UPDATE : 2018.6.23 SAT 13:20
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Are Jongbuk Jwabbal all ‘Pro-North Korean Leftist Reds’?

Photo shows candle light vigil staged by protesters against a government decision or policy. Some rightists or rightist-oriented people classify them ‘Jongbuk Jwabbal’ (literally, ‘Pro-North Korean Leftist Reds’). However, many of the are conscientious young people demanding elimination of room for improvement in various segments of society, particularly official corruption and irregularities causing social divide.

Many of them are conscientious, hard-working young persons

The Republic of Korea (ROK) in the South has a phrase reading ‘Jongbuk Jwabbal’ (從北左빨) and meaning “Pro-North Korean Leftist Reds.” Normally rightists and rightist-oriented politicians and people use this phrase in reference to leftists or leftist-oriented people and politicians who are pro-North Korean or who appear as such in the eyes of the rightists and rightist-oriented people. (Korean-language excerpts toward the end of this Artilce.)
Most of them are home-grown although there may be some dispatched from North Korea who disguise themselves as North Korean defectors to the South, who, however, would be very small in number because such North Koreans called in Korean Gocheop (resident North Korean agents in the South) would want to live here low-profile not to attract the attention of the law enforcement agencies, especially the counter-intelligence organizations.
Where do the Jongbuk Jwabbal stand in terms of their proportion to the total population of the ROK? It could be determined by the result of public opinion polls.
The public opinion surveys vary widely depending on different occasions and different polling organizations, but they could be used to to determine the size of these people. One example is the polls conducted by the Real Meter and published by Seoul Shinmun on April 28, 2014 on the approval rating of the different hopefuls for the 2017 Presidential election and the popularity rating of the different political parties.
Former Chairman Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party came first with 22.3% and he was followed by Co-Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo of the main united opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) with 12.8%, former Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Moon Jae-in with 11.8%, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon with 9%, Saenuri Party Chairman Candidate Kim Moo-sung with 7.2%, Advisor Sohn Hak-kyu with 4.3%, former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon with 4%, and Governor Kim Moon-soo with 3.4%.
The same survey showed the popularity rating of the different political parties, which came in the order of Saenuri Party winning 48.7% followed by NPAD with 28.1%, Unified Progressive Party (UPP) with 1.9% and (Progressive) Justice Party (JP) with 1.5%. Some 18.2% of the pollees said they had no party they supported at the moment.
The approval rating among the different candidates can vary and sometimes very widely, but in most instances the ratings of the progressives represented by UPP and JP more less remain in an almost fixed range.
So where do ‘Jongbuk Jwabbal’ stand in terms of their proportion to the total population of South Korea?
By political affiliation, they could be considered to belong to, or sympathetic with, the UPP in the case of ‘hardcore’ ones and to the JP when they are moderate. Thus they could be 3.4% of the total population or 1,734,000 persons computed on the basis of the total population of the ROK which stands at 51,135,000 persons registered in the 2014 April population statics compiled by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.
Of this number, the genuine Jongbuk Jwabbal could be considered the members and supporters of the UPP as those of the JP are more or less moderate progressives and most of them refuse to be identified as supporters or sympathizers of North Korea. So, the total number of real Jongbuk Jwabbal (1.9% of the total population) could come to 971,565 persons.
The 18.2% who had no answer are mostly considered to be the middle-of-the roaders who can sway between the right and left depending on the different occasions.
So how have the Jongbuk Jwabbal come into being?
They are mostly home-grown and many of them are originally honest, conscientious, and talented people with a strong sense of justice.
Here is one example.
Miss Hong Gil-Ja and Miss Kim Il-Ja (not real their names) were the first- and second-place students at a prestigious art high-school in Seoul.
After graduation, they both applied for matriculation at a top-rate university college of music in Seoul. As they were the top and runner-up students at the class of the art high-school, their classmates, teacher and parents were sure that they would not have much problem in successfully passing the matriculation exams.
After the exams, their friends and parents asked them how the exams went and they told them it was not so bad as the questions were by no means so tough for them.
However, on the day of publication of the result of the exams, they could not believe their eyes. Their names were nowhere on the list of successful examinees. Back at home that night, they cried their eyes out over the disheartening result.
Then an unbelievable thing happened. They learned that Miss Lee Bo-ra (not her real name), who was known for the poorest school work and who therefore was a constant target of scolding by the teacher, won the matriculation at the same college. There were not many days when her eyes were dry from her teacher’s dress-down due to her poor school work.
In fact, the teacher discouraged her from attempting to enter that university because in every respect she did not qualify for that university. However, the teacher wrote out a recommendation for her for the university under pressure of the headmaster who appeared also to have received pressure from someone higher up as the father of the girl was a very influential person in Korean society.
The girl with the poorest work performance at the art high-school passed the exams at the music college defeating the first- and second-place classmates. Then rumors spread around among the students that the parents of Miss Lee had used 500 million won (US$500 thousand) bribing the professors and other people who had influence on the grading of the exam papers.
Miss Hong and Kim were deeply disheartened, but soon managed to recover themselves from the abyss of mental and emotional sufferings over the corrupt practices at the university. At length, they told themselves, “Well, in Korea your performance records don’t work in passing a prestigious music college entrance exam.”
They gave up the music for which they had spent more than a decade of hard work and training, and changed their major. Hong chose English literature and Kim political science and foreign relations.
After a year’s preparations, Hong entered Seoul’s second prestigious university and Kim the third best university (Korea’s most prestigious women’s university). They both went on to the post-graduate schools and each earned a doctor’s degree in their chosen field.
They have each married a wonderful man (similar in political-ideological coloring to theirs), but they continue to work?teaching students at universities. However, none of them have been able to buy a house of their own and each couple is living in a rented house.
A media reporter asked one of them, “You have been double-harnessing with your husband for over a decade now and how come you have not been able to buy a house of your own?”
She replied, “Count all the salaries you have received so far, defray your living expenses from the total and see how much you have left.” “You can’t buy a house of your own if you have lived an honest life!”

‘종북좌빨’ 어떻게 생기나?

서울의 모 예술고등학교 1~2등의 여학생이 서울에서 최고로 꼽히는 음악대학에 응시를 했다.
반에서 1~2등이라 담임선생이나 교우들은 문제 없이 합격할 것이라고 말했다.
시험을 치르고 나서 가족과 친구들이 물었다, 시험이 어땠느냐고. 별로 힘든 것도 아니어서 잘 보았다고 말했다.
그랬는데 정작 발표날, 두 학생 모두 낙방 이였다. 두 학생은 깜짝 놀랬다. 밤이 새도록 눈물을 펑펑 쏟았다.
그런데 기막힌 일이 생겼다. 반에서 늘 잘못하여 선생님의 꾸지람을 듣고 항상 눈물을 짰던 반의 꼴찌가 바로 그 학교에 붙었다.
원래 그 학생은 담임선생이 실력 때문에 그 학교에 추천을 해주질 않았다. 그런데 워낙 아버지가 영향력이 큰 사람 이라 위에서 압력이 내려 왔는지 추천을 해 준 모양이다.
1~2등을 제치고, 꼴찌가 당당히 합격의 영예를 안았다. 뒤에 들리는 말로는 5억원을 썼다고 했다.
실패한 반 1~2등은 “실력을 가지고는 안되는 과목 이로구나”하고 轉科를 결심하고 재수를 하였다.
이듬해 1등은 연세대학교에 합격을 했고 2등은 이화여자대학교에 합격을 하였다. 그리고 그 후 대학원을 나오고 둘 다 박사학위를 받았다, 1등은 연세대학교에서 그리고 2등은 고려대학교에서.
그러나 그후 그들은 ‘운동권’이 되었고, 꼴통보수를 혐오하며, 반정부적 성향이 강한 시민이 되어 버렸다.
물론 가끔 ‘종북좌빨’로 몰리기도 한다. 6.25 참전세대인 그들의 아버지가 아무리 설득을 해도 성공을 하지 못한다.
이런 非眞性 ‘종북좌빨’이 현재 대한민국에 얼마나 많을까?
세월호 사건을 보면서 이 학생들을 다시 생각하게 된다.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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