Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Ministers Divided on Who Beats President

The election of Park Geun-hye – Korea's first openly-female president – appears to already be running into trouble only two weeks after she took office, with male ministers said to be deeply divided on which one of them should be responsible for beating her when she makes a mistake.

Logically some may believe the task would fall to the prospective Defense Minister, but privately many say that despite his claims to the contrary he actually has no offensive capability. Given that beating women has also been historically regarded as a recreational pastime and was recently provisionally designated Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 120, some have suggested that the Sports or Culture Ministers take the responsibility, while others believe the Construction Minister is likely to have the right kind of blunt instruments to hand. The opinion of the new Minister of Future Planning and Strategy was then sought, but it transpired he was not present as he had forgotten to put the meeting in his diary.

The divisions among Park's ministers meant that despite coming into office on February 25 she was unable to hold a cabinet meeting until yesterday, when the threat of war by North Korea led ministers to agree to put aside their differences for the good of the country, even if it was being led by a woman. The meeting, when it eventually got underway, was attended by the president, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, 13 new ministers and two vice ministers originally appointed by Lee Myung-bak whose role is to officially take the blame for any scandals or corruption which occurs during the new government's first days in office.

The president started the cabinet meeting by saying she believed in the stability of state affairs, and with several of her ministers yet to be formally appointed - rendering the government non-functional in most areas - political commentators have agreed that the transition from the Lee Myung-bak administration has been almost seamless. But commentators noted that despite the president's assurances that it was business as usual, the meeting somehow looked "notably weird", although experts said this was simply because a woman was trying to run it.

In a further blow to Park's credibility however, another potential problem with having a female president quickly became apparent after her male ministers were asked about the content of the remainder of the meeting, and none were able to recall exactly what she'd talked about, although several added that "she certainly complains a lot".

Related Links
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'Dating violence' going unchecked
School textbooks full of gender-biased content
Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Korea

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