‘I’m a tenant and a landlord’

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‘I’m a tenant and a landlord’

The author is the deputy editorof the economic policy team of the JoongAng Ilbo.

“Outside of the killings, D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,” said Marion Barry, who served as the mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991.

In “Pitch Perfect”, a book about the art of communication, Bill McGowan picked Barry’s remark as one of the worst examples.

McGowan is a media coach who taught interview skills to renowned figures such as former GE chairman Jack Welch and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. There’s a reason that McGowan called Barry’s remark a “faux pas of historic proportion.”

In fact, there’s nothing inaccurate about Barry’s remark. The crime rate per population in Washington D.C. was very low. The problem was that once a crime occurred, it was likely to escalate into a violent crime-like murder. He evoked greater fury by mentioning accurate yet absurd statistics, as locals were worried about safety. McGowan argued that this way of speech was fatal and destructive communication driving the leader himself into a crisis.

In high-level meetings on Oct. 18 and 21, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Hong Nam-ki said, “Lease transactions increased” as a result of his policies to control real estate profiteering.

In another meeting on Oct. 14, he said the “rent price increase margin is gradually slowing down.”

The worst-ever rent crisis occurred as the revised Housing Lease Act and supply shortage coincided with the autumn moving season. Hong is telling a different story. He has some statistics to back up his argument, but they are separate from the market atmosphere.

It has been disclosed to the public that he has to vacate his leased home in Mapo District, western Seoul. And his tenant in an apartment in Uiwang, Gyeonggi, is refusing to leave, citing her rights to extend rent period after the revised law.

Lately, Hong is a “hot” figure in the real estate community. He is more mentioned than Land Minister Kim Hyun-mi and nearly on par with President Moon Jae-in. The public’s fury toward him has changed into mockery to give him a cheaper lease.

The opposition People Power Party’s Rep. Yun Hee-suk became a well-known politician at once with a five-minute speech in which she claimed, “I am a tenant.” As Hong personally goes through the rent crisis, he should proudly say he is a tenant and a landlord at the same time. But he never mentions that.

Hong should have his own reasons, as he is responsible for the government’s failed real estate policy or he could not retract what he said. But I hope he changes his way of communication before it’s too late. McGowan advised that the fastest and surest way to success was to listen to others and bring opinions together to encourage people to follow the same path.
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