Seoul mayor defends ‘I.Seoul.U’ slogan, no turning back

November 9, 2015

seoul slogan

By Jung Min-ho

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will stick to its new slogan, “I.Seoul.U,” Mayor Park Won-soon said Monday.

“Many slogans of cities around the world receive negative feedback at first,” he said during a luncheon with reporters at City Hall. “After a while, I expect the negative reactions will change.”

“Even if we start all over again and come up with a new slogan, it will face some sort of criticism. That cannot be avoided.”

This is the first time that the mayor expressed his opinion about the slogan.

“I.Seoul.U” was selected as the capital city’s slogan on Oct. 28, after beating two other finalists ― “Seoulmate” and “SEOULing.”

“I had expected the slogan would be received positively, but it wasn’t,” Park said.

“I nonetheless believe that the process of selecting the slogan was meaningful because it allowed citizens to participate.”

Addressing the criticism that the slogan is nonsensical and unclear, Park said he believes it is better to leave the interpretation open to the public rather than try to define the meaning.

For example, he noted, the slogan “Incredible India” is a great one, but because its meaning is unchangeable, it can only be used for a short time.

“On the other hand, ‘I.Seoul.U’ can mean anything,” Park said.

The city government has invested about 800 million won ($700,000) into the development and promotion of the slogan so far, according to Kim Min-ki, who was in charge of the project.

He said the city government plans to use another 1.5 billion won next year alone to promote the slogan.

The mayor also talked about the allegations involving his son, who has been accused of having dodged his mandatory military service.

Last week, the mayor filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Kang Yong-seok for bringing up the issue repeatedly without evidence, demanding 100 million won in compensation.

“Kang’s actions have been intolerable,” Park said. “From now on, I will not hesitate to get legal help to deal with people who try to slander me with false accusations.”

The city government has recently decided to provide 500,000 won every month to a total of 3,000 young Seoulites, as part of its youth support program to help those who are not in education, employment or training amid the toughening job market.

Addressing the critics that are trying to paint him as a “populist,” Park said they have little understanding of the tough situation that young people are in and the programs that need to be put in place to help them.