Dear readers, meet the beautiful Moon Geun-Yeong.
Moon, 21, debuted as a child actress in 2000 at the age of 13. Because of her sheer adorability, she became a huge hit since, appearing in various movies, dramas, and advertisements. Recently, Roboseyo did a tribute the series of advertisements featuring Moon. (Perv.) Here is one example.
As it turns out, Moon doesn’t just look like the sweetest sweetheart in the world – she is in fact the sweetest sweetheart in the world. She has been the biggest individual donor for Community Chest Korea, a charity organization, donating around $800,000 over six years anonymously. Since she is now 21, she has been donating since she was 15 – anonymously! She has also been known to donate generously for various other charities.
Adorable, yes? Praise-worthy, yes? Positively angelic, yes? Korean media agreed, and spent many pages and airtime praising Moon’s good deed. Dubbing her the “charity angel”, they praised Moon’s kindness, her fine upbringing, and being a pioneer in establishing a charity culture in Korea.
Enter this guy. Man in the picture is Ji Man-Won, a professor known for his raging conservative politics, the concept which includes fervent anti-Communism and pro-military dictatorship (because it helped the Korean economy grow) in Korea.
As it turns out, Moon’s maternal grandfather was a communist guerilla who fought in South Korea during the Korean War. Also, Moon’s family is from Gwangju, a known stronghold for democratization movement and the home of Gwangju movement, a citizen uprising which was brutally suppressed by the military dictatorship, killing dozens. Moon’s maternal grandfather’s brother fought and died in that movement as well.
That did not sit well with Ji, who posted three articles about Moon after the media attention for her charity work grew. Below are some of the excerpts, translated by the Korean.
First Article – “Is Producing Charity Angel a Leftist Strategy?”
On Nov. 13, 2008, Community Chest Korea revealed that Moon Geun-Yeong was the actress in her 20s who donated $850,000 over the past 6 years. Since then, the leftist locusts have been obsessing to make Moon a heroine. …
But it does not sit well that the charity angel Moon is a granddaughter of a communist guerilla, and that she grew up with the love from that guerilla until her grandfather passed away in 2005. Although being a granddaughter of a communist guerilla cannot be faulted because guilt-by-association was abolished during Jeon Du-Hawn administration [read: early 1980s], it does not feel good that until three years ago, she must have received a lot of communist guerilla’s teaching while being loved by the communist guerilla grandfather. …
Recently, the fact that people from the Environmental Movement League and Environment Foundation and those from Kim Dae-Jung/Roh Moo-hyeon [read: non-conservatives] were handcuffed for corruption must have acted as a huge burden on the leftists. Leftists must have felt the need to change this milieu. It was already well known that the cute actress Moon was a granddaughter of a communist guerilla. It appears that Moon’s holding the firm position as an angel by raising her profile in TV dramas, and in addition praising her as an anonymous charity angel who donated $850,000, is a psychological warfare to create an image that communist guerillas are not people with horns, but they are people who are like angels. ...
Second Article – “Moon Geun-yeong is for Communist Guerilla’s Propaganda”
Searching for “Ryu Nak-Jin” [Moon’s grandfather] on a search engine shows a video file. The content was just as I expected. It was an advertisement that Moon was pretty, a good actress, has a kind heart, and has a great family. She was everyone’s adorable little sister, her maternal grandfather was a member of the unification movement, her great uncle was a fighter for democracy, and her uncle and aunts were patriots enough to be investigated by the police.
That is, communist guerillas are members of the unification movement, the communist guerilla family is a family with good heritage, the family that raised the daughter that did the goodliest thing in the world.
In short, it says communist guerilla family is a great family. This is a psychological warfare by the guerillas – as much as Moon’s good deeds are advertised, the message that communist guerilla family is good spreads as well. Also, I think they are engaging in a multi-purpose psychological warfare of diluting the disgust against communist guerillas and of eliciting a positive sentiment against Honam [region in which Gwangju sits] by turning Moon into an ideal woman. …
Third article – “North Korea’s Plan and the Case of Moon Geun-Yeong”
Moon vs. other good peopleThe full drivel can be found here.
There are many people who do good deeds that are unimaginable to ordinary people. … These are the people who give their body, more precious than money, although they cannot produce a spectacularly large sum of money that would be decorated by the media. …
Next in order are those who contribute money. The charity from those who earn much, for example Bill Gates, is a good deed that not anyone can do. …
I have searched a few articles from the past. … It is up to the readers where Moon’s donation of $850,000 over six years to Community Chest Korea ranks among these righteous good deeds. But unlike these other good deeds, Moon’s good deed has a much larger impact. Even conservative media is praising Moon, creating video files with strong communicative power spreading strange messages. …
This writer does not find fault with the good deed and praising the good deed. The fault is found in the manner of praising and the hidden message latent in such praising.
Remember folks, this is 2008. All this was only written within this week. Imagine how insane things must have been during the military dictatorship, which ended in 1993. For example, in the 1970s, the government investigated Gim Chu-ja, then a popular singer, because apparently her dance moves were codes for communist spies.
At least the Korean is comforted by the fact that even the most conservative Korean medias roundly criticized Ji. However, even more sickening is that there are at least some people who agree with Ji. This guy compiled the comments attached to the article on Chosun Ilbo, the most conservative newspaper among all. The Korean presents a selected few translated below. The Korean would laugh, except he knows they are serious when they wrote these:
“The charity angel’s deed itself should be praised, but if there is such a circumstance behind it, of course we should be wary. It would have been unimaginable without Mr. Ji Manwon’s insight. If you are not going to express respect to his patriotism, at least do not criticize him.”
“It totally makes sense. Moon donated under leftist governments, not under rightist government.” [Note: the last year of Korean conservative government was 1998, when Moon was 11, before her debut.]
“Those who slander Ji are mostly naïve people, leftists, stupid people, and those who know nothing; those who slander him most vigorously are the leftist flag-bearers who are carrying out their mission, and some but not all members of regional associations. People must know.”
“All the celebrities who were unknown or unpopular but raised their profile during Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyeon administration must be investigated. It smells suspicious.”
“You cannot deny that Dr. Ji’s point is correct and keen. Moon Geun-Yeong, granddaughter of Ryu Nak-Jin who denied the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea and lived and died as an enemy, must clearly reveal her view and position on her grandfather.”
The same type of people can be found criticizing Chosun’s editorial that condemned Ji. If you would like to venture in, the link is here. Try organizing by “thumbs up”, and the most despicable comments rise to the top.
This is utterly insane. But this episode is a perfect glimpse into how Korea was before it was democratized. Ji Manwon's views were exactly the mainstream view during the military governments of Korea, which only ended in 1993. Needless to say, politics of that era was just crazy. There was no reason, only madness. Although severely marginalized, the insanity is still surviving to this day.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.