[Outlook]The company he keepsA drop of water carries the wisdom of the world. A single grain of wheat is the result of countless people’s labor. The land that President-elect Lee Myung-bak has been chosen to run for five years is very precious. He succeeded in taking power, so it is time for him to wield it.
He should make sure people stay warm and that their stomachs stay full. Lee, 67, is expected to administer his power efficiently with the help of the decent and competent advisors he has chosen. He has better human resources than Kim Dae-jung, who depended on a network of people from the Jeolla provinces to assume power 10 years ago, or Roh Moo-hyun, who surrounded himself by former student activists, five years ago.
Lee is surrounded by people of different generations, abundant experiences and various characteristics. What they have in common is that they have become successful in their respective fields. They also have paid more taxes than average, whether income or property taxes, so they are very sensitive to taxation. They do not like government intervention. Let’s look at who they are.
Choi See-jung, 71, helped Lee overcome his speech complex. When he was considering running for the presidency, Lee was worried about his coarse voice and the way he spoke. Choi advised Lee that the way he spoke was not a flaw, and that he could show he has lived a hard life with the coarse way he speaks.
Choi also said that there are three types of words; ones that come from the mouth, others that come from the head, and the ones that come from the heart. He went on to say that Lee could deliver words that come from the heart because he has gone through many ups and downs in his life and has gained rich experiences. Choi’s wise words quickly cast away Lee’s worries.
Lee Jae-oh, 63, served as the head of Lee Myung-bak’s camp when he was running for Seoul mayor, a stepping stone to the presidency. Lee Jae-oh is a courageous and loyal warrior. When Lee Myung-bak was a lawmaker he told Lee Jae-oh about his plan to build a cross-Korea canal. Lee Jae-oh said to him, “The project can be carried out only when you become president,” sparking passion in Lee Myung-bak’s heart. Lee Jae-oh has since stuck to his principles, no matter what others may say. A strong-willed person like Lee Jae-oh is someone who can make things happen.
Lee Myung-bak was lonely as a politician because he did not have his own forces. When he was alone, Chung Doo-un, 51, registered himself as the first lawmaker in Lee’s camp. His nickname is the “new power designer.” A designer realizes something that did not exist before. Chung named a strategy for how to win the presidential election campaign, “To catch a whale in the winter ocean.” That meant he wanted to catch a big fish in the December election. That was a bold and genuine idea. It will be interesting to see how his artistic sensibility will manifest itself in the political field.
As Roh Moo-hyun had Nosamo, a group of supporters, Lee Myung-bak also has a coalition of supporters that has 4.63 million registered members. Park Young-jun, 47, the leader of the group, put forth tremendous effort, making six tours to 243 cities, counties and districts to organize the coalition. He is like a big brother to Lee’s close aids in their 40s.
It is said that seven years ago, Park told Lee that he would devote himself to Lee’s political career. It is like a scene from a historic novel in which a character sacrifices his life for someone who acknowledges him.
In the modern era, power stems from communication. If a person understands people well, he can change public opinion. Kang Seung-kyoo, 45, a communications expert, says true communication starts with looking at the world as it is. The books “The Cheonggye Stream Runs to the Future” and “My Mother” and a promotional video clip for Lee Myung-bak show Lee Myung-bak the way he is and work as good promotional materials. Kang also picked talented people and brought them into Lee’s camp. As a result, he became the hub of Lee’s human networks.
Lee is surrounded by so many people from so many different fields that looking into his network is like reading an interesting saga. It is more difficult to wield power than to take it. A failed president is a president who took power successfully but failed to wield it effectively.
There is a saying that a competent person like Lee Myung-bak might want to remember. It is the motto of Joo Ho-young, 48, who helps Lee in a secretive and humble way. His motto is, “Be careful not to overflow.”
*The writer is a political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chun Young-gi