Korean Parliament First Fistfights, Then Passes Bill

It's the same old parliamentary story: one party wants to pass a bill, opposing party has concerns, negotiations fail, both parties wrestle each other to the ground like wild animals in expensive clothing. It's a tale that has passed down from news programs to viewers for generations---well, as long as South Korea has been a democratic country, that is.

Screenshot from the Reuters video

Screenshot from the Reuters video

Democracy is supposed to give people voices, but here in Korea, it means fists. I don't know how this isn't embarrassing for politicians here, especially since it is a common occurrence. Just a few months after I moved here, there was a fight (video) in December 2007 about now-President Lee Myung Bak's fraud investigation. A man had to be removed from the room by stretcher. Last year in December, there was another one (video), this time about the free trade agreement with the US. Someone involved in this fight suffered head injuries; not surprising when you hear that sledgehammers were involved. And now this year there have already been two: one in January (video) and one this week (video), both ending with some hospital visits.

I haven't quite been able to understand what January's brawl was over (a protest or blockade or something---though I'm beginning to think it doesn't really matter), and the one this week involved opposing views on a media bill. Which was passed, by the way.