It was written by Mr. Go Yu Gi, Chief of Secretary of the Jeju Solidarity for Participatory Self-Government & Environmental Preservation. He has worked in that organization for 15 years and has been one of the key activists for the Jeju naval base struggle since 2002 when the issue begun to be broadly concerned. However, his concern as a Jeju activist is more than the issue of naval base. In this column, he sees the Jeju Island as the possible model hoped to be an alternative for the developmentalism ideology that currently dominates the Jeju Island. (In fact, it can be said that the developmentalism has been the South Korea’s biggest obsession after the Korean War and division, has been driven with capitalism value and anti-communist ideology, contributing to strengthening of the power of the right wing classes and military dictatorships by mid-90s.)
He suggests ,for the vision of true Jeju, to start from the renovation of the society of public discussion. First it is the direction of the public discussion in which he asks the meaning of ‘progress’. He says the frame of its meaning should come out from the only economy-considered. Second, he says second issue is the subjects of public discussion. Seeing that the areas of the subjects of the public discussion have been dominated by so called the ‘opinion group’ of the dominating class, he emphasized to bring up the ‘field specialists’ whose self-taught knowledge, experience and wisdom have been accumulated through the direct field works and whose works should be connected, ‘coordinated’ by press & civil organizations and encouraged as the true subjects of public discussion. The translated parts here are; first part of how he sees the Jeju as ‘still preserved society’ but threatened by the direction of public discussion called, ‘developmentalism’ whose factual static shows far different results from its ideology; and the need to re-consider of ‘progress’ in different angle. The other parts were omitted in translation for length.
▲Go Yu Gi, Chief of Secretary of
the Jeju Solidarity for Participatory Self-Government & Environmental Preservation
▲ 고유기 참여환경연대 집행위원장
For the True Vision of Jeju, Let’s Start from the Renovation of the Public Discussion Society:
[Special Column for the 1st Commemoration Year of the Foundation of Sisa Jeju]
Go Yu Gi, Chief of Secretary of the Jeju Solidarity for Participatory Self-Government & Environmental Preservation
Feb. 26, Friday, 2010, sisajeju (at)sisajeju.com
참다운 제주의 비전, 공론사회의 혁신부터 시작하자
[시사제주 창간 1주년 특별칼럼] 고유기 참여환경연대 집행위원장
2010년 02월 26일 (금) sisajeju (at)sisajeju.com
Days ago, I have visited Muju, Jeollabuk-do, while I joined the meeting for which all the local organizations in South Korea gathered.
For this writer, Muju has been the place where the vivid nature of the high mountains and deep valleys exists, in my imagination.
However, the real condition of Muju where I have actually visited was very heartbreaking. While the commercial facilities like night-long illuminated quarters in the Dukyoo Mt. National Park was not so different from those of any other National parks, I could not but automatically sigh when I faced the looks of the ski field that extended to the 1600 M height of the mountain top. I lost words as I heard that the Hyangjeock, the highest peak of the mountain could be reached by 20min. walking distance by using the ski field gondola.
Compared to that, the Jeju is still healthy. Its preservation has relatively been better than any others among the national parks. Even though people say, ‘development’, and ‘development’, the living nature is still breathing everywhere and the beautiful landscape view has not lost its light in the Jeju [Island]. The ‘Olle’ that has brought the rapid & hot trend of itself, has showed that Jeju could go forward for the Mecca of the nature-friendly slowness and health. Further, it has increased vividness to the local villages that have been alienated due to the ‘roundabout roads’ that have been differently formed every other day, and has shown the enough possibilities of the Jeju as the economic model where the agriculture economy has been revived again despite small degree.
# ‘Olle’ and ‘Do Not Ask’ Developmentalism
The Jeju has kept the controversy on development and preservation for last decades. Even though, as the economic logic has become dominant, the controversy itself seems to become the object of aversion among the many Island people, still many Island people are pointing out, economy and ‘environment’ as the most important tasks of the governing Island, at the same time. Even though it seems divisive, I accept this as the demand for the development policy that attaches importance to the nature of Jeju. Such balance sense of the public opinion of the Island people is keeping Jeju as the beautiful place that human can live.
Since when the aspect of the public discussion of Jeju society has changed into the atmosphere that suggests to stop controversy and to ‘make’ something or whatever’. In fact, one can confirm that there are tremendous numbers of ‘not-to-ask supporting class’ in the classes of policies such as naval base and profit-oriented hospital. In cases of casino, cable cars are same as well. The logic says to at least make a try without counting this and that. In a way, it is a part enough understandable in the situation when the breakthrough for the progress of Jeju seems far away.
# For the vision of true Jeju, lets’ start from the renovation of the society of public discussion
Now, Jeju is again in the cross -roads. The coming 10years will be the important period whether to make the development structure of ‘Jeju as it is’ symbolized by ‘Olle’ or to extend the current floating trend. I think it is not exaggerating to say that the coming 10years will decide the future direction of Jeju.
For that, the public discussion of the Jeju society has to be changed in two dimensions.
First, it is of the direction of the public discussion.
By now, the direction of the public discussion of the Jeju society has been to an ‘international freedom society’, in a word. However, the result of it can be said enough ‘failure’ just by the facts of; the economic index such as the lowest GRDP nationwide, the highest rate of the small business management nationwide, the highest rate of the irregular workers nationwide, and the highest rate of the basic supply-demand nationwide; and environmental index such as the highest reduction rate of the mountains and forests, highest rate of golf course and road development; and self-governing index such as the low level of self-support finance and the lowest rate of self-reliance finance nationwide. […] Especially the employment of the residents for the tourism development business, appears that more than 54% is the irregular job among the 4,611 of the practically employed human force.
The tourism policy is floating, as well. Even though people have recently been inspired as to say that the new chapter for 6million tourists has opened, the tourists’ travel expense costs have not greatly increased, despite the increasing trend of the tourists, thus the tourism income against the calculated cost of the service has been decreased and the domestic travel cost( from the standard of the nationwide) considered with the rise in prices, has been long time stagnant without big increment since 2000.
However, the public discussion of the Jeju, while not having gone beyond the frame of international freedom city, has been how to attract much foreign capital, how to reduce the regulations for that, and how to make the atmosphere of Jeju where the Island people could agree with it.
Now ‘progress’ should be the thing that contains the life condition & quality of the specific individuals. The era when ‘the development’ was the only thing to be explained for progress has gone. Rather, ‘Anti-development’ is pointed out for the important element of progress. The equality of ‘economic growth= progress’ has been fallen behind. Said of ‘progress’, the various elements of the non-economic area, such as culture, welfare, safety, and increment of direct democracy, ecology diversity, maturity of the social cultural system for peaceful communication, have become the important progress elements.
This enormously fits to the character of Jeju. The Jeju that has only 1% of all the nation economy area has the very big competition ability in the non-economic area.
It is only possible to see the vision of Jeju when one comes out of the frame calculated with the mathematical angle. [One] should put the Jeju in the angle of value and go forward toward the progress vision that fits for it.