People Power Party (PPP) Lawmaker Kim Sung-won said, “Honestly, I wish that it were raining now because it must make for a nice photo,” on Thursday when he visited a traditional market in Sadang-dong, Dongjak-gu, an area that was inundated by muddy rainwater following a shocking downpour a few days ago. Despite being on an official visit to help recover the affected area, he made such an improper remark during conversation with his colleagues. It is only an appalling occasion to see how carelessly and imprudently this second-time lawmaker of the ruling party behaved although he represents Dongducheon and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province which have often been victimized by water damage.
Merchants, completely frustrated and mentally devastated by the flood, were busy laying their belongings damaged by the rain flat to dry and clearing muddy stuff off the ground with a deep sigh at that moment. Unbelievably, Kim made a remark that no sane person could ever think of in the middle of such a disastrous situation. His choice of the word “honestly” only highlights his hidden intentions to take advantage of the catastrophic site as an opportunity to promote his engagement as a lawmaker.
A closer look at the controversial moment only leaves us dumbfounded. Right after Kim’s improper remarks, PPP floor leader Kwon Sung-dong looked up the skies and murmured, “It’s better not to rain, though.” Choi Chun-sik, PPP lawmaker of Pocheon and Gapyeong in Gyeonggi Province, replied, “Unless the Soyang Dam overflows.” Former PPP floor leader Na Kyung-won, currently serving as the leader of the area’s party member council, even made a long greeting speech. A merchant yelled and complained about this group of politicians getting in his way.
The most horrific downpour in 115 years left 12 dead and 7 missing with 3,800 residential and commercial buildings flooded severely. The whole nation is left in sorrow hearing news that a family of three including a lady with developmental disabilities drowned to death in a banjiha or semi-basement house. Kim said, “Let me apologize sincerely,” promising to quit serving as the ruling party’s administrator in the National Assembly Special Committee on Budget and Accounts. However, he is supposed to take it more seriously than he made a mere apology. If the controversy ends up with a punitive sanction in name only to be given to him, this shallow trick will only make public enragement further elevate. It is doubtful that he deserves to be part of the ruling party given how careless and thoughtless he comes across. That may explain why lawmakers are being mocked for not benefiting but harming the public. There should be a high level of punishment including the cancelation of his party membership.
In the meantime, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was embroiled in controversy over working home amid the floods in the capital city while the Presidential Office came under fire for posting card-type news content to show the President visiting the banjiha dwelling damaged by rainwater in Shinrim-dong. What’s worse, President Yoon’s approval ratings have dropped to the 20 percent range, putting the administration’s risk management capabilities to test. The PPP’s temporary leader Joo Ho-young made an excuse for Kim’s faux pas, saying, “Kim must have said so mischievously.” He is also supposed to look back on how silly his excuse may sound.