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First lady of Seoul

Posted May. 30, 2014 01:40,   


The United States calls the wife of its president "first lady" and that of the vice president "second lady." The wife of a state governor is called the state`s first lady. In the same logic, the Seoul mayor`s wife is the first lady of the capital city of Korea. The country has no vice president, and its prime minister and cabinet ministers are not elected officials. Therefore, the wife of the Seoul mayor can be called second lady of the country.

Kang Nan-hee, the wife of Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, is hardly visible in public. According to the Dong-A Ilbo`s file photo database, there are only two photos of her casting a ballot with her husband for the 2012 presidential election in December 2012 and working for Seoul`s Red Cross organization in January 2012. Citizens wonder why Park is seldom accompanied by his wife. There are unconfirmed rumors related to her cosmetic surgery. Even if she touched up her face, why it should be an issue in today`s world.

In the case of Chung Mong-joon, the ruling Saenuri Party`s candidate for Seoul mayor, some people say they support him not because of Chung himself but because of his wife, Kim Young-myeong. She has been actively involved in her husband`s bid for Seoul mayor, joining Chung`s campaign trails or participating in various volunteer activities in a stark contrast with Park`s wife. Kim, who is beautiful and a daughter of former Foreign Minister Kim Dong-jo, studied political science at Wellesley College in the U.S., which ordinary citizens might have prejudices against her. But she does not mind it, sincerely assisting her husband by his side.

A first lady is not an official position in any country but is a de facto official figure because she could have a significant influence by talking to her husband in the bedroom. Although men claim to dominate the world, it is women who dominate men. Mayor Park said that his wife will accompany him on the election day to vote. We hope that all unnecessary controversies about the mayor`s wife will be addressed. Should Seoul citizens not be able to see the first lady of their city more often?

Editorial Writer Song Pyeong-in (pisong@donga.com)