Rhyu Si-min leaves politics and ‘Ssulzun’ : Writer and former health minister asks the public to forget about him

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Rhyu Si-min leaves politics and ‘Ssulzun’ : Writer and former health minister asks the public to forget about him


Writer and former Minister of Health and Welfare Rhyu Si-min, who is leaving the JTBC talk show “Ssulzun.” [YONHAP]

“Please allow me the honor of being forgotten.”

That’s how writer and former Minister of Health and Welfare Rhyu Si-min said his last goodbye on the JTBC talk show “Ssulzun,” which he has co-hosted for the past two and a half years.

“Ssulzun” is a talk show where entertainer Kim Gu-ra, Park Hyung-jun, a professor at Dong-A University, and Rhyu discuss the latest topics in current events and politics.

In his last episode, Rhyu reminisced about the events that occurred throughout his time on the show.

He hosted the show through “the 20th general election, the candlelight rallies, the impeachment of the president, the early presidential election, the inter-Korean summit, the North-U.S. summit and the local election.”

Rhyu explained that he quit the show because he wanted to focus on his writing.

His most recent book, a “History of Writing History,” topped June’s best-seller list, according to Yes24, one of Korea’s largest online bookstores.

The book got to No. 1 in just a week, as it was released on June 25. His previous books “Why Not?” (2000), “What is a Nation” and “Reading of Youth” (2017) have also been best-sellers.

“I was originally planning to co-host the show for just four months, but somehow, I ended up staying for two and a half years,” Rhyu said.

“I tried to share my own viewpoint and interpretation of the world and politics. I just hoped the viewers could use it as reference when making their own judgements. However, if there is anyone who felt insulted by my words, please kindly forgive me.”

Rhyu said that he was also leaving the program to distance himself from politics. He emphasized that he wanted to stay away from getting involved in politics, but it was difficult because of the show’s political nature. “I want to take a step away from politics and live like a normal person who writes,” said Rhyu.

“Rhyu has contributed in helping the nation to expand in [their knowledge and understanding],” his co-host Park said. “Rhyu says he is leaving to distance himself from politics, but I can’t take his word at face value.”

Rhyu responded to Park, saying, “Take my word at face value.”

“My replacement will be better and more humorous than me,” Rhyu said.

The writer then turned to the audience and said his last words: “In two to three weeks, you will forget me. Please allow me the honor of being forgotten.”

Rhyu will pass his baton to Roh Hoe-chan, a representative from the Justice Party. According to Kim, when Rhyu heard about his new replacement, he said, “I can leave without any worries.”

BY LEE GA-YOUNG [sung.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

유시민의 ‘썰전’ 마지막 인사 “잊히는 영광 허락해 달라”

2년 6개월간 호흡을 맞춘 ‘썰전’을 떠나는 유시민 작가가 “잊혀지는 영광을 허락해 달라”고 마지막 인사를 전했다.

28일 방송된 JTBC ‘썰전’에서 유 작가는 “20대 총선을 시작으로 촛불 집회, 대통령 탄핵, 조기 대선, 남북 정상회담, 북미 정상회담, 지방선거까지 함께했다”고 회상했다.

유 작가는 “원래 정치에서 멀어지려고 정계 은퇴를 했는데, 정치 비평을 자꾸 하다 보니까 이게 안 멀어지더라. 정치에서 한 걸음 멀어져서 글 쓰는 시민으로 살려고 한다”고 말했다.

박형준 교수는 “유시민 없는 썰전은 상상이 안 된다. 나만 남아서 팥소 없는 찐빵 될까 봐 걱정”이라며 “유 작가는 국민 교양을 넓히는 데 기여했다고 생각한다”고 칭찬했다. 이어 “본인은 정치로부터 멀어지기 위해서 떠난다고 하지만, 저는 액면 그대로 받아들여지지 않는다”라고 농담하기도 했다.

유 작가는 “액면 그대로 받아들여 달라”며 “제 자리에 오실 분은 저보다 더 유익하고 재밌을 것”이라고 말했다. 이어 “2~3주만 지나면 절 잊어버리실 것이다. 잊혀지는 영광을 저에게 허락해 주시기 바란다”고 시청자를 향해 메시지를 남겼다.

앞서 유 작가는 27일 본업인 글쓰기에 집중하기 위해 정치비평과 작별하겠다는 뜻을 밝혔다. 그는 “넉 달만 해 보자며 시작한 일을 2년 반이나 했다. 세상과 정치를 보는 제 관점과 해석을 제시하려고 노력했다. 시청자들이 저마다의 정책적 판단을 형성하는 데 참고가 되기를 바랐을 뿐”이라며 “제 말에 상처받은 분이 계시면 너그럽게 용서해 달라”고 전했다.

유 작가의 바통은 노회찬 정의당 원내대표가 이어받는다. 김구라는 언론과의 인터뷰에서 “바짓가랑이라도 잡고 싶은 심정”이었다면서도 “유 작가가 후임이 노 원내대표라는 말에 ‘그렇다면 안심하고 떠나겠다’고 하셨다”고 전했다.

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