[Letters] Taking another look at Sejong“United we stand, divided we fall” is a maxim that comes to mind when I read about the Sejong City debate.
Currently, the question is whether Sejong City should become a government administrative region or one focused on the development of business and education. President Lee Myung-bak seems to prefer the latter option and I support his decision for numerous substantive reasons.
What we must first examine is the reason why this debate is causing so much controversy and why Chungcheong residents disagree with the president’s plan. According to some professors, residents of the region believe that if the government administration moved to their city, other major industries would follow and in turn help the region prosper. Such reasoning is representative of both regionalism and egocentrism.
Those who espouse moving the government administration are in reality trying to separate the government. It is common sense that if the government administrative bodies are separated a number of difficulties will arise with communication and decision making. Splitting the government adminstration will negatively impact the governments capacity for decisive and effective decision making. Moreover, a government adminstration incapable of effective governance because of communication difficulties is a danger to the entire region.
Sejong residents want this proposal for the economic development it will bring, and the government’s plan will do just that. Presently, the majority of South Korea’s educational institutions and business are concentrated in urban towns and cities.
This urban concentration of business and education is causing a polarization between educationally “high level” students and “low level” students and is the main reason for the increasing social gap between the rich and the poor. Allowing businesses and schools to develop in Sejong City will decrease the educational gap between the regions.
Should businesses and institutions of higher learning be allowed to develop in Sejong City, it then becomes the responsibility of the students and the residents who are in the Sejong region to show South Korea that their region has potential.
With the help of qualified teachers, students will have to show that they are competitive with students from the city. For Sejong residents, it is their responsibility to cooperate harmoniously to make their city a free, self-determining and productive region.
Such efforts will not only make Sejong more attractive to outsiders, but also change the perception of those who believe that people in the Chungcheong region are merely trying to take advantage of a relocation plan to maximize their own benefits.
Sejong citizens, the government, businesses, and educational institutions all benefit from what I have addressed. In short, it is beneficial to Korea, and the best option for everyone.
There is always a certain amount of rebelliousness which hampers overall development and makes people unfit for tasks that require intelligence, initiative and responsibility. I believe President Lee Myung-bak and his administration should be allowed to achieve the goals that they feel will be best for Korea.
John Hyun Jae Lee,
student at Myungduk Foreign Language High School
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