Gapjil: Punching Down Gangnam Style

What is “Gapjil”?

Korean contracts usually specify two parties, Party A and Party B, and sometimes a third, Party C. In Korean, these are “Gap (갑),” “Eul (을),” and “Byeong (병).”

A lease agreement I translated recently was clear about the nature of the relationship between these parties, its contractual language defining an unbalanced distribution of power that enables gapjil, acting like a Gap, like a Party A. The agreement let Party A get away with economic abuse if not quite murder, making Party B dependent on the kindness of Party A.

Dependence is never a good idea even when dealing with an empathetic human being. If Party A is a soulless corporation, though, one managed by executives pursuing quarterly bonuses and short-term goals, then being Party B on a contract may mean suffering the whims of people made cruel by their higher status in a power relationship, by being Party A.

So gapjil is what a person with power does when being a dick to someone without power. Why? Because they can, because they see themselves as Party A, the alpha in the relationship.

Gapjil is punching down, Gangnam style.

Exvangelical skeptic, Korean-English translator (http://www.korean-english.com), stressed-out freelancer, wandering wonderer, human in search of meaning

Exvangelical skeptic, Korean-English translator (http://www.korean-english.com), stressed-out freelancer, wandering wonderer, human in search of meaning