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Park Geun-hye visits Roh Moo-hyun’s grave

If you ever wondered what would be Korea’s equivalent of Mitt Romney addressing the NAACP, you have the answer now. On August 21, Park Geun-hye, the now-official presidential candidate for the New Frontier Party, visited Bong-ha village to pay her respects to the grave of former president Roh Moo-hyun. Park also visited Gweon Yang-sook, widow of former president Roh.

As expected, the visit did not go quietly, as many supporters of Roh still harbor the sense that the current NFP administration drove Roh to suicide in the course of investigating a trumped-up bribery charge. Several supporters of Roh were seen picketing Park’s visit. They were greeted with jeers by hundreds of Park supporters who appeared at the site.

Leading progressive candidates cautiously welcomed Park’s visit. Moon Jae-in said it was a good thing that Park visited, but wished that it was more than a formalistic visit. Kim Du-gwan similarly said Park did well to visit, but hoped that it was more than a political performance.

  • DLBarch

    It’s good to see TK back at MH. Must be a Washington in August thing!

    Though not a big PGH fan, my own thinking is that these visits were a brilliant political gesture, and equally brilliant political theater. The imagery is almost Reaganesque.

    I won’t speculate as to whether there was any genuine sincerity in these visits, but the tone was pitch-perfect. Coming just a few months after 2MB’s annual snub of the 5.18 memorial, the contrast could not be more tailor-made for the fall campaign.

    It also raises the image (if not substance) of a potentially unifying national figure that Korea’s political Left is going to have a tough time matching. I assume that no one from the DUP is planning on visiting PCH’s grave anytime soon, or ever.

    There are good reasons for that, by the way, not least of which is that Roh Moo-hyun was no Park Chung-hee.

    But the PGH imagery is compelling…and a real political coup.

    DLB

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    It also raises the image (if not substance) of a potentially unifying national figure that Korea’s political Left is going to have a tough time matching.

    Ahn Cheol-soo can probably match that without putting on a show like this one.

  • DLBarch

    It might be my Moon Jae-in bias, but I still just don’t “get” the Ahn phenomenon.

    I’m sure I’m missing something, and maybe it’s just the shear distance of trying to stay current on Korean politics from sunny California. But Ahn’s popularity seems to have a staying power that I would have thought had a limited shelf-life just six months ago.

    Maybe it’s time to take another look.

    DLB

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    But Ahn’s popularity seems to have a staying power that I would have thought had a limited shelf-life just six months ago.

    Heard a very interesting bit from a little birdie the other day about why that is the case — which I will share when the time is right. I am still more in favor of MJI, but I am now a believer of ACS’s staying power.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    It also raises the image (if not substance) of a potentially unifying national figure that Korea’s political Left is going to have a tough time matching

    I can think of a good one. But since the flavor of the day is coy, I won’t say what it is either. But here’s a hint: MJI is the only leftist candidate who successfully could make it, and even for him it would be a very politically cynical move indeed. If you can’t guess right, you have no business following, let alone commenting on korean politics.

    As for Ahn, I’ve now been away from the ROK and ROK news for almost three blissful weeks in Helsinki and Tallinn, and korean politics (and the alleged KWave) just isn’t even on the radar, but unless something has happened in that time that I should know about, nothing I’ve seen from Ahn so far suggests he’s presidential timber (more like presidential splinter or tinder).

  • DLBarch

    Sorry, Spewer, but I’m gonna call bullshit on the “If you can’t guess what I’M thinking then YOU don’t know anything about Korean politics.”

    Unless, of course, you’re thinking that Moon Jae-in should repudiate the Sunshine Policy and then swim to Dokdo.

    In that case, ya got mad skills, brah!

    DLB

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Nope, but by “you”, I meant “one” – not necessarily your honorable self. ;)

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    But, of course, you now may have earned the “you”. ;)

  • jkitchstk

    After everyone being worn out from the hate Japan fest what a wonderful transition to the next step.

  • Hamilton

    “As expected, the visit did not go quietly, as many supporters of Roh still harbor the sense that the current NFP administration drove Roh to suicide in the course of investigating a trumped-up bribery charge.”

    Does anyone with a sliver of integrity really think NMH wasn’t corrupt?

    As I recall the investigators tripped over huge bags of money, expensive gifts and real estate everywhere they looked. Here’s my unofficial recollection of NMH’s excuse list:

    “Uh, my wife took a boat load of money but I didn’t know about it, it’s her fault…”
    “Uh, my press secretary took a boat load of money he says he took for me but I didn’t know…”
    “Uh, my brother took money but I didn’t know..”
    “Uh, sure my kids live in a multi-million dollar apartment in the US that I didn’t buy and go to expensive schools I’m not paying for and they didn’t take out loans for but I didn’t know about it…”
    “Uh, sure my library and home cost millions of dollars I didn’t earn but I didn’t know how they were paid for…”
    “Uh, sure people gave me several $20,000 watches and whatnot but I dropped that all in a rice paddy that no one can find so I’m not corrupt…”
    “Someone stop the Lee Myung Bak investigators from Railroading me!”

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #10,
    You forgot:

    “I know I spent a fortune in taxes subsidizing the development of affordable housing in Seoul, but I swear I didn’t know the construction companies would charge so much per unit.”

    “I don’t know how you got the figure of 5 million dollars for my supposed “compound”. What are you talking about, it’s a modest farm house! ”

    “Missing hard drives? What hard drives?”

  • hamel

    As for Ahn, I’ve now been away from the ROK and ROK news for almost three blissful weeks in Helsinki and Tallinn, and korean politics (and the alleged KWave) just isn’t even on the radar

    Sorry Sperwer, but as much as I would love to hear about your trip to the Balkanstics, I’mahafta to call BS on that mean-spirited jab at the so-called “alleged KWave”.

    Allow me to share with you a Gangnam Style homage that was filmed in Helsinki, possibly while you were there, and has already garnered 80,000 views in less than 10 days.

    Enjoy.

  • hardyandtiny

    What? NAACP? Park addressed a group of racists?

  • Q

    I like both PGH and ACS because, unlike other politicians, PGH and ACS rarely bash other politicians. They have sense of respect and graciousness. If PGH vs. MJI in this presidential election, I would vote for PGH. In case PGH vs. ACS, I’d vote for ACS.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Hamel:

    The Baltic states are not the Balkans, particularly those that regard themselves as Nordic rather than Baltic or Scandanavian; Estonia – or at least the medieval town in the middle of Tallinn – is quite nice too.

    Hey, part of that parody was shot in the small shopping mall next to Helsinki University where I get my morning coffee. I’ve become quite friendly with the girls at Robert’s Coffee and, while they saw the video being shot, they had no idea what it was about or that it had anything do to with Korea.

    How popular do you really think a parody video made by some local Koreans with a few Suomi stooges is? You Tube hits? Really? Even with a generous allowance for comments left by Finns in English, a random perusal of the comments indicates a very small percentage of Finnish commenters (as opposed to Korean nutizens and assorted other victims of Soju syndrome). Just as scientific, I suppose, is my asking every Finnish student I’ve seen over the past three weeks about the Korean Wave, which – with 3, count ‘em, exceptions – elicited questioning blank stares. Ditto for the Norwegians, Danes, Lithuanians, Germans, Brazilians, Ecuadorians, Swedes and Finns in my class. One Belgian girls was aware of the phenomenon, and deplored it, another had never heard of it. But hey, maybe like Korean demands for more Japanese apologies, things will change. Naw.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    To give credit to psy’s sudden popularity to the supposed korean wave is bs. he made a funny music video. he and the director deserve all the credit.

  • Q

    Some Swedish seem to be into Gangnam style:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo7NJdDgRN8&feature=related

  • hamel

    Sperwer, I know that in this life I will never be able to “tell you” anything, and you haven’t disappointed. Here we go:

    The Baltic states are not the Balkans,

    I know that; I wasn’t suggesting that they were.

    Hey, part of that parody was shot in the small shopping mall next to Helsinki University where I get my morning coffee. I’ve become quite friendly with the girls at Robert’s Coffee and, while they saw the video being shot, they had no idea what it was about or that it had anything do to with Korea.

    That’s great! Thanks to you, they now do.

    How popular do you really think a parody video made by some local Koreans with a few Suomi stooges is?

    Um, did you see the video? I didn’t see any Koreans involved in its making at all. If you mean the Asian guy, he isn’t Korean. The director appeared to be a white guy named Patrick. Perhaps they are a bunch of international students who are in Helsinki temporarily, rather than “Suomi stooges.” But I am not surprised you might think that they are the latter. Do you really imagine Koreans all round the world rounding up some lackeys and paying them/convincing them to make PSY homage videos?

    Most of the international parodies/homages I have seen have not been made by Koreans, with the exception of the Chicago Style one.

    You Tube hits? Really?

    Actually, I think that iTunes sales figures outside Korea, Nellie Furtago singing Gangnam Style (in English) at a concert in the Philippines, this comment from iMe as well as the incident that prompted it, taken together with the hits on Youtube and the media attention outside Korea (maybe prompted by Koreans badgering CNN and that Houston TV station?) constitute something significant.

    Even with a generous allowance for comments left by Finns in English, a random perusal of the comments indicates a very small percentage of Finnish commenters (as opposed to Korean nutizens and assorted other victims of Soju syndrome).

    Right. Those Korean nutizens. Isn’t that phrase somewhat tautological?

    Just as scientific, I suppose, is my asking every Finnish student I’ve seen over the past three weeks about the Korean Wave, which – with 3, count ‘em, exceptions – elicited questioning blank stares. Ditto for the Norwegians, Danes, Lithuanians, Germans, Brazilians, Ecuadorians, Swedes and Finns in my class. One Belgian girls was aware of the phenomenon, and deplored it, another had never heard of it. But hey, maybe like Korean demands for more Japanese apologies, things will change. Naw.

    Heaven knows I am not a fan of Korean pop music for the most part. Maybe you are right, and maybe the K-pop/K-wave phenomenon is nothing but a beat-up by the Korean government, and is completely limited to Korean nutizens living or studying overseas and their very few Yellow-fever-prone friends. But I don’t believe that this is the case anymore.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Hamel:

    A couple of girls in my class – a Brazilian and an Ecuadorian – regularly tell-off this unrepentant Norte Americano. Maybe if you started wearing a skirt?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    sperwer,

    do you teach bro?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    And, for the record, I actually like some Korean pop music; the shrill and incessant promotion of it’s boosterific mission civilisatrice, not so much.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @20, not as a regular thing and not in korea, but I pinch hit once and awhile

  • hamel

    A couple of girls in my class – a Brazilian and an Ecuadorian – regularly tell-off this unrepentant Norte Americano. Maybe if you started wearing a skirt?

    I doubt that any of it will change your made-up mind.

    And, for the record, I actually like some Korean pop music; the shrill and incessant promotion of it’s boosterific mission civilisatrice, not so much.

    Retrospective projection?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    “made-up mind” – hardly, although I do behave as though it is

    retrospective projection – eh, wot? i genuinely don’t get what you’re at

  • Jashin Densetsu

    sperwer,

    how short are the gigs? i think the shortest contracts i’ve heard about in south america are like 6 months or something.

  • hamel

    I am yet to see anything from Korea that suggests that it sees its cultural exports as some kind of “mission civilisatrice”.

    We have seen that from western nations in the past, though, so I was wondering if you weren’t projecting back onto Korea an expectation that she is now trying to do the same thing that the US, Europe, Great Britain et al did back in the colonial era.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @25 I don’t teach English; I give lectures at conferences from time to time in another humanities discipline

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Hamel:

    I don’t have the references ready to hand – we can talk about it when I get back – but there is plenty of evidence about the Korean ambition to do just that, not only in the less-developed world but also in some respects in the “advanced” countries of the West

  • hamel

    Sperwer: I would be interested in seeing those references.

    BUT, that being said, even if it is true in some cases, I doubt that this is what PSY is seeking to do with his Gangnam Style. Have you seen the video? Do you believe he is aiming at some civilising mission? I ask because this is where our whole back and forth began. I talked about PSY and his video in general, and you moved it into a general discussion about how execrable the putatively fake K Wave is.

    Also, BTW, do you still believe the Finnish homage video (I refuse to call it a parody, and I even use the French pronunciation when I say “‘omaaazh”) was made by Koreans in Finald with their “Suomi stooges”?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Yes, you are right about Psy’s lack of substance. ;)

    The homage is what it is, but you’re correct that I didn’t check the video credits

  • hamel

    Yes, you are right about Psy’s lack of substance.

    It’s good to always get a dig in at a K-bot, isn’t it? ;) I’ll have you know that PSY is quite a substantial chap. To look at him, he must be around 90 kilos at least.

    The homage is what it is, but you’re correct that I didn’t check the video credits

    Information suggesting that the provenance of Peng (AKA “some local Korean”) was something other than Korean was there below the video in text for all to read, without even having to watch the video.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Psy also is a nice chap; I had dinner with him awhile back after he performed at one of she-who-must-be-obeyed’s events.

    Re the other, I don’t make believe I read the stuff; I just look at the pictures

  • hamel

    Psy also is a nice chap; I had dinner with him awhile back after he performed at one of she-who-must-be-obeyed’s events.

    I reclal you saying that, and almost brought it into the conversation at #18 above. Glad you did.

    Let’s be honest, if a K-pop act has to be successful overseas, wouldn’t you rather it was the chunky, non-conformist PSY, rather than some manufactured leggy bevy of beauties?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    sure

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    And, for the record, I actually like some Korean pop music; the shrill and incessant promotion of it’s boosterific mission civilisatrice, not so much.

    "For the record, I love my wife. I only beat her when she doesn't listen."

  • slim

    Let’s be honest, if a K-pop act has to be successful overseas, wouldn’t you rather it was the chunky, non-conformist PSY, rather than some manufactured leggy bevy of beauties?

    BINGO! He’s got a drug arrest and draft evasion in his past. I don’t see him as a candidate for KOIS/KORUS House promotion. Nonconformity should be celebrated here.

    Here in the states, it seems that Kangnam Style is building toward a Macarena moment, on a lesser scale and in the more diffuse way music spreads in this day and age.

  • slim

    I don’t know how or why an earnest post about PGH visiting RMH’s grave has become a venue for this discussion, but here’s a novel take on things:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/gangnam-style-dissected-the-subversive-message-within-south-koreas-music-video-sensation/261462/

  • hamel

    Slim: thanks for the Atlantic link. I will check it out. This thread became diverted because Sperwer had to make some off-the-cuff disparaging remark about the “alleged K-wave”, so I called him on it.

    Here in the states, it seems that Kangnam Style is building toward a Macarena moment, on a lesser scale and in the more diffuse way music spreads in this day and age.

    Then let’s hope it doesn’t jump the shark and become an embarrassment, a la Macarena style.

  • slim

    I could be wrong and it might be bigger. Like Sperwer, I’m not even close to the target audience for this stuff.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer
  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Man, that is some heavy freight on that interpretive train.

  • hamel

    Sperwer: yes, and whether you see all that freight as being nothing more than flotsam and jetsam, the fact that an (apparently) non-Korean is willing to start that train down the track, in the Atlantic, no less, points to something more than the usual K-wave beat-up. Don’t you think?

  • CactusMcHarris

    Sperwer,

    The link to that was already posted on the thread about that particular song. But thanks for another opportunity to do the sungma.

  • RolyPoly

    I don’t think even one person is impressed by PGH’s action.

    Reminds me of this song,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAyDmJvjxbg

  • CactusMcHarris

    RolyP,

    +1 on the avatar change. Tell me it’s not named Nabi, please.

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