It feels a little weird being in South Korea in the wake of Kim Jong Il’s death. This is a major world event that may have far reaching effects and I’m incredibly close to where it happened. A couple of my friends actually took a tour of a part of the DMZ just a couple of weekends ago; now such tours are probably put on hold until a little more certainty can be found. Supposedly the South Korean military has been put on alert, though I haven’t noticed much. About the only thing that has changed for me, personally, is that my ESL students will occasionally break out into a happy song about the dictator being dead. The rest of life marches on the same as it has.
I imagine it is quite different in North Korea, where he was the “Dear Leader” and rather revered by his people. Considering the nature of his regime, it’s no surprise; he had an efficient propaganda machine. I wonder how many of his people realize that the “Dear Leader’s” policies contributed to the famine in the 1990s. And I wonder how his son will lead North Korea. Will there be a North Korean version of perestroika and glasnost? Will there be more of the same? Or will “two regimes, unalike in dignity / in fair Korea, where we lay our scene, / from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, / where civil blood makes civil hands unclean?” (adapted from the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)
Personally, I’m mixed about his death. On the one paw, I think it’s good that he passed, for it means he will no longer be able to bleed his people dry while perpetuating the illusion that he was working for their betterment. But on the other paw, I’m sad that he died without any visible semblance of remorse or repentance for what he did. I, unlike a certain American Senator, will take no joy in the knowledge that Kim Jong Il is most likely consigned to hell. We are not to wish such torment on anyone and not to give up on hoping that even the worst offenders might be redeemed.
Moving on to a lighter topic, I have been slowly tossing all the Spam the vikings left me. It seems like someone thought I had ordered spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam, and spam. Some of my favorites include:
- “If my problem was a Death Star, this arictle is a photon torpedo.” First, I found it wanting to become visible in the meadow, which isn’t an article at all. Second, the misspelling. Third, it mixes Star Wars and Star Trek.
- “Hello. remarkable job. I did not anticipate this. This is a fantastic story. Thanks!” I found it lodged in a crack in the wall of the chapel ruins where I have not provided any stories, yet. Still, it amuses me to think of what I said there as a story.
There are many more, but I’d rather not fill up space with spam. Personally, I’d prefer the rice, bulgogi, kimchi, seaweed, manduguk, and spam, but that’s just me. Speaking of food, I bought a cake to share with the seniors on their “final” as a reward to those who actually decide to come instead of skipping school altogether. I’ll even give a piece to those who still owe me a paper, though I may make them work on their paper afterward.
Well, I’m off to bed for now. While I probably won’t post tomorrow, I’ll be working on my list of improvements. The guide to the meadow will probably come last, since it will involve the most hunting around the internet, though I may just content myself to through up a rough map and work on it as I have time.