The Impeachment of Park Geun-Hye

If you want to skip the history part, just look for NICE BIG BOLD!

As you can guess, I’ll be discussing in this post about something called Park Geun-Hye. You could probably guess that they are a person, because I’ll be talking about their impeachment (here’s that wikipedia page). Bonus Points to you if you know that the person I’m going to be talking about is the 11th President of South Korea. Even more bonus points if you knew that she is the first female head of state in an Asian country, and South Korea’s first president that was female and impeached.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye arriving at the Korean War Memorial Ground-Breaking Ceremony in London, 5 November 2013.

So to be brief, but give a some background information; Park Geun-Hye is the 11th President of South Korea. However, she is also the daughter of a previous president when South Korea was extremely politically unstable. Unfortunately, I have to be broad in order to keep this short; essentially South Korea has had a lot of ups and downs until the 2000’s. Park Geun-Hye’s father, Park Chung-Hee (Last Names go first in Korean) used to be a president too, but it is nothing even close to the ‘political dynasties’ we think of.

Great South Gate in Seoul

Chung-Hee was a dictator, and although his rule was not good, essentially starting and ending with coups; he was the man behind The Miracle on the Han River. The Miracle on the Han River is the nickname given to South Korea’s sporadic economic resurgence from after the Korean War to around now (Han refers to the river than runs through Seoul, the capital of South Korea). Basically this economic resurgence started with a dictator, however allowed the country to go from third-world status to a member of the G20 (read more here).

So because of Chung-Hee doing essentially a lot of bad stuff, and not nearly as many good things; his family as a whole is viewed with massive amounts of resent. So cue in the 2013 Presidential Election, Park Geun-Hye is running, however she wins in a close race due to the fact that her father was a pretty bad dude. Well the Korean people were kind of onto something with their intuition. It turns out, that Park Geun-Hye kind of joined a cult but not really when both of her parents were killed when she was a child (Chung-Hee left office due to assassination, and his wife was killed with him. So she had a really messed up child being the daughter of a dictator that got even more messed up because both of her parents die.

NICE BIG BOLD! So that’s pretty much that for the mini-flashback, now cue in 2016. Remember how Geun-Hye sort of joined a cult but not really? well turns out she, who is Choi Soon-Sil, became close friends with the head of the ‘cult’ (I’ll refer to it as cult from now, because that’s what South Koreans are calling it). So the head of the cult knows who Geun-Hye truly is, and grooms her for becoming a politician. Well in addition to a bunch of that, she starts becoming an absurd influence in Geun-Hye’s life. Like the head of this cult, literally was writing Geun-Hye’s speeches and choosing her outfits. So the South Korean public find this out, and they are extremely outraged, because as we have established, South Koreans have had functional democracy for like 15 years or so. So for those wondering why the South Korean people were able to organize marches and rallies with more than one million people for everyday, for months on end, it’s because South Koreans really don’t like it when someone messes with their democracy.

So now I’m going to spend more time actually talking about the impeachment itself, and as with all things so far, I’m going to be talking about how we can try to see some of the trans disciplinary aspects of this impeachment. So how do I go from talking about history to trans disciplinary stuff. Well, it’s because people of different walks of life had to come together for this to happen. For example, in order for everyone’s voice to be heard, everyone took action. From Lawyers to Plumbers, they either practiced their profession or just marched (there are even some people who countered-protested, wanting Geun-Hye to stay in office).

One discipline needed for this enormous movement was obviously Lawyers, more being Political Science/Politicians. We can refer to this as the Law Group. The Law Group had to actually look at the legality of the impeachment process. It’s obviously legal, but how do you write up an impeachment bill or fill out that form? Well these group of people know how to do that, they have studied this and used it to achieve something historical.

Another group, not so much defined by an academic field are what I’ll call the Blue Collar Group. Although there aren’t many traditional blue collar jobs in South Korea, they exist. But what I’m aiming for more with this group are a group of people who don’t have a skill they can use to help out in the courthouse or Blue House (South Korea’s White House). These are the people marching everyday, these are the citizens of South Korea, these are the people who have seen and lived in dictatorships. These people, although not Lawyers, had just as much of influence in this process as anyone else did. You can go and say the Geun-Hye must be impeached, but you know what is more powerful than coherent arguments? Action. Million person marches everyday for months? (May not have been literally every single day, but the amount of marches/rallies was enormous) Now that takes dedication and hard work.

You know what can be even more powerful than actions, your wallet. South Korea hasn’t had a strong economy for long, now what were to happen if South Korean business owners were to slow down the movement of money in the country. An economy works because money moves, if money isn’t moving then the economy is gone. South Korea is currently at trade war with China, so this could be an opportunity for business owners to make their voice heard about Park. Whether it’s doing more business outside of South Korea or even hanging up a poster, they contributed.

So although the impeachment of Park Geun-Hye wasn’t interdisciplinary, it was more or less trans disciplinary (going outside of academia to achieve something). There is a whole lot more to this process, and I would heavily recommend just googling “South Korean Impeachment” and read the first couple things that come up (for the lazy). South Korea has a really interesting history, and I don’t have the time to give it the time of day it deserves.

I hoped you enjoy this post, because I enjoy talking/writing about South Korea history and stuff like this.

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3 thoughts on “The Impeachment of Park Geun-Hye”

  1. I learned so much from this post, and I am grateful! The history was presented clearly, with so much dramatic flair, and with an engagingly casual tone that really made it accessible. I like the way you draw a systemic partnership between an academic discipline like law and the citizen-activists, and think about that as a form of transdisciplinarity. Lots to chew on here, as usual with your blog. Well done–

  2. Louisa Noble

    Wow, that was an earful but I liked it! I am not a politics buff, but the way you presented this post kept me engaged the whole time and truly interested in what you had to say! I really enjoyed your use of humor and structure, starting with history and then working your way through to the transdisciplinary components. This post was composed really well!

  3. Amanda Long

    Wow, this post taught me a lot. I enjoy politics and learning about it in South Korea was really cool. I love how you tied that whole story to being transdisciplinary on a really large scale. Great post!

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