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Ahn Cholsu on the Healing Camp

One of the *possible* presidential candidates “Ahn Cholsu (or Chulsoo)” appeared on the Korean TV Show of some gravitas “Healing Camp” and has started garnering the momentum needed for a possible candidacy.

Here is one of the news articles in Korean in which it tries to quantify what he said in the interview about “The number of people who agree with me” into “interest” and “support”. If “interest” (due to his relatively limited exposure) were to be measured by his book sales and viewing ratings, then the conclusion is that it is on the increase.

Having watched the interview, my intial thoughts are that though he did not bowl me over (which is good, overflowing charisma is often a bad thing in the end) on the other hand, I would be not so embarrassed about South Korea if he were to become the President. He advocates that his political ideal is neither 보수(conservative) nor 진보(progressive) but 상식(common sense). This certainly sounds sweet to the ears of many who have given up that anything in South Korea(n politics) could have anything to do with “common sense”.

The running question in the interview was whether he would run or not – he slyly left it upto the people (after reading his book in which he lays out his ideas ^^) to tell him whether he should.

It would be a mammoth, impossible task for somebody like him to win against the 보수꼴통 base, especially if he does not get the support from the rest of the candidates (Moon & Sohn), without splitting the vote. One thing that is certain in Korea is that nothing is impossible.

I will include a brief background on him in my next post if he decides to run.

  • Chris

    I read one interview in which he said his idea to reduce youth unemployment was to tell Hyundai and Samsung to hire more workers. After that I concluded that he was an idiot.

  • yuna

    #1 that maybe, do you have a link to the interview?
    I thought he was a bit of an idiot after the Angry Birds video myself. I don’t like overuse of fad-simile.

  • cm

    In another interview, he blamed South Korea for bad relationship with North Korea, advocating to continue the Sunshine policy.

    It’s the same old same old leftism, Roh style. Nothing new here.

    But unfortunately young Koreans may fall for this guy not because of substance, but because of the knight riding to the rescue image that we saw back in 2002, with Mr. Roh. Lesson never learned.

  • characteristic

    A pretty rich guy… can’t he afford to get a decent haircut?

  • Patrick

    As appealing as candidates outside the political sphere are, they tend to have no idea how to govern and it’s becoming increasingly clear ACS falls into that category. For all his talk of being neither liberal nor conservative, it’s pretty clear he’s firmly the former, and many of the positions he’s coming out with now were attempted by Roh and failed, particularly the Sunshine policy.

    I think he’s savvy enough to know that his support lies in not actually being a politician, which is why he’s waiting so long to declare, but once he does and his aura of independence fades, his support will probably collapse.

  • Mryouknowwho

    When does the horse betting begin around here?

  • cm

    The Jinbo party has failed the expulsion of Lee Seok Ki and Kim Jae Yeon who have cheated their way into party leadership. The roots of Jongbuk movement is very deep in South Korea’s left movement. If Ahn is going to be the new DUP candidate, he’s going to have to explain this and his party’s alliance with the pro-North Korean party. It’s like Obama’s Democratic party allying itself with a party that supports America’s enemy(s).

  • Q

    A pretty rich guy… can’t he afford to get a decent haircut?

    Yes, he is a rich guy and he made donation of his stock that worths 1500 억원 (about $ 131 Million).

  • Chris

    @ 2. I read that article months ago. I can’t remember if it was in he Joon an ilbo or chosun ilbo or the korean times. I”m a bit lazy so I’m not going go dig around for it.
    I think he has a point about engaging with North Korea economically. I don’t think letting China be the only one in there is a good idea. But most of his ideas seems to close to Roh’s, and he was pretty much a disaster.

  • Cloud

    @4 You can tell the really rich guys from the merely rich by their bad haircuts; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump?

  • characteristic

    #9 – yeah, and just like Donald Trump, ACS could turn out to be a buffoon… I guess he’s not alone among presidential candidates when his pronouncements or solutions to society’s problems are pretty inane, like “hire more people”, “dialogue with the North” (as if they’d negotiate anything in good faith), or whatever. But he’s supposed to be different from the rest, or so the people in Korea would like to believe.

    I wonder if he’s more scheming or Machiavellian than meets the eye… or he could just be a learned fool, an innocent academic who’ll get eaten alive by the more ruthless politicos.

  • R. Elgin

    You guys mention Roh as a failure but I really feel for that man. When every button you push leads to disaster but you make the decision and press, not really seeing ahead . . .

  • Chris

    There were a number of things that I think Roh did that were good. But as far a foreign policy and North Korea was concerned he didn’t have much success.

  • Q

    just like Donald Trump, ACS could turn out to be a buffoon

    Mr. Trump inherited real estate from his father, while Dr. Ahn made his own fortune out of computer virus vaccine (V3 series) development after graduating medical school. He would be closer to Bill Gates — except Mr. Gates gave up formal education at Harvard — rather than Mr. Trump.

    He is a successful businessman and a scholar teaching at graduate school. He is in every way a great role model that his speech always attracts so many young people.