When I was a senior high school student in Korea, sometimes the teachers did a hair auditing without notice. A student life guidance teacher dropped by all the classrooms and measured a length of each student with a ruler and cut the hair of a student with long hair to construct “a highway” immediately based on the specific length designated by school.
If a rumor of hair auditing is around in classroom, many students were very frustrated and did not know what to do. Especially, the students who liked playing rather than studying were in trouble. In the golden age of boasting oneself with good hair style and stylish clothes, a hair auditing was a very unfriendly uninvited guest.
When a hair auditing starts, a student life guidance teacher is visiting and asking the students to lock a back door of classroom for the students not to get out. Several sighs are heard in a classroom here and there. Usually, one volunteering student was chosen by a teacher among the students and he was supposed to help a teacher in cutting hair of the students by following him with a dustpan to collect cut hairs. One day, a certain student tried to avoid the situation of being cut by volunteering to become an assistant of the teacher who visited his class because his hair was quite long. But, the teacher found that his hair was long at the last moment and his hair was cut recklessly regardless of his trick. All the students smiled with laughter all at once.
I do not know why I want to have a long hair when I am forced to have a short hair like a blue frog with resistance as you can see in a certain fairly tale. Probably, the young senior high school students did not want to be restricted in their out-of-school activities as the adolescents and wanted to become the adults as soon as possible to enjoy more freedom in their diverse daily activities. In fact, some flexibilities of allowing liberal hair styles could be possible, but that kind of freedom was not given to the students until their graduation.
Becoming a college student, I had a really long hair. It was a kind of my own silent resistance or demonstration. When I think about it now, I smile a little bit bitterly. Now, I do not have any reasons to have a long hair considering sanitization and appearance factors. I think keeping good hair style is a very important one in appearance.
In the era of the Korean Empire, the government issued Topknot Cutting Edict according to the current of Western influence and it made a whole country in turmoil. Considering the episodes of measuring and cutting the hairs of young people in the streets by the policemen, I think the history revolves. In my opinion, a hair auditing is a violation of human rights in the realm freedom of personal appearance.
November 9, 2011