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Samsung Sets New Guidelines For Alcoholic Beverages 137

Posted by timothy
from the no-wonder-I-don't-work-for-samsung dept.
jones_supa writes "To tame the vigorous drinking habits of the Koreans, the parent company, Samsung Group, implemented a strict code of conduct for staff dinners at Samsung. Deeply ingrained in South Korean business culture, hoesik is a hierarchical bonding experience which usually involves free-flowing alcohol, often forced upon lower-ranked staff who are expected to serve and entertain their superiors. The new rules banned rituals like beolju, or forcing drinks on others, and sabalju — the mixing of several different beverages to make a potent punch. An employee of nine years, said the company had implemented a rule known as '1-1-9', which restricts hoesik to one sitting, one type of alcohol and a cut-off point of 9pm in order to prevent excessive drinking. Samsung's move comes as South Korea has more broadly made some steps towards tackling excessive alcohol consumption and drink-induced violence. South Koreans are by far the heaviest drinkers in Asia and the biggest consumers of spirits in the world, according to the World Health Organization."
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Samsung Sets New Guidelines For Alcoholic Beverages

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    What a bunch of party poopers.
    - An Irishman.

    • by Dave Emami (237460) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:44PM (#42157643) Homepage

      "They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards. 'The Irish of Asia.'" -- P. J. O'Rourke

      Mind you, P. J. is of Irish extraction, so he meant that as a mix of compliment and self-deprecation.

      • by Threni (635302)

        Aren't all Americans of Irish Extraction? To listen to them you'd certainly get that impression.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In the 2000 Census, 15.2% of Americans consider themselves to be primarily of German descent, while 10.8% consider themselves to be of Irish descent. It's a very common ancestry because the Irish came here in large numbers a long time ago. My surname is Irish, although my genetics are well over half English with a smattering of Welsh, Dutch, and a bit of Native American.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actual Americans are of no "extraction", and wear feathers on their heads, you insensitive clod.

          • by leftover (210560)

            The "Americans" of which you speak were from Asia.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              The "Americans" of which you speak were from Asia.

              Citation needed.

              • by artor3 (1344997)

                Well they started in Africa, and they sure as all hell didn't swim across the Atlantic. You figure it out.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              Everyone is African at the end of the day.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:58PM (#42158399)

        When I was in the Air Force in the early '70s, I spent 18 months in South Korea (it was a 1 year tour, but I fell in love with the place and the people, and got it extended by 6 months). I was told to think of them as "the Irish of the Orient". (You can think of me as a member of the Irish of the Occident.) As stereotypes go, it was pretty accurate. All it took was "So's your old man" for a serious fight to break out. I witnessed several, between and among people of both sexes, in various states of sobriety. I was even more amazed by how hard they worked, regardless of how hung over or beaten up they were. Looks like not much has changed in 40 years. Samsung should be careful about playing with a formula that seems to work rather well.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          Wow....

          I thought we had the drinking level game cornered down here in New Orleans....

        • by sg_oneill (159032)

          A friend of mine, a fairly straight laced english teacher, spent a year teaching english to korean school kids as a bit of a working holiday, and came back looking like he needed a liver transplant. He reckoned they had staff meetings every day before class and all the teachers got hammered on sojo to deal with the fact that the kids where total riotous pratts.

          But I gotta love the koreans. the local korean resturants get pissier than the local pub. Your pretty much expected to order a few bottles of soju an

      • by AlanS2002 (580378)

        "They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards. 'The Irish of Asia.'" -- P. J. O'Rourke

        Mind you, P. J. is of Irish extraction, so he meant that as a mix of compliment and self-deprecation.

        The Irish have nothing on Australians when it comes to drinking. I'm afraid we've set a very high benchmark for the rest of the world.

        • by sg_oneill (159032)

          We like to tell ourselves that, but whilst I dont think the irish are bigger drinkers, the beer on tap their tends to be *better* than the slop that passes as beer in some aussie pubs.

          That said, our booze tends to be a bit stronger on average. So take that as you will.

    • South Koreans are by far the heaviest drinkers in Asia and the biggest consumers of spirits in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

      The WHO needs to get their head out of their ass. Everyone knows an Irishman can out-drink a Korean any day of the week.

      • by asticia (1623063)
        I have always thought it's Russians (former ostblock eventually) who can outdrink anybody in the world.
        • I have always thought it's Russians (former ostblock eventually) who can outdrink anybody in the world.

          I'd have to agree with you. I've never seen an irishman drink a pint glass of vodka* with dinner, like it was water.

          * substitute your favorite 70+-proof spirit

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In my experience, from spending a lot of time in both Russia and northern Scandinavia, Russians are great at long-term sustained drinking but don't have a chance against a lot of Swedes and Finns when it comes to binge drinking (OTOH, the Swedes and Finns are lousy at drinking large amounts over an extended period of time, they're better at downing two bottles of vodka and a case of beer and still being able to stand up long enough to get into a fight).

      • The WHO needs to get their head out of their ass

        "samsung's got a squeezebox,
        apple never sleeps at night."

      • by sg_oneill (159032)

        The WHO needs to get their head out of their ass. Everyone knows an Irishman can out-drink a Korean any day of the week.

        I'm irish AND australian, and I can tell you categorically we have NOTHING on the koreans. Those crazy bastards will drink anyone under the table. Hell they'll even give the russians a run for their money when it comes to smashing down soju/vodka (soju is just a sweetened rice vodka)

  • North Korea (Score:5, Funny)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:21PM (#42157491)

    You are, obviously, forgetting North Korea. North Korea, number 1, even in spirits.

    PS: The above comment is not supposed to be taken as fact, for any reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Keep your mores to yourself, you constipated Puritans.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:39PM (#42157619)

    "They don't like anyone who isn't Korean, and they don't like each other all that much, either. They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards, 'the Irish of Asia.'"

    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:58PM (#42157727)

      Yeah, yeah. Why people equate heavy drinking with some sort of toughness, I'll never know. It's just one means of group bonding through shared experience. Personally, I'd rather hang out with some mountain climbers than a bunch of sloppy drunks. Samsung management might be figuring this out and attempting to change the company culture.

      I wish them luck.

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:41PM (#42157977)
        Heavy drinking is equated with being tough because ingesting a lot of poison, and living to tell about is is pretty tough. The same could be said for people who can hammer nail with their fist and take shot gun blasts to the face. The question isn't whether heavy drinkers are tough or not. It is a question of whether being tough in that way has any actual value.
        • by PPH (736903)

          It's a different sort of 'toughness'. And you make a valid point: being able to handle a lot of booze is a toughness with questionable value.

          Alcohol interferes with testosterone production, and its promotion of muscle mass creation. There are several other mechanisms related to alcohol consumption that increase body fat. So it seems to be one type of toughness at the expense of others. The whole flabby body image as one of power might be involved here. In the past, corpulence (to use a nice word) was assoc

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
        That is exactly it: group bonding through shared experience. Getting shitfaced together with friends, colleagues, or customers is great, and it beats mountain climbing for several reasons:
        - You need a mountain to go mountain climbing, but drinking you can do pretty much anywhere
        - You need skills to climb a mountain. Booze, in contrast, is the great equalizer. Anyone can drink, and anyone can drink too much
        - Mountain climbing is dangerous, whereas the worst that will happen in a night on the town is y
        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:28PM (#42158533)

          Mountain climbing is dangerous, whereas the worst that will happen in a night on the town is you falling off a bar stool.

          Not true. Many more people die from acute alcohol poisoning [wikipedia.org] than from mountain climbing accidents.

          • by blueg3 (192743)

            By fraction of participants?

            Many more people die from driving in cars than from playing Russian roulette, but that doesn't really say anything about the intrinsic danger of either activity; just how popular each is.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              While the statistics would probably be fairly hard to accurately compare, I would guess that those who regularly engage in drinking likely suffer more, and greater, injury per capita than those who climb mountains. You might come closer to parity if you were just comparing alpine climbers, due to the danger to even the most experienced among them. Then again, climbers of any stripe don't tend to injure or kill innocent parties. The same can't be said for alcohol.

              • by blueg3 (192743)

                I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong, only that your reasoning and wording are both bad.

        • by VTI9600 (1143169)

          That is exactly it: group bonding through shared experience.

          Others would call it hazing

      • by dargaud (518470)

        Personally, I'd rather hang out with some mountain climbers than a bunch of sloppy drunks.

        As a hardcore climber [gdargaud.net] and a home brewer [gdargaud.net], I'm sure there's a compliment in there somewhere, but I'm not sure where.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        Personally, I'd rather hang out with some mountain climbers than a bunch of sloppy drunks.

        Ahh, the sweet memories of downing a bottle of Tequila in a hut halfway up the mountain, and doing a survey at the end of the night to see who's up for heading to the summit to watch the sun rise. Hanging out with mountain climbers can definitely be hazardous to your health and safety.

    • "They don't like anyone who isn't Korean, and they don't like each other all that much, either. They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards, 'the Irish of Asia.'"

      I think that's somewhat close but inaccurate: when I was in Seoul, I found s. Koreans to generally be nice in their own way, without giving much of a fuck about me or others. But when I needed help or advice or anything, they would always deliver something brilliantly practical and sensible. I lived and live in various places where people are nice and friendly. S. Koreans aren't typically "friendly" at first, but they also don't judge you, and I'll take a S. Korean's help to almost anyone else's, because, i

  • by GoJays (1793832)
    No mention of Soju being banned, so all is good...
  • So all you are supposed to do is talk?

  • What is wrong with mixing alcohols? it is not like it makes it stronger.
    If you are just drinking straight alcohol, and variety does not matter you are doing it just to get drunk.
    What does Samsung have against class or taste?

  • by paiute (550198) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:15PM (#42157833)
    When word of this new policy came down, there was one common response among the young employees: Toga! Toga! Toga!
  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:20PM (#42157867) Homepage Journal
    I went and visited a 55 year old Chinese investor. When I'd last studied business-in-Asia in the late 1980s, this /. article describes what it was like in every Asian city. I asked my host if that's what I was going to have to prepare for. No, he said, it's not like that anymore. He explained: " I mean, it used to be like that. But those guys are all dead."
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      AFAIK in China alcohol is associated with lower social classes.
      So if you're doing business with upper classes, don't expect alcohol.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I knew it will come to that as soon as I heard that 'kidney for iPad, liver for Galaxy' ring got busted in China...

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I heard that 'kidney for iPad, liver for Galaxy' ring got busted in China.

      I heard that if you want a Microsoft Surface, you have to get your brain removed...

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:03PM (#42158111)
    Not to be out done Apple has replaced the water in their water coolers with Everclear.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And Samsung has filed a patent lawsuit.

  • Ha (Score:5, Funny)

    by headhot (137860) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:45PM (#42158331) Homepage

    For Asians, the Koreans can out drink them all, but as a big white guy trying to wash down god knows what food was put in front of me, I literally drank them under the table. You see, its impolite to pour your own drink, if you want some, you fill some other persons glass and they fill yours. The food was terrible, and I did not want to be impolite and not eat it, so with every bite came a sip. It got to the point there some of the people at the business dinner could not get up out of their chairs.

    I was told at the end of the night, "You drink very well!"

    • Re:Ha (Score:5, Funny)

      by berashith (222128) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:54PM (#42158381)

      I will never remember the night that I learned that you never poor your own drink, and never turn down a drink poured for you. My god, that was painful.

    • Re:Ha (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:56PM (#42158627)

      You raise a good point: Asians, Japanese, Chinese and their distant relatives Native Americans don't process alcohol nearly as well as Northern Europeans or Slavic people. Trying not to be racist here; there are scientific explanations for stereotypes of drunk Indians or tipsy Chinese and Japanese*.

      So, while drinking among themselves may have been a sign of macho (or whatever) they aren't likely to do as well up against a German or Irishman. Perhaps this is why Samsung management is trying to change their company culture. It's all about saving face an status, but now in an international setting.

      * I'm searching for a PC way to break this to a couple of friends of mine. A Japanese woman and Native American man. Both, after a few drinks, start developing a distinct 'eau de wino' due to their livers' inability to metabolize alcohol properly. In the case of the Japanese, this is particularly weird, since their culture places quite a stigma on bad smells.

      • Re:Ha (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @12:28AM (#42159101) Homepage Journal
        Sheer body mass probably also plays a non-trivial role. Six-foot, 250+-pound white guys are pretty common. Asians of similar mass certainly exist (and bigger!) but they're pretty rare. Assuming it's not all fat, a 250-pound person has a big advantage over a 125-pound person when it comes to tolerating alcohol.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        this is supposedly due to a deficiency with the liver enzyme acetylaldehide-dehydroginase which converts the very toxic acetylaldehyde to the much less harmful acetone before it can be excreted. the build up of acetylaldehyde is responsible for a hot red face, wheezing and pounding headache. One theory for why oriental people are deficient in this enzyme compared to people of European descent is they developed clean safe drinking water much earlier on whereas in Europe the only safe drink came from the brew

        • by jrumney (197329)

          One theory for why oriental people are deficient in this enzyme compared to people of European descent is they developed clean safe drinking water much earlier on whereas in Europe the only safe drink came from the brewing process that involved boilingthe water. Not sure if I believe that but it sounds good enough to be true.

          I thought the brewing process was to avoid the need to boil the water. Asian cultures purified their drinking water by making tea; boiling the water kills the bacteria, adding plant mat

      • by jbeaupre (752124)

        "Eau du" wino translates at "wino water". "Odeur de wino" will translate as "smell of wino."

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Kimchi isn't "food", it's an ordeal intended to toughen them up through intestinal Darwinism.

      I spend 3 months in Seoul working with (surprise surprise) Samsung, and I'd be dead now if it wasn't for Pringles.

      As to the drinking culture, I went out once, moderated my intake, and after that just clocked off at the end of the day and left them to it. If more Koreans had the balls to tell their superannuated corporate despots to do one, they wouldn't have such a problem with it.

  • Remember... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:20PM (#42158493)

    Just remember:
    1. Don't ask your Korean friends for drinking contest.
    2. When they give dinner at 6pm eat it. That's the last meal you'll get for the day. The rest of the evening would be liquid.
    3. Don't wasted on your first bar. That's just the beginning of your "evening" tour.
    4. When they offer you "nuclear-bear", just say no.
    5. The same if they offer you orange juice at the end. Ask what inside those juice other than the orange.

    Prepare a headache pill for the next morning, cause you still have 3 days more for your training seasons. Don't fall for "farewell party", you'll miss your plane the next day... (that's all that i remember. I think.)

  • First it turns out that the Unicorn is North Korean, and now this. Bad day for South Korea.
  • The new rules banned rituals like beolju, or forcing drinks on others,

    Wait... Samsung allowed that practice before?

    How despicable and unbecoming of a professional enterprise....

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I suppose they are treading a very blurry line here between company and personal time.
  • by ihavnoid (749312) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @03:19AM (#42159775)

    I'm a native Korean, Samsung Electronics employee for the last couple of years, although the following text does not represent my employer.

    Actually the reason behind this seems to be twofold - health (you can't expect somebody who drunk heavily to perform adequately next day), cultural (Samsung isn't simply a Korean company anymore), and probably legal (the company is liable if drinking was part of the routine job, and it didn't do anything about it).

    Decades ago, the only people working for Samsung (and probably most Korean companies) were mostly male Koreans aged somewhere around 30 to 50. (In the eighties, Korean women had a difficult time getting jobs on large corporates (except as secretaries or factory production workers) and were routinely fired for getting married) The only thing that they could do in common was drinking. Considering that Asian people have a blurry boundary between personal and professional issues, drinking (and for executives, playing glof) was a very essential task for successful working. Actually, companies even had "drinking VP"s who's job was to drink with business contacts every night, and nothing else.

    Fast forward to 2012. Samsung now has some 300k employees, and more than half of those people are non-Koreans. Many employees have their spouse also working, which means somebody has to take care of their kids if they have to drink late. There are many non-Korean people everywhere, even on the Korean campuses. Business contacts are no longer limited to Asian countries. Suddenly, it doesn't make much sense to socialize by drinking heavily. You can't expect to be able to socialize with other people if they don't drink much, or don't drink at all.

    The problem was that this "heavy drinking" thing was a sort of a "tradition". Many people, especially junior/senior management people who were working for Korean companies for decades, found themselves uncomfortable to socialize with other people without excessive soju or whisky or whatever. So, corporate policy kicks in, and tries to change the culture. Not only by simply banning "drinking", but by trying to suggest alternative methods (e.g., sports activities or doing charity work).

    • (and for executives, playing glof)

      Can you tell us more about this interesting game, unknown outside of South Korea ?

      somebody has to take care of their kids if they have to drink late

      "Would you like to go out with me, tomorrow evening ?" "Sorry, I can't. I will have to drink late with my boss and play glof".

  • Some 'tussin will get her ass back on the street in no time!

  • Somehow this doesn't come as a surprise, as Samsung announced just a week ago that they'll open a new R&D site at the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi. Samsung would've been bankrupt by the end of the year had they offered the MSc (Tech) undergrads all the spirits they can handle.

  • I mean - hey. When working in France, I had a 2,5-hour lunch break to enable the liver to do salutory ethanol-breaking-down work. A job at Samsung HQ, however, sounds even more interesting.
    • by dargaud (518470)

      I mean - hey. When working in France, I had a 2,5-hour lunch break to enable the liver to do salutory ethanol-breaking-down work. A job at Samsung HQ, however, sounds even more interesting.

      Even that is beginning to change. Restaurants in France now offer half-bottles, which they resisted for decades. I remember being an intern in some high-tech companies and coming back from lunch at 4pm hammered and getting back to work on software and hardware specs...

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