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The Year’s Political Speech Awards

Posted December. 24, 2005 03:00,   


Politicians are good at talking, and this year was no exception. Many politicians made headlines in 2005 with controversial statements.

If there were any awards in terms of politicians’ words, Lee Kye-jin, spokesman of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), should receive the Rookie of the Year award. Lee said, “I want to open an era of fun politics,” and since he took the position on November 21 as party spokesman, he has poured out distinctive and interesting remarks. On December 7, during the meeting of the finance and economy committee on legislation, Lee described the voting on the government’s real estate tax bill as “robbing a drunken man on the street who will be caught before running far.”

Cho Il-hyun, representative of the ruling Uri Party, who talked about the ratification of rice import deals, should win a Best Speaker award. Cho spoke with passion on the plenary assembly session on November 23, where many representatives were hurling reproaches and coming to blows, saying, “I am the son of a struggling farmer, but I firmly support the ratification.”

Nobody would object to Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan’s winning the Best Supporting Actor award which usually goes to an actor playing the villain’s part. Aside from his reproaching representatives of opposition parties, Lee said in May that there is no presidential material among governors and mayors. “I am a cut above in terms of politics. Governor of Gyeonggi Province Sohn Hak-kyu is not in my league,” said Lee.

President Roh Moo-hyun deserves a Best Actor award. President Roh came up with the issue of a grand coalition with the GNP in July and, in August, he stated that he could give up power as a whole, suggesting his stepping down from the presidential position. His remark threw political circles into a storm.

Rhyu Si-min of the Uri Party praised Chairperson of the GNP Park Geun-hye as a person who has leadership when the country was in a controversy over the notion of a grand coalition. Later, however, Rhyu criticized her. He also remarked that it does not matter if the Uri Party becomes an opposition party, incurring hatred within the party. Representative of the Democratic Labor Party Roh Hoe-chan called Rhyu “a beauty from 100 meters away,” meaning that he is popular among netizens but unpopular among his colleagues within the party. Representative Kim Hyun-mi of the Uri Party added that Rep. Rhyu has less than five incumbent representatives who support him. Rhyu should receive the 100m Beauty award.

Cho Ki-sook, senior presidential secretary for public information, is to receive the Yongbieocheonga (Korean epic poetry written in 1447) award since she mentioned in August that the president is in the 21st century but that Korean people are still under dictatorship.

Representative Joo Sung-young of the GNP said, “I did not drink boilermaker but I did drink a shot inside a beer glass,” creating confusion. He should receive the Ambiguous Speaker award.

Governor of the Gyeonggi Province Sohn Hak-kyu criticized the president, citing the Dong-A Ilbo’s cartoon for not addressing economic problems such as “Gyeong-Po-Dae” which means that the economy (Gyeongje) has been abandoned (Pogi) by the president (Daetongryeong). The ruling Uri Party hit back saying that Gyeong-Po-Dae means that the Gyeonggi Province has abandoned (Pogi) Governor Sohn as a presidential candidate (Daetongryeong Hubo). Sohn deserves the Buzz Word Creator award.

Kang-Myoung Chang taewon_ha@donga.com tesomiom@donga.com