The President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, is not popular. She has surpassed 60% disapproval. Only 34.5% (+/- 2%) in a poll last week said they approve of her.
I first wrote about this in post #10 (“Unpopular Leaders”). At the time, April 2013, I wrote the following (with [bracketed] explanations added), information I’d gotten from the newspaper:
Presidential Approval After One Month in Office [according to the Korea Herald]
……….71%……………..Kim Young-Sam…….1993 [centrist; first non-military president since 1961]
……….71%……………..Kim Dae-Jung………….1998 [left-wing; began Sunshine Policy with NK]
……….60%…………….Roh Moo-Hyun……..2003 [left-wing; elected during anti-U.S. hysteria of 2002]
……….52%…………….Lee Myung-Bak………2008 [right-wing freemarket type]
……….41%……………..Park Geun-Hye……….2013 [right-wing, daughter of 1960s-1970s strongman General Park]
[O]ne cannot help think that Koreans are getting more and more cynical about their leaders, as time goes on.
Park Geun-Hye’s popularity today (34.5%) has not much changed from its level of two years ago (41%). But people are more deeply annoyed now:
40.3% of respondents “highly disapproved” of the president […] the first time the figure has exceeded 40%.
Koreans are prone to political overreactions (as I see it). Several former presidents and their staffs from 1980s through the present have faced legal prosecution after leaving office, and many actually did prison time (including two presidents), for alleged crimes they allegedly presided over. In other words, when the right-wing has gotten in power, they start an elaborate process of political trials against the former left-wing leaders who preceded them (and vice versa); heavy fines and jail terms are liberally handed out. I find this to be highly undignified, the worst kind of naked political prosecutions of political enemies when one has a temporary political advantage. This is a bad sort of political overreaction.
Another form of political overreaction, as I see it, may be to “disapprove” of a head of government for no particular reason. That’s what politics in a liberal democracy seems to be about, they may perceive.
They may have gotten this idea (“disapproval for no reason”) from the USA. Who is the last U.S. president who maintained consistent, comfortable-majority approval? Eisenhower? Majority-disapproval of a U.S. president has become all but expected in the USA.
President Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-Bak (2008-2012), too, had dismal approval ratings for most of his presidency, often below 30% approval. Among other issues, the left (and the racialist center) accused Lee of cozying up to the Yankees [See #263 and #264]; he reallowed U.S. beef imports (banned in 2003), a major domestic political issue, and he negotiated a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, and majorly toned down the anti-USFK rhetoric — By my first arrival in 2009, two years after Lee took office, the once-common “No Americans Allowed” on businesses were almost all gone.
So presidential disapproval will continue until…when? Will it be like this forever from now on?
I wrote, memorized, and delivered the following presentation in Korean this week. It probably reached five minutes in total with the question and answer period.
안녕하십니까? 저는 “외국어 조기 교육”에 대한 발표를 준비했고 지금부터 그 발표를 하겠습니다.
외국어조기교육이란 초등학교에 입학하기 전에 외국어를 배우는 것을 뜻합니다. 예를 들어, 영어를 가르치는 유치원들은 조기교육으로 볼 수 있습니다.
외국어조기교육은가르치는 방법에 따라 두 가지 종류로 나누어 볼 수 있습니다. 첫째는 외국어 유치원에서 공부하는 것이고, 둘째 집에 있을 때 텔레비전이나 컴퓨터를 봐 가면서 외국어를 배우는 것입니다. 그러니까 활동적인 방법도 있고 수동적인 방법도 있습니다.
외국어 조기 교육에 대해서 더 설명하겠습니다. 많은 한국인 부모님들은 영어를 일찍 배우는 것이 좋다고 생각합니다. 그러니까, 요즘 한국에 있는 영어를 가르치는 유치원이 많아졌다고 합니다. 그런 유치원 중에 한국인 아이들을 외국인 원어민 선생님이 가르치는 곳도 있습니다. 그 곳에서 한국인 아이들은 재미있게 놀아 가면서 영어를 배울 수 있습니다.
외국어조기교육에 찬성하는 사람도 있고 반대하는 사람도 있지만 이 발표에서 의견에 대해 이야기 못 합니다. 그래서, 이 것으로 제 발표를 모두 마치겠습니다. 질문이 있으면 꼭 물어보세요. 감사합니다.
| Early Childhood Education in a Foreign Language
Hello. I have prepared a presentation about “early childhood education in a foreign language” and I’d like to deliver it now.
What do we mean when we talk about “early childhood education in a foreign language”? It means learning a foreign language before entering elementary school. We can see foreign-language kindergartens as an example.
We can divide foreign language learning in early childhood into two types, according to the method used. The first is kindergarten, and the second is learning through watching TV or something on the computer. Therefore both active and passive methods exist.
Let me explain some more about early childhood foreign language education. Many Korean parents believe that learning English at a young age is a good idea. Therefore, the number of English kindergartens has increased in recent times. Among these kindergartens, there are also those in which Korean children are taught by foreign native-speaker teachers. In these places, Korean children can learn English through having fun, playing games.
There are both supporters and opponents of this practice, but in this presentation I am not allowed to talk about opinions, and so with that my presentation ends. If you have any questions, please ask them now. Thank you.
| This is what I wrote on the white board as I was going along:
“Early Childhood Foreign Language Education”
Age 1 to 6 : Learning lang.
Kindergarten ……… TV / Computer
I spoke slowly and I think everyone understood what I said. I knew the presentation went well because other students promptly asked me coherent and thoughtful questions:
The sole Japanese said that back in Japan, too, “early childhood foreign language education” is now a popular thing. Then she asked about how popular it is in the USA. I said I thought it was very rare in the USA. Americans are usually not interested in foreign languages (at this point I couldn’t think quickly enough of how to say “low level of interest” so I did some sign language which got a laugh).
A Chinese student with whom I’d studied before, G.N., asked which form, active or passive, I thought was better. I said active was better but harder.
The teacher, who has a kindergarten-aged child asked a question. She asked if I supposed “English kindergartens” are worth it. I don’t really know, as I have no experience with them. (The youngest student I’ve ever taught was in 4th grade;mostly I’ve taught teenagers.) I muttered something about it being okay to start at any age.
High-profile political killings in France last week.
Twenty people were killed in several gun attacks. Three were police and three were the perpetrators (Muslims; all three born in France in the early 1980s to non-European parents). That leaves 14 “civilians” among the killed. Of these 14, six were Jews and one was a Muslim, leaving seven“Français de souche” (old-stock French) victims. (I found an essay entitled “French Lesson” by Dr. Peter Frost to be insightful in analyzing the attacks.)
The main group of victims was at a (so-called) “satirical magazine” which publishes tasteless, filthy, deliberately offensive “political” cartoons. The worst of the cartoons are definitely inflammatory and humiliating, up to and including depictions of the genitalia of Mohammed and Jesus and graphic sexual acts involving the same.
(At the risk of speaking ill of the deceased,) The people behind this magazine seem to have been deeply nihilistic and perhaps psychologically disturbed. It doesn’t mean they deserve to have died. Yet it wasn’t so long ago that people who published such things would’ve been under serious risk of being lynched by local European Christians for either blasphemy or degeneracy or both.
I have to ask: What happened to standards of decency in publishing? Are they all out the window in France? Why were cartoons so inflammatory and frankly indecent by (surely) anyone’s standard allowed to be published and sold?
France is totally committed to free speech, I’m told, no matter who may get offended. Yet that’s not the case: France is one of the countries that has a law imposing heavy fines and even jail sentences on Holocaust revisionists, for one. For another, a Black comedian called Dieudonne was prosecuted for “hate speech” for his comedy routines and certain political statements. The government has imposed a total television ban on him. (Here he is on a TV program defending himself from a critic before the lifetime ban was handed down.)
So I am left confused.