[FORUM]Chung is weak on contentHe was never the top in school. He was never leader of a team, much less that of the class. He had not even stood in front of people until he became a broadcast reporter. Despite this, lawmaker Chung Dong-young of the Uri Party has a special talent. He has the ability to express himself ― the ability to make himself understood. He has the ability to convey a situation to people.
Mr. Chung’s expressiveness was remarkable in the governing Uri Party’s nationwide campaign tour. His power of expression comes from his manner of speech, look and gesture. First, his voice does not spread and disappear outside his mouth but gathers power and projects straight forward. He also has rhythm in his speech.
For example, in his campaign in North Chungcheong province, he said, “One thing the ‘participatory government’ did well [was] to end an age of people, money and information all going up to Seoul and create an age of people, money and public agencies all coming down to local provinces.” His speech appealed to people more effectively because of his proper ellipsis and arrangement and the repetition of “people, money and information or public agencies,” and use of contrast and rhythm as in “an age going up to Seoul” and “an age of coming down to local provinces.” He was born with a clear tone of voice. He has no waste in the volume of his voice and his speech is articulate, thanks to his exact pronunciation. It is said that his father, a former council member of North Jeolla province, gave him a thorough language education at the table when he was young, saying, “Man should utter words clearly.”
Second, Mr. Chung’s eyes are turned toward his listeners. He seldom looks down at the manuscript. Moving his face and body left and right, he focuses his eyes on his audience. When he reveals a strong argument, he gives a change to his speech by raising his hand and shaking it up and down. In this way, his look becomes lively and his body appears full of energy.
Mr. Chung’s expression has courage. His spirit is to “touch on those parts in which the public takes the utmost interest.” His argument that Representative Kwon Roh-gap, a former lawmaker and a close confidant of former President Kim Dae-jung, should retreat to the rear line ― which no one dared to say openly at the end of 2000 ― was the finest example of Mr. Chung Dong’s style of expression.
The problem, however, is that the ability to express oneself does not alone make a good politician. There are many politicians who can talk eloquently but without content. Mr. Chung may be attacked in this regard by rival politicians. His excellent expressive ability makes his content appear poor. His weakness can be healed by solid content that corresponds to his strong expression.
The success of advertising copy depends on its expression. A maxim in the advertising world is, “What touches people’s hearts is not what you say, but how you say it.” The political world is different. Moving people’s hearts alone is not sufficient for political leaders. They should guide the community to a better destination. For this reason, “what” they have in mind is more important than “how” they say it.
What they have in mind is the very content. Content is a solid chunk of vision, program planning and experience. When compared to a ship in the sea, vision is the destination of its voyage. Programs are like the rudder and maps held in the captain’s hands. Inner experience is like the driving force and engine of the vessel. The opposition Grand National Party’s chairwoman Park Geun-hye’s content is “national identity,” which came from her inner experience. The content of Lee Myung-bak, Seoul Mayor and a possible presidential candidate, is the implementation program that was proved by his work performance.
Mr. Chung’s content will be the vision of “building an inter-Korean peace system.” But his vision is not clearly revealed and his implementation program is weak. In large part, Mr. Chung depends on the decisions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. So it is not certain whether Mr. Chung’s vision is the genuine destination our community should move toward. We wonder whether his vision was made during his short experience as unification minister rather than from life’s overall experience. The presidential aspirant Chung Dong-young’s challenge lies inside himself. His challenge is to build solid content. Doing so will be more valuable to him than the victory he won at the Uri Party’s national convention on Feb. 18.
* The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chun Young-gi
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