Fire strikes againOnce again, We are shocked and stunned. The Central Government Complex in Sejongno, central Seoul, caught fire just 11 days after Sungnyemun, the country’s No. 1 National Treasure, was destroyed by flames. Documents at the Office for Government Policy Coordination were damaged, and all work at the building was temporarily paralyzed.
People are nervous and worried.
The Roh Moo-hyun administration has emphasized the importance of government systems for the past five years. But there is no way that people in this country think that the government systems are working well.
How can the administration explain a fire in a building where the Administration Ministry and the National Emergency Management Agency, the two agencies in charge of the country’s disaster management, are located?
The extent of the vulnerability of the building, which did not even have a sprinkler system, is way over the top. Due to a lack of funds, the administration claims, the building is not equipped with a basic emergency management system.
It is preposterous that nothing has changed since a similar fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building, just one floor down from yesterday’s fire, nine years ago.
This fire is related to the weakened spirits of civil servants due to the transition of power from one presidential administration to another. Many have abandoned their work because of the looming restructuring of organizations and downsizing of the administration.
This fire should not be considered a simple accident. We think the fire was a sign telling government employees to wake up and get back to work. That is why it is the right time for government employees, whose spirits cannot fall any lower, to straighten themselves out.
President-elect Lee Myung-bak pointed out problems of bureaucratic inefficiency in government organizations and asked minister nominees to revise the administrative systems during a workshop. What Lee meant was that the minds of government employees, as well as the administrative organizations, should be changed.
The priority now should be to thoroughly review the dysfunctional system practiced by the current administration, which was exposed again in this fire. A new system that will be able to resolve the problems should be implemented. Then, an absurd accident such as this fire will never happen again.
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