[Outlook]Dreaming a better KoreaThe Lee Myung-bak administration, which uses the slogan “an era of success for everyone,” is soon to be launched. To live up to this lofty ideal, the new leadership must do five things.
First, a leader must feed the people well. A secret to successful leadership can be found in the dialogue from a Korean movie, “Welcome to Dongmakgol,” which premiered years ago. Rhee Su-hwa, a North Korean general, asks the chief of Dongmak Village for the secret to his ability to control the people who live there without yelling at them. The chief answers that it is important to feed them well.
He is right. A leader must not allow his people to go hungry. We Koreans are now hungry, so the new president must feed us. To solve literal hunger was the task of the Park Chung Hee administration. Lee Myung-bak must now satisfy the Korean peoples’ figurative hunger.
Second, money carries out its role when it circulates freely in the market. Rich people have enough money in their pockets, but it has to circulate. The government must not attempt to take it by force. Instead, it must provide the opportunity for people to work hard, make a lot of money and spend it without worries. It is not good if people are afraid of spending money, only saving for a rainy day. People must be encouraged to share their money. If this happens, more people will have spending cash and the entire country will become prosperous.
President Roh Moo-hyun failed to do this. People voted for Lee because they thought he would be different. But if Lee fails in this, too, the people will turn their backs on his administration.
Third, the new administration must give people the chance to work. For money to circulate, more jobs must be created. It is not enough to make one-time donations. Decent jobs must be created so that people can earn a living.
But increasing the number of jobs is not enough. An atmosphere that fosters hard work must be created as well. If people spend more time staging strikes than working, the future of their country is bleak. The vicious circle of illegal strikes must be cut off. Hard-working people and an administration with principles must open a new era of success together.
Fourth, a leader must encourage people to dream. Having enough to eat, making money and working are the basic requirements of life. But it is not good if people become stuck in this circle. That is not living life to its fullest but is more like being a domesticated animal.
People need dreams like they need oxygen, they need them to make their life more energetic and lively. All Koreans must be encouraged to dream again. The young generation is said to make 880,000 won ($900) monthly. They can’t even think of getting their own houses, but they must be inspired to dream of a bright future. A person who started on the lowest rung of a company ladder has now become president. It is a serious problem if his story is no more than an impossible myth for youths of this generation. It is very important that people dream again.
Fifth, the leader must breathe spirit into the people. Success implies material success in a mundane world. A person needs to eat well, make a lot of money, work hard and make his dreams come true. But what makes a person really successful is a healthy spirit. Success without spirit can’t last long. That is not success in the truest sense. Thus, to open an era of success, we need leadership that awakens our spirits, which have long been forgotten or ignored.
The leadership style of a president who promises to usher in an era of success must start with feeding the people and end with breathing life into their spirits.
The new president must be armed with pragmatism and principles. He also must have positive thoughts and passion before starting his journey. He must make all the people dream, and their dreams must come true if he wants to make Korea a better country.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong