Gun-Ho asked Min-Ho Kang, "Are you interested in participating in an election campaign?
"For which candidate? The former news anchor? Oh, wait. Let me see. The candidate Mr. Jin-Woo Lee was the one who presided over your wedding, right? You must know him very well then."
"Yes, I do know him personally. Would you help him in getting elected? I will pay for your work and effort, of course."
"I belong to a civic organization working to make our society better. I can't openly support one specific candidate or political party. Moreover, me holding a sign and a message supporting him at a four-way intersection in his area won't help."
"What has to be done then?"
"Let's talk about it later in person somewhere quiet. A phone conversation can be recorded, and if something happens, our phone conversation could get under investigation."
"Really? I will come to your office in Mapo Town right now."
"You are coming here right now? Okay. Then come to the Seongsan Welfare Community Center near the district office in Mapo Town. I will meet you at the entrance of the welfare community center."
"Sounds good. I'm leaving from Jiksan Town, and I will be there around 2 pm."
"Okay. See you then."
Around 2 pm that day, Gun-Ho met Min-Jo Kang in front of the Seongsan Welfare Community Center.
"Why don't we go to a caf or some other place to talk while having a cup of tea?"
"Let's just talk here."
"Well, then let's get in my car. We can talk there."
"You have your chauffeur in the car. It's okay that we talk while standing here."
"Well, okay then."
The two men walked toward Hongje River while talking.
Gun-Ho started first, "Is there anything I can do to help him?"
"You can't blindly post a lot of messages in support of the candidate Mr. Jin-Woo Lee by hiring people to do it in a news article or somewhere on the internet. There always could be a whistle-blower. And if that happens, it would damage his reputation irreparably."
"You can spend an enormous amount of money and hire a lot of campaign workers. It would be certainly better than doing nothing, but it's not efficient or effective given the amount of money and time that you would spend."
"Then what should I do?"
"I would find someone who used to work for that news anchor candidate, who had been expelled from his group."
"Really? Is there someone like that?"
"Since that guy was in the circle of that candidate, and also he had been expelled from the group, he must have good information about the candidate and also had bad information about him as well. You just pick and spread the bad information."
"Where do I spread the bad information?"
"Have the people make the rumor and spread it on the internet."
"There are more than 3,000 people in my organization Better Society Community. We have 3,000 members, and 1,000 of them are full members who are paying the 10,000 won membership fee via CMS (Cash Management Service) on a monthly basis. We use those membership fees in paying for our office rent, publishing newsletters, and paying my wage and for other two administrators here."
"I see. I didn't know the Better Society Community is that big in size."
"Most of our members volunteered to participate in our activities after taking our president's Mr. Gi-Baek Ham lectures and being impressed by him."
"Is that right?"
Gun-Ho recalled Mr. Gi-Baek Ham. It was about ten years ago when he had a chance to take his lecture without his intention. He was giving an impassioned speech to the young people back then. He was attacking the current government officials and pro-Japanese groups in politics. Many audiences applauded enthusiastically agreeing to what he was saying. However, Gun-Ho found his speech somehow unconvincing at that time, and he didn't stay to the end of his lecture. Mr. Gi-Baek Ham was pointing out all the problems passionately, but he didn't propose any solutions about what we could do to solve those problems.
'Anyway, it's unbelievable that the organization has 1,000 members who are committed to the organization by paying a monthly membership fee of 10,000 won.'
Gun-Ho made a proposal.
"Can you then find the person who used to work for the candidate opponent and who was expelled from his group? I will make my monetary contribution to your organization Better Society Community."
"Instead of making a contribution can you do this for us?"
"What do you need?"
"To be honest with you, our civic organization currently has a very unstable financial situation. The fund that we are getting from the government is not much at all, resulting in a small amount of wages for us."
"How much do you get paid?"
"The two administrators are paid 1.6 million won per month, and I get paid 1.8 million won."
"Hmm, I see. That sounds insufficient to make a living."
"The upcoming by-election will be held on the 25th of September. It's early August now, and we have about 50 days left until the by-election. Can you pay our wages for the next two months for the two administrators and myself? I will help you on this then."
"If I don't make it as an official contribution to the Better Society Community, then is it possible that I make it a payment for your special lectures or something? For the three individuals including you."
"That's possible. We do actually give a special lecture sometimes even though we don't often get a chance to do it. We give a lecture about once or twice per year."
"By the way, how are you going to find the person who was expelled from that former news anchor candidate's group? I can't even think of where to start?"
"I haven't found a person like that, but I already have several doc.u.ments that could damage his reputation badly."
"You already found them?"
Gun-Ho's eyes widened.
"Where did you possibly find such information?"
"It's not like we walk around and pick up information on the street. We found them on the internet, of course."
"On the internet?"
"You have to be persistent when you are searching for such information on the internet, but you can find anything there, even the things that happened ten years ago."
"Ha, really? What did you find?"
"One of the things that I found is that he made a comment once about the appearance of women from different areas. He said something like the women in Gangnam District are mostly beautiful while there are just too many ugly women in other areas, and that's why he chose to live in Gangnam District."
"Is that a big deal? People talk stupid things like that all the time."
"It is a problem if you are in politics. It's actually a huge problem. People in 'other areas' that are not in the Gangnam District would be upset by saying that the news anchor is perceiving them as animals like a pig or a dog just because of the areas where we live; they just don't see any respect coming from him."
"Moreover, the upcoming by-election is being held in Gyeonggi Province, not Seoul."
"Hmm, now I can see why it could be a huge problem for him."
"So, we are adding some comments and opinions to this specific fact in spreading on the internet to make it sound more appalling and to make people upset. Once our 3,000 members spread it on the internet, the people, who read the words, will spread even further."
"Hmm, I see. But, it's understandable that when he made that comment, he was young and stupid. We all had times like that, didn't we?"
"He was in his early 30s when he said that. He was a newbie news anchor in a TV broadcasting station at that time."
"It was a long long time ago. Do you think people would care?"
"Even though it happened a long time ago, it is clearly a comment that he made. It's enough for us to provoke people and make them angry."
Min-Ho Kang continued, "One more thing is that he didn't serve in the military which every single Korean man does."
"Minister Jin-Woo Lee didn't do it either."
"The funny thing that you want to focus on is the reason why he was exempted from serving in the military. He claimed that he had high myopia. On the record, his eyesight was so bad that he wouldn't be able to serve in the military."
"Really? I haven't seen him wearing glasses."
"He is wearing contact lenses. There are photos of him when he was in high school; He was wearing glasses back then."
"When he was in college, he was very popular according to him. And whenever he saw the girl in a 10-meter radius, who he really disliked, coming towards him, he quickly left the scene to avoid her."
"Well, that's fine, isn't it?"
"You have to keep in mind that he has high myopia. A person with high myopia can't recognize a person in a 10-meter radius."
"Even though it was what he said about 30 years ago when he was in college, it's good enough to damage his reputation and public image. That will enable Minister Jin-Woo Lee to have more votes."
"It sounds like a dirty game."
"That's why people say that politics are done in muddy water. I will send you the doc.u.ments of the two administrators and myself tomorrow like a copy of our resident registration and bank account, via email. You will probably need them in withholding taxes when you pay our two-month wages. Can you send our wages for this month right away? We will try enjoying the work since it's just for two months."
"Okay. Thank you."