Act like a pig and look like one, too
It’s been about 40 days since Jo Dong-won, 55, joined the Grand National Party on Jan. 5. He helped create the new name and logo for the party when it changed its name to Saenuri. The party is to be represented by a red, white and blue symbol. Before thinking about the meaning behind the changes, the name and logo became objects of ridicule. The ruling party has no one but itself to blame, as the image and history of the Saenuri Party is so disrespectable. Yet Jo has a positive attitude about it, saying, “We have only just begun. I’m not nervous because citizens will understand if we try quietly.”
Personally, I find the red of the new logo to be a sign of meaningful change, especially since the Red Devils are the symbol of football for Team Korea. In fact, the red caps worn by supervisors in the Navy or special units never raised controversy.
Jo was originally somewhat against the Grand National Party but joined it after being persuaded by Park Geun-hye. He recruited a few talents from the advertising industry and created a PR team. He wanted to scout a couple more, but they flat out turned him down when they heard it was for the GNP. In fact, it’s hard to find people who have positive feelings about the party, regardless of their occupation or industry.
Ironically, the Saenuri Party’s biggest asset is that it has nothing to lose. Before joining the party, Jo had risen to prominence in the advertising industry with copy like “Good clothing for the good people” for an apparel company and “A bed is science” for a furniture maker. He had made a fortune but nearly went bankrupt when his English Village business failed. He claims that he understands how people feel because he has risen to the top and fallen to the bottom. Now it seems that it’s the Saenuri Party’s turn to fall. It won’t be easy, whether it falls into hell or the ocean of public sentiment. Frankly, the restoration of the Saenuri Party depends on how serious it is as it responds to defeat and failure.
Lee Seong-gye, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, once said to the Venerable Muhak, “Today, you look like a pig.” Venerable Muhak responded, “Your majesty, you look like Buddha.” He added, “In the eyes of Buddha, everyone looks like Buddha, and in the eyes of a pig, everyone looks like a pig.” For the Saenuri Party, the order should be reversed. If it works like Buddha, it will look like Buddha. If it acts like a pig, it will look like one, too.
The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.