[EDITORIALS]Safety awareness lackingAn absurd accident took place at Lotte World where more than 30 people were injured as tens of thousands of citizens tried to enter the amusement park during a free entry event. The incident, which occurred at one of the most prominent amusement sites in Seoul and the nation, reflects the country’s lack of safety awareness and the low awareness levels of people who live in Korea. The accident once again proved that Korea is still an underdeveloped country in terms of safety and public order.
The preparations by Lotte were inadequate to begin with. The free entry event was an apology on the company’s part for a safety accident that occurred earlier this month. The company staff, however, ignored official warnings from the police to prepare for the possibility of accidents and failed to request police support on the day of the event. Although it was obvious that a large number of people would simultaneously gather in a cramped area, the company never considered the possibility of an accident, a typical example of a lack of safety awareness. Lotte should have at least tried to control the number of people through measures like allotting times for those interested through its Web site. It is fortunate that a major disaster, like the one at Sangju that left 11 dead, did not take place.
We must also look back at our awareness of how to maintain order. It is true that the overall situation has improved from the past, as people have become used to receiving queue numbers or lining up in single file, but there is a long way to go. We must strengthen people’s education on keeping order, beginning in kindergarten, and have students understand that public order is both convenient and good for society, similar to what takes place in foreign countries. People should also reconsider events that attract large crowds by stimulating the desire for free items and services.
If Korea fails to outgrow its accident record, we will fail to become a developed nation even if the national per capita income exceeds $30,000.