An appeal to the new mayor of Seoul

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An appeal to the new mayor of Seoul


I’d like to congratulate you, Park Won-soon. It must have been thrilling to win the mayoral election with a significant margin of 7.2 percent. You have gone through a number of transformations, from student activist to human rights lawyer to civil activist. Now that you have become the mayor of Seoul, the most celebrated post among elected administrative officials, your life is a dramatic story of evolution.

Despite the persistent, negative attacks from your competitor, an absolute majority of Seoul citizens between their 20s and 40s voted for you not so much because they like you but because they don’t like MB and the ruling Grand National Party. The disappointment and anger they feel for selfish conservatives who talk about a fair society and economic revival without meaning it certainly helped you. You’ve promised to focus the municipal machine on the people. Rather than showing off, you’ve pledged to emphasize the citizens’ livelihoods. The day after the election, the first place you visited was the Noryangjin fish market. And you took the subway to work.

Please don’t even dream about using your post as mayor as a springboard to a higher position. We don’t need a mayor who cares how he looks on television and cries crocodile tears for the camera. Please be a real mayor who truly cares for those in the shadows. Please show your unpretentious smile and let the people of Seoul smile too. Please make the city of Seoul a place of communication and common sense.

Just as you did while running the Beautiful Foundation, please disclose the city’s budget online. Please open your ears to criticism and complaints. Please be a mayor who resembles a model homemaker, who keeps a housekeeping account book and thoroughly manages the household. Let’s forget about fancy slogans and ideologies. The remaining term of two years and nine months is not a long time. Please show that you can succeed with the Cheonggye Stream project or Han River Renaissance. It may not be easy, but won’t be impossible if you prioritize the people of Seoul.

Mr. Park, your first gift as the mayor of Seoul is to return Seoul Plaza and Gwanghwamun Plaza to the people of Seoul. As the walls of police cars and buses are removed, let laughter, liberty and hope bloom. Please care for people in their 50s and 60s and Gangnam District residents, even though they did not support you. Mr. Park, please look after Seoul.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Bae Myung-bok
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