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[Opinion] Karaoke in Cheong Wa Dae

Posted May. 30, 2004 22:31,   


People’s favorite songs reflect how they have lived and how they will live. Politicians, whose duty is to give morale to their companies, therefore, love to sing “Mannam,” which starts with words like: “We are meant to meet each other.” Previous presidents used to hold feasts together with their close aides at Cheong Wa Dae where Park Chung-hee was often singing “Hwangseong yetteo,” Chun Doo-hwan “Kimsatgat,” Roh Tae-woo “Besame Mucho,” and Kim Yong-sam and Kim Dae-jung, “Seonguja .” Even presidents of South Korea and Japan have held “Karaoke summit meetings” at Cheong Wa Dae.

Yesterday, the ruling Uri Parties lawmakers elected in the 17th general election and party standing committee members had a supper together at Cheong Wa Dae and held a song contest. After 26 female lawmakers boosted up atmosphere by singing “Mannam” together, President Roh Moo-hyun sang “Heogong” and after receiving an encore, sang his favorite song, “Busangalmaegi.” A thunderous round of applause cracked out. What was the most meaningful to participants was that about 30 fresh lawmakers were singing together the song “Nimeul wihan haengjingok.”

New generation lawmakers who took part in this supper delivered their feeling through the internet as follows. “At Cheong Wa Dae, even with the president, ‘Nimeul wihan haengjingok’ was spreading beyond the Cheong Wa Dae garden to all over the Korean peninsula. Who can imagine that we would finally enjoy such a day? The song that if you sang, you would be accused of being an anti-government figure or a communist and end up in prison, is now being sung by lawmakers at the center of South Korea, Cheong Wa Dae.

More surprising is that Uri Party’s new chairman, Shin Ki-nam, sang Yoon Bok-hee’s “Utneun eolgul dajeonghaedo (smiley face is sweet though).” Its words are: “I cannot trust, even though you are warm-hearted, because I knew you changed as time went by, even though it is enjoyable to talk with you, such whispering will be forgotten when you turn back, thus, I cannot trust you,” Noticing such lyrics are not that normal, a contest master covered such an awkward moment by saying: “I did not give him enough time to select songs.” Now that lawmakers sing together a song for demonstrations and the chairman of the ruling party are singing “Utneun eolgul dajeonghaedo (smiley face is sweet though)” in front of the president, it is definitely true that we are living in a completely different world from the past.

Editorialist Oh Myeong-cheol oscar@donga.com