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Mind your own business!
APRIL 05, 2014 05:18  
A scene of 밚ady Vengeance, a 2005 Korean movie, depicts Geum-ja, the main character played by Lee Young-ae, being released from prison after 13 years. When the pastor gives her tofu, saying, 밆on뭪 commit crime and be a good person, she throws it away. Then she becomes stony-faced and retorts, 밠ind your own business! The phrase was popular and almost like a 뱙eitgeist in 2005 under the Roh Moo-hyun administration as it criticized hypocrisy in society. The phrase was popular in North Korea as well.

The origin of 뱈ind your business is Venerable Hyobong (1888-1966), a former head of the Jogye Order and Venerable Beopjeong뭩 teacher. When his student snitched on his fellow monk, saying, 밫here is a monk who drinks an alcohol and meets a woman, Venerable Hyobong said, 밆id you see him? Boy, mind your business! He hated back-biting others. 밠ind your business in Korean was a popular phrase used before toasting at year-end parties last year. In Korean, the words could be read as an abbreviation of 밊or the good year for both of us.

Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, the ruling Saenuri Party뭩 floor leader, got mired in controversy. He retorted 밠ind your business! when Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, one of the co-leaders of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, was addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday. Ahn sarcastically asked, 밒s it out of sincerity to the president or overstepping the presidential authority? on Tuesday as Choi apologized on behalf of the president for not fulfilling the president뭩 pledge to abolish candidate nominations for low-level administration chiefs and councilors. Choi must have said so in a fit of anger because he felt ridiculed openly during the speech to the National Assembly. But he lost manners as the ruling party뭩 floor leader to the first time lawmaker and co-leader of the main opposition party.

The controversy is getting more serious as the parliamentary ethics committee mentions a disciplinary action. The ruling party뭩 floor leader could have been witty had he mimicked Geum-ja when saying the phrase. Now, it is no use crying over spilled milk. Words have different level of dignity and meaning depending on who says them. The phrase was interesting when Geum-ja said it, but it stirred controversy when Choi said it. Mr. Choi, 밯hy don`t you mind your own business!

Editorial Writer Choi Yeong-hae (yhchoi65@donga.com)

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