Go to contents

A proposed generational change

Posted December. 21, 2015 08:25,   


Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister in his 40s, has emerged as a “man with the sexist brain” among Koreans. Being popular for his good appearance like an actor, he is often said to have sexy and young thoughts. He made half his cabinet women, while two of ministers are indigenous and three are from foreign countries including India and Afghanistan. When a reporter asked him “Why?”, he said “It’s 2015!”. It remains to be seen whether his extraordinariness will create a new wave in politics or end up in failure.

Instead of such fresh news, Korea has only bad and gloomy news. For this year’s four-letter Chinese phrase, the Korean Professors’ Newspaper selected “Hon Yong Mu Do (昏庸無道)”meaning that the world is chaotic and confusing like being in the dark. It is a combination of a term coined from “Hon Goon(昏君)” and “Yong Goon (庸君),” referring to a foolish and incompetent ruler, and a term from “Cheon Ha Mu Do (天下無道)” in the Analects of Confucius, describing a world where people do not do what is right.

The second most voted phrase was “Sa Si Yi Bi (似是而非)." It means that it appears to be right on the surface but it is not right in essence. The phrase implies that although recent government policies appear to be for the people, they distort facts or falsify facts in fact. Professors became critical after a series of events, including the government’s incompetency in the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the self-righteousness of the country’s leadership that pushed for the state-authored history textbook, and damage done to the separation of the administrative, legislative and judiciary powers and parliamentarism. It is worrisome as even intellectuals do not trust the government and political leaders.

“Those in their 60s or older should put down their power. The Republic of Korea is getting more difficult to reform itself,” Seoul National University professor Song Ho-keun said at the 100th Korea Leaders Forum hosted by the National Academy of Engineering of Korea.“Those who led democracy are blocking political development and those who led industrialization are blocking economic development.” He claims that there should be a generational change as those in power cannot create a new paradigm being obsessed with their past success. We might see a repeat of the claim that those in their 40s should be the flagbearers, which opened a new chapter for the three Kims’ era in Korean politics 40 years ago.