– The Mayor of Seoul’s morning starts off with receiving reports from a civic servant who worked the night shift.
The day after I was elected as the Mayor of Seoul, a few civic servants came to my home. They brought a truck-full of equipment and devices, and installed them in my room. Among them, there were all kinds of telecommunication equipment, a computer, and a fax machine. This was because the Mayor of Seoul, who has the authority to declare a disaster state and issue orders, should be prepared for any emergency situations at all times. It was an important moment, reminding me once again of the heavy responsibilities and tremendous authority the Mayor of Seoul has.
Around 6 o’clock in the morning, I wake up. I automatically awake with the noise from incoming faxes. The title of a fax sent by a civic officer is: “Reports by On-duty Officer of Seoul City.” The report is about various disasters and accidents that happened over night.
If there are no particular accidents, there is one line of the report that says, “No problems detected.” However, if there are any accidents, I get one or two pages of faxes filled with reports.
As such, they are the first documents that I read as soon as I get up in the morning. When I get a blank paper, I feel relieved. However, when I get a few pages of fax, my heart sinks. I start to worry whether there was a big traffic accident or fire, or if any human casualty occurred.
This morning, I received a report about a fire that broke out at multi-family housing in Songpa-dong. Fortunately, victims only inhaled smoke and were being treated in a hospital, and the property damage was not big. I was relieved. Now, since winter is coming soon, what would have happened if there was a big fire? If someone lost their life or lost their home from a fire, how could those families bear the pain?
The Mayor of Seoul’s morning starts like this. As the Mayor of Seoul is in charge of the safety of some 10 million citizens, I always worry about such things. When I get a call from someone in the middle of the night, or when my chief secretary or high-ranking officers drop in my office with special reports, my heart always sinks with worries.
I worry about heavy snowfall that might come this winter and whether we are ready for it. I already worry about the heavy rainfall that will come next year. I worry whether Umyeonsan(Mt.) will be safe. I already had meetings with civic servants about these issues several times. I hear that the Gangwon mountainous region issued a heavy snowfall warning, and that I already imagine heavy snow will fall in Seoul. It’s as if I see a phantom. Even though I already had several meetings regarding snow removal operations and flood damage prevention measures, I cannot stop worrying about them. Like this, the Mayor of Seoul can never feel assured. Am I too faint-hearted?