse than the barefoot story because this man is not single. He has a wife and child that he should be paying attention to. He’s already causing pain to his wife and his child will probably suffer the pain of neglect in the future too if he doesn’t buck up.
PROBLEM 3 범상치 않은 자식 AN UNUSUAL CHILD
I don’t really see a problem here but anyway here goes …
‘falling rocks’ emphasise the mum’s sadness!
A mum is worried that her daughter has taste more in keeping with ‘old men’. When she was just six years old she kept asking for shoulder massages like a grandad. And she liked drinking traditional medicine. (Usually kids don’t like it because it’s so bitter.) Now she is 13 and addicted to football. She supports FC Seoul and makes her dad take her to watch football matches once or twice a week. She prefers learning the supporters songs to studying for school tests.
daughter shows off her FC Seoul kit and introduces her fave players
The mum worries that her daughter is so wrapped up in football that she doesn’t pay attention to school or friends or other hobbies. But she also expresses concern about the atmosphere at football matches. The loud chanting and ‘blokey’ shouting at the players could be a bad influence and not becoming for a young girl and she is concerned that her daughter may become aggressive. Her school friend also thinks it’s a problem because all she does is talk about football – and he doesn’t like football!
panel members Kim Tae Gyun, Shin Dong Yeop, and guest magician Choi Hyun Woo
Neither of the guests think this is a real problem but 79 members of the studio audience believe that it is.
I think 79 is quite high considering this is NOT A PROBLEM. The parents understandably don’t like having to take their daughter to football matches since they are not into football themselves. But I have been to football matches in Seoul and they don’t seem particularly aggressive. And I get the impression here that if the daughter was addicted to ballet, for example, then the parents would have no problem at all!
Parents bringing their kids on TV is a pet peeve of mine. If they have a real problem then they should go to therapy in private. There’s been a trend for celebrities to appear on reality shows with their kids too. Oh I disapprove strongly…