Go to contents

Professors Pick Proverb of the Year

Posted December. 24, 2004 22:32,   


“Dangdongbeori” was picked as the proverb that best summarizes this year, which was loaded with social and political conflicts. The proverb refers to people who closely band with their kind and attack others.

On December 24, an article in Professors Newspaper said that 162 professors who work as columnists in major newspapers were asked what they think is the proverb that best sums up Korean society in 2004, and 19.8 percent of them chose “Dangdongbeori.”

In the same survey last year, “UwangJoiwang,” which refers to people who move back and forth and can’t decide which direction to head in, was picked, as Korean society were unstable on the whole, with the new administration.

The source of “Dangdongbeori” is an old Chinese history book. At the time when the Han dynasty was going downhill, politicians formed factions to attack and ostracize those who had different political minds. As this trend caught on, the dynasty was ruined. This proverb was frequently mentioned in the middle period of the Joseon dynasty when it was embroiled in factional conflicts.

Professors Newspaper analyzed that the reason for this choice may be because Korean society, as well as the political community, was split and conflicted on issues such as impeachment of the president, relocation of the administrative capital, and process of the four reform bills including the National Security Law.

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com