[Viewpoint] Slow, thoughtful projects needed

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[Viewpoint] Slow, thoughtful projects needed

When Rio de Janeiro was selected as the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics, one man shed tears, saying, “Hosting the Olympics is a victory of the Brazilian people. I can die happy now.”

It was the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

A former laborer, he led Brazil to utilitarianism and development. Hosting the Olympics is an extension of this drive.

The first words he shouted after he was elected president in 2002 still resonate.

“Leader of the trade union Lula only represented labor workers, but the President Lula will work for all 180 million people.”

This open attitude of Lula is the force behind New Brazil, but there is something deeper to consider. His open attitude comes from roots that are embedded deep in the earth.

These roots say, “Throw away hasty fantasies about future success.”

Lula’s supporters wanted him to change Brazil fundamentally. However, he did not rush in. He did not focus only on the lower-income and poor classes who were thought to have suffered the most under the former administration.

Instead, he set a goal deep in his heart to lift the people out of hunger and antipathy, and started to work, slowly and cautiously. He held companies in his arms and welcomed foreign investors.

The left-wing said he was a “traitor” but he believed, “Brazil can only develop if all people sympathize and cooperate.”

Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak’s administration has been in office for almost two years now.

It pursues the exact opposite ideology of the Lula administration, but the two governments seem to operate in a similar fashion. Nearing the middle of its term, it will gradually want to show results.

Approval ratings are quite good, too.

Naturally, the ambition to become a president and form an administration that goes down well in history is growing larger. The administration appears to be more confident, too.

But it is at times like this that you have to be careful of variables.

The risk of spoiling things grows when things seem to be going your way.

One example is the overly hasty announcements about the four main rivers project. The project could have received support from the people because it had rationality behind it and it seemed justified. However, the voices of opposition grew because the plan did not abide by proper procedures and thus did not come across as democratic.

The evaluation of the environmental impact of the scheme was carelessly conducted, and the planners tried to get past making a long-term, comprehensive plan for water resources, which would cause problems at a later date.

These issues arose because of haste, the perception that construction had to start in October in order for it to be completed within the president’s term of office.

Government projects are not evaluated solely on performance. Performance of national affairs is only recognized when the process is just. The overabundant desires of those close to the president are a problem, too.

The people would not be opposed to Lee Jae-oh, the new head of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, playing a leading role in making the world of civil servants more transparent. But the method is important in this case, also.

Interfering with small things such as the price of civil servants’ meals and analyzing their integrity makes the administration look too authoritarian.

In 2006, Lula was successfully elected to a second term. His approval rating once reached around 80 percent. He said, “My friends just need to understand the road I am taking.”

I want to see a president and government that slowly, carefully and solidly conduct matters of the country. “A president that goes down in history” is recorded by the people much later.

*The writer is a deputy economic news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Jong-yoon
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