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MB Says “Thank You and Sorry”

Posted February. 23, 2008 05:30,   


The presidential transition committee of President-elect Lee Myung-bak officially ended its mission that had continued over the past two months on Friday. The committee, which made an official start at the Korea Banking Institute on Dec. 26 last year, had been working hard under the ‘No Holiday’ guideline.

▽ “Thank you and sorry”

President-elect Lee told the committee members, “I feel sorry for you and your families. You weren’t able to take a break even on holidays. Working for the transition committee is a battle. As the committee had to reap fruitful results in a very short period of time, your personal lives had to be inevitably limited.”

Lee particularly mentioned some of the committee members including Jin Hyeon-hwan of the Construction and Transportation Ministry affairs, who arranged his father’s funeral without telling others, Kim Yong-jin of the regulation reform taskforce, who could not go to see his ailing father and Lee Sang-hui, a secretary to the president-elect responsible for scheduling, who was unable to visit his elder sister suffering from a terminal cancer. Lee comforted them, saying “I thank you and I feel sorry for you.”

But Lee said that he would take a ‘moderate level of break’ at the presidential office. He said, “I will not work with no break over the next five years. Take a break after working hard. It is inefficient to work when you’re supposed to rest. A break is necessary for those who work hard.”

He added, “If those who work for the convenience of people work too much without taking a break, they could make the people tired too. All you need to do is work comfortably and efficiently.”

▽ “Those who are responsible should be held accountable.”

As for a series of accidents such as the fire on the national treasure Sungnyemun and the fire at the government complex, he said, “Those who are responsible should be held responsible and those who deserve credit should be complimented. As the administration changes and the political tendency changes compared to the past decade, the society seems to be loosened in this transitional period.”

He added, “Frequent accidents occur as social tension gets relaxed. It can also be seen as a process in which accumulated grievances are being let out.”

“In the past, several elementary school children got killed in a shooting spree in the U.S. If that had happened in Korea, the education minister let alone the school principal might have born the responsibility. (But in the U.S.), just one teacher was held responsible for the case. I think those who are really responsible bear the responsibility in the U.S. I think this is a part of advanced culture,” said Lee.

▽ Ending ceremony like a commencement

Lee said at the ceremony, “It is like a commencement. (You) must be feeling like students who are leaving the school, and committee chairwoman Lee Kyung-sook and I feel like the school principal who has to let go of the students.”

He added, “You will continue to be the transition committee members of the new administration and are like-minded comrades to each other. I believe that you will and must have more affection to the new administration than anyone else, if you go back to your own position.”

Some 300 people including the committee members and advisors attended the ceremony and chief administrator Baek Seong-wun played the role of MC.

The official end of the committee’s two-month long activity came with Chairwoman Lee Kyung-sook handing over the reports on the national tasks, regulation reforms and budget cuts, to the president-elect.

The chairwoman said in her address, “After finishing this job of 50, arduous days, I retire from this historical stage.”

▽ Exacting Two Months

Although the transition committee had been controversial for paying expensive fees for consulting and receiving free meals from people concerned, it is regarded successful in regard to the smooth transition without any major problem in a short period of time. The committee was reported 110 times from ministries and agencies during its briefing sessions that continued for ten days from Jan. 2.

Along with ‘No Holiday,’ meaning working hard, ‘Orange’ became another buzzword, when the chairwoman intended to pronounce it with a more accurate American accent emphasizing the importance of English education.