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A Precious Vote, Can`t be Any Abstention

Posted December. 18, 2002 22:18,   


Today is the 16th Presidential Election Day. A youngest female university student, a North Korean defector, who are voting for the first time in this Big Election, and an oldest couple who stated that this might be their `last vote`, have given their words that they will definitely exercise their voting rights. Although there are differences in age and circumstances, they all have the same determination to exercise their precious voting rights. Here are their cherished opinions and impressions facing the presidential election.

# The young first time voter

“The election? Of course, I`m going to vote!”

Ji-Won Lee (20), a sophomore at the College of International Studies at Ewha Womans University, is one of the youngest voters who received her voting eligibility for the first time in her life in this Big Election. Born on December 20th of 1982, she is one of the 2831 people who received the voting eligibility just by one-day difference.

Lee, who stated, “I feel like I`ve finally became an adult after getting the voting right”, have been paying a careful attention to the newspapers and TV debates even during her Final Examinations held last week. She even had numerous debates with her friends until late nights. She`s been `examining the suitable president` according to her view.

Lee spent her 6 years of middle & high school years in Malaysia with her dad who worked in a construction company, thus has different sentiments facing this election compare to many others. It`s because, for the first time, she could practice her `love for the home country`, felt when she was outside of Korea, by participating in this election.

# The North Korean Defector voter

“Because I had such a hardship living in China without any identification, I felt like flying when I received my resident card with three letters of my name on it after my defection to the South. I have that very same feeling facing my first election as a proud Korean resident”.

Chang-Su Ji (39), who has received his resident card in July after the defection, had tears in his eyes when asked his thoughts about the election. It`s because of his family still remaining in the North Korea.

Ji has escaped from On Sung County, Northern Ham Kyung Province, North Korea in 1997 with the will to `eat and live`. However, he went through the vicissitudes of life because he was caught by a Chinese officer and was sent back to the North Korea but later successfully escaped again. He was able to come to the South Korea in April of this year through the Korean Embassy in Mongolia.

Ji, currently working at a mobile phone accessories factory, said, “We had to elect a person appointed by the party. I could feel the importance and the dignity of the exercising the voting rights since I can select according to my own will.”

# Voters in their nineties

“I must not skip this election because this might be the last one!”

Dal Sung Lee (Hongje 1-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul), born in 1904 becomes 100 years old in Korean age next year but has firmly stated that he will definitely participate in this election.

The polling station, Hong Kwang Church of Hongje 1-dong, is located about 700 meters away from his residence. It will take more than 20 minutes of walking by his slower steps with cane but he is planning to walk to the station, thinking it as an exercise. He said, “I`m going to go with my wife holding hands.”

This old grandfather Lee, who is the oldest voter among the over 280,000 eligible voters of the Seodaemun District, has not missed any single election since the establishment of the government. He stated that he has been participating in all the elections since the first one at the age of 50, but has not seen a peaceful and quite election such as this year`s one.

When he was asked if he has already decided who to vote, he answered, “Yes, I`ve decided already.”and his wife, Hyo Hyun Bak, saved her words.

When the grandfather Lee said, “My wife is going to elect the same candidate. We have been electing the same candidate on every election. You don`t even need to ask.”, the grandmother Bak replied, “At that time, I said I`ve elected the same candidate because I was scared of you but there were times when I elected different candidates.”

This old couple did not forget to include, “Whoever becomes the president, we wish he will make a nice country for our grandchildren`s sake.”