South Korea new President Lee Myung-bak
If South Korea's bureaucrats are playing golf, chances are they are not working hard enough, President Lee Myung-bak's spokesman quoted him as saying on Monday.
Lee, a former construction boss, is a widely known workaholic who has started work at 7:30 a.m local time every day since his landslide victory on December 19 election.
Bureaucrats in his government, which was launched just two weeks ago, have been showing signs ofburnout.
"We're starting a meeting at 7:30 a.m. so you're thinking maybe it'll be like this for the next five years," Lee said on Monday before a briefing from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. "Government workers are supposed to be servants.
"Servants are supposed to get up before the masters, who are in this case the people of this country. When you have servants getting up later than the masters, you're not doing your job right."
Lee's chief of staff, Yu Woo-ik, has pleaded with his boss to have a later start for the working day due to complaints from staff members, but to no avail.
Yu has now all but banned golf for the presidential staff, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
"There is no ban of that kind," presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said. "That's the kind of thing that was done under authoritarian regimes," Lee said, but quoted the president as saying: "You're working hard and there's never enough time. It would be a feat to be playing golf."