News from North Korea

While Expat Lingo is on leave in China, the (North) Korean Central News Agency has taken up its patriotic duty to fill-in with what you soft, imperialist boot-lickers call a “guest blog post.”

We take this opportunity to extol Kim Jong-un’s (unanimous and uncontested) “reelection” as Chairman of the National Defense Council!

The citizens of our great country are exuberant. We have captured the following glowing words on the Respected Marshal from typical “men on the street”:

North Korean Men on the Street _


Can you not see how we Koreans are warmed by the glow of our Respected Marshal? Fingers crossed his sunny disposition will increase rice production as we really miss the concept of lunch.

Must dash! Time for another mass rally followed by loops of the Pyongyang subway as faux passengers to impress foreign visitors!

Over and out from the Korean Central News Agency.


Notes from Expat Lingo:

Watching the train wreck that is North Korea has turned into a rather dark recent hobby of mine. I’ve already praised the novel The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. I’ve also just completed reading Barbara Demick’s fascinating and harrowing page-turner Nothing to Envy which describes the lives of North Koreans in the 1990s and early 2000s. The section on the famine in the late 1990s is especially horrifying. Both are incredible reads.

The rather unbelievable “man on the street” quotes from North Korean citizens are from an official (North) Korean Central News Agency article, “DPRK Citizens Rejoiced at Kim Jong Un’s Reelection as First NDC Chairman,” published April 10th of the year Juche 103 (known as 2014 by most other people). The photographs are from the Associated Press and are of North Koreans, some taken using super-telephoto lenses from China looking into North Korea from across the Yalu River.

There is no way an average citizen potato farmer would actually say things like this, right? And if he did, how many hours and hours of “political classes” must he have sat through when he would have rather spent his time scrounging up food to stave off starvation?

But how can one expect anything sane to emerge from a country where top military brass flaunt their badges like this:

North Korean military badges

You know you’ve “made it” when badges start creeping down your arm. When they start creeping down your leg, however, you’d best watch your back: those too powerful might find themselves executed like Kong Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek.


16 responses to “News from North Korea

  1. Oh, oh oh. Oh. Am also a bit of an NK watcher… those medals!!!

    I see you liked Nothing to Envy. Great book, that. Profoundly touching on a human level. I still have nightmares about it.

    When is this madness going to end?!

  2. “You know you’ve “made it” when badges start creeping down your arm” xDD Great post..! I’m also a kind of NK watcher… maybe stalker… Don’t know really why, maybe it is the mix of exotic, anachronic and dangerous…!

  3. Your post has just inspired me to contact the North Korean government as a potential client for my hideous overstock of buttons and badges leftover from Y2K and the Beijing Olympics. At the rate the North Koreans are using them, I’ll have to charge per pound. Thank you once again, Dear Leader, for your massive consumption of superfluous merchandise. Thank you, Dear Jen, for your post.

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