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정희수 칼럼

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  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



Then the supporters of Mr. B nominated a new election committee and forced the election of Mr. B.

Now, according to the by-law of the Association, the election of the presidential team must be announced in local written media two weeks prior to the date of the election. It was obvious that the election of Mr. B was illegal, because it violated the bylaw. The team of Mr. A could go to the court, but it did not. Amazing thing is that Mr. B. served as president without doing much for the community.

One important lesson from this unfortunate experience is that some Koreans ignore the laws and abuse the notion of democracy. Some Koreans in Montreal interpret the democracy solely in terms of majority votes. But if the meeting is illegal, the majority vote means nothing. These Koreans pretend that the decision was legal, because there was majority vote in favor of Mr. B.

As pointed out above, the Korean community consists of many small groups by hobbies, home towns, alumni, church and so on. But their interest does not go behind their narrow scoped interests and they are not disciplined groups; they have no political ambition; they are mostly unorganized; their main interests to fraternize and fight against solitude. These people represent more than 95%; they are not interested in the activities of the Korean Association; they do not have any expectation from the Association.

The remaining 5 % are organized and interested in controlling the Association. Actually, there are two sub-groups. One is “the conservative group; it is composed of those who regard the Association as a playground of politics and they are very doctrinaire; everybody who has different ideas is “Red” which is a dirty word in the Korean community. Then, there is a group who regard the Association as rival and it tries to plant its “person” in the management of the Association in order to protect its interests.

The great majority of the conservative group members are retired seniors who came to Montreal before 1990. These people keep the Korean value system of 1990s and prefer living like in Korea. This is understandable in view of the fact that they have serious language barrier. They prefer leading a quiet life of meeting friends, play with grand-children, make occasional voyage; they like to respected and treated by the young. In fact, a few churches invite them a few times a year to lavish picnics with rich Korea foods. This is also understandable.

The trouble starts when they are manipulated and used for unhealthy purpose by politically motivated or business motivated groups. For these interest groups, the senior people are of great value, because they have time and they are not strict about the procedure of democracy.

In fact, 95% of participants in the meetings of the Association are senior people. This makes easier for the interest groups to manipulate the procedure of the meeting and get what they want. In fact, for last several years, they have been successful in placing their own men on the position of the Association president.

Here is how the procedure is manipulated. First, the interest group agree on the pre-meeting scenario regarding the nomination of the meeting chair-person, items to be discussed, who are to motion mover, who are to be seconder, who are to be elected. In their plan, the role of the chair is crucial.  Almost without exception they nominate one of their group members as the chair. If anybody proposes somebody else as the chair, they shout and prevent the person from recommending a non-group member as the chair.


Second, once nominated, the chair person dictates the meeting procedures. Take an example. It was a meeting for the election of the Board members of the Association. The chair said: “Those who are old should not be the candidate”. This is a violation of the bylaw. If the chair judges that the meeting is going against the interest of his group, he imposes votes by raising hand instead of confidential written vote. When the victory of his group is uncertain, he impose his own decision declarant:  “I declare this by virtue of the decisional power bestowed on me!”.
<to be continued>


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