The accuracy of what’s in a name

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The accuracy of what’s in a name

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What is your Native American name? Native American names are created with three words corresponding to the year, month and date of a person’s birth. The year is a modifier describing your character. The month is the subject and a form of nature. And the date is the predicate describing an action. While it is subject to interpretation, this naming method often yields very suitable names.

Koh Seung-duk, who has created a stir with the cash-for-votes scandal, would be “The Shadow of the Brave Sky.” It is not a bad name for someone who courageously revealed a shameful part of his past. Park Hee-tae, who has been accused of being the one who distributed envelopes of money in exchange for votes in the ruling party’s 2008 leadership election, is “Under the Sharp Moonlight.”

The Native American names for our presidents are also interesting. Here are few:

Park Chung Hee is “The Man Chased by the Brave Sky.” His coup may have led to more accomplishments than faults, but his self-righteous conviction brought him a tragic end. It is a very fitting name, indeed. Chun Doo Hwan is “The Man Who Killed the Blue Wolf.” The name is not very surprising since he drew blood in the course of seizing power.

Kim Young-sam is “Like a Brave Wind.” He tackled sensitive issues boldly, including the implementation of the real-name banking system and the disbanding of the Hanahoe, a military insiders group. Kim Dae-jung is “Crouching Wolf,” without a predicate. People who were born in the fourth, fifth and sixth month do not have a predicate in their names.

Roh Moo-hyun was “Wise Dance with Horses.” He had a grand vision but clashed with the obstacles of reality. Lee Myung-bak is “The Blue Wind Sleeps All the Time.” He gained popularity with his CEO-style leadership, but as a president, he never learned the art of politics and communication.

The names of the presidential hopefuls are even more interesting. The names of Park Geun-hye and Ahn Cheol-soo are very similar: “The Spirit of the Red Sun” and “The Watchman of the Red Sun,” respectively. The “spirit” has long been an unchallenged power, but the “watchman” has emerged as a serious challenger. No one knows who will win the final game.

As the Year of the Black Dragon approaches with more worries than joys, I, “Dance with the Red Wolves,” hope I’ve brought you some fun.

*The author is a culture and sports news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.


By Lee Hoon-beom
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