[EDITORIALS]Sneering at SeoulThe government ads that described Seoul as a city inferior to Mexico City or Beijing turned out to be a sham. Those who created the ads took a report drawn up by Samsung Economic Research Institute and played with them to suit their contention. The report spoke of 30 cities, but the ad revised them to “top 30 cities.” The data was from 2001, but the ad writers changed it to 2004. They turned a category assessing quality of life into the competitiveness of a city.
The presidential commission on balanced national growth, the presidential commission for relocation of the nation’s capital and the Korean Information Agency created the ad jointly.
President Roh Moo-hyun has said that he regards those who oppose the capital relocation as people trying to create a no-confidence move against him. Therefore, we can understand the administration’s active promotion of the relocation, with Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan spearheading it. It feels the need to convey to the public aggressively its views on the relocation because more people seemed to be leaning against it.
But promoting the relocation to a new capital should not mean bashing Seoul. The government and even the Korean Information Agency have acted to deride Seoul, the nation’s capital, as a capital that they would not even recommend to a friend to live in.
Isn’t Seoul this government’s capital, or is it some other country’s capital? The public is reluctant to trust the government because government agencies act aggressively to push a partisan cause.
The real problem here is the attitude that they can do anything to achieve the administration’s goals. It stems from a dangerous way of thinking that the country can be torn into parts or be internationally embarrassed if it is done with the aim of achieving the administration’s goals.
How Seoul is evaluated has to do with our pride. For two millennia and then again for 600 years, Seoul has been a world capital. Seoul is not the city of one administration, but of all our people. It is not very difficult to estimate the sense of ethics of this administration, which would try to bring the city of Seoul so low.
The government should recall all those incorrect ads on the Busan, Daegu, Incheon and Gwangju subways, not to mention calling the person responsible to account.