오늘 아침 코리아타임스에 제 칼럼이 실리는 날인데 어떤 이유인지 실리지 않았습니다. 2004년 3월 5일부터 "Random Walk"라는 제목의 칼럼을 연재해왔지만 이런 일은 처음입니다. 혹시 제 글이 한나라당의 서울시장 후보 나경원 씨에 대해 쓴 글이라서 실리지 않은 걸까요?

 

그 글은 지난 월요일 한겨레신문에서 나 후보를 지지하는 대학생의 글을 읽고 썼습니다. 제목에서 보듯 '나 후보에 대해 다시 생각해보라'는 요지입니다. 후보나 선거운동하는 사람들이 하는 말에 휘둘리지 말고 스스로 후보에 대한 자료를 찾아보고 검증한 후 누구를 지지할지 정하라고 썼습니다.

 

머리도 좋지 않은데다 집중력도 전과 같지 않아 글 하나를 쓰려면 시간이 꽤 걸립니다. 그렇게 써 보낸 글이 왜 실리지 않은 건지 궁금하지만 곧 알게 되겠지요. 이왕 쓴 글, 여기에 실어둡니다.

 

 

Rethink Na Kyung-won

 

Dear Hyo-bin-ssi, when I came across your article on why you support Na Kyung-won, the ruling Grand National Party’s Seoul mayor candidate, over the unified opposition candidate Park Won-soon, I had to read it because I was curious to know why a young collegian would want to see another mayor from the government party after all these years of imbalanced administration by GNP mayors – Lee Myung-bak, the incumbent President, and Oh Se-hoon, a well-known presidential hopeful.

 

The government and its sister party are blamed for, among other things, exorbitant tuition fees at colleges and universities, the increase of temporary employees and unemployed young men and women, consumer prices surging at the fastest pace in recent years, and the snowballing growth of Seoul city administration’s debt and fiscal deficit, as well as household borrowings.

 

In your article printed on the vernacular Hankyoreh Shinmun on Monday, you said you found Na’s policies to be more concrete than Park’s during their televised debates. I watched them, too, and I would say Na was plausible. Expressing frustration over Seoul’s debt of 25.5 trillion won, you said Seoul needed Na’s measures to cut it and that she should be elected despite the former GNP mayor because “A new change takes place on the basis of the past instead of total rejection of it.” I wonder if you know the debt more than tripled to the current figure under the two GNP mayors.

 

Reading your article was like reading a GNP leaflet. The way you reasoned and the terms you used were almost identical to those of Na’s and her party’s that I wondered if you were working for them.

 

If you truly believe “a new change takes place on the basis of the past,” you need to look into the past record and present doings of the candidate and her party to see if there is any hint of positive change for the future. For me, I see nothing but repetition of the old GNP ways as proven by Na’s tactics focused on smearing Park and the prosecution’s crackdown on “illegal” election campaigning. They used to target unfavorable speakers; now they aim at Twitter and other social networking services. Why? Because Park’s supporters are younger and are much more active on SNS.

 

Dear Hyo-bin-ssi, please go through your own process of weighing the candidates instead of believing what they say. As a collegian majoring in political science, you need to do that more than anybody else. There are piles of information about what they have done so far. You could at least read about them on the Korean language Wikipedia (http://ko.wikipedia.org).  

 

Since you say you support Na, let me say a few things about her.

 

She and her rival Park have common backgrounds as the prestigious Seoul National University students and lawyers, but their paths have been strikingly different. Born to a well-to-do family in Seoul, Na has pursued fame and wealth whereas Park, a poor farmer’s son from a remote village in South Gyeongsang Province, devoted his life to public interest and social reform. No wonder, Na is rich with over 4 billion won in savings and properties, whereas Park has a debt of 372 million won.

 

Na has been eager to pose for the camera; Park seldom made public appearance before the on-going mayoral race. Last year, in the wake of the sinking of the frigate Cheonan, Na drew criticism by having her photo taken while she was paying homage to a fallen officer. Last month, she again angered people by bathing a 14-year-old boy in nude in front of flashing media cameras at a Seoul institution for people with special needs.

 

As a lawmaker of the 17th-term National Assembly, active from 2004 to 2008, Na initiated 28 law bills and succeeded in getting five bills passed. During the 18th-term Assembly, she promoted 19 law bills and only one of them was passed. Her achievement wasn’t good: lawmakers promoted an average of 36.9 bills and recorded passage rate of 23.7 percent since the 18th-term Assembly was launched in May 2008.

 

Perhaps because she has been rich all her life, Na has been friendly towards the rich and the powerful as seen in the nature of the bills she pushed. She led the abolition of the equity investment ceiling system to the applause of big business conglomerates. She also played a leading role in GNP’s railroading of four media-related law revisions feared to allow a few powerful conservative dailies into broadcasting business. She also promoted the so-called ‘cyber defamation law’ amid fears that such a law would undermine freedom of speech in the cyberspace.

 

Last Saturday, Na’s twitter was streaming with retweets praising her features, policies and activities and they were soon found to have been sent out from her own accounts by her own people. The next day, those texts were deleted and her campaigners said that Na’s twitter caused “confusion” due to “systems’ clashes.”  

 

Dear Hyo-bin-ssi, you have four days left before the election. I hope you will take a closer, objective look at the candidates without listening or watching them. Remember the law of inertia applies not only to matters but also to people. Even if you are working for Na to earn your tuition, you can think and act free. Inside the polling booth, you are all on your own.