Election Candidate Stirs up Patriotism, Netizens Skeptical

Saenuri Party Presidential Candidate Park Geun-hye

It’s election season in South Korea and things are hotting up. Billboards are going up all across Seoul reminding you who to vote for, images of the Korean War come back to haunt us to remind you what you were fighting for and presidential candidate for the mainstream conservative Saenuri Party [New Frontier Party] Park Geun-hye is doing her best to stir up patriotic sentiment among Koreans.

Daughter of former president Park Chung-hee (who seized power in a military coup in 1961), drunk-tweeting politician Kang Yong-suk has joked that both she and Kim Jong-un have used their family connections to gain political power in Korea.

From Daum:

Park Geun-hye “We cannot leave [the fate] of the lives of citizens to those that deny the past”

Saenuri Interim party leader Park Geun-hye said “We cannot leave the lives of our citizens to those that deny the past and turn their backs on their promises”.

Speaking in the Congressional Hall for the 2012 April General Election Central Committee inauguration ceremony Park said “If we let those guided by false ideology, who disregard our national interest, those who wish to abolish the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, those who oppose the construction of the Jeju naval base and undermine the US-ROK Alliance, and those who wish to dismember the largest corporations come into power in the National Assembly, what will become of our nation?”

Park emphasized “more than as an individual success or failure, we urge you to engage in this election with patriotic determination to change our politics and save our country”.

“Our electoral promises must be kept, so do not make impossible pledges and make sure to keep the ones you have made”, urging the nominees to “conduct a spotless electoral campaign”.

Comments from Daum:


The return of the military dictatorship administration? That is our past administration! You bird-heads!


Hahahaha…Military dictatorship leftovers… what are they saying???


The fact you are at the center of the past corruption and the present one as well… Every word that comes out of your mouth astounds me.


You miss… the bygone days of Park Chung-hee


Why not focus on yourself, you scumbag daughter of murderer.

Digital Athenes:

I can see why Lee Joonsuk said he is scared. You’ve surpassed Lee Myungbak already~ Already privatized your own party, Lady Lee Myung-bak. Scary!


Coup Princess… You are so thick-skinned


Go get married why don’t you… your face is irritating to look at…
You think you are some kind of patriot? Why not take care of your household first, especially that opium-addicted brother of yours?


Wow, so thick-skinned… and not a single word of apology for the military coup administration…


Who was the one who swore allegiance to the Japanese emperor and hunted down the Korean Independent Army? The original communist himself!

As if that was not enough, usurping by military coup d‘etat, crushed the democratic activists while partying every night with singers and actresses at your daughter’s age and assassinated??
The pro-Japanese, original communist himself!

The daughter of Mao whom Park Junghee accussed of being communist is a farmer, do you know why? Because her father told her to lead a simple life. So she is following her father’s wish. Do you not follow what I am saying?


I hate the fact that she is on about ‘citizen, citizen’ as if she really cares about it. She is no different than Lee Myungbak. I don’t trust a word of her.
To think that just because her father was a famous president, she thinks she can be one as well, that really annoys me. Does she really think that she is a ‘princess’?


Can’t trust my life to Pro-American Pro-Japanese element in this country


President Park always thought he was the one who ‘had to’ do it. The national power structure is supposed to be maintained by ‘checks and balances’, but he opted for that scummy “reformed” constitution and focused all power upon himself.

In order to maintain one-man absolutism, he harshly oppressed the media, union, and the opposition and initiated the period of state barbarism, and thereby beginning the tragic history.

This kind of dictatorial power was followed up by his cronies in the military, such as Jyun Doohwan and now Lee Myungbak is trying to imitate it, badly.

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  • Brett Sanbon

    On my walk to the subway this morning I was handed a card supporting the NFP. As I kept walking I was approached by the GNP (or is it DUP?) and handed a card. [no one from the UPP, surprisingly]

    Party supporters in every country make me laugh. Do they not see that there is no fundamental difference between either side? It’s all so convoluted and ridiculous.

    All the important things that they have been pondering over recent years. “Lets change our party’s name to the opposition’s old name.” “I don’t like blue, so lets use red”

    Lets also not forget how impossible it is to get Koreans to vote. I’m not sure about presidential elections, but with the ex-mayor of Seoul quitting because not enough people cared to vote about educational reform, it sure doesn’t look too good. Anyone have demographic info on how many people vote above and below the age of, say, 50?

    BTW- Is her skin really that flawless, or does Yonhap PS their news shots?

    • Kage Musha

      Thick layer of foundation!

      Regarding the politics. It’s seen a lot in many other countries.
      But what I find more disturbing is the lack of a long term vision to ensure a better future for the ENTIRE country.
      Most politicians and parties only cater to their target group to ensure election and/or re-election. They are willing to take decisions precisely for that even if it’s bad for the long term situation of the country (and they know it!).
      Politics these days are only focused on the short-term (to get those votes, win and for the power!).

      • acorn

        i think the parliamentary system makes parties more responsive to the constituency demands though, don’t you think? it’s better to have a system that responds to your demands and reacts to faults in the system than the one where it’s led by people who will never be held accountable or never have to change.

        people in japan always complain about how their system lacks long-term vision like in Korea or China because of secure presidential system that guarantees 4-5 years of term rather than PM changing every year! on the other hand, I know quite a few Chinese people who complain about how their politburo is never accountable for anything.

        • Vince

          “Constituency demands” in a system where most representatives don’t represent a constituency … ?

      • acorn

        i agree, probably photoshopped with lots of foundation

    • lonetrey

      I have no idea what any of those parties you mentioned are. :(

      • Brett Sanbon

        Its okay neither do I…… Or Koreans

  • Vince

    A bizarrely one-sided selection of comments with some historical inaccuracy thrown in for good measure (the coup was in 1961). From this you’d think she were massively unpopular — in fact she’s been leading polls consistently for years now and continues to rank as the single most popular politician in South Korea.

    • James

      These comments were the most popular comments at the time of posting, that’s the only reason they were selected.

      She IS actually very unpopular amongst younger voters, many of whom are likely to be the more vocal netizens translated above.

      Yes the Coup began in 1961 but Park didn’t formally come to power until 1962.

      • Vince

        This is a technicality, but the coup happened on 16 May 1961 and was finished (at the latest) by 3 July 1961 when Park became Chairman of the SCNR. It didn’t carry on going until 1962. Park was formally in power in July 1961 because the SCNR was granted supreme control of all government activity. He just wasn’t president. The term “coup” itself refers to the actual insurrection, not the ongoing process of consolidation of political authority that follows it. This is why 16 May 1961 is listed in all scholarly sources as the date and year of the coup.

        I know this is a very technical point but that period of S. Korean history also happens to be my research specialism, so whatever :P

        Anyway, technical points aside, this seems to be more a question of methodology in presenting comments, then. This strikes me as being a slightly perverse way of presenting things, for the simple reason that if we assume that, say, 40% of young people favour Park and 60% oppose her (for the sake of argument) then by mathematical certainty if we assume the readers represent an accurate cross-section of the Internet-using young population the highest-rated comments will all be opposed to her.

        In any case, the actual statistics don’t necessarily suggest she is as unpopular as you make out, though it’s true that her opponents are very vocal. If I remember correctly, for example, a survey conducted quite recently suggested only a comparatively small gap between DUP and Saenuri support in the 20-30 age group. Unfortunately that doesn’t say anything about Park’s own support — I can only offer anecdotal evidence as to that.

        By comparison this is equivalent to implying that American Netizens unanimously support Ron Paul, which is clearly false but would be the impression you get from reading any number of top-rated comments on most news sites.

        It would be more accurate to present a more careful selection of comments from all sides, which is what I have always assumed ChinaSmack does, but I might well be wrong.

        • James

          Interesting research! Will amend the article accordingly since you’ve been so passionate (anal?) about it. ㅋㅋㅋ

          You said it yourself, Park’s opponents are more vocal. So news stories about her on the Korean internet attract a lot of negative comments. We’re just providing you with a window into that. If we were to provide 5 positive and 5 negative comments from a list of over a thousand comments, 90% of which are against her, we would be misrepresenting the way that particular group of Korean netizens had responded.

          Even if some of them had been political activists who deliberately wanted to troll the comments section or swing it politically, our primary concern would still be to represent it as it appears on the Korean internet.

          On the Dokdo article, there are a lot of anti-Japanese and fairly racist comments. That doesn’t mean all netizens are racist either, but the ones that concerned themselves with this issue and were prepared to comment about it all displayed a similar sort of sentiment.

          • Vince

            Then say that’s what you’re doing rather than misleadingly presenting it as being a uniform skeptical reaction. Nowhere have I said you need to present 50% for and 50% against — any idiot can tell you that’s not being neutral unless 50% really were for and 50% really were against her.

            “Show your working” doesn’t only apply to exams and academic articles. Nowhere on the website that I can find does it say that your methodology is solely to present the top-rated comments. In the About section: “We will also be translating comments from netizens, giving you a view of how ordinary internet users think in this fast-changing, increasingly important country.”

            Not “translating top-rated comments”, just “translating comments”. In this article, the section is titled “Comments from Daum” – not “Top-rated comments”. Here, you’ve argued you’re “providing you with a window” into the fact that “news stories about her on the Korean internet attract a lot of negative comments” — yes, but you’ve quite deliberately chosen to provide a window into that so you should highlight that choice rather than presenting yourself as a neutral actor simply conveying or gracing the reader with objective information.

            Honestly, it would be pretty easy to simply say that’s what you’re doing and avoid the charges of being biased. This methodology is certainly not neutral and so it deserves to be brought to the reader’s attention, not necessarily in every article if it’s the standard method, but somewhere on the site — otherwise it seems just a little dishonest.

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