People hoping to buy commemorative stamps celebrating the inauguration of President Moon Jae-in stood in long lines in front of post offices from early Thursday morning, the liberal leader’s 100th day in office.
According to Korea Post, the nation’s postal service provider, about 300 citizens lined up in front of the Seoul Central Post Office in Jung-gu, central Seoul, before sales opened at 9 a.m.
People stand in line to purchase commemorative stamps of President Moon Jae-in’s inauguration in front of a post office in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
A total of 5 million ceremonial stamps, 500,000 stamp photo sheets and 20,000 stamp albums -- printed with pictures of the president -- went on sale at selected post offices nationwide and at the postal service’s online mall.
The online server of Korea Post also crashed in the morning with users trying to access the site to buy the stamps online. Korea Post limited the number of stamp albums per person to one, and stopped online preorders for the albums, making them only available at post offices.
Upon noticing high demand through preorders, Korea Post decided to publish an additional 12,000 stamp albums. It is the first time the office is placing a second order for stamps on high demand.
“The additional products will be supplied before the end of this month,” an official from the headquarters said. Total sales of the stamps were not revealed as of Thursday afternoon.
The stamp album contains pictures of the president’s past life, including his childhood and when he was a presidential aide under the late former President Roh Moo-hyun. The price for one stamp is 330 won, 420 won for the photo sheets and 23,000 won for the stamp album.
Dubbed “Inie goods” or “Moon-tem,” merchandise related to the president have been very popular since he was elected president. From his autobiographical memoir “Moon Jae-in’s Destiny” to a striped shirt he was wearing while making a phone call to US President Donald Trump on Aug. 7, the items have been best-sellers or sold out quickly after they were seen in the media.
The Asian edition of the magazine Time, featuring Moon on its cover, sold out even after additional printing in May.
The high demand for the official goods reflect positive public sentiment toward the president, who took office after his predecessor, President Park Geun-hye, was ousted and jailed over a corruption scandal.
In the latest poll by Realmeter on Thursday, 71.2 percent of 1,006 respondents supported the president, while 22.1 percent expressed disapproval of the leader.
When asked about the strengths of the new government in a different Realmeter survey on 9,513 citizens, 23 percent chose his policies that focus on the middle class and the disadvantaged in society. His less authoritarian attitude, open image and attempts to communicate were named as other strengths, with 21.3 percent mentioning his strong will. His promises for a comprehensive reform of society was the third most cited reason, with 18.5 percent.
While 33.5 percent said there was nothing being done wrong by the Moon administration, 19.2 percent expressed negativity toward his “stunt pledges.” Another 11.8 percent mentioned his attempts to divide the nation between those in support and against him, while 10.6 percent answered that he lacks the ability to deal with national security and foreign affairs.
On portal sites, such as Naver and Daum, the phrase “Thank You, Moon Jae-in,” appeared as the most frequently searched words, Thursday, as his fans sought to show their support online.
Eighteen commemorative stamps have been published to celebrate inaugurations since the nation’s first President Rhee Syng-man in 1948. Only the fourth President Yun Po-sun, who led the country from 1960 to 1962 did not publish any ceremonial stamps.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)