A new controversy has arisen over a 10-year-old Korean girl’s chillingly violent poem about not wanting to go to hagwons (supplementary educational institutes or cram schools) and what she would do to her mother to get out of it.
It is such that the book of children’s poems, which is entirely written by the student in question, will be recalled by the publishing company.
The poem, titled “When I Don’t Want to Go to Hagwon,” is extremely graphic, saying, “When I don’t want to go to hagwon / Like this / I chew and eat up my mom / I boil and eat her, I grill and eat her / I gouge out [her] eyes and eat them / I pull all her teeth / I rip out her hair / I make [her into] lean meat and eat her / When she cries, I lick up her tears / I eat the heart last / Most painfully.”
Moreover, alongside this poem in the published book of children’s works is a graphic illustration picturing a girl with a bloody mouth gripping a heart and a person laying next to her covered in blood.
Controversy ensued as the poem hit the public shelves, questioning the child that wrote the poem, the parents and publishing company that approved the work, as well as the artist who illustrated the page in the book.
As the controversy spread, the publishing company issued a public apology via its homepage:
“The explicit nature of part of the content in ‘A Single Dog’ went beyond what should be allowed in freedom of expression, and we received a lot of complaints and protests about the content, which has potential to negatively influence children. Humbly accommodating, we’ve decided to recall the entirety of what has been distributed, as well as get rid of the books we have in our possession.”
The book was number seven in the publishing company’s series of children’s works, and was authored by “A,” who was selected by the publishing company as a result of the overall artistic and literary value of her work.
“While the issue of whether or not this particular poem was appropriate was discussed in the publication process, ‘A’ and her parents both expressed that they wanted to include the poem, and, after careful consideration, we went forward with it,” said a representative of the publishing company. “As just one piece of many, we thought it would flow with everything, but that ended up being a mistake.”
Meanwhile, the poem has elicited a variety of reactions from Korean netizens, ranging from utter shock to sympathy at the kind of environment that would have led a young girl to write such a poem.