[FOUNTAIN]Ms. Park’s date with a supporterThirty-four years ago, Park Geun-hye was a freshman at Sogang University. One of her classmates had a crush on her. Having grown up in the country, he had no idea she was a daughter of President Park Chung Hee. Without hesitation, he approached Ms. Park and asked, “Shall we go for some pastry?”
The pickup line sounds lame, but in the 1970s it was a common way to ask for a date. Bakeries were the most typical places for dates. Ms. Park blushed and turned him down, but he was not about to give up. After several rejections, he still continued to pursue Ms. Park.
One day, the suitor approached Ms. Park again and as soon as he uttered the words, “Shall we go for some pastry?” he was surrounded by five big fellows. They offered him a box full of pastries and told him to help himself. The day before, Ms. Park had casually mentioned to her father about a guy asking her to have pastries with him. After the incident, the classmate realized that he had been asking out the first daughter. Ever since, the word “date” has not been in Ms. Park’s vocabulary.
Today, Ms. Park is the leader of the opposition Grand National Party, and she has announced that she will have the first date of her life. This time, she is the one who made the first move. The partner is the 1 millionth visitor to her popular www.cyworlds.com/ghism homepage. Of course, Ms. Park is not going to have the kind of date she missed out on in her college days. She is still single, but she is not looking forward to meeting a guy for a relationship.
That is what makes the date more exciting. Koreans are interested in what kind of date she plans for the 1 millionth visitor. She said she has received more love than she deserves and wants to repay her supporters. By setting up a personal meeting with one of her supporters, Ms. Park is making a pledge to become a better leader and politician.
The date should inspire emotion and trust from the supporters. If the date remains a mere publicity event, her effort is meaningless. Other politicians might want to consider following her move and reach out to the public. How about a date with President Roh Moo-hyun? Koreans are shocked by the tragic death of Kim Sun-il. He could set up a meeting with the citizens to comfort the people and infuse us with hope and courage.
by Lee Sang-il
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.