Monday, February 18, 2008

The President of the Memory in S.Korea

Feb 18th, today was the President day in United States of America.
Lately, more often than not, we found ourselves to talk more about the Presidency, due partly to ongoing presidential primary election in US.
What does president mean to people, then?

A top leader of the nation or administration?
A chief commander of national force?
A representative figure of individual nation?

Of course, they are all true.
However, that is not good enough to be a president.
It should be more than that.
That is, I believe, a clear vision and leadership.
The president should be the person who can give people hopes and dreams with such a virtue.
While commemorating this special day, I think of the president of Memory for South Korea.

According to recent survey, the late former president, Park Chung-hee is still regarded as the most brilliant and remembered president of South Korea. He was the one who led the rapid industrialization of South Korea during the 1960-70's. His stretegies were very timely and appropriate at that period. Without him, it is hardly explicable about Korean economic growth. Certainly, he was the leader who tried to give hope to people. I value high of him in this respect.

Admittedly, his debut to Korean politics was dramatic. Since he took power by means of military Coup. Besides, his authoritarian leadership style often criticised as a undemocratic dictator, as seen in Yushin constitution. Some tend to underestimate his reign as a dark era of human rights for this reason. His evalutaion is still a controversial issue. Even it was one of the key issue of recent Korean presidential election, too.

I do not think that it is fair to judge him based on one aspect.
Instead, it is time for us to accept his presidency in a more dispassionate way.
Both his accomplishment in economic sector and his wrongdoing should not be underestimated.


Justin-B형 said...

Hey Andy!

It is very true that a leader should not be judged by one action. I think history can be unfair to some leaders while being fantastically kind to others. In china, Deng Xiao-Ping is credited with China's current economic success. Since, China is doing so well economically we tend to forget that the Tienanmen massacre happened under his watch. John F Kennedy is remembered almost in "god-like" representation in the American historical psyche;forgetting that the indiscriminate unilateral bombing of south Vietnam was during his administration. On the flip side (and closer to your example) was Jimmy Carter who had great accomplishments a President of the US (camp David accords, normalizing China relations, fighting hard to get the US out of the energy crisis)but all he will ever be remembered for is the Iran hostage crisis and frosty relations with South Korea. History often time isn't fair is it?

anyway good post!

Courtney said...

I think that presidents are also judged by the feeling of the country during the time they served. People often long for the past, even if the past was not perfect when it was the present. When a majority of Americans think of the Kennedys, they do not really consider what JFK did as president, but focus on the glamour of him and Jackie O. and the feeling Americans shared after the assassination. It was a time when Americans bonded. I just corrected 20 pages of speeches written by English club members at Kangwon National University. They are giving speeches about how the meaning of university has changed from the 70's, 80's, 90's and today. The main point is that in the 70's and 80's students were idealists and worked to improve themselves and their country. However, today the students are only concerned with getting jobs and money. The students are materialistic. They say the universities have turned into corporations only focused on making money. Korean students are losing the opportunity and desire for true learning. I think a lot of the popularity of Park Chung Hee is connected to this longer for the imperfect past phenomenon.