“I Will Share in the Lives of Our Citizens” – With a Banner of the “Promotion of Public Welfare” Flying High
Respected citizens of Seoul, beloved colleagues of the city of Seoul! The new year of 2015 has arrived. In celebration of the year of the sheep, which signifies harmony and consolidation, I wish all of you and your family good health and happiness for the coming year.
We’ve been through difficult and hard times last year. Amidst a sustained economic recession, household and public debt which has exceeded 1 quadrillion won, and increased unemployment, rental deposits, and inflation have led to our people feeling mired in hardship.
Above all, this past year was a year of sorrow, suffering and reflection. We asked ourselves these very fundamental questions: Where are we headed, and are we happy now? What are the reasons for the existence of our nation and government? What is politics? What should a true public official be defined as?
We wanted change. We wanted reforms. We wanted renovation. We wanted a life fit for a human being.
Now, we stand at the beginning of a new year. I would like to ask myself, as well as everyone once again, are we giving the correct answers to the questions our citizens have asked us? Are we truly now walking on the path to transformation?
I am the first to drop my head in regret.
At the break of the New Year, early in the morning, I thought about our ancestors who lived during the Joseon Dynasty. Seized by excessive justification and idealism, our ancestors suffered through a Japanese invasion; unable to face up to reality, they suffered a Manchu invasion and a further humiliation at Samjeondo. Yet they still refused change and feared reforms. Mired in conflicts and the interests of political parties, politicians turned their backs on the people and forced them into misery.
New changes began with a few Silhak scholars who had the right course in mind. Silhak scholars, including the founder Bangye Yu Hyeongwon, Seongho Yi Ik, and Dasan Jeong Yakyong, prioritized issues related to the people—food and living—that mainstream politicians had ignored. Politics, studies, and ideologies that did not improve the lives of the people were simply nonexistent to them. Status, government posts, wealth, and parties were not important to them. Only changing the lives of the people and reforms and the reconstruction of the nation were their noble, supreme tasks. Yet Joseon was unable to accept their views. As a result, politics became more chaotic, the economy floundered, and the nation collapsed.
Several hundred years have passed since that time, yet how do we look now? The dream of “putting the lives of the people first” and “reconstructing the nation” that Silhak scholars had embraced is still an unrealized dream of the past. Focused on ideologies and conflicts among parties, incarcerated within the curtain of greed and political blocs, we are still unable to walk towards the path of “public welfare,” the path of “humans” and “communities,” the path of the “future.” Politics that needs to resolve our issues has become the root of all issues. Indeed, the door and the wall of our massive bureaucracy are high and thick.
The mission, the role, and the responsibility of the path of true politics and its administration, the path of every public service should lie in caring for the lives of the people, solving the problems faced by the people, and opening the path to happiness and a sustainable future for the community.
Colleagues of the city of Seoul, let’s take down that curtain and walk into the lives of one another. Let us become Silhak scholars of the 21st century and work together to open the path into one another’s life.
■ I will oversee the city government administration implements policies to “promote public welfare” and “assure the happiness of the people before seeking our own pleasures.”
Respected citizens of Seoul, beloved colleagues of the city of Seoul, The realities of the New Year of 2015 do not seem to be great. The economic prospects announced by the Korean Government have not been very bright, and there is little confidence in the improvement of the public welfare index. The era of 1 quadrillion won in household debt is blocking our future.
That is why we would like to completely focus our administration on sharing in the lives of the citizens and caring for the lives of the people. We will put in our utmost efforts to resolve household issues and those related to the livelihood of the people, including the economy and employment. Furthermore, this will be the year in which we solidify our public welfare system, leading to new growth in Seoul, a new change in growth that encompasses all, and sharing the fruits of the changes.
It won’t be easy. There are many obstacles and our strength is limited. But I believe that we can do it, if we do it together. We’ve already reduced 7 trillion won of debt and constructed 80,000 rental apartments, hand in hand. These were things that everyone believed to be impossible. With every public official of the Seoul Metropolitan Government united as one, communicating with the citizens of Seoul, we will gain the wisdom and experience to resolve the problems that the people of Seoul now face.
The past three years of administration was based on “governance” with citizen participation, and through “innovation,” we did away with old, habitual, inconvenient, and unnecessary habits.
Principle defeated non-principle; common sense tore down senselessness; normal ousted abnormal; communication resolved conflict. The administration of principle and common sense, rationality and balance, governance and innovation became the root of an unshakable administration.
Based on this, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will share in the lives of the people and administer a city government based on the practical “promotion of public welfare,” in order to tackle those issues related to living in Seoul.
We will carry out policies that are not abstract notions or unrealistic slogans. Instead, we will pursue policies that are practical and substantial, policies that touch the actual lives of the people. We will change the real lives of our people and solve their problems to relieve Seoul citizens of their worries. We will administer a city government by “assuring the happiness of the people before seeking our own pleasures,” thus sharing in the joy of the citizens.
Respected citizens of Seoul, For the past three years, Seoul has stood in the middle of change. My commitments and efforts to become the first mayor to change the lives of the people then began to bear fruit. Flowers of change began to bloom in the lives of Seoul citizens.
Ms. Lee Gyeongja, who was working at Seoul City Hall, as an irregular worker, from a cleaning service company, became a regular worker and in so doing fulfilled her dream. When she received her new company ID card, upon her transition to regular worker, with the guaranteed retirement age of 65, tears rolled down her face. A huge change has occurred in her life. A total of 7,000 workers at the Seoul Metropolitan Government have also tasted this same joy in their lives.
Ms. Lee Jeongja, who had suffered a stroke, also found hope in her new life. She had been hospitalized for a long time at a regular hospital, but she couldn’t receive treatment because she was unable to pay for a caregiver. Yet, after she moved to the Seoul Medical Center thanks to the Patient-Sitter Program, she was able to recover her health, life, and hope. The over 9,000 citizens who have received similar benefits from the Patient-Sitter Program can now testify to the meritorious effects that a public medical service can have on people’s lives.
Ms. Lee Jeonghui, a housewife living in Geumcheon-gu, was also able to start a new life. She began a childcare service, which she had never even had dreamed about. Through Seoul’s support “Village Community Childcare Service” project, she was able to get a taste of communal childcare as well as the pleasure of getting to know and living along with her neighbors. Over 2,000 Seoul citizens are now experiencing the same vitality in their lives as Ms. Lee.
Similarly, citizens who have experienced change in their lives, and their stories, are the blooming flowers and fruit in Seoul. But, this is only the beginning. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and I cannot remain content with these results. We still have a very long way to go.
Now, Seoul must sustain these changes in the lives of our citizens, improve the quality of these changes, and create a new economic ecosystem for our sustainable future. Through a new growth engine, we will stabilize the economy and the livelihood of the people. Based on this, we will enhance the quality of life for every single Seoul citizen and grow into a city of humanization that pursues the happiness of its community.
■ I will change the landscape of Seoul’s economy through a creative economy and the vitalization of specialized industries.
Beloved citizens of Seoul, Seoul’s creative economy will become the fertilizer for Seoul’s overall economy. With a solid foundation and a strong growth engine, it will power positive change for the next hundred years in Seoul. It will turn Seoul into the capital of the world’s creative economy, the Creative Economy Capital of the Republic of Korea.
The key to Seoul’s creative economy is in creating future growth engines by investing in various industrial infrastructures and people in Seoul. R&D, tourism and MICE, the leisure and sports industry, fashion and clothing industry, biomedical industry, ICT, educational service industry, etc. These industries that Seoul has a competitive edge in will be nurtured and fostered as new creative industries. Yangjae, Changdong-Sangye, Sangam DMC, Magok, G-Valley, Sin-Hong-Hap Valley, Gaepo, Hongneung, and Dongdaemun will be the bases for Seoul’s creative economy, and these places will be developed into the new industrial centers of Seoul.
The MICE industrial district in the Yeongdong area and the new center of economy in the Changdong-Sangye area may not see the light of day during my term as mayor. But the plan to focus on long-term goals and visions, instead of on visible achievements or profits in the short-term, will enrich Seoul over the next ten years, the next hundred years.
Seoul is a city comprised of 44 types of business and 136 traditional businesses that have been traditionally specific to the region. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will focus on Seoul’s specialized industries as part of the city’s growth engine and will reinvigorate them. We will come up with a comprehensive development plan to support the creation of specialized districts in order to revitalize the capital’s specialized businesses and to reinvigorate traditional markets, neighborhood businesses, commercial districts, and the specialized shopping districts that are currently at risk due to the current economic recession and Super Supermarkets. We will establish afirm foundation for the resurrection and the beginning of a new golden age of small business owners and local and neighborhood industries.
Only when the two axes of Seoul’s creative economy and local specialized industries spring into dynamic life will change be instigated in Seoul, a new economic ecosystem will be born in Seoul, and the landscape of the economy in Seoul will change.
■ I will create the way for Seoul to become a city in which every citizen is a shareholder.
For this, Seoul will make bold investments where investments are needed, attract what needs to be attracted, and offer support where support is needed.
Through cooperation with small enterprises – the hidden champions of Korea – as well as global companies overseas, and bold attraction of investment, such as the relocation of companies that had been established in foreign countries or other regions, I will diversify the economic ecosystem in Seoul. The Challenge 1000 Project and the support for startups, including the operation of startup centers and startup programs as well as financial, distribution and marketing support for startups, will be the foundation on which a new economic ecosystem will stand.
Employment will also be a key policy for Seoul. I will do my best not only to find quality employment, and help those who want to work to develop their abilities, but also to expand the institutional foundation for employment seekers. I will create employment opportunities in the public sector, such as New Deal employment, public service and local community jobs. I will cultivate our citizens’ ability to work by fostering creative professionals and operating institutes for technological education. I will establish the required institutional foothold by designating specialized employment districts and creating employment foundations and councils.
I will also create quality jobs through financial investment. With a focus on the active promotion of infrastructure projects, such as the project to turn sections of roads, such as Jemulpo-daero and the Seobu Expressway, into underground roads and creating parks where the roads used to be, the third railway construction project and intercity railroad construction project, as well as the construction of flood control facilities and the Hangang development projects, I will create employment opportunities in the related industries.
In addition, I will also promote the social economy by supporting cooperatives, social enterprises, and neighborhood enterprises in providing a quality civil service for the citizens and creating jobs in the social sector by expanding the national and public childcare facilities as well as nursing homes.
Above all, I will focus all of my energy and effort into attracting foreign tourists and guests. If 100 foreign tourists visit Korea, jobs for two people are created. If Seoul can attract 20 million tourists, then an economic effect of 22 trillion won, as well as over 440,000 jobs, will be created.
To develop Seoul into the world’s best tourism and MICE city, and an attractive luxury tourism city, we will find contents and stories by theme and area, develop Hallyu tourism, and make Seoul a city full of friendly people, stories, sights to see, and great memories.
Respected citizens of Seoul, All the fruits of the growth of our city need to be shared by every citizen of Seoul. Realizing economic democracy and creating a city where all grow as one: this is the vision of Seoul that hopes to become a city in which every citizen is a shareholder. Every citizen will become the owners of their own life through growth that encompasses all. This year, Seoul will take the first steps to realize this dream.
■ I will make Seoul a special city of happiness, where livelihood stability and public welfare are strengthened, where women and laborers are respected and happy just like everyone else.
Respected citizens of Seoul, A new light can shine onto the reconstruction and redevelopment areas that had been shadowed by urban growth. A great wave of urban regeneration will occur in Seoul as we look forward to Seoul a hundred years from now. Seoul will become a people-centered city where our homes and workplaces will co-exist in harmony.
The Urban Regeneration Headquarters in Seoul, established on January 1, 2015, will guide us along a path of urban regeneration that goes beyond development profits and physical maintenance to contain communication and consideration, unity and sharing, as well as local history, homes and workplaces. In the places where we’ve lived together for long, we will be able to create a village in which we are able to enjoy happiness together.
The “Visiting Welfare” Program will help to prevent tragic incidents, such as the suicides of a mother and her two daughters in Songpa-gu. Village Welfare Centers with strengthened welfare programs will greatly aid families in crisis to overcome their situation.
Financial welfare consultations and a public medical fee support program will give people hope to hold on to their lives and start anew. Strengthening the housing welfare support system, including the housing voucher program and Hopeful Home Repair Program, for the underprivileged, who spend most of their income on housing expenses, the provision of various types of rental housing and a Seoul-style rental deposit system will be the basis of stable housing.
The strengthened policy to comprehensively eliminate the ten practices that infringe on the livelihood of the people will be a shield that will minimize the damage inflicted on the lives of the underprivileged and low-income classes due to loan sharks, pyramid schemes, mutual aid enterprises, and e-commerce shams. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will not allow illegal acts that bring tears to the citizens of Seoul. Through intensive inspections of companies that have been reported to infringe on the livelihood of the people, we will completely uproot and eliminate those companies that bring about misery to the people.
The living wage system will first be introduced in investor and funding institutions affiliated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and gradually expanded to the public procurement sector. This will be the last bastion that will protect the livelihood of Seoul citizens. The “Participatory Labor-Management Relations Model” that will be tested at the investor and funding institutions affiliated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government will turn the opposing and conflicting relationship between laborers and executives into a true companionship characterized by cooperation and communication. Seoul will be reborn as a city in which labor is respected.
Now Seoul is establishing itself as a city where women are happy. But we still need to do more. Creating 100,000 jobs for women in their youth and women suffering career discontinuity, establishing 1,000 additional national and public childcare centers, and generally making Seoul a safer place for women will all help us realize our dream of Seoul being a women-friendly city.
Through urban regeneration, various support programs for the livelihood of the people, practical welfare policies and public welfare programs, the living wage system, and women-friendly policies, we will proceed to realize our dream of Seoul becoming a haven of 10 million residents living together in harmony and happiness.
■ I will make my way toward “Seoul, the City of Humanization” by focusing on economic and livelihood stability
Respected citizens of Seoul, beloved colleagues of the city of Seoul, If we begin our planned changes in Seoul, then the whole of the Republic of Korea will change. Over the past half century, Seoul spearheaded the industrialization and democratization of the Republic of Korea. Seoul stood at the forefront in making the Republic of Korea a global nation. Now, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will make way for a different future of Seoul based on the potential we hold. Using industrialization and democratization as stepping-stones, we wish to open the chapter of “humanization,” where people share in their lives together.
I want to change Seoul into the “city of humanization,” where economic and livelihood stability can take root in the soil of a democratic administration, open administration, and participatory administration in which “citizens are the mayor;” where the flowers and fruits of happiness grow on the strong branches of people and community. I want to make my way to “Seoul, the City of Humanization,” where no one is discriminated against and where all enjoy happiness fit for a human.
I know that I cannot do all of this by myself. It can only be done when you, my colleagues at the city of Seoul and all of you who are here today, become the mayor and the leaders in change. Up to now, every single one of you has been the mayor, making Seoul what it is today. I believe in the great power that resides in the public servants of the city of Seoul. And I would like to thank you for all your hard work.
Ladies and gentlemen, if I dream alone, then it may remain but a dream. But if all of you and the ten million citizens of Seoul share in my dream, I believe I can turn this dream into a reality. If I dream with all of the great citizens of Seoul, and if we walk towards the dream together, nothing will be impossible for us.
“If you want the world to change, change yourself first,” is an old but apt saying in these circumstances. We must do everything in our power to safeguard the changes being put into place to turn Seoul into a better place to live and a happier city. Once again, we all have to take charge of change.
Respected citizens of Seoul, beloved colleagues of the city of Seoul, On this first day of work in the New Year, I would like to make a resolution with all of you, in front of all of you. I will stick to the initial resolution I made when I first became the mayor of Seoul. Under the administrative principle that “citizens are the mayor,” I will continue to realize my dream of Seoul by continuously dreaming it, making it, and enjoying it with Seoul citizens. I will share in the lives of the citizens.
Holding the torch of governance and reform in one hand and the torch of public welfare and unity in the other, I will walk forward. Brightening the river of the dark and cold times, I will keep on walking forward. I will walk forward to “Together Seoul,” a city that will stand together with our citizens and the world. Residents of Seoul, let us walk forward together.