By Yun Suh-young
The urge to uncover truth and secrets is an integral part of human nature.
In a Korean tale about a king with donkey's ears, this urge was satisfied when a crown maker during the ancient Silla Kingdom shouted the secret of the afflicted King Gyeongmun into a bamboo forest. People heard the anonymous shout and then the king felt relieved because everyone knew the secret of his donkey ears. He no longer felt ashamed.
Now, a modern day parallel to this is being realized in cyberspace. More and more people are sending cyber shouts into the "bamboo forest" of Twitter, sharing the ugly truths or secrets of industries they work in. New accounts are regularly created in order for people to share the burden of the secrets they carry.
It began recently with an account for people working in the publishing industry. A Twitter account called "Bamboo forest next to publishing company @bamboo97889" was created last Wednesday.
Following its creation, similar accounts appeared in other industries with the word "bamboo" in the ID.
All of them parodied the first one with such names as "Bamboo forest next to the broadcasting station @bamboo150600", "IT company @bamboo65535", "Newspaper @paperbamboo, "PR company @bamboo98765, "College @bamboo1905, and lab @Bambooforlab".
There are even bamboo forests for high school students (@bamboohigh), daughter-in-laws (@bamboo_in_law2) and jobless people (@Bamboo_0913), safe cyberspaces where people can get things off their chest.
Speaking out in a bamboo forest is simple and easy. If you're a worker from one of these industries with an ID, you simply register your email address and receive a password. The password is shared among those in the same industry and you are free to talk anonymously behind your company's back.
The reason people use the bamboo forest is to speak their mind without threat of retribution.
"The reason why I tweet is because I need a bamboo forest. I need a place to tell the world that my king has ass's ears", wrote one Twitter user.
Another said, "People started using Twitter to say things that they can't say offline. Now they need a bamboo forest even within Twitter so that they can express things anonymously".
All kinds of complaints are uploaded ranging from, "Why do we have to follow our boss mountain trekking?" to "In a company where there's a lack of personnel, one person ends up doing everything".
People who follow the accounts say it's depressing to read the comments.
"I feel sorry for our society because I feel these people's pain", said user @dago***.
Another said, "I think our society is full of people who are oppressed by being unable to say something. No wonder our country ranks low in terms of freedom of speech".
Lee Song-hee, a netizen, said, "The phenomenon comes from the fact that these workers don't have anywhere to voice workplace grudges".
Experts say this is a method for workers to not only complain but also to bring about change.
Professor Jeong Jae-seung at KAIST diagnosed the phenomenon positively in the sense that people try to evoke social empathy.
Kwak Keum-joo, professor of psychology at Seoul National University, said it was "a way for people to express their grievances at those higher up on the social ladder as well as receive comfort and empathy from others".
Source : www.koreatimes.co.kr/...
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