[FOUNTAIN]Mulligans and Political Power

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[FOUNTAIN]Mulligans and Political Power

There are no flowers that bloom for more than 10 days and no political power that lasts longer than 10 years."

A senior official at the Blue House made that interesting remark when he saw a red flower called "Yeongsanhong" in full bloom. It may be natural that people with worldly experience recall, "No flowers bloom more than ten days" when looking at the full blooms in May and immediately recite, "No political power lasts longer than 10 years." This is more of the case with politicians who have tasted bitter as well as sweet moments of politics.

Nevertheless, his distinctive interpretation of "No political power lasts longer than ten years" attracted people's attention.

According to a newspaper article Thursday morning, the official said most people understand the proverb negatively, but he thinks the meaning is rather positive. He said he interpreted the saying as meaning that political domination can last at least 10 years.

In order to see the fruition of the ongoing reform and restructuring campaign, the current ruling party needs to stay in power for one more term. That interpretation could be just a witty idea from a political brain who assists the president at the center of political power; it is not what is commonly understood by the people, but the logic is admirable for its unique twist.

Due to the influence of Confucian teachings, most Chinese literature, including poetry, has been always thought to have some social and political meaning. A controversy over the interpretation of a play in communist China in November 1965 was the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. This shows how dangerous it is to interpret parts of poems or sentences differently from the accepted meaning and justify one's thoughts through an independent interpretation.

That everything changes is the essence of life. There is a saying in Korea that everything, including mountains, rivers and people, change in 10 years. Flaring candles will soon burn out and the growing moon will get smaller again. Pride goes before a fall and no one knows what happens next. You never know - things that seem to be unlucky may be all for the best.

Did the Blue House official misinterpret "Political power does not last longer than 10 years" as meaning it can last for that long not because he is ignorant of the proverb but because he misread how people feels about this administration?

He said if the current government can win another election, it can do far better the second time around. But there are no "mulligans" in politics and government, unlike an informal golf game, where a player can hit a drive once again because his first attempt went astray.

by Bae Myung-bok

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