This should be an article I write about the United States instead we are still to sexist of a nation to believe that a woman could probably do just as good if not better in my opinion of running this country than any man ever has.
With that rant being said though back to South Korea, the President Elect faces a tough challenge as Tensions with North Korea have escalated in recent years, and the economy has being to grow at just two percent rather than the average 5.5% it was recently at, While I personally like President Lee Myung-bak, some people say he could have done a better job. This is direct quote of the 104th radio and internet address by the President of the Republic of Korea, in it you will find all the things that the Korean republic has accomplished in just a short period of time, and just how much I’m beginning to like Asian politics!
“Good morning, fellow Koreans,
We had a lot of snow last week, and it is already nearing the end of the year to harvest its fruits.
Again this year, we have been able to pull off many achievements while weathering the rough waves of the global economic crisis. Some time ago, Korea won its bid to host the Green Climate Fund, a world bank in the environmental sector. The country also reached US$1 trillion in trade for the second year in a row.
This year, Korea became one of the eight largest traders in the world going past Italy, a trading power. Some 20 years ago when Korea drew up its long-term national development strategy, we had a dream of becoming like Italy, but we have finally passed that goal.
In just half a century after envisioning nation building through trade, Korea has performed wonders in a wasteland to become the eighth biggest trading country in the world. It is surely a remarkable accomplishment which we deserve to be proud of. I am truly grateful to business leaders, workers, civil servants and all the people, who have helped achieve the astounding success of today. All of us should celebrate today’s glory.
The Korean economy is currently touted around the world as being relatively good, but it is true that our economy, too, suffers low growth and slow job creation due to a decrease in investments. This is weighing on middle-class and low-income people.
The cold weather this winter is forecast to be harsher than previous years, and I am very worried about how low-income families will make it through the winter. The Government has been carrying out measures to stabilize the lives of low-income people during the winter season—helping the less fortunate stay warmer, however slightly, through the winter, taking care of their health and providing jobs for them.
It is also supplying adolescent heads of households and single parent families with kerosene for heating and providing approximately 83,000 households with coupons for coal briquettes. A program will be put in place for medical professionals to visit families in special need of healthcare, including senior citizens living alone.
During wintertime, jobs for day laborers dwindle making it more difficult for low-income families to eke out a living. The jobs-for-low-income-people program will be expanded next year to benefit about 590,000 people, an increase of 25,000 people. This program will be implemented earlier than usual.
The number of free daycare classes will be increased for children from the most vulnerable families, who have nowhere to go during winter vacation. Free meals will also be provided for them.
The Government has earmarked the biggest welfare budget in history and is expanding support for those in needs, but there is limit to what it can do.
Koreans have carried on a beautiful age-old tradition of helping each other in difficult times. Recently, warm hearts that are practicing the spirit of sharing are spreading far and wide in our society.
Taking this opportunity, I want to speak with you about Ye-jin’s family in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province. Yu Ye-jin, an eight year old, lives with her mother who is intellectually challenged and her father who makes a living by collecting waste paper.
Though not well off, Ye-jin donated the three piggy banks of her year-long savings to a community center a few days ago. Last year, she also donated her three-year savings to the center for neighbors in need. It is a touching and heartwarming story, indeed.
Kim Chang-wan, a teacher at a middle school attached to Inha University, spent his childhood in a shanty in a squalid neighborhood. He nurtured his dream to become a teacher while delivering newspapers and driving trucks. Having now become a respected teacher, he donates millions of won in scholarships every year for students who are on the verge of quitting school because of poverty.
“Up to now, I have received much help from people around me. So I made up my mind to reach out a helping hand to young students around me who are having a difficult time. Though faced with tough and exhausting circumstances, I hope they will be able to make a fresh resolution by envisioning a hopeful future in their diary, instead of taking a pessimistic view of life.”
At this year-end, businesses are also redoubling their efforts for sharing. Recently, conglomerates like Samsung, Hyundai Motor Company and LG have taken the lead in making donations for the needy. On top of this, many other small and medium-sized companies are following suit.
These businesses are also leading the purchase of the traditional-market gift certificates, which were introduced in 2009 by the Government with the goal of reinvigorating traditional markets and supporting microbusiness owners.
Last year businesses purchased the certificates to the tune of more than 220 billion won and this year more than 400 billion won, which plays a role in encouraging an increasing number of people to visit traditional markets. Starting in the latter half of last year, a number of private companies and state-owned organizations began forging the ‘one company-one traditional market sister relationship.’ As a result, participating businesses are actively using the traditional-market gift certificates.
Whenever I go to a traditional market, I meet with many merchants who say, “The traditional-market gift certificates are of great help. I really appreciate them.” Each time, I want to convey their expression of appreciation to the many people who have purchased the gift certificates.
Many businesses and banks are also actively participating in the Miso(Smile) Microcredit program aimed at helping small business owners and low-income people. From 2009 to now, the total amount of loans amounted to over 700 billion won, which has been used to sow seeds of hope in those who are striving to stand on their own feet. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to all enterprises committed to the principle of sharing in running their businesses.
In advanced nations, a lot of ordinary citizens donate regardless of the amount of money. In Korea, there are an increasing number of people who are regularly donating as part of their daily lives.
The office workers’ salary-sharing campaign is a good case in point. For this uniquely Korean donation campaign, people set aside a small sum from their monthly salary to help those in need. As of now, more than 130,000 workers from 540 businesses are participating in the program. Many stores across the nation displaying the sign “Chak-han(Good-hearted) Store” are also partaking in sharing. Their number now stands at more than 4,000.
My fellow citizens,
I understand that an advanced society in a genuine sense refers to a society where people help each other in times of difficulty with caring concern.
Now the Salvation Army bells are ringing on every street corner, and the “Love Thermometer Tower” whose temperature reading rises as donations increase have been put up throughout the country. On a snowy day last week, I went to the Salvation Army charity pot installed in the Gwanghwamun area on my way back to Cheong Wa Dae after attending an event. Around this time every year I make it a rule to drop by the charity pot.
I said to a Salvation Army officer that I hoped many people would make a donation this year so that each and everyone in our society can spend this winter warmly. The officer responded that the participation rate this year is way higher than last year. Though it was cold, I felt my heart warmed by his encouraging remarks.
Sharing fills our hearts to overflowing, and happiness greatly increases when shared. I hope everyone in our society will be able to share compassion with each other and light the lamp of hope as we ring out the old year and ring in the new.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to everyone who is participating in sharing with caring concern.
Thank you very much”