Monday, December 21, 2009

Ask a Korean! News: National Assembly Tradition Happens Again

Because without tradition, democracy is meaningless.



About 40 lawmakers from the main opposition Democratic Party occupied the conference room of the Budget and Account Committee of the National Assembly yesterday morning to protest the ruling Grand National Party’s plan to form a subcommittee on adjusting the budget bill.
(Photo and caption courtesy of Brian Deutsch and ROK Drop)

For those who are unfamiliar, fights break out in Korea's National Assembly almost every year, sometimes twice a year. They tend to happen most often in December, when there is a last push to pass/reject a piece of controversial legislation as the Assembly term draws to a close.

AAK!'s coverage of the 2007 fight can be found here. The 2008 fight, notable for its use of "weapons-grade" tools, here. In fact, this is not the first fight of 2009; the fight in July makes this one look like a picnic.



The best part is the play-by-play commentary.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@hotmail.com.

20 comments:

  1. I find it interesting that you've never done any in-depth analysis of the "tradition" of physical violence in Korean politics. It seems to be a topic ripe for some historical background and explanation to those that aren't familiar with it.

    Have you never received a question from an emailer about why a modern democracy features such childish "traditions," or is it that you'd rather not deal with explaining it?

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  2. This one is waiting in queue for sure.

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  3. My favorite Korean parliamentary procedure was this smooth judo throw, with a nice follow-up into matwork, which he had to give up on after other opponents showed up.

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  4. LOL I've watched a lot of the Korean parliament fights on youtube. There's one with a judo master: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djdy_fhvZuM

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  5. I LOVE this way of doing politics! I wish our politicians would duke it out on CNN every once in awhile, would make things a whole lot more interesting!!

    Anyway anyone could translate the commentator?

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  7. a friend of mine wrote a great piece looking at why these fights happen.

    http://classbravo.blogspot.com/2009/12/korean-politics-official-strategy-guide.html

    my understanding is that for a bill to be ratified, the speaker of the assembly needs to strike a gavel three times. if the opposing party can control the gavel, they can stop a vote. hence, a lot of fighting to grab the gavel.^^

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  8. It would be cool if shows like gag concert suddenly grew massive balls and began making parodies of politicians punching and shoving each other, or of their numerous instances of ineptitude in general. Is it too much of a "foreign" thing to be making fun of politicians instead of wanting to rip their heads off all the time as koreans are wont to do?

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  9. Actually, YTN had a hilarious show called 돌발영상 which did more or less what you described (had a collage of funny political footages.) And the show silently disappeared soon after LMB became president. Which is a shame.

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  10. Ahhhh, I see. Looks like I need to catch up on my comedy shows.

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  11. I don't think that political show is off the air! I saw it today (돌발영상) poking fun at PM Chung Un-chan.

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  12. Bonnie - you are right. The Korean didn't realize the show was back on. You can watch the show here: Link

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  14. Why Korean and Bonnie, thank you for making me feel like a complete idiot, even though I already have enough experiences like that these days...but uh, if government controlled YTN is allowed to legitimately make fun of politicians, does that mean major shows like gag concert could get away with doing the same thing too? I figure gag concert can only get bigger ratings by doing political stuff.

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  15. Quam immaturi se gerere! Tamen jocosum est.

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  16. Can you tell me why my Korean Aunt cannot pronounce my sister's name: Alexa?

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  17. "Can you tell me why my Korean Aunt cannot pronounce my sister's name: Alexa?"

    The same reason Alexa can't pronounce your Korean aunt's name.

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  18. ugh i forgot about this. jesus fucking christ. so hilarious and so not.

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  19. This is like Thanksgiving or Christmas with my husband's family. It's scary to watch and scarier when you're the target and you don't how you got there.

    Kayls--my MIL has been calling my SIL Alex or Alexa for the last 10 years. Her name is Alexis. I've heard my MIL call her Alexis a couple of time so it's not like she can't pronounce it. I guess she'll only say it correctly when she's in a good mood. BTW, Koreans don't like their daughters and especially their sons marrying non-Koreans.

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