I belong to the camp that tends to criticize President Park and I guess I am more left leaning than right in my political disposition due to various factors such as my background, age, socio-economic and education level. So far, the less she speaks the better it has been, and with respect to Japan, grudgingly I have to admit that Abe’s consequent actions have vindicated her somewhat.
In my opinion one of the fundamental problems with Korean politics is that there is simply little choice for people like me because there is no character or party ideal that can effectively represent the more moderate views. Due to the turbulent history of South Korea since its inception (or going back even further with regionalism – Cholla-do/Kyungsang-do divide goes way back into the times of the dynasty) the left has had to take a very revolutionary approach against the military dictatorship and is always addled with accusations of inciting, protesting, mass-demonstrating, colluding (with people up North).
Perhaps it is to depart from this extreme ways that we were backing Ahn Chulsu during the last pre-election. Since the last election, he has been quiet and trying to gather some people for the creation of a new party for what he calls “새정치 new politics”. This kind of reminds me of what Tony Blair tried to do with “New Labour”.
So far, the characters in Ahn’s camp: Song Hochang has caught my eye (I saw him on 김구라 Kim Kura’s semi-political entertainment show “적과의 동침” – despite the fact Song is meant to have jokingly denied being on “Ahn’s camp” saying he is 무소속 independent” on the same show. I have much hope for him so hopefully our commenter Salaryman will find some faults with him in no time.
More Recently, the inclusion of Yoon Yeohjoon, an old haraboji character who likes to flip political sides as much as a grandma flips kimchi-potato-pancakes, has made many people complain, but this may just be a necessary step by Ahn to actually garner some momentum within the political scene.
More importantly, Ahn got a lot of flack for going to pay his respects at Park Junghee’s grave for the New Year – a move seen by the Minju 골수 as some sort of “coming out with his true colours as actually a Saenuri in Saejungchi’s clothing”.
To me, this really highlights the complicated issues Korea has with its own history, especially when it is criticizing the neighbour for a similar sort of behaviour.
I think the crucial step for Ahn et al. now is to generate some strong momentum, and get more good people on board. Here’s to quietly hoping, again.