Monday, May 25, 2009

Suddenly the tagline for this blog is rather (in)appropriate.

Korea's former president, Moo-hyun Roh, jumped to his death a few days ago. The Guardian has a decent write-up on it, but the Cliff's Notes is as follows:

Roh was (from what I can tell) a popular president in South Korea (especially amongst the "386" Generation, akin to the tail end of the American "Baby Boomers": born in the 60s, attended college in the 80s, and in their 30s when the coin was termed, hence "386") and probably would have been the kind of guy popular in America as well: poor family background, pulled himself up by his bootstraps, etc etc. His victory in the 2002 elections, on a platform of anti-corruption and continuation of the "sunshine policy" of his predecessor, Dae-jung Kim, was something of a surprise. Presidential terms in South Korea are five years long, so he had only left office in February of 2008.

Allegations arose that he had taken something like $6M USD in bribes, but it gets tricky: it's unclear whether parts of that money were intended to settle a debt or intended for legitimate business ventures or outright bribes, and it's unclear just how much Roh knew about the money and what it was meant for.

Roh's suicide note talked about ill health as well, but popular opinion seems to be that the stress and scandal involved with all this talk of bribes proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. It's all very reminiscent of Budd Dwyer, though it wasn't broadcast on live television.

1 comment:

  1. Budd Dwyer, which you happened to view on TV (albeit as a toddler/baby) --- sorry for the impression.