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As Elections Loom, Hairstyles Change

Posted January. 14, 2006 03:00,   


In the national convention races to elect a new leader for the ruling Uri Party, appoint cabinet members, and choose the party’s candidates for local elections, many politicians are changing their hairstyles.

Two former ministers, Chung Dong-young and Kim Geun-tae, who are considered to be the most promising Uri Party presidential candidates, have changed their hairstyles prior to the upcoming national convention in February.

Former minister Chung used to have his hair parted on the left side and slightly covering the right side of his forehead, but he showed up at the press conference to announce his running for the national convention to elect a party leader on January 11 with a new look in which he parted his hair on the right side. Mr. Chung explained he was given the makeover because he has lost much hair around his forehead, so he wanted to hide his hair loss.

The other former minister, Kim, let his hair grow longer, but he recently got a haircut so that now he has short hair. He complied with recommendations for a makeover from people close to him, saying, “Move away from the indecisive and easygoing image, and instead, make a strong impression.”

Mr. Kim modeled himself after British Prime Minister Tony Blair and started to let his hair grow during the Millennium Democratic Party’s primary to elect a candidate for the presidential election in the spring of 2002.

Lee Sang-su, nominated as the new labor minister, is often told recently that he looks younger. Whenever the new minister nominee hears this compliment, he cannot conceal his joyous smile, replying, “I have truly become younger.”

When Lee was released from the Seoul Detention Center in the autumn of 2004 after being imprisoned in the wake of the prosecution’s investigation into the presidential campaign funds, the new labor minister nominee underwent a procedure of implanting about 3,000 hair strands around the crown of his head. Lee followed in the footsteps of Representative Jang Young-dal, who also used to have scarce hair around the forehead, but has received compliments that he looks much younger after undergoing the hair transplants at a local hospital prior to the 17th general election in 2004.

Rep. Min Byoung-du, who announced to run for the primary that will select a candidate for the Seoul mayorship in the ruling Uri Party, has been attracting attention with his suddenly thick hair and fashionable horn spectacles, which are in vogue among the young generation.

Rep. Min said, “I am wearing my hair down in the front because my forehead was too broad. Now, I am really satisfied with the makeover because many people have complimented my new look for making me look younger and more intelligent.” It is said that advice from Rep. Park Young-sun, a former TV reporter, played a key role in Rep. Min’s transformation.