Friday, March 03, 2006

More on Representative Choi

Earlier, I posted about South-eastern Gangwon's federal representative being in trouble for grabbing a reporter's breasts. The case is ongoing and a little strange. I have learned that I am not really don't care about political issues but this one, at least peripherally, impacts Gangwondo so I feel I can discuss it.

From the article:
Rep. Choi Yeon-hee, who is being criticized for sexually harassing a female reporter during a drinking bout last Friday, has not resigned from his parliamentary seat despite strong demands for him to step down. ... But the prosecutor-turned-lawmaker elected in Kangwon Province has not yet expressed his intention to resign. Rep. Huh Tae-yeol, who was appointed the GNP's new secretary general in replacement of Choi, told a radio interview that Choi seemed to be in a ``state of panic"and was mulling over his next steps.

This actually seems fair. If it becomes a legal matter, that's a different story, but at present, it is only the story of a drunk. It seems to be an important situation for Choi but it really is not a national issue.

But some lawmakers added fuel to the growing public anger by seemingly defending Choi. Rep. Hahn Kwang-won of the ruling Uri Party faced strong backlash when he wrote on his website that the GNP lawmaker is being denounced unilaterally without being given a chance to explain himself. ``It is natural that everyone who sees a beautiful flower is tempted to enjoy its smell and touch it", he wrote.

Gee, maybe it should be a national issue if this is the style of defense. There are pretty girls everywhere; well, perhaps someone should find Hahn's wife or daughters, if any, and enjoy their smell and feel. According to his own turn-of-phrase, he may even be able to think of such attention to his wife as a compliment, "They think my wife is a beautiful flower".
I may need to backtrack here and eat my words a little: of course the above is meant to be taken as sarcasm; stay away from Hahn's family. He may even simply be an unfortunate man in the difficult position of having to defecolleaguelegue as best he can. Still, a wiser choice of words is surely indicated. My last word on this subject: is it possible that we are seeing a bad translation?

... Rep. Chung Eui-hwa, a GNP lawmaker, also faced criticism when he argued that Choi is a ``scapegoat of uncivil drinking culture", and it is not appropriate to ``kill a great person with a kangaroo court."

I agree; this is not a national problem. Voters can show their opinion in the next election and a real court can take steps if the reporter chooses that option.

My only fear or concern is that the reporter might be gagged by her own newspaper leadership to keep lines open with politicians. If the politicians want to keep this a small, personal sort of matter, they should abstain from any meddling with the newspaper's executive.

Basically, I am done with Mr Choi. So is the article. It goes on to discuss another government official; the unluckiest golfer in the world.

Meanwhile, the GNP tried to deflect the public's anger by pointing at another scandal involving a top government official of the ruling camp. Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan is facing familiar criticism, as opposition parties launched vituperative comments after a report that Lee played a round of golf Wednesday, which marked the 87th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule. ... In April last year, Lee faced trouble as it was known that he played golf on Arbor Day, when a big fire was spreading in Kangwon Province. In July, Lee played golf on Cheju Island when torrential rain was causing damage in the nation's southern region.

It might bother me if Mr. Lee learned about the Naksan fire and then chose to play golf; but not much. I have personal knowledge of that fire (link) and there were enough people there to handle it before it went out of control - they were simply badly organized. Is the prime-minister a fireman as well?
And how dare the PM play golf when it was raining in another part of the country?

Maybe, as PM, he shouldn't have played golf during an important national holiday, but that's what holidays are for.

BTW, what does a PM do in a country without royalty? The US doesn't have a PM, does it? We Canadians do, but we also have a queen.

Finally, a little background for my mother (and maybe a few others); golf is seen as a rich man's sport and representatives shouldn't legally have enough money for the sport. If they play golf, the general perception is that they must be making secret deals or accepting bribes as well.

1 comment:

Suzanne White said...