29 March 2006

Team Yodok Mountain?

All the talk on whether President Roh has seen or should see Yodok Story is somewhat reminiscent of a question at a U.S. press conference not long ago asking President Bush if he had seen Brokeback Mountain.

Now, before you slam me for comparing North Korean prison camps and U.S. views on homosexuality, I simply raise the comparison as one of politicking entertainment that is political in nature. It also seems like Kim Jong Il's moves to get Team America banned in some former East Bloc countries. No one wants an alternative political (social, moral, religious...) view shoved down their throat, and such sensitive issues (homosexuality in the midst of a Bush administration, North Korean human rights in the Roh administration or short puppets in the Kim Jong Il administration) become charged topics that are political suicide one way or the other for the political leadership.

South Korean politics remains at a very primitive stage, and it is compounded by the highly emotional Korean persona (you rarely see people disembowel themselves on the floor of the U.S. Senate or light themselves on fire on the Capital steps). The reactive nature of the political landscape continues to be a big drag on coherent and unified policies, but this is something that only time will sort out. After all, American politicians were still dueling to the death a hundred years after the founding of the US of A, and South Korean politics didn’t really open up until Kim Young Sam's or Kim Dae Jung's elections. There are still plenty of good years of political chaos to go, and that doesn't take into consideration the outlier of unification!

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