TGIF is an acronym for “Thank God It’s Friday”; also an American franchise restaurant. TGIF has also been turned into TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) following the introduction of the five-day weekly working system. The initials express the joy people feel for the two-day weekend after the official work week has ended.
TGIF can also denote Twitter, Google, (the) Internet and Facebook in this online age. Korea has recently witnessed four sensationalized scandals which coined new TGIFs. They include “Thank God It’s Faked!”; “Thank God It’s Filmed!”; “Thank God I’m kakao-talked Friday!” and “Thank God I have a False-name mobile phone!”.
The Unified Progressive Party is in chaos owing to a “Thank God It’s Faked” (TGIF) scandal. The party members rigged the online voting to select proportional representation candidates in the April 13 general elections. They stole names of unregistered members and duplicated names to fabricate the online voting.
Rival factions of the nation's No. 3 party used whatever violent methods they could; kicking, punching, shoving, tearing off clothes, shattering glasses, cursing, swearing, podium occupation and hair pulling. In the general election, the party emerged victorious with 13 National Assembly seats. It is eligible for an unprecedented amount of state funds as it secured 2.2 million or 10.3 percent of the total eligible votes. When little money was at stake, the party was not in such disarray, but now it has engaged in the ugliest violence in the nation’s history of party politics. The violence was well-organized, showing signs of premeditation. A party member is in a critical condition after a self-immolation suicide attempt. This week was a mourning period for the brain death of progressivism in Korea.
Party leader, Lee Jung-hee, decided against running for a parliamentary seat following allegations of rigged opinion polls used in picking the unified opposition candidate in a Seoul district. At that time, some argued that the claim was just red-baiting by conservatives. It has now become a goose bump. The party’s popularity has nosedived. Non-mainstream supporters plan to initiate the “Progressives 2.0” movement to rebuild the disheveled party.
Eight monks, including two leaders of the Jogye Order, got caught gambling, drinking and smoking in a hotel. The episode has become a national “Thank God It’s Filmed” (TGIF) scandal! A hidden camera recorded their 13-hour cross-legged marathon. The filmed story became one of the most-visited sites on YouTube. Six heads of the Jogye Order, the nation's largest Buddhist sect, have offered to resign following the revelation of their filmed boozy hotel picnic. International media also reported their all-night gambling involving hundreds of millions of won.
A former monk called Seongho said that the film, purportedly submitted to the prosecution, came from a USB stick placed in front of a Buddhist temple. He said it was not important who filmed the scene.
He was once part of the Jogye Order committee. He contended that the corrupt Jogye leadership was unfit.
He alleged Tuesday that he had evidence of monks having sex after drinking bouts with “room salon” ladies. He argued that some monks have registered or unregistered wives, while others held luxurious wedding ceremonies abroad. He hinted at disclosing the irregularities of these “worldly” monks unless prosecutors indict them.
The disclosure reflects their simmering internal power struggle. The revelation was ill-timed as it came ahead of Buddha’s birthday, which falls on May 28.
An Internet user wrote, “Boozing, smoking and playing poker are not something monks can learn and start on the same day. It means they started the worldly habits a long time ago.” A part-time worker at a convenience store in front of the Jogye Order headquarters in Seoul said monks frequently bought alcohol and cigarettes. She said she was surprised when monks came to buy tobacco, but now she memorizes the cigarette brands different monks favor. She can give the correct brand to the monks before they tell her what cigarettes they want. Buddha says people come empty-handed and leave empty-handed.
Few question that the gambling money came from donations by followers.
Calls are growing for taxing priests, monks, ministers and other religious people. Strategy and Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan proposed levying a tax on religion in March. About 1,000 out of 12,000 Buddhist monks allegedly have dubious backgrounds. A TV program once featured an episode about a chief priest of a temple getting married but was quarrelling over money. His wife was also a chief priest at another temple. Surprisingly, their property was valued at billions of won.
A 36-year-old singer faces charges of rape for his sexual relations with an 18-year-old (Korean age) girl in a “Thank God It’s kakao-talked Friday” (TGIF) scandal. Screenshots of obscene KakaoTalk messages became evidence to incriminate the man, a Ko. He claimed the girl tricked and sued him in order to get compensation money. Police have yet to conclude their investigation.
A former official of the Prime Minister’s Office revealed that Cheong Wa Dae was behind the extensive surveillance of citizens critical of President Lee Myung-bak. He claimed that team members used mobile phones registered with fake names for a covert operation. KT President Seo Yu-yeol allegedly helped one of them open a false-name mobile phone. It is a “Thank God I’m using a False-name mobile phone (TGIF) scandal.
People want the prosecution to bring to light all of the four high-profile scandals so that all Koreans can feel a sense of TGIF (Thank God I’m Fresh now).