Daddy’s War Part 3 is certainly an eye opener which shows us the contrasting roles of fathers from different societies such as South Korea and Sweden. While Sweden is ranked the best country to raise a family, South Korea is at number 45. It’s no wonder the Swedish people enjoy a good work-life balance as they have very strong government support for a family centered nation. Certainly an aspiration for others to follow.
Part 3 begins with Sang Hyun reporting on national TV how little time Korean fathers spend with their kids, an average of only 6 out of the daily total of 1440 minutes. South Korea’s ranking is at the bottom among the member nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). His thought provoking questions on how often they have dinner with their families and number of words spoken to their children that day serves as a reminder on the importance of spending time with family.
His colleague who had been watching from the sideline pointed out that Sang Hyun too is in a similar situation. He might seem to be giving Sang Hyun a scolding but it was more out of exasperation about the state of their society.
Colleague: You are just the same and have lost your father time. So you should go and get it back.
Sang Hyun: I am so busy now and don’t even have time to look at my child. What time am I looking for?
Colleague getting fired up: Out of the OECD member nations, our work hours is the second longest!
In relation to GDP, household debt first place! Suicide and death rate first place, life satisfaction 27th!
Life long job but neither productive or happy! Do we want our dads to live with seeing their kids for only 10 minutes? If fathers try to make amends, can it change? Really?!
He then writes ‘latte papa’ on a piece of paper and suggested that Sang Hyun finds out more when he meets them. Just like Sang Hyun, we too are puzzled as to what is a ‘latte papa’. It’s the first time I’ve come across this term. Is this what Swedish fathers call themselves or a description given by others?
He soon meets a former ‘latte papa’ who shows him how to pick them from the crowd ….. fathers enjoying their coffee while looking after their babies or toddlers. I thought these dads look really cool.
Sweden is so family centered that they have ‘stroller theaters’ which specially cater to parents who would like to bring their babies along to watch the latest movies. They can feed and even change the babies’ diapers in the theater.
‘Latte papa’ Nicholas currently up to a month of paternity leave, with his cute daughter and wife who’s studying in University. He explains that Swedish law does not allow discrimination against those who take paternity leave and it would not affect their employment or cause them to miss out on pay increment.
Sang Hyun meets the second ‘latte papa’ Tim at the latter’s favorite cafe hangout and is amazed to find out that this dad spends 24 hours with his child. However he does not find it difficult as he enjoys looking after his son and is happy to have this time with his child.
Sang Hyun is surprised that the baby’s food is made with spaghetti but according to the dad, it is common to use pasta for baby food. He would cook a large portion at home and keep it in the freezer.
Sharing photos of his cute daugher Na Gyeom whom he constantly thinks of
Sang Hyun having a chat with students at an elementary school
To his question of how often they have dinner with their dads each week, their answers as shown in the picture below. Most have dinner with dad every day.
The kids were asked to draw what represents their dad and it was obvious from the many hearts how close they are to their fathers.
Sadly in contrast, the above is typical of what the Korean children drew about their fathers …. drinking, smoking, watching TV and sleeping. When asked what comes to mind when he thinks of dad, a boy answered with ‘curt’ after thinking for a moment. Another gave a similar answer while the 3rd child says she feels nothing in particular as she’s not close to her dad.
Sang Hyun with the CEO and staff of an IT company in Stockholm where more than 95% of the male staff had utilized paternity leave. They are able to manage as everyone would take turns to cover for colleagues who were away.
Sang Hyun was amazed that the man had brought his 2 boys to the office. Though he was on paternity leave, he had brought them along as his wife was working.and he was going to see his boss.
Sang Hyun with Andreas and his Korean wife Eun Young who agrees that Sweden is the best country for mums. Andreas says he cherishes the time spent with his kids as their growing up moments will not come back again. Eun Young feels that Korean mums have this ingrained thought that it is natural for Korean men not to help out. Her mum does not mind that Andreas helps out a lot but does not expect her brother to do the same.
While Andreas is ranked the number one dad according to ratings, Sang Hyun is 45th.
The filming crew at another company to carry out their ‘overtime announcement’ project. Hidden cameras would record the reaction of some unsuspecting employees who would be asked to work extended hours until Christmas.
Taken by surprise when told that it is usual for Koreans to work until 10-11 pm
The CEO feels that since their usual working hours are from 8 am – 5pm, it would be strange to tell their staff to work until 9 or 10 pm. So they agreed on 8 pm for the secret recording of 3 staff who will be called in separately. He quipped that since Swedish law allows fathers to work 6 hours a day and it would be illegal to ask them to work overtime, they had better reveal the hidden camera before they got reported to the police.
Different responses received from these unsuspecting staff.
It was surprising that the first man (left) was very accommodating to working overtime and even suggested that they set up a childcare section so that they can bring their kids to the company.
Staff no 2 (center) wanted to think about it but then firmly refused as there would be no one to look after the children. When asked later what he would have done if he had to work overtime, he said he would get a transfer.
Staff no 3 (right) was willing to work an extra 2 hours out of the 3 hours mentioned. Married with no kids, he did not mind as he wanted to earn more money and felt that it is fine to work hard now so that there would be less suffering in future.
Choi Ju Yeong with wife Lee Sang Yeon and daughter had emigrated to Germany
For a final comparison, the shooting team goes to Germany. Despite having the world’s shortest working hours, it has the world’s highest productivity. Ju Yeong recounted how on his first day at work, he was told by his group never to work more than 10 hours per day. But there were times when he unintentionally exceed 10 hours. Their group manager then received an email from HR with a reminder to ensure proper management.
On his thoughts about the different work culture, he feels there is more family neglect in Korea as they strive to keep up with the competition. In Germany, the focus is to get everyone to move together, to slow down a little and have more time to think about family.
Interview with 2 bank staff regarding a case of a banker who had died due to performance stress and over-drinking.
Chat with these 2 ladies who had emigrated to Sweden a few years ago. Their kids used to have private tuition until late at night while in Korea but there is no such private tutoring in Sweden. The kids have a lot more time with the family and even university students would return home early at around 4-5 pm.
So will our dads be able to find their lost father time and be reminiscent of hearts to their children?