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Pictures Report

No money, no hope: South Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
The concept of dirt spoons, born to low-income families, and gold spoons, as those from better-off families are known, have been around for many years but exploded onto the political scene in recent years, undercutting support for liberal President Moon Jae-in.
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLH
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong (pictured) lives in a 6.6-square-meter (71-square-foot) cubicle near his university...
Seoul, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong (pictured) lives in a 6.6-square-meter (71-square-foot) cubicle near his university campus in Seoul, which comes with a shared bathroom and kitchen plus all the rice he can eat, that he rents for 350,000 won ($302) a month.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLV
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon drinks water as he sits in his goshi-won. The sparse rooms, in premises called goshi-won,...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon drinks water as he sits in his goshi-won. The sparse rooms, in premises called goshi-won, were previously mostly used by less well-off students to temporarily cut off from the outside world while they studied for civil service job tests.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLN
November 26, 2019
Now they are increasingly becoming permanent homes to young people like Hwang, who identifies himself...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Now they are increasingly becoming permanent homes to young people like Hwang, who identifies himself among the "dirt spoons," those born to low-income families who have all but given up on social mobility. "If I try hard enough and get a good job, will I ever be able to afford a house?" said the 25-year-old, who lives in his small, cluttered room where clothes were piled on the bed. "Will I ever be able to narrow the gap that's already so big?"

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLW
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon walks past people waiting at a bus stop, as he makes his way to Kyung Hee University in...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon walks past people waiting at a bus stop, as he makes his way to Kyung Hee University in Suwon. The concept of dirt spoons and gold spoons, as those from better-off families are known, have been around for many years but exploded onto the political scene in recent years, undercutting support for liberal President Moon Jae-in. Moon came to power in 2017 on a platform of social and economic justice. Yet halfway through his five-year term, he has little progress to show the country's youth who have borne the brunt of deepening inequality.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANM0
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong has a meal with his father and grandmother at the family home in Guri. Income disparity...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong has a meal with his father and grandmother at the family home in Guri. Income disparity has instead widened since Moon took office, with the top income bracket now earning 5.5 times the bottom one, compared with 4.9 times before his inauguration, official data shows.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ii
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLZ
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong watches TV at his family home in Guri. Hwang, who is in his third year majoring in media...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong watches TV at his family home in Guri. Hwang, who is in his third year majoring in media studies, said a corruption scandal surrounding former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was a wakeup call for dirt spoons like himself who may have once believed that hard work will make a difference.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLG
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong looks at his mobile phone as he makes his way home on a bus in Guri. Former Justice...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong looks at his mobile phone as he makes his way home on a bus in Guri. Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk and his college professor wife were accused of using their positions to help their daughter gain admission to medical school in 2015. Cho acknowledged he was a gold spoon and a "Gangnam liberal" motivated by social justice, but the approach backfired and he stepped down in October after only a month in the post. His wife is facing trial on allegations of forgery and financial fraud.


REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLO
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong checks his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon's cover letter and resume in a cafe in Seoul. To...
Seoul, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong checks his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon's cover letter and resume in a cafe in Seoul. To many struggling youth, the scandal - which fueled some of the largest protests of Moon's term - showed how gold spoons get further ahead with the help of their parents' status and wealth.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLL
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong eats dinner with his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon in a restaurant in Seoul. In a September...
Seoul, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong eats dinner with his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon in a restaurant in Seoul. In a September poll of 3,289 people by recruiting service provider Saramin, three-quarters of respondents said parents' background was key to children's success.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLR
November 26, 2019
"I can't complain that we have different starting lines," said Kim Jae-hoon, 26, who also lives in a...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
"I can't complain that we have different starting lines," said Kim Jae-hoon, 26, who also lives in a goshi-won cubicle, pictured here eating his packed lunch at Kyung Hee University in Suwon.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLI
November 26, 2019
"But it makes me angry that there are people who are getting help improperly. It's OK that someone was...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
"But it makes me angry that there are people who are getting help improperly. It's OK that someone was studying when I had to be working, but the fact that they are getting improper help makes me angry," said Kim Jae-hoon, seen attending a class at Kyung Hee University in Suwon.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLD
November 26, 2019
Kim works as a part-time waiter at a bar near his school and gets by on 400,000 won a month for rent,...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim works as a part-time waiter at a bar near his school and gets by on 400,000 won a month for rent, food and allowances.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLE
November 26, 2019
Most meals are "cup rice" he prepares in the shared kitchen, menial fare of rice and basic toppings -...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Most meals are "cup rice" he prepares in the shared kitchen, menial fare of rice and basic toppings - eggs, half an onion and sauce.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLP
November 26, 2019
Young, low-income voters like Kim, pictured here using his laptop in his goshi-won, have deserted Moon...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Young, low-income voters like Kim, pictured here using his laptop in his goshi-won, have deserted Moon in record numbers. Support among voters aged 19 to 29 dropped from 90% in June 2017 to 44% by October, according to a poll by Gallup Korea, while support among those considered on low-incomes has fallen 44 percentage points fall since mid-2017.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLJ
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his mother shop for a suit ahead of a job interview in Guri. "President Moon's been...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his mother shop for a suit ahead of a job interview in Guri. "President Moon's been talking about equal opportunity, a level-playing field and justice. But, I feel a sense of betrayal because the current situation is far different from what he promised," said Hwang, who voted for Moon.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLY
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong poses for photographs which will be used for his resume in Guri. Older workers are also...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong poses for photographs which will be used for his resume in Guri. Older workers are also feeling the pinch as Moon tries to improve employment opportunities and social justice for young workers. In a televised town hall meeting last week, Moon conceded he had fallen short on those promises and said his declining support among youth was proof he had let them down.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANM6
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon looks at his mobile phone before going to sleep in his goshi-won. The idea of dirt spoons...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon looks at his mobile phone before going to sleep in his goshi-won. The idea of dirt spoons and gold spoons has resonated in popular culture in recent years. The film "Parasite" directed by Bong Joon Ho about two families at the opposite ends of the social spectrum has been a smash hit at home and abroad, winning the Cannes Palme d'Or and touted as an Oscar "Best Picture" contender.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLU
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon waits for class to begin at Kyung Hee University in Suwon. A popular fantasy digital cartoon...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon waits for class to begin at Kyung Hee University in Suwon. A popular fantasy digital cartoon called "Golden Spoon" features a poor boy swapping his family with his rich friend's by eating with a magic gold spoon is set to be serialized as a TV drama.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ii
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLK
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon makes his way to work in Suwon. Even the hit boyband BTS, known as a "dirt spoon idol" for...
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon makes his way to work in Suwon. Even the hit boyband BTS, known as a "dirt spoon idol" for their early struggles, tackles the social divide, singing "Don't call me a spoon! I am just a human" in the song "Fire."

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLS
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong has his hair cut before taking photos for his resume in Guri. Gold spoons are now a...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong has his hair cut before taking photos for his resume in Guri. Gold spoons are now a hot gift item, replacing gold rings traditionally given to children on their first birthdays, wishing them a wealthy life.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANM1
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong takes a selfie after getting his hair cut in Guri. The fact that gold and dirt spoons...
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong takes a selfie after getting his hair cut in Guri. The fact that gold and dirt spoons are portrayed in popular culture in such a diverse range is reflective of the bitter hopelessness among the have-nots, said Kim Jong-min, the leader of civic group Youth Taeil, which supports young jobseekers and temporary workers.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANM5
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon look at discounted winter coats on sale in Seoul. "But,...
Seoul, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his girlfriend Kim Joo-yeon look at discounted winter coats on sale in Seoul. "But, powerful people in the Moon government and the ruling party - they portray themselves as reformists, but they are just the same old politicians that are not listening to the suffering of the low-income class," he said.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ui
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLF
November 26, 2019
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his mother have lunch in a restaurant in Guri. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Guri, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Hwang Hyeon-dong and his mother have lunch in a restaurant in Guri. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SOUTHKOREA-POLITICS/DIRTSPOON
RTX7ANLX
November 26, 2019
Kim Jae-hoon takes a shower before going to bed in his goshi-won. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Suwon, South Korea
The Wider Image: No money, no hope: S. Korea's 'Dirt Spoons' turn against Moon
Kim Jae-hoon takes a shower before going to bed in his goshi-won. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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