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[Editorial] This Chuseok, Some Want to “Scatter Salt in Anger.”

[Editorial] This Chuseok, Some Want to “Scatter Salt in Anger.”

Posted September. 25, 2004 21:38,   


Uri Party floor leader Chun Jeong-bae visited the Namdaemoon open market in Seoul prior to Chuseok, Korea’s Thanksgiving Day, but had to hear nothing more than frustrations from the merchants. He heard sayings such as, “Go back and take care of your policies,” and “Fact finding on past history is good, but revive our economy first.” Still, these comments were considered gentle compared to another angry voice he heard, saying “I want to scatter salt.” (“Scattering salt” means in Korean to disturb something wishing to ruin it. It is like sprinkling salt over a wound to augment the pain.)

These are the people’s voices. They are saying that reform is good, but first, improvements must be made regarding the hardships of our basic living. The Roh Moo-hyun administration promises, whenever possible, that it will remove anti-democratic and anti-reformist practices and correct maculation in our past history. The merchants’ frustrations, however, show that such agendas have failed to draw near to people’s hearts after all.

The administration should change its track if it hears such frustrations from people. How long will the administration cling to such slogans while putting aside real issues? Reform and liquidation should of course be carried out if necessary. Nonetheless, it is doubtful if it should be a task that the Roh administration has to put all its efforts in with utmost priority, today, at this point. In a public poll surveyed two weeks ago, nine out of 10 people chose economic recovery as a task that the president should focus on the most.

There are suspicions that the administration talks about “reform and liquidation,” but in fact all these are a part of its strategy to build a solid foundation of its power by dividing the nation into “my side” and “your side” under the aegis of the alleged ideals, “reform and liquidation.” It doesn’t seem completely irrelevant regarding such suspicions in which there have been incessant disputes on the identity of the administration.

It is natural that people feel insecure. When the political power appears to win the power struggle with outdated ideology disputes and by rummaging through our past history while the whole world is advancing far ahead of us, it is hard to expect our nation to be coordinated and united with each other to advance forward. Eventually, both people and the nation’s money will try to find nothing else but ways to get out of this country. Somebody should help us cut this cycle of such distrust and insecurity.

The solution is listening to people’s voices. It is necessary to give up the self-righteous attitude and arrogance thinking of “only I am right,” and “history is supposed to be led by few reformists,” and instead, listen to what people really want. One should meet with the people’s voices in a much more humble attitude during this occasion of Chuseok.