[OUTLOOK]Dodging the revenge of time“My unhappiness today is the revenge of time once ill-spent.” No one is free from the truth in this quote attributed to Napoleon. This truth also held for Yang Gil-seung, the president’s personal secretary who was discharged from his job last week. Mr. Yang would probably want to erase the night of June 28 and the following dawn from his life if he could. Yet one's past deeds are something that cannot be erased. Time, alas, cannot be recalled.
Had it been time spent as an individual, there would have been no public censure over whether he had spent the time drinking or receiving illicit services paid by a favor-seeker at a nightclub. But Mr. Yang was the president’s personal secretary at that time, the person who held the key of access to the president. There is no time off from such a job as Mr. Yang had. He was like the head manager of the presidential mansion. Mr. Yang was given luxury pillows with chrysanthemum leaves inside by the favor-seeker to deliver to the president because Mr. Yang was in the position to take care the presidential bedroom. All in all, Mr. Yang’s old job had not been an easy one. It had also been one with many dark temptations.
But it was as the president’s personal secretary that he spent a certain day in late June foolishly. The revenge of this time wrongly spent reached not only Mr. Yang himself but also to the Blue House and the president. That is why the revenge of misspent time is so frightening.
But the Blue House and the president seem to mistake the revenge of time ill-spent for the revenge of the media. Ignoring the implications of the incident itself, the Blue House harped on the legality of the secret video- taping of this incident. It seems that the president thinks everything his government promotes is made to fail because of the media. The two-day government seminar that took place last weekend was not a debate but an arena of fierce protest against the “blunt instrument,” the media.
The media are only a sharp tool of warning against arrogance. It is a warning against slacking off. It is a reminder to look at one’s mistakes of the past. To call that tool blunt is nonsense. A sharp tool’s value is in its sharpness. It is a pity that the president does not seem to realize that this tool can help him avoid the revenge of time if he would only use it.
It has already been five months since the “participatory government” was launched. This is not a place to discuss the achievements and shortcomings of the government, but it must be noted that the people and the Blue House and the president are ill at ease these days. People have grown tired of hearing such phrases as “transitional pains” and “trial period.” What is even more frightening is that these times ill-spent will one day come back at us all in revenge.
The president can blame the media if he wants to. He can even oppress them. But the Blue House and the president must recognize that revenge for time ill-spent during last five months has already started. This is no longer the revenge of the media or that of the opposition party. This is just the revenge of time misused. And imagine how absurd it is that the people and businesses will suffer for it!
The people have given the president five years in which to work. Five years might seem a long time right now, but it really isn’t. Just by looking at former presidents, one can tell the furious speed at which these five years roll by. Mr. Roh has used five months; but rather let’s say that he has four years and seven months left. No one wants to see the Blue House and the president fail.
The Blue House and the president must succeed within their given time so that we all can avoid the revenge of time. There is no time to waste on blaming others. It is not the media or the opposition that the president should fear; it is the revenge of time.
The reason that the revenge of time is all the more to be feared is because it affects not only the government. Even if it were just the administration that spent its time foolishly, it is the people who ultimately receive the blows of time’s revenge. The Blue House and the president should keep that in mind.
Regret always comes too late. When he returns from his vacation, the president must start anew with a fresh mind, ready to earn the blessings, not the revenge, of time. Every day is becoming precious for the future of this country.
* The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong