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The Korean Dream
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[0호] 승인 2004.09.09  
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What kind of dream is the Korean Dream?

President Roh, Moo-hyun coined a new phrase the Korean Dream, and identified former minister of government administration and local autonomy Kim, Doo-kwan as the man who fulfilled the Korean Dream. He lived with it. He was the country chief of Namhae province whose population was 50,000.

He was a high school graduater like President Roh and was elected to the highest position in the County of Namhae. He was an admirable person. His promotion to the cabinet was achieved by the politically spoiled system, so his minister-ship can not be considered as a part of the Korean Dream.

The American Dream is not different from the Korean Dream. A poor immigrant goes to the United States, and achieves a great fortune or great fame. That is the American Dream. A Korean boy from a poverty-stricken family could not graduate from middle school or high school, so he studied alone, while experiencing muscle pains. He passed the high school equivalent exam, and entered the college.

President Roh is a man who achieved the Korean Dream. He was from a poor family and graduated from high school. He studied alone, while working in the laborers market, and finally passed the bar exam. He became a lawyer.

He was elected to the national assembly as a protege of former President Kim, Young-sam. He switched his party affiliation, and joined Kim, Dae-jungs party. He was a man who fulfilled the Korean Dream. But his dream did not end there. He was elected to the highest office of this nation.

Roh was compared to Abraham Lincoln when he was elected to the office of president. Now, no one attempts to compare Roh with Lincoln. Why? He and Lincoln are not alike. His presidential performance are not comparable to those of Lincoln?.

Needless to say, Lincoln has been evaluated as one of the greatest American Presidents who unified the nation by winning the Civil War in the mid-19th century and liberating black slaves from southern landlords. Roh? presidential performance are still going on, but many Korean people are losing interests in Roh? presidential performances.

That must seem totally unfair to Roh and his supporters. Why do many Korean people lose interests in politics? I don? think it is their fault. I think it is Roh? fault. During his six-month performance, many Korean people could foresee the next four and a half year. Forecasting may be very difficult, but six months may be adequate to predict his next four and a half years. Alas!

Reaching the highest office is not necessarily fulfilling the Korean Dream. What he performs at the highest office of the nation will decide whether he fulfills his Korean Dream or not. Do you know why the Korean politicians all fail to achieve the Korean Dream? Because they all already did their best to reach the highest office of the nation. Because they all failed to do something good or great for the nation in that office.

I think neither Kim, Young-sam succeeded in his Korean dream, and nor did Kim, Dae-jung. I hope Roh fulfills the Korean dream his predecessors failed to achieve.

President Park, Chung-hee reached the highest office of the nation by means of an army coup detat, but at the highest office of the nation, he performed the presidential jobs. So he fulfilled his Korean Dream. He was the main architect in transforming this poor nation into a developing nation.

Who has achieved the Korean Dream then?

I may name Mr. Park, Sung-hak, who is known as a hat king. I? introduce him in this space under the title ? Decent Man.?He was a Korean War orphan, all alone in the war-torn country. He was a houseboy in a US Army camp in Kangwon-do during the war. He had only three-years schooling before the war, but he made a fortune without anyones help.

Later, his employees contributed to building-up his hat empire. In the beginning, he manufactured all the hats and sold them by himself. He is still performing an outstanding job as a CEO. Naming Mr. Kim, Doo-kwan as a man who fulfilled the Korean Dream may not be comparable to naming the of Mr. Paik.

President Roh, I admire what you have achieved so far. I dont like to downgrade your achieve-ments. However you may not be remembered as a man who really fulfills his Korean Dream when your performance cannot match the mission of the top post.

That will be decided by Korean history after you step down from the highest office of the nation. Reaching to the top post should not be a sufficient reason to name a man who fulfills the Korean Dream. Performance at the top post will be a more important evaluation criterion for judging the man or woman who fulfills his or her Korean Dream.
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