중앙데일리

When normal is abnormal

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Sept 22,2009
Is it abnormal to treat extreme normalcy as an abnormality?

The parliamentary confirmation hearing for Defense Minister nominee Kim Tae-young has been the talk of the town in recent days.

The issues that normally dominate these sessions, such as resident registration, exemption from military service and tax evasion, were oddly absent from Kim’s confirmation hearing.

Instead, lawmakers asked Kim for his views on North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the Hwanggang Dam incident, in which the North failed to inform the South that it had opened the dam, which resulted in the loss of innocent lives.

This hearing was so out of the ordinary that the Democratic Party floor leader said, “If all nominees were like him and had no particular problems, it would be possible for these hearings to focus on policies and positions.”

In reality, Kim does not possess qualities that are particularly superior to the other nominees. His financial assets, totaling around 720 million won ($594,700), are quite average for his age and it is simply natural for his 30-year-old eldest son to have finished his military service. In addition, Kim spent 41 years of his career only in the military, so he has not had the chance to commit any acts of plagiarism.

The reason that Kim stands out is because the other candidates have had major moral flaws. It was revealed that the other nominees falsified their addresses to get their children into better schools or engaged in real estate speculation.

The fact that some of the nominees were in the position to enforce the law made citizens cringe even more. It was revealed in the confirmation hearings of both Prime Minister nominee Chung Un-chan and Labor Minister nominee Yim Tae-hee that both men had engaged in tax evasion and false residence registration.

However, Defense Minister nominee Kim has provided a lot of comfort to citizens who are impressed by his sincerity and morality. Kim should be proud. The accolades should serve to boost morale in the military.

Confirmation hearings serve as a model for the next generation of leaders. The hearings provide a vivid example of how difficult and yet important it is to conduct oneself with honor while also striving to improve themselves.

There should be more hearings like the one for Kim, which turned out to be more like an academic seminar than a prosecutorial interrogation, as so many of them are.

Above all, the president must put more effort into finding ministerial candidates who are capable and at the same time have no moral flaws that could disappoint the public.



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