A presidential election is just around the corner for South Korea. Ms. Park Geun-hye is the candidate from the conservative party of Saenuri. Mr. Moon Jae-in from the Democratic United Party and Mr. Ahn Chul-soo, independent, have not yet announced who will go on the ballot to run against Park. Tonight’s TV debate between Moon and Ahn was a chance for the public to see the two at work.
Because I don’t know politics and do not consistently follow the news, I am not a credible source. But I thought I’d share something that would appeal to laypeople like me.
A college acquaintance, in a Facebook post, had compared the Moon-Ahn relationship these days to that of a fighting couple. Moon apologizes but acts as though he’s not sure what’s getting on Ahn’s nerve. Ahn is peeved because Moon’s not paying attention to the problems that they had talked about previously. Moon asks Ahn to clarify, and Ahn reminds that the party needs to be reformed. Moon asks what of the party, and Ahn retorts Moon should already know.
Many liked the post, expressing concern that Moon-Ahn must avoid presenting itself as another useless political farce that turns people off. But another friend criticized that the Moon camp is acting on the assumption that Moon will ultimately come out as the winner and thus is not so keen on addressing all the changes desired by the Ahn camp.
So, this was pretty much my understanding of what was going on on the night of the debate. Each candidate took turns asking, had seven minutes to form and then another seven minutes to answer question on given topics such as politics, economy, North Korea, and society. While the moderator asked the candidates to make use of the full seven minutes in asking questions, the candidates usually shared the seven minutes, turning the debate into more of a conversation or a Q&A session. No “malarkey” was heard, and civility was maintained throughout.
To those interested in getting the content of the debate, I recommend referring to Chin Jung-kwon’s Twitter @unheim. I found his live tweets that were strictly kept to facts helpful. The Hankyoreh also published the transcript of the debate.
Apart from the policies, which I guess are the most important features and should be the basis of our decisions, I think both candidates successfully delivered themselves as trustworthy figures who recognize the nation’s aches and each other’s strengths. Not a lot of debates between political candidates enable this sort of reaction. The onus is on the two camps to reach common ground as soon as possible and also on the public to be mindful citizens.
I would like to end the post with campaign videos from each camp. Moon’s is about rescuing small businesses, and Ahn’s is about providing permanent employment.
There are many other videos available through their respective YouTube channels, but I picked these two because of the animated narrative that helps to make politics more accessible and relevant. I like watching K-pop videos, but I would also watch campaign videos if they were informative and fun. I think teachers could even watch these videos in class with their students to strike up interesting discussion.