To a Westerner this might seem like an innocent ritual that will indeed strengthen the team, but in an environment where denying a drink might mean a bad performance review the next day, ‘hoesik’ starts looking less naive.
Starting with beer often mixed with soju, the local rice-based liquor, the dinner continues with whiskey and so on.
“At my first hoesik, we started out with everyone filling a beer glass with soju, and downing it on the spot. That was just the beginning," a Korean American shared his first shocking corporate dinner experience for CNN.
Hoesik is not a simple dinner, though. You have to adhere to local customs, not drinking before seniors and holding cups and bottle with two hands. And most importantly - not saying no to offered drinks. The Koreans even have separate words: ‘beolju’ for forcing drinks on others, and ‘sabalju’ for mixing up beverages.
The weirdness does not end here. Often times, wannabe employees would have to fill up a document when applying for a job, saying how much of the soju drink they can take during hoesik while remaining fit for conversation.
Now, with this ample introduction to Korean customs, you can probably better understand why Samsung wants to limit the ritual for its employees. The company is trying to fight this alcoholism that turns off new hires with a new strict rule, the 1-1-9.
The first ‘1’ stands for one sitting as opposed to bar hopping, the second ‘1’ means only one type of alcohol allowed rather than mixing drinks, and the ‘9’ is for 9pm, the time when it should be all over. Not a bad start, is it?
source: Wall Street Journal, CNN