I aim to be just myself, says new First Lady

An undated photo of Mr Moon Jae In and Madam Kim Jung Sook when they were college students.
An undated photo of Mr Moon Jae In and Madam Kim Jung Sook when they were college students.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SEOUL • South Korea's new First Lady Kim Jung Sook first met her husband-to-be at Kyunghee University in Seoul in the 1970s. Mr Moon Jae In was studying law while she majored in music.

They became college sweethearts and she has stood by him during his turbulent career as a student activist, human rights lawyer, presidential aide and opposition politician. In the 1970s, he was jailed twice for leading pro-democracy protests.

During the presidential campaign, Madam Kim, 62, helped to boost support for her husband in the south-west Jeolla provinces, where she was called "jolly lady" for her cheerful personality.

When asked about her new role, she said: "I aim to be just myself, as I have always been. A first lady who can communicate with people, like anybody else, in what I call Kim Jung Sook style."

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She told the Korea Herald on Tuesday: "My husband once said he aims to be a president who can head to Gwanghwamun on his way home from work to have some soju with the people. Like him, I would like to go shopping for groceries at Namdaemun market (like everybody else)."

The couple have two children.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2017, with the headline 'I aim to be just myself, says new First Lady'. Print Edition | Subscribe