Congratulatory address at the opening of the Citizens’ Hall
Date: January 22, 2013
Venue: Main entrance of the Citizens’ Hall, Seoul City Hall
Good morning. Today is a great day, as it is the first opening of the Citizens’ Hall, which is a symbol of our interest in one another and our open hearts. I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to Chairman Kim Jeong-jae, distinguished guests from home and abroad, and all citizens for joining us on this joyous day.
I once seriously considered changing the name of the Seoul City Hall to the “Citizens’ Hall”. I believed the City Hall should be a government office for the citizens, but there were many conflicting views and thoughts regarding this idea. So, today, we launch the Citizens’ Hall, which does not use the Chinese characters for “government office” in its name, but rather those meaning “listening”. This space represents the aspiration of the Seoul Metropolitan Government to become not only a government office for its citizens but also a space that is filled with the voices of the citizens, and that listens to them. It will be a space for communication. In reality, the true owners of this space are the citizens themselves, and I am actually only a guest here today.
The Chinese philosopher Chang-tzu once wrote, “Mun-bul-eon-ji-eon (聞不言之言),” which translates as “listen to voiceless words”. This is advice for those who value interpersonal relationships, and is also a virtue of a good politician. This is my dream. I want to be an administrator that can hear the unspoken thoughts of the citizens, and I believe today’s opening of the Citizens’ Hall brings me closer to realizing this aspiration.
You will notice that we intentionally left a lot of space empty inside the Citizens’ Hall. We did this because we hope it becomes a popular venue for debates, workshops, lectures, and concerts, or any event at all. It can also serve as a marketplace. Today, a wedding ceremony will be held here—the first of many to come. I pray that the happy couple will be happy and live their life together prudently.
I will listen to the various opinions and voices that I expect will resonate in this meaningful space, and I hope that everyone here today will always be an active supporter of the Citizens’ Hall. Thank you.