Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 15 News List

What's the price of eternal youth? 青春永駐的代價

South Korea, in an effort to fight the effects of an aging population, plans to spend more than US$20 million (about NT$658 million) over the next 10 years to find out the secrets of eternal youth.

The point of spending so much money is to keep older people active in the economy for longer to make up for the country's rock-bottom birth rate. The money will be given to local scientists who are developing age-defying technologies.

Cho Seong-Chan, who is involved with the project, says that developing these technologies will also be a way for South Korea to earn foreign currency in the future.

The project reflects the nation's worries about its declining population and low birth rate. Birth rates are currently falling all over the world, but it is especially a problem in South Korea. People aged 65 or above will make up 37 percent of the population in 2050, which will cause a lot of economic problems.

One reason for the low birth rate is that many young people in the country are reluctant to give up careers to start a family. Some see children as an expensive burden on their lifestyles and careers. As a result, the country's fertility rate (the average number of children born to a woman who is physically able to have children) fell to a record low of 1.08 in 2005, which is much lower than the world average of 2.6. South Korea's population, which stands at 48 million this year, is forecast to fall to 40 million in 2050.(AFP)

為對抗人口老化,南韓計畫在未來十年斥資兩千萬美元(約新台幣六億五千八百萬元)找出青春永駐的祕訣。

挹注龐大經費的目的是希望延長年長者參與經濟活動的時間,以彌補南韓觸底的出生率。這筆經費將交給當地研發抗老科技的科學家。

參與這項計畫的曹盛承(音譯)表示,這些科技的研發也是未來南韓賺取外幣的方法之一。

這項計畫反映出南韓對人口數下滑和出生率降低的焦慮。全球出生率均處下滑的情況,但是南韓的情況特別嚴重,到二○五○年,六十五歲以上人口將佔總人口的37% ,這將導致許多經濟問題。

Today's Words 今天單字

1. age-defying adj.

抗老的 (kang4 lao3 de5)

例: This new age-defying face cream is supposed to make all your wrinkles go away.

(這款新的抗老面霜應能消除你所有皺紋。)

2. reflect v.i. /v.t.

反映 (fan3 ying4)

例: That statement reflects how little you know about politics.

(那段陳述顯示出你對政治一無所知。)

3. reluctant adj.

不情願的 (bu4 qing2 yuan4 de5)

例: It seems like a good job, but I am reluctant to work so far away from my house.

(這看似一份好工作,但我不願意到離家這麼遠的地方上班。)

4. burden n.

重擔 (zhong4 dan4)

例: The Smiths' unemployed son is a huge burden on them.

(史密斯家中失業的兒子是全家人沉重的負擔。)


年輕人不願意為了組織家庭而放棄事業是南韓出生率低的原因之一,有些人認為育兒對生活和職場都是昂貴的負擔,以致南韓生育率(育齡女性產育的平均子女數)在二○○五年跌到1.08的歷史新低點,比全球平均值2.6低得多。南韓今年人口數為四千八百萬,預計二○五○年時將下降至四千萬人。

(法新社╱翻譯︰鄭湘儀)

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