History's Child

Hein-kuhn Oh for TIME

"I know how fleeting and, at times, harrowing political power can be," says Park Geun-hye

It's a chilly November evening in the South Korean city of Kwangju, and a mostly middle-aged group — the men in baseball caps, the women with perms — are at the train station awaiting their idol: 60-year-old presidential contender Park Geun-hye. Suddenly, the unmistakable riff of "Gangnam Style" throbs through the twilight. Wearing the crimson of Park's ruling Saenuri Party, four young women in short shorts, knee-highs and cropped jackets bound across the platform. As they perform the riding and lassoing moves of the song's trademark dance, many in the crowd look stunned, as if they have never viewed...

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