North Korea

20 Dec

So, Kim Jong Il is dead. As Plummeting_Sloath said over at TNC’s place, “I’d like to think that the Universe, in recognition of Havel’s work, gave him the option of bringing one totalitarian dickbag along with him.”

I’m not really familiar with North Korea. Asian Studies at UF is basically a history of China or Japan. (And not a very good one at that.) We mainly focused on 16th century literature, which is important for understanding Chinese culture, but not exactly a decent primer in modern Asian geopolitics. What little I do know is from Barbara Demick’s excellent book, Nothing to Envy. I *highly* recommend reading this book. It’s incredibly depressing, but absolutely fascinating. So basically, have a bar of chocolate and a puppy/kitten handy to pet while reading. I also read Mike Kim’s Escaping North Korea, which is also fascinating but I was a little put off by the religious tones. Watch his Daily Show appearance for a dated but great breakdown of North Korea.

As for my personal safety, I’m not really worried. Maybe if I still lived in Beijing, but Chengdu is half of a very large country aways. We’re not exactly a major military target here, either. So yes, Seoul is watching their northern borders carefully and China is paying close attention as well, but this doesn’t really concern me much. Well, it means I can crack a bunch of jokes at Kim Jong Il’s expense, but I would have done that anyways.

Ending this on a funny note, I give you the North Korean Party Rock Anthem. Because there “ain’t no party like a Pyongyang party, ’cause a Pyongyang party is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY.”

(Thanks, Susan!)

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