Monday, November 21, 2016

Youthquake in Seoul

Original image via Instagram: junmichaelpark
Ignoble Rot has consequences. In Malaysia, Bersih 5 may have made protest a New Normal, but for youth in South Korea, Choi-Gate has proved the Last Straw

Many middle and high school students are disappointed at how Choi's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, was illegally admitted to a top university and received special treatment there. 
"She did not study or make the appropriate effort but had the privilege of going to the university because she was born into a powerful family," Kwon Ha-kyeong, a 16-year-old student, told The Korea Herald at Saturday's rally. "While we are forced to study hard to get good grades, all she needed was her powerful parents." 
In the unfolding Choi scandal that even threatens Park's presidency, allegations concerning Chung may appear trivial. Choi is accused of much more serious crimes such as extorting billions of won from the country's top conglomerates. However, the anger and frustration felt by South Korean teenagers goes beyond just Chung -- it is a reflection of their dissatisfaction with society. 

“Adults tell us to stand still and study, but we feel like we have to do something now.” 
Kang Min-ji, a 17-year-old high school junior from the city of Seongnam, just south of Seoul, said during the protest on Saturday. Kang also explained how the phrase “stand still” itself was an insult to the Sewol Generation. It refers to the public announcement that kept on playing onboard while the Sewol ferry was capsizing and the ship’s crew were escaping. It stopped the passengers on the ship from attempting an escape and contributed to the tragic loss of 304 lives. 
“I am now the same age as the Sewol victims. All my friends definitely share and feel the impact of the Sewol disaster,” says Choi Su-jin, another high school junior from Seoul. “I was disappointed with President Park’s handling of the Sewol, and I felt betrayed when I heard about the president’s scandal. My friends and I don’t recognize Park Geun-hye as our president anymore.”
Korea Expose

Experts say the people's desire to express political satire has exploded all at once. "The people's desire to mock politics and express their feelings about the current deplorable situation, which thus had been muffled, have been unleashed. Now television shows have been reflecting the changed mood," said Jang Duk-geun, a comedy show writer. 
Looking into the present situation, which is more surreal than most movies, moviemakers are preparing to release a band of politically sensitive movies that express harsh criticism of the government. The movie "Special Citizen" reveals the two faces of politics through the eyes of a two-term Seoul mayor, played by Choi Min-sik, who runs for a third term, and military secrets and a corruption scandal are tackled in "Top Secret" which awaits local release. Director Shin Dong-yeob plans to make a political satire of the ongoing influence-peddling scandal in his movie titled "Gate."
Korea Times

The festive mood remained a constant throughout the night, and in fact, it seemed most of the people there were more interested in having a good time than anything else. That isn’t to say they weren’t angry or that their anger was without purpose, but it didn’t show. Their joyfulness wasn’t one of tactical frivolity, either. They were simply full of hope — the beating hope that their future can change because they hold the reigns of democracy in their hands. That may sound a little maudlin, but as an American, and particularly these days, it resonated.

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