Nabi’s Roh shares fears over child’s enlistment

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Nabi’s Roh shares fears over child’s enlistment

Parents with children serving in the military share similar worries, and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and his wife, Roh So-young, director of Art Center Nabi, are no exception.

Their 23-year-old daughter, Chey Min-jung, entered the Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) on Sept. 15.

As this is the first time a woman from a family operating a large conglomerate has enlisted in the military, all eyes have been on Chey. Her mother met with the JoongAng Ilbo and expressed concerns over the spotlight on her daughter.

“I wish my famous daughter would stop appearing in the media,” said Roh at the Threshing Floor, her educational office in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul. “As she is still young, I don’t think she should be magnified as something of a hero.”

Q. What happened when Chey started at the naval school?

A. I went into the front door of the OCS and there was no one. I felt relieved. But when we went in to look around the barracks, that’s when all the reporters came rushing in.

Do you think it’s because she’s the first woman from a conglomerate family to enlist?

I still feel sorry for her. Her life has been all about struggling to get rid of that label - a daughter of someone - but now the label has become even larger. I think it will be such a difficult time for her. I wish everyone would just ignore her.

I heard Chey went to a general high school instead of an international school and that she had a part-time job at a convenience store in Korea during vacation while studying at Beijing University. Is this true?

It’s strange not to experience working in a part-time job. I don’t think my children are any different from others, which is the way I educated them to be.

Was Chey influenced by her grandfather, former President Roh Tae-woo, when she enlisted in the Navy?

Since she was young, Chey has looked through her grandfather’s biographies. She is especially interested in the unification of the Koreas and also has an interest in international affairs, such as Korea-China relations as she lived in China.

She told me she felt heartbroken when she looked at North Korea from the Dandong area of China because it was so dark.

Isn’t the naval school’s graduation ceremony on Dec. 1?

It is a ceremony for families to attend. I will do everything to ensure that my children will not be exposed to the media.


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