[FOUNTAIN]Sails or wind? Park takes on her new job

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[FOUNTAIN]Sails or wind? Park takes on her new job

“Does a sail really make a ship move? The sail only functions when the wind blows the right way. But many believe that the ship moves thanks to the sail.”
Park Geun-hye wrote that in her diary in 1981, when she was 29. Her father, President Park Chung-hee, had been assassinated less than two years earlier. Mr. Park’s achievements and glory were dumped in the trash. People praised the Chun Doo-hwan regime, gave their tacit approval or resisted underground. The Chun administration restricted the public activities of Ms. Park.
Her diary entry suggests her fury against the arrogant politicians who believed that visible power was leading the world. She implied that a more substantial force than the visible power was the invisible, yet apparently powerful wind of public sentiment. Until she entered politics, Ms. Park filled her diary with study and meditation on what the wind was that moved the boat of life in the world of chaos, and what the sail was that confused people.
Twenty-three years have passed since that diary entry. At age 52, Ms. Park is now the chairman of the Grand National Party. At this moment, not many people think the position is a glorious one.
In retrospect, the leaders of the Grand National Party only saw the sail and failed to feel the wind. A former presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, twice depended on the tide of his popularity in vain.
The former party head Suh Chung-won ran the party with those who brought a painful defeat in the presidential election to the party. The former chairman Choe Byung-yul was taken with the myth of traditional supporters, thinking, “Tame rabbits never run away.”
They were arrogant. They were obsessed with themselves and their power, and took too much confidence from it. Instead of overhauling the party to respond to the changes in the wind, they thought the giant sail would save the party.
Amid the historical storm of the impeachment crisis, Ms. Park took over. She said, “As you all know, I don’t have my parents. I have nothing more to gain, nothing more to lose.” She implicitly declared that she would no longer bask in the aura of her father and mother. She would start from scratch. Let’s hope she lives up to her words. She has grown an insight since she was 29, and is facing the test of the real world.


by Chun Young-gi

The writer is deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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