‘I don’t expect a lot ...’
“I don’t expect a lot from the new president. I just want Lee Myung-bak to stabilize the prices of everyday commodities. Whenever I go grocery shopping, it’s hard to buy things for my family because the prices go up overnight. Sometimes the price tags seem misprinted because the prices are so high.
“Can you believe that the price of green onions has jumped 100 percent this year compared to last year? A bunch of green onions used to be 1,000 won but now it is more than 2,000 won. Prices of other necessities such as toilet paper, fruit, mackerel and squid have doubled. These are not luxuries. We need them every day. I think there are problems in the distribution of these necessities.”
Park Myung-sung, 44, chief executive of Seensee Musical Company
“It is the hope and dream of the Korean cultural industry to be one of the world’s top five cultural nations. To achieve this goal, the new government should support basic cultural enterprises in Korea. And to do this Daehangno, which is the center of Korean arts, should be designated a special cultural area while upgrading infrastructure such as stages and equipment.
“Additionally in order to promote the music industry, which will play a role in the nation’s competitiveness, the new government should assist home-grown musicals.”
Hong Bo-ra, 31, housewife and mother
“Having recently had a baby, I wish the government would finance free sonar imaging for mothers. Additionally, financial support for those giving birth should be increased so that it won’t cost so much for parents to have a child. This will help increase the low birth rate in the country.
“In terms of education, I hope the government can improve the quality of public education so that expenses for private tutors can be reduced. ... On the same subject, I hope the government will adopt a system that allows children to be educated at different levels. The equalization policy does not help children receive the quality of education they deserve.
“I also want the new government to lower taxes.”
Baek Un-soo, taxi driver
“To be honest, I still think there are moral issues with Lee Myung-bak, but I don’t care. Every politician at that level has something to hide. But he had better implement a good economic policy.
“There is no time for ideology. The current administration tried to implement policy based on ideology. We don’t want that. We want jobs. We want a stable income. That’s it. We want simple economic policies that will make people’s wallets thicker.”
Park Jun-sik, a first year student at the Judicial Research & Training Institute
“The income gap is becoming wider and wider and it’s a serious problem ... There are so many people who are being taken advantage of by companies. There needs to be stability at the workplace. These people work so hard for a lot less than what others are getting. It’s a growing problem.”
Seol Min-hye, 26, job seeker, Sanggye-dong, Nowon District, Seoul
“I try to be a qualified job applicant, but the market is just too tough. Have you heard about the new term, the ‘five prerequisites needed to land a job’? You’ve got to have these five things: high TOEIC scores, a high grade-point average, work experience, overseas language training and you need to prove that you’re a person who is willing to help others with certificates that prove you have done volunteer work.
“I’ve done all of these things, but why is it so hard to find a job? I have dreams, but I don’t even have the chance to stretch my wings. The situation makes me feel helpless and desperate. If I knew that a college diploma would be this useless, I would have spent four years in some other way so that I could develop myself more. I think the new president should do his utmost to raise the competitiveness of colleges so that college diplomas will not be just a scrap of paper.
“In addition, as a job seeker in Korea, I would ask Lee Myung-bak to make our country a place where people are evaluated by their ability, instead of external factors such as personal background and appearance. Why do I have to write down my parents’ job titles and the names of the schools they attended on my resume?”