Tag Archives: Korean politics

The New Political Culture of Intimacy: Ahn Chol-Soo’s Book “Thoughts of Ahn Chol-Soo”

I am currently reading Ahn Chol-Soo,s new book  “Thoughts of Ahn Chol-Soo.”

Ahn, who serves as Dean of Graduate Studies at the Institutes for Convergence Technology at Seoul National University, has been engaged in a remarkable political dance for the last year  concerning whether or not he will run for president. He  is someone  who has never held political office before. In the United States, this sort of a political game would  be impossible as no one  who is not committed early on could possibly be a last-minute candidate. With the Korean elections scheduled for December, it is astonishing that someone who has not taken the first step to start a campaign is being compared favorably at times with the conservative party candidate Park Kyun-hye.

This photograph of Ahn washing dishes is one of many photographs of Ahn Chol-Soo that pepper his new best-seller “Thoughts of Ahn Chol-Soo.” The choice of dish washing is significant at several levels. Most political figures put most of their effort into building up their stature. Here Ahn attempts to create an accessible and intimate image as someone who is a successful businessman, but still perfectly capable of washing his own dishes.

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