TIME Changes Headline on Park Geun-hye Cover, Netizens React


Park Geun-hye, presidential candidate for the ruling conservative Saenuri Party is on the front cover of the current Asia edition of TIME magazine, sparking a mixed reaction from South Korean netizens regarding the use of the word ‘strongman’ that was subsequently changed to ‘dictator’ by TIME editors.

TIME released a preview of the print cover with the headline ‘The Strongman’s Daughter’, but the online version of the article now carries the less ambiguous headline ‘The Dictator’s Daughter‘.

When rendered as two words, ‘strong man’ carries more positive connotations than ‘strongman’, and this interpretation was picked up by Park’s campaign, who attempted to put positive spin on the cover story with South Korean press.

The move has attracted a lot of attention on the South Korean internet from both conservative and progressive netizens; the change was first spotted on Twitter, and has already prompted parody from South Korean netizens:




And a Korean version of the cover has emerged on Twitter that translates ‘strongman’ as ‘dictator’ (dogjaeja – 독재자 [獨裁者]):


Park is the daughter of former South Korean military dictator Park Chung-hee and holds a minor lead over progressive candidate Moon Jae-in in polls.

Progressives see the possibility of the children of dictators ruling both North and South Korea as highly undesirable, but Park maintains fairly broad popularity with the Korean electorate; many are prepared to accept the human rights abuses and undemocratic practices of her father’s regime, thanks to the economic successes of his government.

South Koreans vote on 19 December.

Comments from Nate:


1) The Saenuri Party really don’t know the difference between ‘strongman’ and ‘strong man’.
2) Even if they did understand the difference, they thought the people of South Korea wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
3) The people could see the difference, but didn’t care.
4) Regardless of how someone else wrote an article, they thought that they could interpret it in whatever way they wanted.


During the April 27, 1971 presidential election, despite the fact that there was all manner of underhanded manipulation of the process, Park Chung-hee came out with 6,342,828 votes to Kim Dae-jung’s 5,395,900 votes. Once Park realised that he could never win the next election under a direct election system, he enacted the 1972 Yushin Constitution, replacing the direct election method with an indirect one. During the next 20 years, Kim Dae-jung was put in prison, kept under house arrest, suffered a mysterious car ‘accident’, was kidnapped and threatened with death, and went through countless troubles.

Summary of the contents of the Yushin Constitution:
1. The removal of the ability of citizens to elect a president via direct election. In the rubber stamp congress, that would later cast their votes on behalf of the population inside a stadium, 99% supported Park Chung-hee’s re-election.

2. The president gained the ability to directly select one third of all of the members of the National Assembly, adding to the control of the president, that began with his control of the indirect election method. The ability of a president to chose one third of the National Assembly is a joke.

3. The president gained the ability to extend emergency powers for as long as he wished, meaning he could have anyone arrested, executed without trial, put in prison for life, or given a sentence in excess of five years. Those who opposed the Yushin Constitution were imprisoned without limits, or executed without trial. The Revolutionary Party Incident is the most representative case of this period.


So, the word is basically the same if it was the ‘daughter of Kim Jong Il,’ isn’t it?


Most foreigners should be taken aback by the news; it’s not that different from Stalin’s daughter running for the Russian presidential election. Actually, Stalin’s daughter said ‘My father was a dictator. I’m guilty for not taking a stand against him. Now he’s gone, the weight of his sins should fall on my shoulders’. But didn’t Park say something like ‘What my father has done should be judged by future historians’?


Strongman→the word that journalists used for Kim Jong Il or Gaddafi. So ‘The Strongman’s Daughter’ means ‘The Dictator’s Daughter,’ whilst ‘The Strong man’s Daughter’ means ‘The Strong leader’s Daughter.’ What is the Saenuri Party representative gonna say about this, that TIME accidently forgot a space between those words?


We’ve already stunned the world by choosing a guy with a criminal record as the president. And when we’ve got the dictator’s daughter elected as the president, we’ll once again take the world by surprise.. Our national dignity is being ruined by the Saenuri Party!!


Hey, Ilbe [conservative website] bugs! Why do you guys distort the meaning of the word? Let’s take a look at the list of guys who were called ‘strongmen’: Chile’s Pinochet, Egypt’s Mubarak, Cuba’s Castro, Libya’s Gaddafi, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, and South Korea’s Park Chung-hee. What? The Strong man’s Daughter? The word ‘strongman’ is often exchangeable with dictator. Are you that ignorant? Or, are you just bluffing about her reputation? It’s so embarrassing. Using your logic, Kim Jong Un should be ‘the strong man’s son.’ That’s why TIME changed the word ‘strongman’ to ‘dictator,’ probably out of spite.


Are they that embarrassed about the past to pretend they’re this stupid? Didn’t they say they were proud of the past?


[NYT]: ’Dictator’s Daughter Still Popular in Not-so-perfect Democratic Nation.’
[Reuters]: ’Korean Dictator’s Daughter runs for Presidential election’
[BBC]: ’Park Geun-hye, the Dictator’s Daughter VS Moon Jae-in, the Lawyer who was sent to Prison by the Dictator.’
[Boston Globe]: ’South Korean Dictator’s Daughter Becomes Presidential Candidate.’
[Le Monde]: ’Dictator’s Daughter Runs for Presidential Election.’

I feel absolutely mortified by her running in this election. It’s a national shame. I’m worried about what the foreign media is going to say if she gets elected. I bet Ilbe bugs’ll label TIME as a ‘commie magazine.’


Hey, why not say ‘TIME magazine is jongpuk.’ ke ke ke


TIME made it clear by changing the word from strongman to dictator. ke ke ke The speed of their response is so fast, like LTE fast.


Please Moon Jae-in, if you become president, may your first act be to designate Ilbe a harmful website^^^^^^^^^^^


The Life of Park Chung-hee: Graduation from the Daegu College of Education→Employment as primary school teacher in the city of Mungyeong in Gyeongbuk province→renamed Takaki Masao under the Japanese name-changing laws→Graduation from Japanese military academy→Pledge of loyalty to the Japanese emperor and entrance into the Manchurian army (the infamous Maruta Base)→hunted Korean Independence troops→collapse of the Japanese empire→renamed Park Chung-hee→joins the South Korean Workers’ Party→participation in the Yeosu Uprising→sentenced to prison for participation in Uprising→like the opportunist that he was, Park informs on his fellow members of the Workers’ Party (leading to 300 deaths)→takes power in May 16th coup d’etat→becomes president→revises constitution to allow for three terms→like the pro-Japanese he was, he enacts the Yushin constitution to ensure his power→assassinated by his henchman Kim Jaeg-yu→for the Park Chung-hee documentary, ‘Spitting on my Grave’ click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-up2VNU8eo


Of course TIME wanted ‘strongmans to be interpreted as meaning dictator, but then the Saenuri Party claims in their stupid way that it was some kind of complement, so the magazine was forced to clarify and change the title to ‘Dictator’s Daughter’ ke ke ke ke ke ke


ke ke ke in the eyes of the conservative media, Kim Jong-un will always be a dictator while Park Chung-hee will always be just a strong ledaer…ke ke ke what crazy bullshit.. but however they try to spin the facts, the New Daily can’t follow…ke ke ke


Please big sister Geun-hye, just end your bid for the presidency, it’s too embarrassing.. ㅠ.ㅠ


It’s so embarrassing to be known as a pushover all across the world –– people think that our election is like the line of succession that got that lousy pig on the throne in North Korea. She came out as a candidate without any shame about her past.


TIME used to be a completely conservative paper, but starting in the 1970s it took a more moderate stance. Now they’re say that TIME is a left-wing paper? ke ke ke ridiculous


This will be a bit long but please read to the bottom. Park Chung-hee took the Japanese name Takaki Masao and became a lieutenant in the Japanese army. I can see perhaps not joining the Korean resistance troops but an officer in the Japanese army? What could he have been doing? So then he becomes a communist, but sells out 300 of his comrades, resulting in their deaths. He alone survives and goes on to pursue economic development. But he doesn’t pursue it independently, instead he relies on the Americans and the Japanese bastards, who were afraid of South Korea going over to communism since it seemed to be the more productive system. So these other countries turn us into an economic colony.

Park Geun-hye isn’t the same as her father, but she can’t deny that she is the daughter of a pro-Japanese traitor, communist, and dictator. The fact that the daughter of a dictator has become a presidential candidate is a reason for international embarrassment. Park Geun-hye herself has said that she received 600,000,000 KRW [approx. 428,955 EUR] won from Chun Doo-hwan, which would be 20,000,000,000 KRW [approx. 14.2m EUR] in today’s money. Only now does she talk about returning the money! Where is her sincerity! But what is really important is the fact that she does not recognise that her father did anything regrettable. What must other countries think of our democracy?! Are we deaf to the wails of those countless activists who were locked away in prisons and lost their lives!? The failure to clean out the Japanese collaborators after liberation has led directly to the power of the modern Saenuri Party. And if Park Geun-hye wins the election…I don’t know… Saenuri Party, the parts of collaborators, the elite. Will we even be left the crumbs after they finish eating their fill? We will be turned into beggars. Look to history, we must progress forward. We must support the Democratic United Party [DUP]. Those who sweated and suffered during the industrial period, but who also fought for this nation’s democracy despite their weaknesses should vote for the Democratic United Party!! Of course, there are many areas where the DUP does not measure up, but it is much better for the middle class than the Saenuri Party and we must think of the common man.


Park Geun-hye: supporters, congratulate me, I got on the cover of TIME, what luck.

Supporters: big sister… er.. that…that’s not what they mean…

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Sillian

    Park Geun hye is supported much more strongly by older people who experienced the Park Chung hee period firsthand. They lived a piss poor childhood when even fried eggs were precious and have witnessed all the unbelievable changes in living standards with their own eyes. The problem is that….they seem to attribute the development feat to the dictator just as he tried to make ppl believe it was his own achievement…while turning blind eye to his brutal deeds…and fulfill their nostalgia with his daughter.

    • Definitely, I don’t think these geezers realize that PCH’s approach was more in line with China’s export-driven model of supporting the business elite rather than a FDR model of looking out for everyone. And now everyone wonders why three companies have undue amounts of economic and political clout in Korea.

      It’s like Americans who remember the 50s as the golden years but subconsciously mislead themselves as to why they were great.

      • Observer

        A shame when people value economic growth more than freedom and human rights. Her father was in power during economics miracle, but the other ministers and economists did most of the work. he mostly just ordered protesters to be shot.

        People also forget that they got huge economic support from western powers because, although the fighting had stopped, Western (mostly America) governments still needed strong allies in the region to combat Communism (Cold War)

        • chucky3176

          Park never ordered anyone to shoot any protesters. That was Chun Doo Hwan in 1980. Park just arrested people, few were tortured, and made some of them disappear. His style of rule is reminicent of Singapore of today, where political opposition is suppressed and citizen rights curtailed, yet there was heavy emphasis on building up the economy for the good of all.

          • Observer

            My mistake, you’re right, that happened a year after his assassination. but torture and disappearances are just as bad (“disappearance” just means killed in secret; more discreet than shooting protesters, but ultimately gives the same results – dead opposition).
            Also he did say before his assassination that he would order his soldiers to fire on protesters in Busan if the situation got worse (he died about a week later).

          • That was actually why Bak Jeong-hee was assassinated; his chief of the KCIA, 김재규, felt his boss had crossed a line by giving the green light for firing on unarmed civilians and shot him.

            I’m interested to know if Chucky considers Bak Jeong-hee to have been a good leader or not. Personally I don’t think Bak Geun-hye has properly acknowledged the brutality and illiberality of her father’s reign (and his disguting collaboration with the Japanese) – but the DUP’s fawning hard-on for North Korea and refusal to condemn the North’s human rights record makes me think that Bak Geun-hye is the lesser of two evils.

          • chucky3176

            “김재규, felt his boss had crossed a line by giving the green light for firing on unarmed civilians and shot him.”

            That’s what he claimed. But seriously who believes him? Nobody. More likely, it was a factional in fighting within the KCIA that lead to the debacle. The assassin Kim Jae Kyu felt humiliated by Park’s other right hand man Cha Ji Cheol, and Kim couldn’t control his tempers caused by his insecure feelings that his career was going down the drain because he had lost favor from the president.

            My feelings on Park is neutral. I give him credit where they are due, but also point out he wasn’t exactly a democratic leader for sure.

          • “That’s what he claimed. But seriously who believes him? Nobody. More
            likely, it was a factional in fighting within the KCIA that lead to the
            debacle. The assassin Kim Jae Kyu felt humiliated by Park’s other right
            hand man Cha Ji Cheol, and Kim couldn’t control his tempers caused by
            his insecure feelings that his career was going down the drain because
            he had lost favor from the president.”

            Incorrect. Check the tapes of his interviews or the testimony of 김정남 – he believes that 김재규 was absolutely sincere in his desire to (finally) stand up for democracy. 김정남 isn’t someone with any stake in making any part of Bak’s administration look good.

  • PixelPulse

    I dont pay much attention to South Korean politics so can someone answer me this, do people mostly have a problem with her own politics or her fathers past?

    • Observer

      Good question. I believe it’s both. Tensions with North Korea has risen again here over the past couple of years after two attacks, change in North Korean leadership and the upcoming missile launch. Many of my friends are Progressive, and are worried that her hard-line stance against the North (her mother was killed by a North Korean sympathiser) and how it would add to tensions.
      She also favours the big companies, much like many conservative governments, which gets mixed response in Korea; increase in international trade at the expense of the small and family businesses.

      • chucky3176

        Her Conservative party is “conservative” in name only. She never said she favors the big companies. That would be like political suicide. But that’s what many Koreans think that’s what she will do, because of her party she leads. But the truth is, it’s much more complicated then simply one favoring the big companies. South Korea’s entire economic structure is set up for big companies to thrive at the expense of smaller ones. If they try to dismantle them, the economic growth will go into negative territory and unemployment will rise, while exports will shrink. Then what they’ll do is, they’ll stop the dismantling and go back to the old ways again. That’s what happened during 1998 to 2008, when the liberal party was ruling the country. This is a question of damned if you, and damned if you don’t, and for whoever is in power, it won’t be very easy to “not favor the big corporations’ without seeing the Korean economic competitiveness shrinking and their voter popularity shrink along with it. This is not a black and white issue with lot of grey areas.

        • Observer

          Very true. and i can sympathise. I’m now in Korea working for Samsung (the “big people”), while my parents back in the UK own a butchers shop (the “little people”) which for the past couple of years been loosing business since the chain supermarket opened in the small town.

          However, other than her family history and economic policies, I don’t know much about any candidate. What are their stances on Social issues, welfare, education….? These things don’t seam to be mentioned often in the media, She may have some great ideas that are being overshadowed by her past (please reform the education system!)

          • chucky3176

            In terms of social welfare, Park and Moon are similar in that they both promise the moon and the sun. But they differ greatly in fundalmental ways. For instance, Park Geun Hae favors greatly expanding social assistance to those who are in need, the unemployed, and who don’t make the poverty cut off line. Where as, Moon promises universal wealth spread through income redistributions and universal welfare programs for all, doesn’t matter your income level. That includes totally free university tuitions, universal child care programs for working parents, free meals for all students in schools, and more interestingly, a guaranteed income supplement for all Koreans. This means that if you don’t make the certain income cut off line designated by the government, the government will chip with income subsidies. This proposal concerns me greatly. So if someone who doesn’t work, the government will pay them not to work. It sort of resembles the British welfare system with public use of money that are used to permanently create a class of people who will always depend on government money to survive.

            But none of the parties have come up with methods or proposals on how they’re going to pay for all the programs. None will say the taxes will have to go up quite a bit to pay for all these programs or end up charging the cost to credit holders made up of international investors.

    • chucky3176

      Mostly her father’s past. Her politics are actually left of center, with promises of expanding of social welfare and negotiating with North Korea and give them aid. She has no hard line policy against North Korea, that’s Lee Myung Bak. Both of the candidates want to bring back the Sun Shine policy of 1998 – 2008, a period in which South Korea pumped $13 billion in aid into North Korea and got North Korean artilary rounds at South Korea instead. She also advocates open immigration system to bring more immigrants from Asia, and multiculturalism to replace South Korean culture with cultures from many different countries.

      As far as I can see, none of the candidates in the next Korean elections are good. They all promise something for nothing with promises and promises and more promises that will be very difficult to fulfill. We need a realist in the leadership, but they’re too busy fighting with each other and making unrealistic campaign promises.

      • Improving the welfare state is just a fundamental concern in Korea at the minute – everyone’s campaigning on those terms, so doing so hardly makes you left-of-centre. If anything, it makes you populist. Park’s economic advisor, the one who coined the term ‘economic democratisation’ actually left her because ‘she didn’t understand the concept’ and ‘is obsessed with growth’. The concerns from the Korean left with Park seem to be far more deep-seated than just her. She’s obviously not going to rule like her father (although with doctored photos/threatening satirists, I do wonder), but the close circle of people around her will be very resistant to any progressive changes (and in that way, she really does resemble Kim Jong Un ㅋ).

        Kim Chong-in on Park Geun-hye and economic democratisation:

        “I don’t think that [NFP] presidential candidate Park Geun-hye is lying when she says that she will work for economic democracy, but she doesn’t fully understand the concept.”

        “Park is not an economic expert, but I thought that if I believed in her she would accept my ideas to some extent. However, there are just too many people in her circle who are opposed to economic democracy,”


”People keep telling Park that the economy is in trouble, so she gets obsessed with growth in the manner of [her father and former Korean president] Park Chung-hee. Thinking that economic democracy gets in the way of economic growth indicates just how insufficient her understanding of reality is.”

        (Source: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/563310.html)


She’s been likened to Thatcher – the quintessential conservative populist if there ever was one. 

You’re right that, whoever wins, no-one is going to carry on the counter-productive policies of Lee Myung-bak towards the North though, that’s a positive sign at least. Those artillery shells did land on South Korean soil AFTER Sunshine Policy was abandoned, I might add. Not saying that was a direct cause, but you don’t half present that situation as a little bit ‘black and white’ given how keen you were to emphasise the ‘shades of grey’ above.

        • The artillery shells were fired after the Sunshine Policy; but the massive possibly-nuclear test explosion took place in 2006, right at the height of No Mu-hyeon’s spineless rapprochement with the vile Kim dynasty. North Korea has no interest in anything except maintaining the power and privilege of its elite on the backs of the suffering masses. Revolucion 만새, eh?

      • “Replace” is a pretty loaded word. You really think she wants to “replace” Korean culture? She’s interested in bringing in immigrants because they’re willing to do low-paid, unskilled work and keep profits high for the big companies.

        I do always wonder why, though, Koreans so vigorously defend their culture and seem so particularly sensitive towards perceived threats against it. You live in one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world; kimchi and worshipping people whose parents had sex before yours did isn’t going anywhere.

        • chucky3176

          I am not sure what you’re arguing about. All the news reports say both Korean parties push multiculturalism in Korea, to replace the monoculture. They want to replace the one country, one people, one culture, and one language concept, with the concept of multiracial, multicultural, and multi-language society. The news say the goal for Korea is to have at least 25% of the country made up of ethnic minorities in 20 years.

          • “They want to replace the one country, one people, one culture, and one
            language concept, with the concept of multiracial, multicultural, and
            multi-language society.”

            No, they don’t. Korean politics is dominated by ethnic Koreans who speak Korean and follow Korean cultural practices. They have to pay a certain amount of lip service to multicultural progressivism as (rightly or wrongly) it’s considered a key feature of being a developed, modern country. The majority of Korean lawmakers, though, have as much interest and desire in making Korea multicultural as you do, ie none at all. Korea WILL become more multicultural as the population ages and more and more low-skilled, low-paid foreign workers are brought in, but that’s only going to be a side-effect of keeping the economy running for the jaebeols, and it’s not a side effect any politicians actually want, because they’re a) inherently xenophobic and racist and b) they know their constituents are too. The quest for the almighty won will always win out over distaste for foreigners, though.

      • PixelPulse

        Great answers, so where exactly do the majority of Koreans want in terms of politics?

  • Paul M

    Who would I vote for? Personally I don’t think either candidate is worth voting for. Basically it’s like choosing between a turd with sprinkles and a turd with whipped cream and a cherry. Both parties offer attractive incentives but essentially they will fail to deal with and serve to distract from the real issues at hand – stagnant job market, protectionist conglomerates with a stranglehold on the economy and an education system based solely on getting into university.

    • dk2020

      well it sounds like obama and romney in the past election .. which candidate is the lesser of the two evils ,, who will stop the corruption in politics ..

    • Guest

      tough luck. you will have to find a mulatto president of Korea to favor your position of a “great president”

  • yeah

    The parodies look like it came from the United States.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I’m surprised how well Park is doing in all the polls. If they’re to be believed she could win very handily. I think a lot will come down to how many old versus young people can be bothered to vote. Making it a holiday likely causes more young voters to make other plans for the day, which would help Park.

  • Hannah

    Please. All those people who support Moon do not have any clue of what Park Chung Hee did for his country. That is why those who went through those times know what is the right choice. Youngsters getting swayed by wrongful information (If you see the crap that’s out there, it’s just pure bullsh*t that anyone would fall for them. It just shows that the more you do SNS the stupider you get) should be ashamed of themselves/

    • By this logic, Bush was the right choice because the wise old people favored him.

  • Bill

    Park Chung Hee is indeed a dictator. But try not to get bias but also look at the economical growth in his time. I personally think S.Korea wasn’t ready for democracy at that time. With north growing their military, you can’t just go on shouting freedom of everything. Democracy is the final aim, but there are just steps to take. BTW Park Chung Hee didn’t rig the elections.

    I hate the left wing parties in Korea since Kim Dae Jung- Roh Mu Hyun. They basically “funded” the NK for their Nukes. Democracy is great, but just don’t get too numb about the pig dynasty up north.

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»