Go to contents

[Opinion] Politicians Who Love Golf

Posted September. 14, 2006 06:57,   


The history of golf often mentions its addictiveness. A good example is King James’ prohibition on golf in its birthplace, Scotland. At that time, Scotland was facing the threat of invasion from England, which borders it. Yet soldiers were addicted to golf and neglected training, so the king banned it. It seems that even the order of the king was futile as his son and grandson had to prohibit golf repeatedly when they both became kings.

Kim Hak-song, Gong Sung-jin, and Song Young-sun, Grand National Party members of the National Defense Committee, and other members of the committee were shot by a broadcasting company’s camera while enjoying golf and shouting “nice shot” at the Korean Marine Corps Headquarters’ golf course. They fled to the toilet when they were surprised by the camera shots. This happened on a weekday during a regular session of the National Assembly at the site of inspection. It has been less than two weeks since the GNP declared “Good Politics Campaign” along with a code of conduct that includes a ban on weekday golf outing. Of course, golf is addictive, and the GNP is notorious for being a “well-being party,” which does not hear the voices of the ordinary working Koreans. Yet it is lamentable that they are this much senseless and impatient.

The members of the committee went to the headquarters for a two-day tour to have members’ workshop and visited the site ahead of national inspection. They “translated” golf rounding as a “visit to training camp” on that day’s schedule. Also, they made an excuse that “they played golf to check the conditions and operation of the golf course, a military welfare facility.” Koreans are wondering if they take care of patients hospitalized in military hospitals and military medical facilities to check their condition and operation.

It is a sensitive moment when the public is concerned over the wartime operational control transfer with reserved generals and officers, former diplomats, and police chiefs issuing statements and gathering five million signatures. Representative Song once said at the GNP general meeting, “Even staking my life, I would stop efforts to regain wartime military operational authority.” It would have been more plausible for him to say that he felt the need to train his physique by playing golf to fight against OPCON resumption.

Gwon Sun-taek. Editorial Writer, maypole@donga.com