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The difficulty of the birth of a new party – what Ahn is up to

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.

  • RElgin

    . . . Ahn got a lot of flack for going to pay his respects at Park Junghee’s grave – 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 must agree with you here. Minju Dang has a problem with understanding Korean history and is too often reactionary, just is the idiot Saenuri Dang faction. Life is not often clearly defined in terms to our liking, thus our understanding of what happened and why is needed.
    The goals of Ahn Changho are still unrealized after all this time; his goals being a unification of Korean identify instead of this regional or sectarian factionalism. This is why Koreans are still their worst enemy and why the political future is very uncertain here.

  • George_Smiley

    Yuna, I’m such a lefty that I tip over on occasion. I’m hoping as you that he gets in office one day. However, I don’t imagine that he’ll be any less feckless and bumbling than any one else.

    I’m still waiting for one of his bespeckled nerdy minions to come over and clean this shitty software out of my office computer.

  • Dan Strickland

    I’m a radical in the US, in the sense that I believe the current system so rotten that it needs total replacement. However, in Korea, it’s tricky. You rightly point out the problems of regionalism. To my eye and ear, last year’s presidential campaign was more regionalism than anything else. Sadly, this doesn’t date back just a few hundred years, it seems to me this goes clear back to 백제 – 신라 feuds. The old practice of exiling radicals to the 전라 area helped to create a region full of intellectual radicals. So until Korean progressives & radicals can separate themselves from regionalism, I don’t see them being very effective.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Yes, what was really disheartening when I was still at university, the male Korean students my age and younger (the generation I classify as the first 세대 to be smack at the boundary of non-ajossi 탈-아저씨..it was so obvious with the way they were -their height, their dress-sense, their mentality w.r.t. everything) would still be foaming at the mouth and emanating laser beams from their eyes when it came to jolla-kyungsang issues, especially the anti-jolla crowd. They are now the 기성세대, sigh…

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I saw that on my galaxy player which I stole from my dad, ahnlab version2 something, still haven’t clicked on it yet.It is indeed unfortunate that he is associated with something like that. Is it something like a virus scanning software?

  • babotaengi

    My wife isn’t allowed to touch my computer because I’m so sick of finding that shitty free(?) Korean antivirus crap bogging down the loading times on my computer. It’s like a virus itself that infects every computer whenever a Korean enters the Interweb.

    One week she complained repeatedly about how slow HER computer was running, so I got in there, saved her stuff, reformatted, upgraded her OS and installed the Korean version of AVAST! For her. I even went to the trouble of explaining the joys of Win7 and Avast.

    A month later she was complaining again. So I take a look and lo and behold, avast is deleted and replaced with a bunch of free Korean antivirus/antimalware/antiphishing/blablabla crap! All at the advice of some random netizen. I just washed my hands of all her computing problems after that.

  • RElgin

    You have my sympathy. None of that free Korean anti-virus stuff is worth having. Bitdefender is a good tool to have though all this active-x crap that Korean Government sites want to use can easily conflict with it.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    “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).”

    1. Why do you humanize what lives up north?
    2. Do you really believe the accusations to be unfounded?
    3. Why do you, and your ilk, put your faith in Ahn? Do you really want to follow Europe down the path to bankruptcy? Do you believe that a massive welfare state is the key to continued economic growth? Lot’s of good it has done in Britain, where a malaise and social rot dominate today. Is that something you want to see happen in Korea? If not, why support the guy who wants to take you down that path?

  • dww

    Good commentary, Yuna. More of this please. :)

  • brier

    The difficultly of forming a new party does speak to the polarizing
    aspects. But if I remember any Korean
    history right, polarizing factions have been the norm throughout its Chosen
    Period. He is fighting history, and
    pissing on another’s parade is a well establish pastime on these shores.

  • George_Smiley

    Yep, yuna… Virus scanning, crap, pretty insidious… –and yes, absolutely, (as others have already said) slowing everything down.
    I just hope (if I ever vote for Ahn) and he gets elected…that we all wont be 낙였다 as users of his software are.

  • Sumo294

    The old liberals want reunification with North Korea under North Korea. The new liberals still want the same but also want to venerate Mother Gaia and empower the UN to finally bring glorious socialist paradise to all workers of Earth.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    1.The rulers bad, the people not so. In this case my bad because they would be colluding with the rulers so yeah, those up North.
    2. Some are unfounded, some just malicious, and anyway, is the mainstream right coming up with something which departs from its wrongdoings or history, perhaps more substantiated?
    3.You, as well as brier and Sumo down below seem to be capable of two things: mind-reading and fortune-telling. I don’t yet know what Ahn and his people stand for exactly apart from the snippets of their manners and actions (e.g. you click on Song Chang ho) and he is waiting by himself in an empty room because the rest are all *boycotting* some committee for some motion they don’t like. Now, all I see is in that is a glimmer of hope of having some *sane people* with *normal sensibilities* – just like you and me- in an environment that looks more crazy than Alice in Wonderland that is the Korean political scene today.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Ahn has said, verbally and in writing, what he stands for. I take him at his word. He stands for “equality” and welfare. Basically, he stands for economic malaise and social rot, though he won’t couch it in those terms.

  • Dan Strickland

    Hmm. ” economic malaise and social rot” were the same terms you used in describing the UK. I would think things might work out differently in the RoK. Anyway, something I find irritating about Korean politicians & activists who would like to see something along the lines of a socialist state is that they seem to think DPRK is some kind of model. Why not Sweden, or Denmark, or even the UK, despite the economic malaise and social rot? Odd. Very intelligent people being very naive or idealistic or willfully ignorant or something.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Of course, as I was describing the future Korea under a system Ahn champions. All welfare states, and this includes the UK, end up this way.