‘Tomorrow will be a better day’
Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi visited Korea for the first time in 2013. She had a full schedule during the five-day trip with more than 30 events in Seoul, Gwnagju and Pyeongchang. On the first day, attendants were nervous to accompany the internationally celebrated heroine. They told reporters the democratic fighter’s eyes were sharp, almost shooting out a laser beam. But after five days, they all became her fans, except for the bodyguards.
The secret is her unassuming charm. She maintains dignity as a democratization leader but listens to other people before she speaks. Also, instead of just giving boring speeches, she knows how use humor. Then, why did the bodyguards not become her fans? They had a hard time guarding her because she was so down-to-earth and mingled closely with her supporters.
She uses humor and gentle charisma to charm people. In a speech, she condemned the military regime and discussed how she was oppressed, then she added that if she went into details, it wouldn’t be good for the health of the audience. It left a more profound impression than discussing the persecution at length. The audience responded with laughter and applauds for the unexpected ending.
While visiting the National Assembly, then speaker Kang Chang-hee said, “Just as sugar wouldn’t dissolve in water right away, democratization will be accomplished slowly but eventually.” Then Suu Kyi smiled and responded, “Well, if you pour hot water, the sugar will dissolve at once.” She meant that she would be the hot water. And her joke became reality as her party had a sweeping victory in the general election on November 8.
One of the reasons Myanmar raves over Suu Kyi is her personal charm. A National League of Democracy (NLD) member I met during Suu Kyi’s visit told me that the people in Myanmar respected her as a person before a politician. “As we laugh and cry with her, we get hope that tomorrow will be a better day.” This is exactly what all politicians should do. Giving hope is their job.
Those in Yeouido should take note. The National Assembly is supposed to be making laws but violated the legal deadline for designating the electoral districts for the general election. Rather than showing a classy sense of humor, politicians blame one another. Korea can export goods to Myanmar, but we need to import political culture from them.
The author is a political and international news writer
for the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 14, Page 31
by CHUN SU-JIN