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[Going to the blogs]Bloggers say Roh finally got it right

Dec 10,2006

Apparently, when just under six out of 100 citizens approve of your job performance, it’s time for a little self-reflection.
Such was the case for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun who, while on a visit to Sydney, indicated that his presidential capabilities aren’t quite up to snuff.
The prevailing response from the expat blogosphere? “You don’t say?”
Writing at “ROK Drop” (www.gikorea.net/BLOG/), GI Korea detailed why he thinks Mr. Roh finally got something right. “It took four years, a sagging economy, the slow motion rupture of the US-ROK [Republic of Korea] alliance, North Korean missile and nuclear tests, a spy scandal and a 5.7% approval rating before South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has finally admitted the obvious: he is a failure.”
Similarly blunt reactions were common among the readers of the blog “Lost Nomad” (www.lostnomad.org/), where Sumo294 weighed in. “Poor Korean liberals, little did they know when they were celebrating his win a while back that he would single-handedly set back their cause for the next 30 years.”
This may seem a bit of an overstatement but, then again, taking into consideration other remarks made by Mr. Roh in Sydney, it might not be far off the mark.
On the topic of nuclear disarmament and preventing nuclear proliferation (“South Korea cannot do something that would lead to problems in the present to prevent future dangers”), Nomad from “Lost Nomad” neatly retorted, “I am not the president of a country with the 11th-largest economy in the world so I probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but something tells me that if you think you have problems now, just wait until North Korea actually proliferates some nukes, or heaven forbid launches one. If and when that time comes, you and your policymaking decisions will have rendered South Korea helpless in doing or saying anything about the obvious course of actions that will be taken by the real players in this game.”
At the blog “DPRK Studies” (www.dprkstudies.org/), Richardson tackled Mr. Roh’s claim that South Korea is best suited to deal with North Koreans (“Korea knows the North Koreans the best. We are experts in fact in dealing with them,” and “I think the international community would do well to heed the views of my government and the expertise of my government in dealing with this issue.”). He writes, “Why don’t the ‘experts’ recognize that North Korea is not interested in dealing with them and never has been? A few family reunions and a June 2000 summit that cost half a billion dollars does not tend to make South Korean ‘experts’ seem all that shrewd. In fact, I would estimate that Mr. Roh’s approach to North Korea has been the single largest disaster for both U.S.-Korea relations since Carter’s drive to withdraw the USFK, as well as being a disaster for millions of average North Koreans.”
So, according to online expat opinion, what has Roh accomplished during his tenure?
Held up to the blogosphere’s take on Mr. Roh, that 5.7 percent approval rating appears positively stratospheric.

Waiting for your bus to come in
The individual who penned the lyrics to the popular children’s song “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” obviously never had to endure the hardship of waiting for a bus in Seoul’s rush-hour traffic.
For those of us who can relate, Sparkles eloquently captures the experience at the blog “Psychedelic Kimchi” (http://pyschedelickimchi.blogspot.com/).
“You stand outside in the heat/cold; traffic is at a standstill; you wait, then wait some more; you consider walking 10 minutes to catch the subway, knowing that would mean another 20-to-30-minute wait to catch a bus home afterwards; and you’re a man: you’re resilient; no [stinking] bus is going to make you tap out. So you stand waiting, watchful like the eyes of a hawk; waiting for deliverance; waiting for the 9407.”


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