어제 시선집중 출연한 주성영의원을 비롯 대부분 한나라의원들은 권위주의로 가득차있다. 시민여론이 한나라당을 얕보고있다고 하는데. 수사권 장악하려는 검찰이나 경찰형사가 종로경찰서장을 폭행하고 있는 사진을 스스로 제공하며 되려 시민을 탓하는 경찰을 보면 사/입법을 장악하고 있는 현정권과 한나라당을 우습게 보는건 당연하지. 뻔하게 다 보인다. 되려 시민들을 얕보지 말라. 시민들이 없는 민주주의는 진정한 민주주의가 아니라는 기본적인 개념을 국회의원들에게 굳이 상기시켜야 하는걸까. 우습다.
이런 바보같은 정권을 조직있게 바로잡지 못하는 야당이 더 답답하다. 통합을 하던 신당창당을 하던간에 궁극적으로는 국회에서 과반수의 숫자를 확보하여 어젠다를 밀고 나가야지. 국회의 299석에서 한 당의 의원이 169명이라니.. 간단한 산수다. 과격하게 머리수를 모아 법을 통과할 수 있는 힘을 모아야 하는데 여전히 어리버리.
I’m giving it a try to make sense of all this in my own words, for a British friend of mine showed curiosity.
Not many including myself have been really aware of the full impact of US-KR FTA deal until recently. Read the article and the postings I have on my wall. To focus on what’s been happening for the past several days, basically the ruling party took over the parliament two days ago, locked themselves in n used their ridiculously imbalanced majority numbers to pass FTA so the other parties didn’t get to have a proper chance to vote. Even if they did the bill would’ve passed anyway but really? Did they really have to heist? Yesterday frustrated citizens poured out to the streets of Seoul and we marched asking for the repeal of FTA and impeachment of MB. it’s about ppl distrusting politicians who r supposed to represent their ppl’s interests n strive to effectively govern a society where regular folks other than Samsung LG Hyundai r supposed to see opportunities for better life but it is simply not the case. Very much related to the occupy cause but FTA has a more urgent n immediate impact on agriculture n small businesses in the country.
It is said that FTA is suppose to create a lot of jobs here n get money flowing, but unless there is a fundamental change in the administration’s attitude toward economic policies and given the rate of inflation, the positive impact of the trade agreement on regular Korean people will be far less significant and beneficial in a long run than they make it sound. More jobs may be created but less and less students are able to pay for college education to qualify for salary jobs. The minimum wage is terribly low at about $4-5 USD per hour on average and a large number of students (most from the so-called middle class) have to often take terms off just to save money doing part-time jobs. Now, I fully understand that this phenomenon is not unique to Korea, but in terms of federal assistance in the forms of financial aid with low interest rate, scholarship, fellowship and vocational programs, this country firmly holds one of the last places amongst OECD countries. Needless to say, less educated young minds equals less potential for future innovation and social & economic growth. And along with the further growth of the corporations boosted by the free trade agreement, those who are able to afford college will prefer to find their profession in one of those big companies. The circle of life continues…
I mentioned this before as well, but in terms of benefits and retirement plans, working for big companies does have significant perks - paying less tax, 4 types of insurances covered for your family, pension, severance pay, etc. The companies are able to provide these to their employees and provide bonuses because of all the perks they get from the gov. - low tax rate and such. But if you are a student, a self-employed or a small business owner, u are pretty much on your own and still not federally assisted with ur dues - making monthly bills for pension and national health care (national health care is another yuk! don’t even make me go there) - a significant portion of which would’ve been normally covered when working for a large corporation. Sure we may be able to buy bananas and cherries at cheaper prices, but without any federal or state support, how will our agriculture industry compete against the giant agriculture industry of the US? How about necessary research to preserve and improve our homegrown produce? Forget about competing, but how are small businesses supposed to be incentivized to be innovative when they’re deep in debt by having mortgages, private loans and credit cards?
Given the large corporations heavily depend on exports, the trade agreement, on the other hand, will be a huge advantage for them because the tax on exports will be reduced significantly, which is good for them and them only because most of these large corporations, especially the auto industry, already have production plants in the US or the countries they do business with. Essentially it’s a win-win for large conglomerates that get to save a lot of money in their pockets and not necessarily return it to the society. Building a bunch of high-riser apartments ain’t gonna cut it when people can’t afford those fancy houses. In fact, the kind of corrupted shit that’s going on in the corporate giants - two names pop up in my mind at the moment - is something we see all too often.
Most of the public frustration comes from huge anger toward the president - the former chairman of Hyundai and one of the most financially scandalous mayors of Seoul before he became the president - and scandals surrounding him ans his biz-mogul family - old and new - seem to grow larger in scale and amount. He has been behind all these economic policies that are not exactly for improving the lives of regular folks, but for making a small group of people who are already rich richer. He also is not too fond of people voicing their opinion so he assigned his people to control major media networks and newspapers, which explains the fact that most of the TV/newspapers are uber conservative and pro-ruling party. I’m so ashamed to discuss this, but since he has taken the powerful position as the mayor and the president, according to a U.N. reporting, S.Korea’s freedom of speech level has been downgraded from free to gradually restricted and sensored. To give u an idea, a number of comedians, actors and talk show hosts have been banned or “let go” from the major networks because of their progressive political stance. Also, he doesn’t hesitate to use physical forces against people rallying and marching, permits for which have become much harder to obtain from the current administration. He has turned places where people used to gather and celebrate World Cup games or hold peaceful rallies into more touristic venues with high security and more strict regulations, so basically those places that used to be where people go to express their joy and frustration - namely, the city hall square or Gwanghwamun square - doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore other than looking nice and neat. People still do it now, which explains all the arrests and physical confrontation.
On Tuesday night, I was in Myeongdong marching with people who were angry with the ruling party staging a lock-up in the parliament and went ahead by themselves to pass the bill with their majority number - about 2500 ppl gathered they say - and hundreds of police were blocking our way and barricades of combat police were making their way forward using water-canons to disperse the crowd. It was about 5 degrees celcious and most people including myself were soaked to their underwear. There was another rally today, which, I hear, was much larger in scale, probably due to what’s been happening for the past two days, and more intensely controlled and brutalized by the police. People are not happy and they want him to step down, but his got the prosecutors and media under his control and there are still many Koreans who are clueless about the fact that political vigilance and participation is one of the most important ways to secure your own happiness in a democratic society.
Above is the reason behind the extreme popularity of independent voices. As of late, some journalists with true integrity and balls have been using podcast tech to reach out to people with news and facts that ppl don’t get to hear from the mainstream media. You may have heard of a podcast called 나는 꼼수다 a.k.a. 나꼼수 or I’m a petty-minded creep in English. They have been supporting the rallies and people by breaking down corruption or injustice matters with journalistic investigation with strong evidences that are substantial enough to prove them to be true. Yet, they are always generous enough to end their allegations by saying “Of course, Our Excellency (that’s how they refer to MB) would never do such a thing.” Giving a benefit of doubt is so much fun to pay attention to sometimes.
Let’s rewind a bit. In relation to redevelopment of the city I mentioned earlier, his redevelopment ambition extends to the countryside as well destroying the major rivers and its eco systems and the lives of the people surrounding them. He’s merging rivers and building dams, which is forcing people out of their own homes and destroying or breaking the balance of eco systems surrounding them. He definitely does not care for environment at all that’s for sure. There are way too many angry citizens who have been evicted from their business, home and property or have been forced to compromise unfairly for the sake of redevelopment, hence, the namdaemun gate fire incident, which happened while MB was the mayor of Seoul. Fine, the guy was a little looney, but that doesn’t change the fact that the nation’s number one treasure is gone now due to complete lack of security while the city has been pouring so much effort and money into reshaping the city by kicking out ppl from their homes and businesses they had for decades and this kinda stuff is still happening in the heart of the city. Such development effort has been continued by Oh, Se-hoon, who, btw, was hated by everyone including his own party. But I digress.
The relationship with North has been deteriorating during his presidency as well. The alleged suspicions of cover-ups over Yeonpyeong Island Attack and the sinking of Cheonahn submarine are strongly supported with evidence, but, as usual, those voices are silenced. My heart goes out to Obama, but this guy is a pure puppet of America, the ever-so-declining has-been superpower. MB has no capacity to think for his people (imagine Mitt Romney’s “corporations are people, too” and Bush’s general disposition and mix them together and put a not-so-attractive Asian face on it) or the ability to foster a society that will benefit generations to come. He is on the side of large corporations and he will sign anything that will support them. In his world, money doesn’t just rule the world; money is everything. A famous comedian Je-dong Kim makes a pun that he is working so hard on his re-election effort - for 2012 US presidential election!
Lastly, not so relevant, but valid, I personally think he looks like a rat. Before u agree or disagree with me, take a look at his face first, then get back to me.
I’s kinda going off tangent here and there, but i hope this helps. I myself is still learning a lot as I go. it’s a learning process for everyone as well. People are opening their eyes and starting to speak, but with no fear this time. (just to add, Twitter, obviously, is a massive part of any social change that’s unfolding at the moment.) And as you can see, this FTA issue is just another symptom of the bigger problem the Occupy movement is fighting against.
South Korea’s National Assembly ratified the country’s free trade agreement with the United States Tuesday after President Lee Myung-bak’s ruling Grand National Party called a snap vote on the matter. The 299-seat legislature passed the FTA 151-7, but not before Kim Sun-dong, a legislator belonging to the minor opposition Korea Democratic Labor Party set off a tear gas cannister in the chamber.