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South Korean president wears thermal underwear to save power

Lee Myung-bak is not the first president to call on citizens to reduce energy consumption in the national interest. Just ask Jimmy Carter…

Lee Myung-bak
Lee Myung-bak
Image: Aaron Favila/AP/Press Association Images

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT Lee Myung-bak has called on his fellow country men and women to make sacrifices such as wearing thermal underwear and turning down the heat in the name of conserving energy amid soaring demand.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that Lee said in his bi-weekly radio address that it was an increasingly uphill task for his government to meet the “skyrocketing electricity demand” in the country and he urged co-operation from citizens in making an effort to lower that demand.

He called on his fellow South Koreans to lower the thermostat and wear thermals, citing his own experience of  the garment.

Having initially found the warmer underwear uncomfortable, he said he soon became accustomed to it. “I got used to it,” he said. “And now I am very warm and comfortable wearing it”.

BBC News reports that the unusually warm weather experienced by South Koreans in September led to a surge in demand for power and caused a massive blackout in September.

Lee’s call for citizens to do their bit reinforces his reputation as a no-nonsense leader. His nickname is the “bulldozer”, BBC News adds.

His call to reduce energy consumption echoes that of former US president Jimmy Carter in the late 70s, according to Foreign Policy.

In a broadcast in 1977, a cardigan-clad Carter told Americans to turn their thermostats down in order to conserve fuel supplies that had been depleted after a cold winter:

(via )

Watch: Lawmakers throw tear gas in South Korean parliament >

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Hugh O'Connell

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