[EDITORIALS]National holiday feverThe government has announced that July 1, the day after the World Cup ends, will be a national holiday, and that a "national celebration" will be held on the ensuing day.
The South Korean national team's advance to the semifinals is a historic feat worthy of a one-day holiday. As for the government, it would have been hard to ignore the ardent national support that in itself is also worthy of commemoration.
But how the government came about the decision smacks of impromptu-ness and extravagance. There is also a sense that the government did not go through due process. Designating a day as a national holiday requires a request from the concerned government ministry, which the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs then sends to the cabinet meeting for approval.
Bypassing this course of action, the Blue House went ahead and announced the decision, which will be followed by a belated request from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and cabinet approval.
The Blue House first hinted that it was considering setting aside Tuesday, the day of the match between South Korea and Germany, as a national holiday. The decision to designate July 1 as a national holiday complicates the inauguration of local government heads, a ceremony to which 1,500 to 3,000 Korean and foreign guests have been invited. The holiday designation has put off their inauguration.
The achievement of the South Korean national team is beyond words. But rarely has there been a precedent with other countries of setting a day aside as a post-World Cup holiday just for its soccer success. It is understandable for the government to want to upgrade the pure-hearted celebratory sentiment into a national energy. However, to set aside another day for a national celebration amounts to prolonging the heady excitement for one more day.
The government and its officials clearly are aware of the distress that businesses and industries are under, for almost the entire nation has come to a virtual halt due to soccer fever. A single day of celebration will suffice.
It is time for the government to pool its wisdom to channel the unprecedentedly fused national energy into another level of national development.