Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Irrational Downfall of Park Geun-hye


President Park Geun-hye issues a public apology on October 25, 2016.
(source)

President Park Geun-hye is in deep trouble. The stories have been out for a few days now, and even the English-language papers have caught on. Park's confidant has been running a massive slush fund, as she extorted more than $70 million from Korea's largest corporations. The confidant was receiving confidential policy briefings and draft presidential speeches--all on a totally unencrypted computer. The confidant rigged the college admission process so that her daughter, not known to be sharpest tool in the shed, would be admitted into the prestigious Ewha Womans University. That last bit turned out to be the first step toward the president's ruin, as Ewha students' protest over that preferential treatment developed into the larger investigation about the relationship between Park and her confidant, Choi Soon-sil.

But the English language coverage of this scandal is missing something. The newspapers do have most of the facts, which they recount diligently. But they fail to fully account for the Korean public's stunned disbelief. Although the scale of the corruption here is significant, Koreans have seen much, much worse. Not long ago, Korean people have seen Chun Doo-hwan, the former president/dictator, made off with nearly $1 billion, and this was back in the mid-1980s when the money was worth more than $4 billion in today's dollars. Even the democratically elected presidents of Korea--every single one of them--suffered from corruption charges. Lee Myung-bak, the immediate predecessor to Park, saw his older brother (himself a National Assemblyman) go to prison over bribery. Lee's controversial Four Rivers Project, which cost nearly $20 billion, was widely seen as a massive graft project to push government funding to his cronies who were operating construction companies.

For better or worse (mostly worse,) Korean people have come to expect corruption from their presidents. So why is this one by Park Geun-hye causing such a strong reaction? It is not because Korean people discovered that Park was corrupt; it is because they discovered Park was irrationally corrupt. Koreans are not being dismayed at the scale of the corruption; they are shocked to see what the scale of the corruption signifies.

(More after the jump.)

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



The "Rasputin"

Choi Soon-sil [최순실]
(source)

Park Geun-hye's corruption scandal revolves around a central question: why would the president risk her administration for Choi Soon-sil? In fact, one of Park's selling points as the presidential candidate was that she was less likely to be corrupt because she had no family. Her parents--former dictator Park Chung-hee and his wife Yuk Yeong-su--were dead, and she was estranged from her sister and brother. This argument had a modicum of plausibility, since all the previous president's corruption involved their family in some way. (Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung had issues with their sons; Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak, their brothers.) 

But the lack of family did not stop Park Geun-hye from being corrupt, because she apparently had to give money to Choi Soon-sil. But why did Park Geun-hye, the president, even bother with Choi Soon-sil, a nobody? To answer this question, we must look back into modern Korean history to trace the relationship between Park and Choi. 

Choi Tae-min (right) meets with Park Chung-hee (left) and Park Geun-hye (center)
(source)

Park Geun-hye met Choi Soon-sil through Choi's father, Choi Tae-min. The elder Choi, born in 1912, was a pseudo-Christian cult leader. He started his adult life as a policeman and soldier, and at one point he worked at a small newspaper and a soap factory. By 1970s, Choi was fully engaged in the occupation for which he would be known: being a cult leader, claiming to heal people. Choi called himself a pastor, but he never attended a seminary.

Choi Tae-min met Park Geun-hye for the first time in 1975, when Park was 23. Park Geun-hye had just lost her mother, who was assassinated by a North Korean spy. (The spy was aiming for Park's father, the dictator Park Chung-hee, but missed and killed the first lady instead.) Shortly after the assassination, the elder Choi sent several letters to Park Geun-hye, claiming that the soul of Park's mother visited him, and Park could hear from her mother through him. Park invited Choi Tae-min to the presidential residence, and the elder Choi told her there that Park's mother did not truly die, but merely moved out of the way to open the path for Park Geun-hye. This was the beginning of the unholy relationship between Park Geun-hye and Choi's family, which included Choi Tae-min's daughter Soon-sil.

Once the elder Choi won Park Geun-hye's confidence, he leveraged the relationship to amass a fortune. Choi set up a number of foundations, with Park Geun-hye as the nominal head, and peddled influence. The influence-peddling and bribery became so severe that the dictator Park Chung-hee summoned Choi Tae-min to personally interrogate him. In the interrogation session and thereafter, Park Geun-hye would fiercely defend Choi, her spiritual guide and connection to her dead mother. In a Wikileaks cable from 2007 when Park Geun-hye first ran for president, the U.S. Ambassador for Korea noted: "Rumors are rife that the late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result." 

Choi Tae-min's high times ended on October 26, 1979, when his patron lost her father in another assassination. (Fittingly, Park Geun-hye's own downfall began around October 26 of this year.) The assassin Kim Jae-gyu, then-head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, said one of the reasons why he decided to assassinate his boss was because of the toxic relationship between Choi Tae-min and Park Geun-hye. Although Park Chung-hee was fully aware of Choi Tae-min's grafting, the elder Park let it continue for the sake of his daughter. Kim believed that this was another indication that Park Chung-hee was losing his marbles. 

For the next decade, Park Geun-hye and Choi Tae-min were removed from politics. The assassination of Park Chung-hee led to another round of murderous dictatorship, this time by Chun Doo-hwan, then finally democratization in 1987. During that time, Park operated several charitable foundations, which were in reality no more than private slush funds made up of the money that Choi grifted during her father's reign. Park Geun-hye became so dependent on Choi Tae-min that she would be estranged from her remaining family, her sister Park Geun-ryeong and her brother Park Ji-man. In 1990, Park's siblings went so far as to petition then-president Roh Tae-woo that their sister be "rescued" from Choi Tae-min's control.

Choi Tae-min died in 1994, at which point Park Geun-hye's confidence moved to Choi's daughter, Soon-sil. Park entered politics in 1997, winning her first election as an Assemblywoman in 1998. She would prove to be a competent politician, earning the nickname "Queen of Elections." She lost in the presidential primaries to Lee Myung-bak in 2007, but came back strong to win the nomination and eventually the presidency in 2012. Although Park's relationship with the Choi family briefly became an issue during her two presidential runs, she dismissed them as baseless rumors, claiming that neither Choi Tae-min nor Choi Soon-sil was involved in her works as a politician.

As it turned out, Choi Soon-sil owned Park Geun-hye just as much as her father did. Peddling the presidential influence, Choi extorted tens of millions of dollars from Korea's largest corporations. When they found a small and profitable company, Choi's cronies would straight-up steal it, threatening the owner of the company with the company's destruction and personal harm. More importantly, Choi effectively controlled the presidential power. Every day, Choi would receive a huge stack of policy briefs from the presidential residence to discuss with her inner circle--an illustrious group that included Choi's gigolo (no, really) and a K-pop music video director (I'm serious.) Choi would receive ultra-confidential information detailing secret meetings between South and North Korean military authorities. Choi would receive in advance the budget proposal of more than $150 million for the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and distributed them to her friends' projects. Choi went around saying North Korea would collapse by 2017 according to the spirits that spoke to her, and the Park Geun-hye administration may have set its North Korea policy based on this claim. 

For years, Park's aides complained about the mysterious off-line person to whom the president would send her draft speeches--when the drafts returned, the professionally written speeches were turned into gibberish. We now know that one of Choi Soon-sil's favorite activities was to give comments on the presidential speeches. Even the famous Dresden speech, in which Park Geun-hye outlined her administration's North Korea policy, had a number of markups from Choi Soon-sil. The aides who dug too deep into the relationship between Park and Choi were dismissed and replaced with those close to Choi, to a point that Choi's personal trainer became a presidential aide. No, really. I wish I were joking. 

The Reckoning

Choi Soon-sil's selfie from the recovered Galaxy Tab
(source)

It is entirely fitting that this sordid affair began unraveling because of a preferential treatment that Choi's daughter received in her college admission. If there is one thing that Koreans cared more than their lives, it is their (and their children's) college degree. As the heat rose against Choi and her daughter, they hightailed to Germany where they owned a horse farm.

The major breakthrough occurred on October 24, when a cable TV network JTBC discovered a Galaxy Tab belonging to Choi Soon-sil in the office that she abandoned. The tablet was the Pandora's Box--it had the presidential speeches with Choi's markups, presidential briefs for cabinet meetings, appointment information for presidential aides, chat messages with presidential aides, the president's vacation schedule, draft designs for commemorative stamps featuring the president, and much, much more. The discovery of the tablet was worthy of "World's Dumbest Criminals"--the tablet was simply left behind in Choi's office with no encryption, and the files were available for anyone to open. And just in case Choi Soon-sil denied ownership of the tablet, its image gallery contained her selfie

The next day, the president attempted to stem the tide by issuing a public apology, in which she said Choi was someone who "helped during [her] difficult past." Although Park admitted that Choi had reviewed the draft speeches, she said Choi only conveyed her personal impressions, and at any rate stopped shortly after her presidential office was formed. The ensuing tsunami of revelations showed immediately that the president was lying--one of Choi's cronies said Choi was receiving presidential briefing as recently as earlier this year. The president's approval rating plummeted to around 17 percent, with more than 40 percent of the respondents demanding resignation or impeachment. Even conservative newspapers like Chosun Ilbo, which has been reliably in Park's corner throughout her administration, has issued daily editorials demanding the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet to resign.

Meanwhile, Korean people's collective heads exploded. As discussed earlier, it takes quite a bit for Korean politics to shock the Korean people. Having survived a particularly tumultuous modern democratic history, Korean people may be the world's most cynical consumers of politics. But this. Even the most cynical Koreans were not ready for this

At first, there was a tiny bit of perverse relief, as all the bizarre actions of Park Geun-hye administration suddenly began to make sense. Why did the president only hold just three press conferences in the first four years of her administration? Why does the president always speak in convoluted sentences that make no sense? Why did the president fly off the handle and sue the Japanese journalist who claimed that she was with Choi Soon-sil's husband while the ferry Sewol was sinking in 2014, drowning 300 school children? Why did the ruling party randomly host a shamanistic ritual in the halls of the National AssemblyOhhhh, the relief went. Now it all makes sense.

But this brief relief soon gave way to the terrifying realization: actually, it does not make sense. None of this makes any sense.

In an ordinary case of political corruption, the politician is in it for himself. At most, the politician is doing it for his family, or other rich people who may end up helping him later. Obviously, corruption is bad. But this type of self-interested corruption at least gives some measure of predictability. We all know what self-interest looks like. Even though we would prefer that our politicians are not corrupt, at least we know how corrupt politicians behave.

But not with Park Geun-hye. Her corruption was not self-interested at all. If anything, her corruption was self-sacrificing in favor of Choi Soon-sil. Among the numerous revelations, I personally found this the most pathetic: Park Geun-hye gave Choi a sizable budget to purchase the presidential wardrobe, and Choi embezzled most of it. Instead of purchasing the clothes that befitted a head of state, Choi outfitted Park Geun-hye with crappy clothes that she had her cronies made with subpar material. There is a video of Choi's staff smoking and drinking while eating fried chicken, right next to the suit meant for Park Geun-hye. At one point, one of the staff members handled the suit without even wiping chicken grease from his hands, while breathing smoke onto the clothes. Park Geun-hye would wear this suit on her presidential visit with Xi Jinping. For accessories, Choi gave Park the cheap leather purses and clutches that her gigolo designed. This could not have possibly escaped Park's notice. Even assuming the unlikely possibility Park Geun-hye might not have had the discernment to know firsthand (unlikely because she grew up in the lap of luxury,) the obvious cheapness of Park's clothes and bags even made the news. Yet nothing came of it. Choi Soon-sil dressed Park Geun-hye liked an unwanted doll, and Park, the president of the country, did not care.

Even in her apology, Park Geun-hye showed that she still might be under Choi Soon-sil's hold. What would a self-interested politician would do, if the corruption of one of his cronies was revealed? The politician would sell the crony down the river, denying up and down that he ever knew or interacted with the crony. Such denial would be cowardly and dishonest, but at least it is predictable. But not with Park Geun-hye. She stood in front of the whole country and admitted that Choi Soon-sil fixed her speeches. Instead of cutting ties with her, Park reaffirmed that Choi was an old friend who helped her during difficult times.

This is utterly irrational. Rational people can expect that a corrupt politician may steal money for himself. They can even expect that he may steal for his family. But no one can expect that a corrupt politician would steal money for a daughter of a fucking psychic who claimed to speak with her dead mother. No one, not even the most cynical Korean, expected that the president would refuse to cut ties with Choi Soon-sil, a woman with no discernible talent other than manipulating the president and humiliating her in the process. Koreans may expect that the president would be corrupt, but they never could have expected that the president might be feeble in her mind.

In the Tyson Zone

Sports columnist Bill Simmons coined the term "Tyson Zone," in which nothing you hear about a particular celebrity can possibly surprise you. Did you hear that Mike Tyson urinated on a police officer? Of course he did! Did you hear that Mike Tyson is attempting to breed unicorns? Of course he is! Given what you already know about Mike Tyson, none you hear about Mike Tyson could possibly surprise you.

With Choi Soon-sil-gate, Park Geun-hye put the entire country into the Tyson Zone. Every insane rumor about the president--the kind that you would see from some remote corner of the internet and laugh off--is now fair game. For years, there have been rumors that the name of Park's political party, the Saenuri Party, is a code name for a cult named shincheonji. Well, why not? We already know that Choi Soon-sil was the one who actually produced Park's inauguration, which featured numerous little multi-colored bags that are used for shamanistic rituals. Would it really surprise you Park Geun-hye named her party after a cult? Did you hear that Choi Soon-sil may have had a hidden son who worked at the presidential residence? Well, why not? We already know Choi made her personal trainer into a presidential aide--what's another hidden son?

This much sounds like a joke, but it can easily take a terrifying turn. There has been much speculation about the "missing seven hours," where the president's whereabouts were completely unknown for seven hours in 2014 during the Sewol ferry disaster. Rumors are now running rampant that Park Geun-hye was attending a memorial shamanistic ritual for Choi Tae-min, who passed away 20 years ago on the day of the ferry disaster. The more lurid version of the rumor says that Park's government actually sank the Sewol to offer human sacrifice for the dead cult leader. As ridiculous as these rumors are, Park Geun-hye's behavior forces even reasonable people to think, maybe.

Even the way forward is not entirely clear. Politically, Park Geun-hye is finished, although it is unlikely that she would resign or be impeached. She would not resign because she fundamentally lacks the capacity to assess the reality around her. The opposition would not bother with the impeachment--they would prefer to let the administration bleed with non-stop investigation, until the presidential election comes next year. 

But remember that we are now in the Tyson Zone, where everything is fair game. Choi Soon-sil is still on the run, and she still may be able to get in touch with the president. Even a politically finished president has a few remaining options to short-circuit the political process, and this president does not seem to have the instinct for self-preservation when it comes to Choi. I don't want to actually write out what Park Geun-hye might do, because the mere thought of them sends chills down my spine. But I cannot get those thoughts out of my head, because they are no longer ridiculous. My worst nightmares for Korea's democracy are now a realistic possibility. This is the shock that the Korean people are experiencing now.

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

184 comments:

  1. I'd been reading about this in the US-based publications, and while I was familiar with the events, your post really helped put it all in context, so thank you for writing this.

    There is something profoundly sad about all this on a personal level, but that's dwarfed by the scale of the ramifications to the country as a whole. I do hope this is dealt with in an appropriate manner before things get any worse.

    That part about the MV director did pique my interest, though, would you happen to know who that is?

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    1. I had a look through the links, and it seems that it's Cha Eun-taek?

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    2. Yes! Not only did he direct K Pop videos, a horrifyingly cirnge worthy promotional video for Pyungchang is also of his creation. It's really... Really bad. It's so bad it's hard to believe that the Ministy made it but now... I mean, WHY NOT

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    3. Was that the MV with Hyorin?

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    4. Yes, and she received backslash for it although she has nothing to do with this stuff.

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    5. The difference is that US media is reporting facts as they break. TK is posting the nonsense gossip and hysteria rife in Korea about this atm.

      Frankly, the scope of the scandal is small-time and pales to the corruption and influence peddling of literally every other Korean President. I mean literally an order of magnitude, 10x less. The thing that got this kicked off was Park getting ONE girl admitted to Ewha, Hillary Clinton has strong-armed dozens of children of cronies and patrons into Harvard (she famously put one Congresswoman on her hit list of "lack of gratitude" for one of these positions)

      The thing that really puts this scandal in overdrive is the fact that

      1) Park herself is a CATHOLIC, not a member of this cult. However the vast, rabid and powerful crazy ultra-conservative Christian element that dominates segments of Korean society & politics are in apoplexy about a Korean President being "under the control" of "Satan's cult." They are literally making up stories about human sacrifices in Lucifer's name. Eye roll. The "Rasputin" angle and nonsense is just an extension of this religious indignation

      2) Koreans are fascinated and in an odd way aggrandized by what they see as similarities in the scandal of "little Korea" that mimic the major scandal in Big Time USA #1... with the emails and influence peddling etc.

      it's these 2 sensationalistic elements that make this scandal stand out, not in any way the scope of the corruption.

      Park is almost certainly shielding Choi because of material BACKING of Choi in terms of money and political muscle during Park's rise in the 2000s. There may also be some good old fashioned blackmail information/pictures/recording/records that Choi has over Park. The sensationalistic stuff is fun but frankly the dearth of information that Koreaboos have access to over this huge issue in Korea is embarassing

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    6. This comment is oddly comforting.

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    7. Thanks for the extra context to ktpan - but even though the scale of the financial scandal is "small", and Korea's Christian right is most certainly frothing at the mouth, the amount of psychological domination detailed in the post is damming. All that stuff about dressing the president in cheap clothes, and re-writing her speeches. If that was my president, I'd want her out of office.

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    9. https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi7_OWum6XQAhWhh1QKHXLiCIQQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.radiokorea.com%2Fbulletin%2Fbbs%2Fboard.php%3Fbo_table%3Dc_talk_daily%26wr_id%3D2895&psig=AFQjCNFEYwMvIiY6DjPWLlZ22K0UAcLpyg&ust=1479108412563070

      $86,000 USD shamanic ceremony

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    10. The original post is deleted but you can still see the photos. VIP's shaman ceremonies :
      http://blog.donga.com/sjdhksk/files/2012/12/9232_10032_5631.png

      http://blog.donga.com/sjdhksk/files/2012/12/12885383571354732818.jpg

      http://blog.donga.com/sjdhksk/files/2012/12/5092756951354724142.jpg

      http://blog.donga.com/sjdhksk/files/2012/12/18478565361354732760.jpg

      http://blog.donga.com/sjdhksk/files/2012/12/14135298791354732742.jpg

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  2. A scary thought I had while reading this: Wouldn't the NIS have known about this relationship before trying to sway the election in her favour?

    What the hell? o_0

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    1. The NIS that posted millions of tweets in order to sway the public into voting for her in the first place? If they did know anything, they were complicit.

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  3. I cant thank you enough for the intelligence and meticulous data mining in this article. Brilliant summary of a convoluted and dastardly tale that must be told. Bravo!!

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  4. This post is giving me so much life. But I hope the fallout is nothing more than Choi and Park's personal ruin.

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  5. What I wonder: Why doesn't Choi get arrested?

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    1. She's in Germany and has so far refused to return to Korea.

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    2. At least a warrant for her arrest? Is there one in place?

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    3. She returned on Sunday for questioning. We'll see what becomes of her soon.

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    4. This is happening in Malaysia too. Apparently, our Prime Minister is associated with Jho Low who has embazzled money from a national project and guess what he did with that money? He went to party with leonardo decaprio!! Wtf is happening to the world?

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    5. Farhani, no disrespect, but if you'd read the full blog post, you'd have realized that these two situations aren't exactly the same. Scale wise I mean...

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    6. I agreed with you C, this is not the same issues... But this issues going to drag Korean government for a long time....

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    7. I agreed with you C, this is not the same issues... But this issues going to drag Korean government for a long time....

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    9. "Wtf is happening to the world?"
      It's simple - the most wise said "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?". Modified by the wise Lord Acton to "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Also, unstable people can infrequently gain the spotlight, by their outgoingness or charisma or tapping into the pulse-of-the-people. Exs go from horendous (Hitler) to tragic (Jim Jones, Charles Manson) to current (no specific but maybe "The D"?)
      Many (not all) people will try to take advantage of power, & gain power to take advantage of it. In a democracy some form of checks & balances is supposed to limit this "natural" (sinful, actually) tendency of ours. Those checks include a free press & relatively open government records. The highest level answer is a change of the heart - Christ as one's personal Lord & Savior. Which makes it interesting that the Protagonist, Choi, in this case ame from a "religious" background. But evil was from the beginning & still can be disguised as "an angel of light".

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    10. the one who get money and power in korea never get arrrested that is truth sir :)

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  6. Interesting the cult Shinchonji came up, albeit in passing. A few government officials did take part in a recent Shinchonji event at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. I'll dig up their names later. I doubt Ms Park is involved, but by golly it would be funny if she is.
    http://jmscult.com/scj.html

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  7. Wow. This was incredibly well written. Under the Korean law, it is illegal for anyone without clearance, as in Choi, to view classified information, right? If this is the case, why hasnt a warrant been issued for her arrest yet?

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  9. Thank you for lucidly educating the less informed. As a Korean-American, I lament for the nation of Korea.

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    1. As a person of the states, as a human...I lament for the nation of Korea. They are a strong people and have had great obstacles placed in front of them every time they turn around. Who can't help but feel sadness?

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    2. I am Korean. I am sick and tired of Koreans (or those who claim to know Koreans) claiming to be a nation of strong, smart and hard working people who always overcome numerous great obstacles. Fuck that. Almost every nation is strong, smart and full of hard working people. Almost every nation has faced some form of many great obstacles and overcome. Get off the high horse. Stupid, short-sighted, ultra-conservative, self-righteous people voted this former dictator's daughter. They deserve it.

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  10. My f*****g god.

    That is what I could say....

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  12. I'm speechless. Like, we made trade deals and fortified relationships with other World leaders based on who that shamanstic nobody approved? All of Park Geunhye's speeches - including the one given to Sewol'a victim were vetted and approved by that NOBODY?

    Good riddance.

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  13. "This is utterly irrational. Rational people can expect that a corrupt politician may steal money for himself. They can even expect that he may steal for his family. But no one can expect that a corrupt politician would steal money for a daughter of a fucking psychic who claimed to speak with her dead mother"

    As an american outsider, im going to play arm chair psychologist here, im thinking that she was traumatized by her mom dying and this "psychic" was the only link she had to her dead mom.
    Its actually kind of sad when you think of it that way.

    Also, most americans are a bit distracted right now watching trump and Hillary do insane political battle like some sort of Japanese cartoon.


    I wonder if the american government knew that south korea was being controlled by a psychic.
    Well, as some tin foilers might know the american government worships a giant owl at bohemian grove.
    So apple doesn't fall that far.

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    2. Oh they knew. This is from Wikileaks in '07.

      "Perhaps even more damaging to her image as the maiden who
      sacrificed herself in the service of the nation upon the
      assassination of her mother, Park has been linked to the late
      Choi Tae-min, a charismatic pastor. Rumors are rife that the
      late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul
      during her formative years and that his children accumulated
      enormous wealth as a result."

      https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07SEOUL2178_a.html

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    3. Well America is, basically, a theocratic oligarchy that's pretending is a democratic republic, so are we really gonna throw stones from our glass church if we think the President of South Korea has her own "charismatic pastor" from whom to take "religious counsel"? And by that, I mean that most American career politicians are going to call that either normal or a strength, and they're certainly not going to look critically at it.

      Also, Nancy Reagan was similarly influenced by a psychic during her husband's presidency, and a bunch of the dudes in Congress right now were still there way back then, so maybe they're used to it?


      Meanwhile, as someone who has family and friends on literally every continent and therefor cares quite a bit about the state of global political affairs, I'd like to thank Ask A Korean very much for providing so much more context and detail to what's going on. I knew something was happening and that it was potentially a problem, by my relatives are in Thailand and were having just as much difficulty as me trying to figure it out with their non-Korean speaking and my limited Korean speaking selves.

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    4. Kat: Theocratic oligarchy? How do you figure? One nation under GOD is more or less meaningless at this point.

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    5. Possibly what he means is the high-level (i.e., rich) "religious leaders" have enormous political power and so are treated by the oligarchs as people worthy of being spoken to. Also, many political "leaders" are both beholden to "Christian" cult leaders for delivering votes to them, and are members of weird "Christian" cults themselves.

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  14. There is a Wikileaks cable from the US embassy that is making the rounds that seems to indicate the U.S. was well aware of the rumors. Perhaps the most pertinent section:

    "Rumors are rife that the late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result."

    http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2016/10/28/2016102801342.html

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  15. Why would this be shocking to anyone... the Koreans basically run the Olympics, and everyone knows how that is-- it's like FIFA.

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    1. Yeah, but that's rational corruption. Everybody expects it and understands it. The idea that you would enable corruption for somebody else's benefit is what astonishes them.

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  17. Thanks for the writeup. Have been trying to figure out what the heck was going on with my grade school Korean and nonexistent English sources. Please keep us posted. You're literally the only source for this info.

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  18. This is a brilliant writeup. Thank you for the incisive yet in depth information. I feel pity for the President, I can't begin to fathom what a mess her psychological condition is, considering all the trauma she has lived through and meanwhile, the real villain of the story is safely residing in Germany.

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  19. I love this site and writeup. It's a buffet of information that combined sources from all over. Thank you!~

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  20. Wow! And I thought where I live (Malaysia) was bad.......the World seems to be losing it's mind.....

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    2. Nah! Its not only your country or SK. here in Indonesia is fucking mess too. Discrimination againts religion & ethnic in politic environment, that caused some dirty minded muslim organisation who have favour to make Indonesia as Saudi Arabia 2.0 is so real. Ahok (Jakarta's Governor, in this case he is a Chinesse-Indo ethnic and the first governor who lead in area that mayority Muslim and he is christian himself and other politician rival blackmailing him with Surah Almaidah 51 (im im not mistaken), Joko Widodo (INA's President) are deal with FPI and HTI (an muslim organization who want to make Indonesia as Saudi Arabia 2.0 which is neglected that we are an multicultural nation "Bhineka Tunggal Ika". Thats pathetic moron. Seriously this world are more worse bc of "Power".

      Delete
  21. Goddamn, Korea has gotten 2016'd.

    Is anyone safe?

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  22. Well, this is the first I've heard of this (and a very well written explanation as well, kudos), and my mind is blown.

    It sounds to me like the #1 thing that controlled Park Geun-hye was the loss of her mother and father to assassination. Both Choi family members just saw that flaw and exploited it. I feel sympathy for Park, but the people are right. She needs to step down, and there needs to be an election. I hope there is a way Choi and her cronies can be prosecuted for this.

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    1. I completely agree with you. In fact, I came here with the intention of saying something similar.
      I'll just add a few more thoughts.

      Seems to me that president Park is a victim of abuse. I don't think she didn't care - I think she didn't DARE to say or do anything about the dirty clothes, or disobey any orders from her abusers.

      And now she is held responsible for everything bad, because partially she is, and everyone is angry at her - and everyone has the right to be so - but I bet she must be either in terrible pain, or still under control of her abusers, or probably both.
      I do agree that a nation needs a stronger and more stable leader still, but the people's demand of a third official apology was sliiiiiightly cruel-ish in my opinion, given that she stated "it's all my fault" in her second apology.

      Imagine a criminally twisted sicko has this hostage s/he abuses emotionally and makes them do horrible things for his/her own selfish purposes, and then the victim gets all the blame, takes all the responsibility, and even gets arrested for it.

      Delete
  23. This is obviously political gold for her opponents, but I hope somebody uses it to take a harder hand with some of the cults going around. Korea is, unfortunately, quite famous for self-styled prophets who declare that God wants them to have more money and/or sex (Moonies, Shincheonji, Jesus Morning Star, Witness, etc.) and for the victims who get taken in.

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  24. So bizzarecand irrational..

    Well in my country,
    there is a cult leader who claimed to be able to duplicate money and bring wealth.
    he's close with people from high level government and once he'even claimed a position goverment organization

    Fortunately he's been jailed for assassination

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    1. Funny, we have someone in our country that says the exact same thing. Unfortunately he's in charge. He thinks printing money is the same as printing wealth and he trouble grasping the concept of inflation. His name is Obama, and the good news is he'll be leaving office in January.

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    2. Rag on Obama all you want but the economy has gotten a lot better since he's been in office. The only reason why people think he isn't an active or good president is because the whole "cult mentality". It makes me wonder who you're voting for......

      Delete
    3. Of course it got better, the 2008 crash was the lowest point economically since the Great Depression. It has not improved as much as it should have. ObamaCare is a big reason. It's a death blow to self employed and small business. If not for my Native American privilege (free pass out of ObamaCare) I wouldn't be able to do what I do now. There's many many reasons valid reasons why the economy sucks right now. Of course you know who I'm voting for.

      Delete
  25. Thank you T.K. for your informative and fascinating post!

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  26. Oh my...her crony became a threat upto the extent of anything that happens to her...
    Anyways appreciated for the write up...a massive thanks...

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  27. This is insanity. Thanks for the writeup, very clarifying.

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  28. On a personal level, I feel very sorry for Pres. Park. Clearly she is a very hurt little girl who became a brainwashed adult. The personal tragedy and manipulation is so very sad. On the political side... What the freaking hell is wrong with the people in government that they just allowed this to happen? You know that if Choi was abusing privilege, so were others. It had to be advantageous for even her opposition to keep a crazy person they could manipulate in office. I say throw the whole group out. Start fresh. I wish we could do the same with Clinton, Trump and Congress.

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    1. I know they use something called an "internet ID", and I'm guessing they have a bunch of hate speech laws that makes criticizing women and religious minorities criminal. If not criminal then they'll go after you socially, try to get you fired, things like that.

      I know you don't like Trump but that's exactly what they are doing to him, trying to bring him down by calling him and his supporters racist and sexist and whatever-ist. They did the same with Brexit. Nearly everyone in the establishment media and political parties hate him, so he owes no loyalty to any of those corrupt organizations. He's going to attempt to pass congressional term limits and lobbying limits. To put it simply he's the best chance we'll ever have to drain the swamp.

      Delete
    2. How did someone so stupid wind up here?

      Delete
    3. Um.. there are no hate speech laws in Korea...or any anti-discrimination laws...the only similar laws that are here are slander laws.. which I don't think apply to politicians... because Koreans say some pretty awful things about their politicians and aren't sued over it. Korean newspapers are actually pretty infamous for printing sensationalized stories with very lax fact checking. And they love implying blame on minorities.

      I urge you to do a bit of research about Trump. On non-biased websites. Factcheck.org is great for the US elections, for both candidates. You have about a week before casting your ballet.

      Delete
    4. First my argument was censorship is the reason for this mess. Sometimes it's not even legal, it's "you're racist and I'm going to get you fired". Other than SK having an internet ID I had no idea about cultural or legal censorship. It didn't take me long to find out, from Wikipedia: "In 2010, the Prime Minister's Office authorized surveillance on a civilian who satirized President Lee Myung-bak.[1]
      In 2007, numerous bloggers were censored and their posts deleted by police for expressing criticism of, or even support for, presidential candidates. This even lead to some bloggers being arrested by the police.[9]". They also indicted a Japanese journalist for asking where Ms.Park was after the 2014 disaster. Free speech and a free press doesn't guarantee this kind of stuff doesn't happen, but it's a lot easier without it.

      Fact check sites are completely biased. I'll give one example from Politifact where they said "mostly false" on his claim that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are going through our prison systems each year. They provided evidence right in that article that Trump was 100% right, so I emailed the author to ask why. She said there's duplicate, and I emailed back showing where they accounted for those duplicate. Then she said those number include both legal and illegal immigrants. I emailed back saying no, it's a report based on states requesting federal reimbursement for detaining criminal illegal immigrants, it would be illegal for states to use that program for legal immigrant. I never heard back. I know everything quite well about these two and Trump is the only sane choice.

      Delete
    5. for anyone who wants to see insanity in action.....MONKEY PUNCHZ

      Delete
    6. Placing internet bloggers under surveillance and indicting foreign journalists for asking where this crazy cult president was in the aftermath of the ferry disaster is crazy. This kind of craziness leads to corruption.

      If you really want to see true craziness open the following link. It's about the guy running Hillary's campaign. It's graphic, not gory but possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, so dont open that bothers you. https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5b08cy/warning_graphic_i_dont_think_you_guys_appreciate/

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  29. And here I thought Hilary Clinton's private email server scandal (highlighting an absolutely mind-blowing lack of judgment) and the GOP's selection of an egomaniacal impresario as their party's Presidential nominee was the height of political insanity... I didn't believe it was possible, but my fear for the fate of the world has suddenly grown even more.

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  30. Thanks for this very informative summary.

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  31. I've never been so speechless in my entire life . And most people are having some fanwars about fandoms when this is more important to talk about ? Anyway thank you for your explanation or else I'm too far in my own delusional world with KPOP .

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    1. Maybe you should follow some Korean fans and matured translator on your fandom haha. I wouldn't know this happen if not for kfans and everyone in the fandom. The news on tv is too busy I guess so many in the country to report so it's rare to see foreign politics well apart from U.S election.

      Saw pics of demonstration and all good and bad news in Korea from Korean fans haha

      Delete
  32. http://theweek.com/speedreads/453601/owners-sunken-south-korean-ferry-linked-mass-cult-suicide

    What do you make of this article from 2014? Allegedly the owner of the ferry that sank was linked to some kind of
    Christian cult and that the accident involving the deaths of hundreds of kids was some kind of ritual sacrifice.

    Is there any connection to this cult and the one Park was involved in?

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    1. Yes, the owner of the operation is a member of the very same cult Choi is the leader of. To clarify, the President and the owner of the ferry are in the same cult, who is led by Choi. The day the ship sank, marked the 20th anniversary of Choi's father's death. When this situation broke out, the President's whereabouts were unknown for seven hours. Seven FUCKING hours, during the worst crisis we've had in forever. Seven. Hours. Then when she emerged, the government offered no explanation except, "what she did in her absence was a private matter." Total BS. There are many other key points. But I'll get into the main ones. The President's relationship with Choi had been suspected for a while. When the ferry incident broke out, and the response was totally inept, a person started spreading online that this was an inside job and that it cannot be pure coincidence that the ship sank on the 20th anniversary of Choi's father. That the original captain of the ship was sent on a mandatory vacation the day before. The initial response team said that the situation was under control. They reported nationwide that everybody was saved when they were at the scene not doing anything as the ship sank with almost 300 people trapped inside. This person spread the "rumor" that the sinking was deliberate in order to offer souls to the spirit of Choi's father. This guy was incarcerated and people regarded his theory to be too far-fetched. However, because of these revelations, everything connects. Whether it was ineptitude to respond, or deliberate, Choi was the mastermind behind it. And she's a crazy cultist bitch. Does a massive human sacrifice sound improbable? Not anymore.

      Imagine this: We find a laptop containing information that Bush did 9/11, and the illuminati exist. Also we have aliens in Area 51. Same thing. Overnight, every conspiracy theory in Korea became fact.

      Delete
    2. The pieces as you mentioned, seem to fit too well for it to be a mere tinfoil conspiracy...
      And if we are wrong and it is just a coincidence, then it sure is one HELL of a coincidence.
      It is terrifying to know that such a strong possibility exists that a government can literally kill so many
      hundreds of CHILDREN for such an insane reason, and I hope that justice can be served for the parents of
      the Sewol incident victims...

      Delete
    3. Choi Tae Min died on May 1st. The ferry sank on April 14th. It was not the anniversary of his death. See for yourself on Wikipedia.

      Delete
    4. Ben Mines, but it was a day before Easter - the holiday which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.... I think it might not be a coincidence...

      The whole Sewol tragedy reminds me of mafia's ways, to be honest. We have religion (religious cult) involved, huge money involved as well, the "accident" happened a day before the biggest holiday (which celebrates resurrection - quite symbolic, isn't it?), the whole thing happened under shady circumstances, and the wanted guy - owner of the company that held the ship's property - was found dead under unknown circumstances as well.

      Delete
    5. Yeah Ben Mines is right. The ferry sinking was on April 16th, which wasn't the day Choi Tae Min died. But it's close enough for these conspiracy theories to run rampant. It was four days before Choi Tae Min's death, in the traditional lunar calendar. Ancestral rites and shamanistic rituals usually follow the lunar calendar, and there could be some cult explanations why the the "sacrifice" took place four days earlier, like the Easter explanation above. You all know how these tinfoil hat conspiracy theories go. There's always an explanation for every inconsistency.

      Delete
  33. This is a very well-written article. Thank you.

    I am an African American male living in the San Francisco Bay Area in Berkeley, California. (And, btw, seriously, I bet there are more South Koreans who know where Berkeley, California, is than the majority of Americans!) I have long been, and am, very interested in 20th & now 21st century Korean history and politics. Unfortunately, I don't think there is an English-language South Korean news program that is broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area anymore. (I think there used to be such a TV news program here, but it was on during the day when I work, not more conveniently for me in the evening.)

    The part of your article about Park Geun-hye's foundations reminded me so much Hillary & Bill Clinton's "Clinton Foundation" and "Clinton Global Initiative" -- and it's recently been proven, thanks to Wikileaks, that it was what any maturely skeptical person knew they were: an influence-&-favors-peddling, 'pay-for-play' (as we Americans would call it) operation disguised as "a charity". (After all, why would an openly misogynist, and abusive, '3rd World', cheap foreign labor exploitationist, *extreme* Islamic fundamentalist, dictatorial state, which gave perhaps millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, like Saudi Arabia did, where the rulers still force women to cover up head-to-toe in robes and don't allow women to legally go out by themselves or even drive cars, and which cut off condemned prisoners' heads, and stone "convicted" women to death, care about earthquake and flood victims or feeding hungry children!? And the thing about Hillary Clinton is that she steadfastly did *not* avoid the kinds of not only, but especially, official behavior that someone would avoid (like also the whole email thing) -- someone who knew she would have ambitions to for president one day -- not to mention Hillary's inveterate, almost pathological, and often *irrational* lying about even the most casual thing that she didn't have to lie about in the first place -- when it would just be a matter of time before the *truth* would come out.

    (And often *IRRATIONAL*, *NONSENSICAL* lying -- like Hillary lying about having to duck and dodge and run for cover from enemy bullets and sniper fire when she came off a plane in Bosnia in 2008, where there were scores, if not hundreds, of people there who all knew it wasn't true, in an outdoor welcoming ceremony, being greeted by a casually walking Hillary with her daughter Chelsea, with Hillary having time to shake hands, and accept flowers, and even kiss children! So why lie!?)

    (continued)

    .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. (continued)

      And Hillary was the last woman in America -- probably the last woman in the *world* to finally accept that Bill had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Women on an American talk show begged Hillary to stop embarrassing *all* American women. This after Hillary said that she wasn't just blindly "standing by her man like Tammy Wynette" -- i.e., like some hypothetical, 'proverbial', American, naive, uneducated, 'white-trash', rural woman blindly standing by her man when he's obviously lying about a secret relationship with another woman, when it was already known all over political Arkansas, where Bill was once governor, and a previous politico, that he was a rampant womanizer (and probably as far back as his student days at Yale, even after they were a couple). This admittedly much more indirectly, but still, reminded me of the mental 'hold' that Choi Soon-sil had/has over Park Geun-hye. Anyway, now it's viewed by most people who analyze Hillary that she obviously has at least a tacit agreement with Bill that her political ambitions matter(ed) more than his secret relationships and dalliances with other women.

      Back to Choi Soon-sil's hold over Park Geun-hye: I'm surprised that Park wasn't seen as a major, not only national, but regional *security* liability/risk -- especially when it comes to North Korea and anything irrational that Park could have, or might have, done, or might do, because Choi might tell Park the stars were or weren't right, or whatever other nonsense Choi might have told Park -- like, indeed, that the North Korean regime was going to end in 2017, so Park needed to do something militarily belligerent to help the North Korean regime to end, or say something to/about Kim Jung-un that he might feel he has to militarily respond to, which would provoke another, and even much more deadlier and devastating (especially since South Korea is now a modern and advanced 1st World country), Korean war!

      My U.S. presidential election dream -- since we only have a viable choice between a *LIAR* (Hillary) and a *LUNATIC* (Trump) -- and the majority of Americans really hate *BOTH* of them -- two of the most hated presidential candidates *together* in U.S. history -- is that Hillary would get elected over Trump (although Trump would be safer for the world's survival because, surprisingly, he is far less militaristic and warmongering than Hillary, who might get the U.S. and its military allies into all sorts of wars, including a miscalculated war with *Russia*, 'to prove that she's just as tough' as male presidents who have gotten the U.S. into tragic wars to 'prove' that they were tough), and then Hillary would be *IMPEACHED* (over her emails, the equivalent of Choi Soon-sil's electronic tablet, or something else Wikileaks reveals) and removed from office soon after Hillary got into office as president, and then the U.S. Democrat Vice-President could take over. If that happened, then the majority of the U.S. would then feel *MUCH* better.

      Anyway, I think that you should help create and produce a fascinating SOUTH KOREAN PRIME-TIME SOAP OPERA OR OTHER DRAMATIC TV SERIES about the Park Geun-hye story/presidency. It would be watched by people all over the world! And it's one of those stories that if it were *TRUE*, nobody would have previously believed was even possible.

      (Although, I should say that if what you said about Mike Tyson is *not* true, then you should not have used those as examples. After all, when an American late-night TV talk show host jokingly asked Evander Holyfield, the well-liked victim of Tyson's boxing ring ear-biting, if he [Holyfield] ever bit someone's ear in the boxing ring, to the talk show host's, and America's, surprise, Holyfield said yes!)

      .

      Delete
    2. (continued)

      Oh and finally, you wrote in your commentary: "Why did the president fly out of handle...?" Just to help you with that English colloquialism phrase, the correct phrase/idiom/slang would be: "*off* the handle". No big deal, though, because I clearly knew what you *meant* to say.

      .

      Delete
    3. Joseph from Berkeley--Why bring your views on our future President and her husband in this thread? People here are talking about Korea and not your GOP take on US politics?

      Delete
    4. Anyway, I think that you should help create and produce a fascinating SOUTH KOREAN PRIME-TIME SOAP OPERA OR OTHER DRAMATIC TV SERIES about the Park Geun-hye story/presidency. It would be watched by people all over the world! And it's one of those stories that if it were *TRUE*, nobody would have previously believed was even possible.


      I read this blog post and immediately thought of Secret Love Affair and the shaman giving out financial advice. Interestingly enough, she also escapes out of Korea with her daughter. A daughter who was also not qualified to enter the arts school program featured in the drama ....... might need to watch that drama again....

      Delete
    5. Ed'smate: "Joseph from Berkeley--Why bring your views on our future President and her husband in this thread? People here are talking about Korea and not your GOP take on US politics?"

      Dear "Lyin', Crooked, Hillary Clinton" supporter: When people analyze or comment on politics (or history, or culture, or society, or the arts, or anything else sociological), they often find it interesting to note analogies between different (here, political) phenomena, even between different time periods and countries (or even between reality and a fictional TV/movie drama, as "K-Drama Fan" did, or even to a certain TV/movie political comedy show).

      And while you, Ed'smate, can speak for *yourself* regarding your *own* intellectual non-ability or non-interest in being able to make such analogies, you can't rudely *presume* to speak for everyone *else*!

      Furthermore, if you are actually *able* to understand basic English-language reading *comprehension* (maybe you could ask a Korean for help with that), you would readily see that I'm an *not* GOP/Republican (U.S.) -- and that, like the *majority* of the people in the U.S., I hate *BOTH* Hillary *and* Trump.

      And, I'm sad (although not surprised) that out of ~319 MILLION AMERICANS -- ~243 MILLION ADULT AMERICANS -- Hillary and Trump are 'the best', or at least the *only* *2* people, our political system, and our country as supposedly "the leader of the free world" (which itself is a sad claim, given all the very deep problems in U.S. society), is now able to produce for our *2* presidential candidates. Our political system has long been on this sad political arc, in that it has now led to such terrible choices: the *LIAR* (Hillary) or the *LUNATIC* (Trump)!

      .

      Delete
    6. K-Drama Fan: "I read this blog post and immediately thought of Secret Love Affair and the shaman giving out financial advice. Interestingly enough, she also escapes out of Korea with her daughter. A daughter who was also not qualified to enter the arts school program featured in the drama ....... might need to watch that drama again."

      Thank you, K-Drama Fan, for mentioning that drama, " Secret Love Affair". I look forward to finding it somewhere. If it's in Korean, with no subtitles in English, I'll watch it with some Korean friend(s) of mine here in the U.S.!

      But, I 'laughed' with one of my friends, that it figures that the last straw about Park Geun-Hye was her daughter unfairly getting into a top Korean university -- what with how seriously Koreans/Asians take it, about getting into universities on merit!

      As the world knows, it is sadly quite common for even academically *very* low-qualifying students -- like George W. Bush -- to have rich &/or politically influential (especially, white/Caucasian) parents (whether American or not) who can economically &/or politically *buy* their son's or daughter's admission into even a top U.S. university.

      Furthermore, once George W. Bush became president of the U.S., and once Trump achieved the Republican party nomination, and once sleezy Hillary achieved the Democrat party nomination -- over people *farrr* more qualified or *farrr* less morally questionable -- I realized that I could no longer say who *COULDN'T* become president of the U.S.. This is what our political system has degenerated to.

      .

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    7. Ooops! *CORRECTION*!!: I meant to say *CHOI SOON-SIL's* daughter.

      .

      Delete
    8. Joseph, why do you have to resort to name calling? That doesn't help the integrity of your argument at all.

      Delete
    9. To Hillary Clinton supporter, "Unknown" (a.k.a., "Ed'smate"):

      (1) It's called freedom of speech/expression! I can -- especially, politically -- say *WHATEVER* I *WANT* to say (as long as I don't engage in profanity, libel, defamation, or, of course, racial/ethnic/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/religious/intrinsic hate speech).

      (2) I can certainly call someone a *liar* and/or *crooked* when it's already been objectively *PROVEN* that someone -- Hillary Clinton -- has already *repeatedly* LIED, and that the Clinton's *HAVE* at least *UNETHICALLY* enriched themselves from their "Clinton Foundation". Furthermore, American public opinion polls have shown again & again the the majority of the American people hate (or at the *very* least seriously dislike) *both* U.S. major party's presidential candidate choices in this election. But, all this you *KNOW* anyway, so why are you asking me about "name calling"? It's *not* name-calling, if it's *true*.

      (3) Since you obviously support *Hillary*, I know that you DON'T CARE what I say about Trump, but it's also true that it is widely perceived by American society -- even by many conservatives (except for his ultra-hardcore-right-wing followers of virtually all white-Americans who hate that U.S. society isn't as white as it was in and before the 1950's, when non-whites were pushed to the officially segregated margins) -- that Trump is a *lunatic* (and certainly that he often says the craziest things, because even though he's a supposed billionaire, who is actually out-of-touch with normal society, and who only knows about real estate, and even then his projects sometime go *bankrupt*, or his paying little or no taxes via tax laws greatly favoring the very rich, and 'buying' politicians, he naturally thinks he knows about *everything*)!

      (4) If that "doesn't help the integrity of [my] argument" with *YOU*, then so be it. I *won't* lose any sleep over it, and I can still go on *living*: OK?

      .

      Delete
    10. Secret Love Affair is on Viki or DramaFever
      https://www.viki.com/tv/23235c-secret-love-affair?locale=en
      https://www.dramafever.com/drama/4423/Secret_Love_Affair/

      Delete
    11. no but seriously what is that ** for?

      Delete
  34. The opposition would not bother with the impeachment--they would prefer to let the administration bleed with non-stop investigation, until the presidential election comes next year.
    --but why? Assist the investigation and come up as heroes on the next presidential election sounds like a very strategic plan to me.

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    1. For that you must understand, the former conservative party attempted an impeachment of the president Roh 12 years ago. Turned out Korean people didn't like it at all because (imo) they saw it as a challenge to whom they've voted to. Presidential election in SK is direct election. And so this conservative party was practically wiped out in the next election. This is what the opposition party is afraid of right now.

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  35. https://youtu.be/kvDMlk3kSYg
    To those of us who went to college in late 70's - early 80's Boney M was a quite familiar band... Although probably less known than their major hit "Rivers of Babylon", Rasputin was my favorite of their songs. Who would have ever thought (and it's such a shame) this song would become a modern allegory of what's unfolding in South Korea now?

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  36. I was reading this article and halfway through I was like, "damn, this bitch (Choi) could have started a fucking war".

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    1. Totally! I had such thoughts too at that point. And I live in Korea. It's terrible what more tragedies could have happen. It could even be started a world war, given the conflicts with ISIS are taking place as well.

      Delete
  37. Thank you for the write up.

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  38. Here is what I don't understand- why do people, the common everyday people, put up with this nonsense? It happens in just about every single country! Is everyone that complacent that this behavior is taken as being normal and unchangable?
    Absolute power corrupts and power absolutely corrupts.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Its causing a national uproar- there are thousands out in the streets, liberals and conservatives alike, we're definately not putting up with it. Though it remains in question whether we could force her to face her responsibilities.

      Delete
    3. JaeYong is right. You should see the footage of the huge protest in the centre of Seoul. Thousands of people....

      Delete
  39. Even though the Sewol sacrifce thing sounds ridiculous (even though now we are already into 'maybe' territory) there are more details that push rational even further into thinking it was just maybe possible.

    - All other ships were cancelled from that port in that day.
    - The Sewol was in operation under the supervision of the secret service.
    - The law regarding vessel captain qualifications changed the day before, allowing less qualified staff to run ships.
    - The regular captain took a holiday that day, leaving a less qualified person in charge.
    - The kids were not supposed to have taken that ship originally.
    - "Great warning from God/Heaven/Spirit" was written on documents from a secret service document regarding the ship - the writer, when questioned, denied it meant anything.

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  40. this really put my head straight about the facts but now that i et it its going around in circles.!

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  41. Thank you so much for the breakdown. I'm completely blown away. I've seen the same forms of toxic relationships and manipulation in religious circles, but have never seen anything like it at a political level. This is just unreal and sad.

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  42. This is an excellent breakdown of the situation. Now I know why my wife and students are so p.o.'d.

    Can you clear up one item, if you have time. I don't know if you were being hyperbolic or maybe exaggerating a little. Is it true that "the president always speak in convoluted sentences that make no sense"? Always? How did she get elected? Does she have a mental problem? I'm not trying to be flip (I'll leave that to you), I really wan to know.

    And what, in your opinion, happens now? Will she go to prison? Will Choi Soon-sil? What are the Korean politicians calling for? Where is this headed?

    Thank you.

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    1. I'm not the Korean, but being a Korean national I can tell you its not an exaggeration. She wasn't as dumb sounding during the elections- although it was clear that she isnt the best speaker. During her presidency, she often spoke in convoluted sentences or strange sentences that were grammatically wrong and strange. I think it only started like last year, where she would speak things like "if we all pray really hard and want it very dearly, all of the universe will come and help us" which is certainly pretty strange. Looking back, this definately stems connections to the spiritual crap. Embarrassing.

      Will they go to prison? Nope. Shes still the president, too many seats are taken by Park's party for an impeachment to happen. The mastermind Choi, higher than the president, going to prison? Ha! That's not going to happen, sadly. Korean politicians are calling for (as impeachment is a big taboo- last time that happened it fired back hard) resignation of the entire cabinet and reappointment of it with more neutral politicians-and a proper apology i guess?

      Delete
    2. I am not the writer but I can answer your question about her speech style.

      I think the writer really meant it with "the president always speak in convoluted sentences that makes no sense." First, the sentences were ungrammatical to the point that it was literally beyond comprehension--not because of some political context or speaker's intention, but because the subject and the predicate won't match with each other. Some people even came up with an app called "Park Geunhye translator." I still find it incomprehensible.

      Second, she would from time to time use words and expressions that just sounded really inappropriate and weird. For example, she had said things like "The soul is abnormal", "If you really wish hard, the whole universe will come to your aid" "I can sense the force of the book." etc. They are from official speeches. My friends and I thought this sounded strangely religious but laughed about it... and now....

      Just before the presidential election, the candidates had open debates and they were broadcasted live on TVs. She did a horrible job at the debate, and some people were even suspecting her intellectual and mental capacity. For example, if the opposing candidate asks her how she would implement certain policies, she wouldn't explain but rather respond "That is why I will become the president to do that." Despite such bad speeches, she was elected and I think there were largely two reasons:
      1) The third candidate (Lee Jung-hee) made some bitter speech against Park and her father on TV. It was really amazing/aggressive (depending on what you think of Park) to the point the conservative party supporters sort of came together and generated a backlash against the non-conservative candidates.
      2) There are controversies over whether the S. Korean NIS (National Intelligence Service) has rigged the presidential election or not. The trial is still ongoing because the supreme court remanded the case after the high court ruled guilty of NIS at the second trial.

      Hope this is clarifying.

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    3. Thank you Goguma and Jaeyong Jung for taking the time to respond.

      Delete
  43. You know what could rehabilitate President Park? How about arranging a summit with Kim Jong-un? Peace Treaty? Economic assistance? Cultural exchange? Get out of the US orbit for a bit and do something dramatic for peace and the welfare of ALL Koreans. It's bold, it's risky, but it might work.

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    1. That won't work! It is an impossible fairy tale!

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    2. The conservative Saenuri party doesn't like that. Opposition parties like the Minjoo, People's Party and Justice Party yes. Then-president Kim Dae-jung of the Minjoo Party had initiated the Sunshine Policy for North Korea.

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  44. THANK YOU for writing this! I was actually eagerly anticipating your breakdown of this situation and you delivered and more.

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  45. Wow, so thorough. I had heard about this from my in-laws, who are Korean, who were telling me how incredibly embarrassing it all was, and what they told me was quite fantastical and strange, but I had not been able to find much other detail from English language sources which really didn't capture the full scope of what is going on. Thanks so much for this summary.

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  46. Jesus F****** Christ, what an anime plot.
    I thought Brazil's politic crisis was nonsensical after having our president impeached by an ridiculously obvious parlamentar coup, but SKR showed us the true meaning of political bizzareness.
    Good luck there, pals.

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    1. It's funny you mention it as an anime plot, on a discussion program the other day an opposition party MP said this was like a the plot if a daytime drama that nobody would watch because the story was so ridiculous...

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    2. reality is weirder than fiction. a movie plot that one would believe.

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  47. Thank you for writing this well researched post. Truth is stranger than fiction. I remember watching Pak Geun-Hye on TV during her campaign. I couldn't understand how anyone would want to vote in the daughter of a dictator, but my Korean then-bf explained the older generation were nostalgic for the economic growth her father Pak Chunghee brought SK, and vored for Pak. Wonder what those Baby-Boomers think now...

    I pray SK finds the sustainable and sensible path forward.

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    Replies
    1. on behalf of all of Baby-Boomer, i could say that this is so hard to believe the president who run the country is actually got controlled by one shaman who doesn't actually has no idea for politics?? i'm so embarrassed that case keep being disseminated to other countries.

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    2. Not only that, there are reports on how the election may have been rigged. News media controlled, social networks being manipulated by goverment agencies, voting results coming in before closing, Announced voting result changing.. and so on.

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    3. Not only that, there are reports on how the election may have been rigged. News media controlled, social networks being manipulated by goverment agencies, voting results coming in before closing, Announced voting result changing.. and so on.

      Delete
  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Pastor Choi was a pastor though he never attented seminary. He got ordainment OFFICIALLY by a protestant pastor who still is a pastor. Once Choi was a buddhist. He made his own cult relgion, 영세교. He combined protestants, bhuddism, Cheondogyo and korean folk religion(shamanism). He runed 영세교 for a few years. He closed it and then became a protestant pastor. He opened sord of protestant missionary organization, 대한구국선교회 in 1975. He worked as a pastor for decades. Most of his evil works and sex scandals were done by him while he was a protestant pastor. Lots and lots of other protestant pastors were related to him though they knew about him. That's why many of Korean protestan churches are very silent. They said he never attened seminary so stop calling him pastor to korean medias. well. if medias kept calling him "pastor" then their must be reasons. Korean protestnats are one of the biggest supporter for current president Park. Isn't it wired that they can be silent in front of HUGE betrayal if pastor Choi was just a normal real shaman? There's new testimony by a conscientious pastor that Choi was a protestant pastor and protestant pastors were related yesterday. It makes totally sense that korean protestant churhces that have obssion on making Annti-LGBT protests on and on remain silent without protest.

    Still so many korean protestants remain in korean forlk religion, inclued pastors. Korean protestant mingled with a dictators to become main religion in Korea and to get power and wealth. It helped them a lot to be powerful socially and wealthy. some of them even killed people. anyway, pastor Choi is not a shaman. There is a special ceremony to be a shaman. He's never got it. He borrowed shamanism. He faked some of shamanism skills even when he was a protestant pastor. then is he a protestant parstor or shaman? He is a pastor who faked shamanism skills? or just a crazy pastor who got wrong belief? There were so many this kind of protestant base scandals in korea, even people were killed or killed themselves. awyway there are this kind of shamanismish protestant in the U.S.A, too. such as Pentecostal Church, New Apostolic Movement etc.

    Will korean protestnat churched will do something about it and other similar terrible things by korean protestant pastors instead of pretending he's not related to protestant and blame shamanism?

    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=001&oid=005&aid=0000948714
    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/25/asia/south-korea-brothers-home-abuse/

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  50. Welcome back, T.K., and thanks for all the insights in this bizarre-o world scandal (didn't realize how deep, and even sometimes publicly displayed, the shamanistic ties are.)

    But is it so irrational that Park Geun-hye didn't just drop Choi Soon-shil, and rather admitted she was a longtime friend and helped? If she's under her spell (the extreme interpretation), or heavily influenced by a sprawling net of peddlers with Choi at the head (the likely interpretation), then why would she risk anything now? She's starting her final year of her term: it's got to be as-smooth-as-possible sailing for her or she'll likely have no future in 2018 - I'm not talking about a political future, but *any* future. Though I'm not positive this will happen, there was talk that she would get a professorship at Park Cheong-hee-loving Yeungnam University in Daegu. Piss off the wrong people, Choi obviously included, and the strings would be pulled for that to fall through. And the worst case scenario is she'd follow Roh Moo-hyun off a cliff, or some other calamity would befall her.

    This may be off topic, but it actually has a small connection. There was an AP article about labor camps instituted by Park Chung-hee to clear Seoul of all the 'vagrants' (many children) from the streets before the 1988 Olympics. One in particular was called 'Brothers Home' in/near Busan, and when investigations went on in the 90s about the atrocities (beatings, rapes) that went on there, a head prosecutor in Busan did everything he could to stop the investigation or lighten the punishment sought for the directors of Brothers Home. This prosecutor's name came up recently in the news: Park Hee-tae, who is now a 'permanent adviser' in Saenuri-dang, and who was one of eight advisers who came to Park Geun-hye's aid (out of 33 that were asked to attend). I don't recall you having ever written about these labor camps, I wonder what you think.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c22de3a565fe4e85a0508bbbd72c3c1b/ap-s-korea-cos-abuse-killings-vagrants

    http://m.news.naver.com/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=100&oid=025&aid=0002655082

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    1. Park Chung-hee might have started this program, but he was assassinated in 1979 - two years before Seoul was selected to hold the 1988 Olympics. So there is no link between the program's origin and the 1988 Olympics.

      Delete
    2. Ok, I summarized poorly - from the AP article:
      "Choi was one of thousands — the homeless, the drunk, but mostly children and the disabled — rounded up off the streets ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which the ruling dictators saw as international validation of South Korea's arrival as a modern country."
      Does that negate much of the thrust of my claims of corruption and the burying of serious human rights violations?

      Delete
  51. 시사저널 - 최태민이 만든 구국십자군의 진실 http://www.sisapress.com/journal/article/159759

    Here is updated news that even HUGE protestant churches were related to pastor Choi.

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  52. The Internet and digital information is revealing the world to be a Twilight Zone of conspiracies... but conspiracies that are actually FACT!

    All the war, the inequity, the corruption, the lies etc. etc. etc., are now starting to make sense: WE ARE BEING CONTROLLED BY VARIOUS LEVELS AND DEGREES OF LA-LA LAND LUNACY! =|

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  53. Thank you so much for claryfing the Korean situation. In dutch media Choi Soon-sil is called 'Rasputin' and that intrigued me to know more about the situation. The only question i have now is 'How could she ever been elected???'. She came from charity to public office and was an election queen, but how??? How did she do that?

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  54. If the allegations about sewol incident was true, may god give justice to those three hundred children.
    May choi be held accountable for everything...

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    1. I agree. However, Choi Tae-min died on May 1st and the ferry sank on April 14th. The tragedy was not therefore the 20 year anniversary of his death as the author claims.

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    2. It is when you follow the Korean Lunar calendar, which shaman follow for rituals.

      Delete
  55. Thanks for the thorough, insightful summary. I've basically went throuth almost all of the Korean articles covering it. This writeup really deals with the heart of the issue. As a Korean, it is actually very.. very sad to admit how deeply ashamed of my country I am... Never knew something this big was looming when the Ewha thing came up.

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    1. Hi.. Since you are Korean, I wanna ask something about Choi Soon Sil. I read somewhere, like articles with comments by K-netizen. They said it's already known that Choi Soon Sil have a few Double Body. Is it true that she have Double Body?? When police bring her, they said it's not Choi Soon Sil. Many people (non Korean) also agree even with the eyes only, it's different. So, is that true?? Thank you before..

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  56. Nicely written...but why there are so many Malaysian here? Hahahaha (including me)...let us all pray and wish for better leadership in Korea (and Malaysia too)...

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  57. Thanks T.K for this. This is just mind-blowing. It feels like some insane drama series to be honest. We all know that politics can be dirty, but this is a whole new level altogether!

    One of the most unfortunate consequences, I feel, arising from this debacle is that it is hard for people now to point to South Korea as an example of a properly governed and functional society, in relation to her much-scorned sibling from the North. Now people will say 'The Kim Dynastic rulers are totally crazy, man, how could you even compare them with South Korea--now wait a minute~'.

    I wish the Korean people all the best. Man, you folks are in need of decent, uncontroversial leadership for once (I like Kim Dae Jung, personally).

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    Replies
    1. totally agreed agree. which one is better country?? the one that get controlled by one dictator or the other one that get controlled by one shaman. the funny thing is real coming onto us.

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  58. this is so mind-blowing thing one of the people who is living in Korea. we gotta impeach her and make a whole another new government instead of her. the thing would be never happened is now happened. So sad.

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  59. news or not newthat new. pastor Choi's pastor title was deprived by protestant church because of his too much wrong belief. korean protestant churches knew about it from the beginning but said "he didn't attend seminary. he's not a pastor."? how that's possible. they cannot take back the title without giving it. they should have told "we sold pastor title to him. but we expelled him. he' no longer a pastor."

    that's so oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disgusting. Choi is not the only one who bought the title. there are so many isqualified pastors still. they just pretend don't know about it. yuck.


    Choi made lots of sex scandals while he was a pastor. it's totally disgusting he lost his title because of his wrong belief. his title must have been canceled much earlier due to his evilish works. well. many of some other regualr pastors helped him though they knew about kind of man he was. probably they couldn't do anything.

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  60. the entire choi line needs to be executed ASAP, Romanov style. choi soon sil's daughter (the ehwa one) will become the psychic master of a future Korean president. ditto her child and the child after that etc. You heard it here first.

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  61. Thank you for this article, as usual it is packed with information but written with a sound head.

    I trust that talented film directors of S. Korea will make more than a few good films about this. They may have to tone the story down a bit though.

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  62. Hello T.K.,
    Thank you for your excellent article and analysis of the situation. I tutor Korean students over the phone, so they told me about this scandal before the American news started covering it. However, when I read articles in the US media, I found them rather lacking and confusing. Thank you for remedying the situation.

    Have you considered writing an update to this article? Choi is back from Germany, and in jail, and we may see what will happen with Park soon.

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    Replies
    1. When the article about it released in Korea, all the top comments said that it's her Double Body not Choi Soon Sil. The commenters saying that it's already known that Choi Soon Sil have a few of Double Body. They said the one in the pictures looks younger than Choi Soon Sil compared to Choi Soon Sil's picture 2 days before. One day before, she's missing too.

      Delete
  63. As an American, I was having a hard time understanding this situation so googled looking for a Korean perspective. This is utterly tragic on so many levels. As other commenters have stated, I also feel compassion for the president. She has lived in a bubble her entire life. Always being told what to do and how to act.It is obvious that she cannot function on her own and agree with another commenter who stated that she traded her mother for this woman. The reaction that the Korean people are experiencing is that of a sudden trauma. Their reality was not as they thought and are shaken to the core. My heart goes out to the people of your country. Thank you so much for your article!

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    Replies
    1. She didn't "live in a bubble." Park is an intelligent, shrewd woman who had to make certain concessions to further her political career. She decided to accept the vast political and financial backing of a religious organization (cult or whatever labels). Kind of like a certain American woman who decided to swallow her husband's many humiliations and betrayals to get the backing of his political capital and political machine for her own career.

      The main time Park was isolated has NOTHING to do with AAK's narrative about her mother dying. Lol the most TRAUMATIC incident not only for Park but the entire South Korean society was the CIA-driven assassination of her father.

      Park subsequently spent a decade in basically solitary confinement under orders of the US government (do not kill, but do not allow her to participate in Korean politics/society) until the Korean people overthrew the American puppet dictatorship of Roh in the late 80s. This is the period where the Choi cult got their real clutches on Park, and conspired to make her President.

      The hysteria, the Dynasty rumors etc are like a sport in Korea but often bears little resemblance on reality. One thing AAK will not tell you is that one of the MAJOR issues here is that because of groupthink cults are a major force in Korean politics... as Christianity in general is... for example cultists can elect a President or make Park Bo Gum a major star

      Delete
    2. What is it about Park Bom Gum?? I don't follow Korean actor or actress that much. So I know nothing. Can you please explain it to me?? Thank you..

      Delete
    3. read this: http://www.allkpop.com/article/2016/10/park-bo-gums-religion-is-being-questioned-in-the-midst-of-korean-president-scandal

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  64. I can't thank you enough for this. No newspaper article would've given us the exposure that would've come from a citizen who's personally affected by this news. Thank you again. I'm a mere KPoP and K-Drama fan but news like this has made me a lot more interested in the political scene of South Korea. I pray that whatever this madness is, you find a solution for it as soon as possible. As a fellow citizen of the world I wish nothing but positive things for you!

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  65. Thanks for this-- Journalists need to be extra careful now that we're officially in the Tyson Zone.

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  66. This kind of garbage is nothing compared to Bill and Hillary Clinton. There have been more than 50 mystery murders that are unaccounted for.

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  67. This is incredible. As a young Canadian, this is the single greatest scandal I have been alive for. Thank you for sharing your perspective, and I wish you and your countrymen good luck and swift closure.

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  68. Mindblowing...the sewol ferry part really gave me a goosebumps...plus that special admission into college? Wtf? seriously annoying...

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  69. I am not sure how to respond to this. Laugh? Cry? Both?

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  70. I am in no way defending either Choi or Park, but to the author: your tone is quite clearly disparaging towards religious belief and intimate relationships outside of family. The main thrust of your argument is that Park is insane for being selflessly loyal to someone who is as intimately related to her (from her POV) as any family member, and also for the origins of that relationship being spiritual guidance and support. It's subtly offensive because you could have acknowledged the possibility that Park was acting in favor of someone she views as a sister, in which case she would consider the psychological reassurance and comfort Choi gives her as more than sufficient (and in fact priceless) payoff for any risk and harm she may face. But you didn't, ultimately just dismissing those very important aspects of human life.

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  71. I am from Russia and I'm interested in the question and here is our Rasputin? You have studied our history at all?

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    1. isnt rasputin control nicholas II??
      sorry i just know rasputin from manga and wikipedia m(___)m

      Delete
  72. The Reagans had an astrologer who got close to them after the assassination attempt, and all that happened was that a few late-night talk show hosts made some jokes and the astrologer got famous. Americans aren't understanding the Korean POV because this already made the news in the US and no one cared.

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  73. Going by the rumor of the Sewol ferry passengers used as human sacrifices, the owner was also accused of being part of a cult.....

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  74. Türkiye farklı değil, 40 yıldır öyle yönetildi

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  75. I dunno how to react but its beyond ridiculous and scary at the same moment...but however it sounds familiar to me as a Turkish weve seen the very same scenario in Turkey with gulen movement which on the end the two sides declared war on each others.

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  76. Also if someone could make a youtube video about it with all the foundable materials to this scandal it would be nice...

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  77. One claim is false. Choi Tae-min passed away on May 1st. The Sewol sank on April 14th. The day of the disaster wasn't therefore the twenty year anniversary of that lunatic's death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe it's based on the lunar calendar. But even then, apparently the Sewol sinking did not occur on that date. From the Korea Times:

      "Moon Yong-sik, a former member of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea, posted the rumors on social media last week.

      ""Choi Tae-min died in 1994 on the 21st day of the third month of the lunar calendar. The 20th anniversary of his death was April 14, 2014, according to the solar calendar. Family members had to perform a rite marking the 20th anniversary of Choi's death, but Sunday was not appropriate, so the rite was performed on April 16," he posted."

      http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/11/116_217395.html

      Delete
  78. TK this is a pretty silly post in response to a serious scandal in Korea

    The most likely answer to why Park is shielding Choi is occam's razor. Choi obviously has incriminating information, recordings or pictures of Park.

    The "Rasputin" angle is very convincing for the rapid COMPLETELY INSANE fundamentalist Christian element of Korean society who are convinced that "Satan" has infused the soul of President Park (and are losing their minds about the end of Korean society and the influence of the Devil) but it's not convincing for any rational American who can see that all these scandals... whether Clinton email or Park phonegate are cause and effect, mercenary exchanges.

    AAK presents some kind of mother-trauma but Choi's organization dug its clutches into Park primarily in the decade that she was under house arrest and a non-person under the Chun and subsequent regimes. The LINK to Choi is most clearly the POLITICAL SUPPORT that they gave Park during her political rise in the 2000s.

    AAK paints a sort of hysterical, but completely erroneous picture of Park's home life. For example her BROTHER whom AAK presents as some sort of interventionist was a drug addict and complete burnout with whom Park and her father both cut ties long before any interventionist action on his part.

    Park's dresses were horrid but both Park and her father were FAMOUSLY frugal. Unlike other dictators and chaebol they famously lived austere lives. Park would never have carried a $5000 handbag to begin with, and IRONICALLY one of the MAIN REASONS why Choi was able to influence Park is because Park Chung Hee unlike other Presidents (for example Clinton who has made almost $300 million off speeches and foundation) Park left VERY LITTLE to his daughter and she needed the backing of the cult to make a political run

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    1. I'm sorry but you have so many things wrong here so I've got to comment. First of all, the Rasputin angle is not just convincing for the fundamentalist Christians here. Pseudo-Christian cults have been a problem in Korea for a very long time, they have extremely powerful/influential followers and have amassed exorbitant amounts of money from them. There are cult outposts scattered/hidden everywhere in Korea, and they reach out mostly to vulnerable and malleable people such as elderly/middle aged women and college students. Speak to any Korean and they'll tell you about at least one person they know who's been brainwashed by one of these cults and forced to separate with families. In my opinion, Park is behaving exactly like a middle aged cult follower would behave, and most Koreans would agree. It's actually quite demeaning to say that the Rasputin angle, which is in fact believed to be true by most Koreans, is convincing for "insane" fundamentalists. Most Koreans are actually not religious and are capable of approaching this scandal from a rational perspective.

      Also, Park is nothing close to the shrewd politician you make her out to be in your comments. Her rise in Korean political circles and wins in elections were almost entirely due to the fact that many Koreans (especially the elderly) are convinced the Chung-hee Park was the greatest leader Korea has ever had and as a result venerate him to a cult-like extent. They believe that because Geun-hye Park is his daughter, she will be a great leader as well. The Korean Conservative party are very aware of this and have used Park as a figurehead to secure wins for themselves. The Koreans faced extreme poverty and war during the 1950s-1960s and so the elderly who survived those times make out Chung-hee Park to be some kind of saviour. To them, the fact that he was a ruthless dictator who tortured, oppressed, and killed so many of the people who opposed him and had absolutely no concern for human rights does not matter. To them, the only thing that matters is that Park put food on their tables. The younger generation do not suffer from this delusion and have never been too supportive of Park. The fact that this woman has zero political acumen and is in fact less informed about national issues than the average college student becomes pretty much obvious once you take the time to watch the presidential debates from 2012. A lot of the people who voted for her actually admit that they didn't expect Park herself to do any good, they voted for her because they believed that her supporters were shrewd enough to help her.

      And Geun-hye Park received a sum of about 6 hundred million won from Doo-hwan Chun in the 1970s, which translates to about 30 billion won, or 26 million dollars today. Obviously Park did not have to turn to a cult for money. In fact, Choi Tae-min was completely broke and living in a squat in the mountains when he first approached Park and COULD NOT have supported her financially. Many Koreans actually believe that it was the other way around, that Park's 30 billion won served as the foundation for Choi Tae-min's wealth.

      Delete
    2. Choi! Good to get your comments, but how are you writing this when they took your tablet?!

      Delete
  79. I don't know if this will make you feel better, but our leaders are just as eff'd in the head. It's well known that Bill Clinton took many trips on convicted pedophile Jeff Epstein's private jet, nicknamed the "Lolita Express". It's a story that no one seemed to care about since he's not running I guess. However the guy running Hillary's campaign, Podesta, is apparently into same really weird stuff. Wikileaks has shown he was invited for "Spirit Cooking". What is Spirit Cooking? Go to the Reddit link at the end to find out. I guarantee you after learning what it is the South Korean president will look completely normal. But if you're going to eat, or you get grossed out easily, for god's sake do not open that link.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5b08cy/warning_graphic_i_dont_think_you_guys_appreciate/

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  80. Can someone please answer me? There is this rumor about Choi Soon Sil. Koreans and Non Koreans agree that the one that police bring is Not her but her Double Body. Moreover the person wore a mask and covering all its body, only her eyes not. They said that actually it's already known that Choi Soon Sil have a few Double Body. If this true, it's a new big fckng mess in S.K. Thank You for all this T.K....

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  81. Here's to the hope this is the final nail in the coffin to the old South Korea, that the post Korean War South Korea will be permanently buried by this political and national scandal. I have no idea how true T.K.'s account of the scandal is (which reads like one of the better South Korean t.v. dramas) but I know Park's presidency has been an utter failure for the country and its people (which really breaks my heart). As a Korean who resides in the U.S., I believe in the South Korean people's potential to accomplish amazing feats and contribute to the world-at-large. At a time when so much is at stake with the rise of Asian countries on the global political and economic scene, the South Korean people are again being shafted by its leaders, and the nation will lose out to Japan and other countries in the reshuffling of the world order that's taking place currently.

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  82. Having lived in South Korea for over 5 years, and having visited Pyongyang several times, I would love to see the end of American influence in South Korea, a united peninsula that maps out a pathway to eventual unification (under a true democratic government) and the flourishing of a truly independent and united Korean nation. Will that ever happen in my lifetime? (I'm 63). Probably not, but I can dream. If only the US were truly concerned about the happiness and welfare of people, instead of having dominion over the entire earth and its resources, we might see that happen.

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  83. Hi! We just translated your analysis into french for our blog with a due mention and a link to your website. We hope you don't mind. Thank you for writing!

    http://guibuni.over-blog.com/2016/11/le-crepuscule-irrationel-de-park-geun-hye.html

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  84. Choi Soonsil is protestant christian at least since 2000. There are records that she went to big churches in South Korea. Her older sister is deaconess. It's not surprising. Their father used to a Protestant pastor. He got offer from a real protestant pastor to buy it. Well. She's a shaman? Maybe some people's wish?

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  85. Choi Soonsil is a protestants deacon of church. wow. sounds she's very protestantic religious person.

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    ReplyDelete
  87. There are rumors & gossip that:
    1. Park Geun Hye and Choi Soon Sil are lovers, therefore CSS's husband divorced her
    2. Park Geun Hye and Choi Tae Min had long term intimate relationship (maybe b'cos of US ambassador's note that CTM had complete control over PGH's body & soul...?)
    3. On hearing about extent of his daughter's involvement with CTM, Park Chung Hee threatened to castrate CTM but relented due to PGH's tearful defence of her lover

    So can any Korean residing in SK verify whether any or all of the above are true? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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  89. Great analytical backgrounder! Thanks for all your hard and dedicated work in running your great blog.
    Though you didn't predict Park's impeachment in this article, the millions of people in South Korea and overseas (including in Northern Virginia where I live) have spoken (peacefully) and their will was reflected in the impeachment vote result.

    It is notable that the pseudonym "T.K." used by you was also used by a famous prolific writer who clandestinely exposed repressive policies of the former president/dictator Park Chung-hee (Park Geun-hye's father) in the 70s and 80s, so "T.K." if fitting for this article.

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