Political Parricide for a New Start?

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Political Parricide for a New Start?

Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore, is often called the father of Singapore, receiving lavish praise for establishing the most amazing city state in world history since Athens. Ironically, he wrote in this autobiography that the most vivid recollection on his childhood was the severe pain his father gave him when he was four years old. His father took young Lee, who had soiled a valuable cloth, to the side of a well and punished him. Mr. Lee recalled in his autobiography, which was published when he was 75, that his father lifted him up by only his two ears. He also wrote that he was still felt amazed that his ears were still attached to his face.

Unlike his father, who was an addicted gambler and a wife-beater, Mr. Lee described his mother as a woman of courage and self-sacrifice. He recalled that his mother started to consult with him over important matters of the household as he grew up. He recalled that his childhood experience of household decision making helped him develop a sense of determination.

We can see a glimpse of Oedipus complex in the former prime minister. It is a complex psychology of a son who rejects his father, but is attracted to his mother. The origin of parricide, often cited in Greek mythology, is in fact Zeus, rather than Oedipus. Cronus, father of Zeus, killed his father Uranus and became the highest god. Although Cronus killed and ate all his children, fearing that he would end up in the manner as his father, Zeus was saved by Gaea, his grandmother.

In current Korean power politics, parricide may be the process overcoming the old powers by winning the people''s confidence and reflecting their will based on a new agenda and new spirit of the age.

In early January, Rhee In-je, a member of the Millennium Democratic Party''s Supreme Council, became the focus of public attention. He visited the tombs of former presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee, calling them the father of national foundation and the father of modernization, respectively. Mr. Lee also visited former president Kim Young-sam and offered him a traditional bow, kneeling down on the floor. His true intention is not difficult to understand, although he argued that he only meant to respect old traditional customs.

According to ancient Chinese philosophy, one may have three misfortunes in life: The first is passing the government examination for high position too early; the second is climbing to a high post because of a powerful family background, and the third is having too much bright talent and eloquent writing skill.

A new generation leader should have a spirit to open a new era on his own, rather than depending on existing powers.


by Noh Jae-hyun

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