Elwood 5566

Demise of Kim Chong-il

Posted in North Korea, Politics by 노강호 on December 25, 2011

Kim Chong-il lying in state

I was sat on a cycle machine in Migwang where I train on an almost daily basis. As the sound from the TV screen was off and my earphones unplugged, I watched a montage of images concerning Kim Chong-il. It was only when I noticed the term ‘sa-mang’ (사망) that I realised he was dead. I confirmed his demise with a student sat on a cycle next to me and I was a little surprised that his death didn’t cause more of an emotional response. With the high school exams (수능) finished, third year students end school in the late morning and the gym has been quite busy with skinny lads who work out with micro-lite weights and then compare their chopstick biceps. Despite almost every TV screen in the gym devoted to Kim Chong-il, and there are 25, one on every treadmill, there was no emotional response to the event and the atmosphere was no different to that of any other morning.  Even in my classes reactions were subdued. In North Korea however, emotions ran high.

North Koreans respond to news of Kim Chong-il’s death


Reactions from workers 

Spot the guys laughing between 3-9 seconds and at 26 seconds. They look delirious!

Creative Commons License

©이동철 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Tagged with: ,

‘Bad North Korea’

Posted in North Korea, Politics by 노강호 on November 25, 2010

Yeonpyeong Island. S Korea. (link to Guardian UK)

Crazy world with another loony display of military machoism. Oh! Don’t bother attributing blame! They’re all at it; Britain, the USA, China, Israel are all either peddling and promoting war with their sales of weaponry,  either violating or facilitating  the violation of human rights or involved directly in war.  Some nations can multi-task all four.

In the UK, you have to hold raffles and charity events to buy a new MRI scanner, while this baby, the European Typhoon, well over 65 million pounds, (the most conservative estimate I can find), are produced in droves. One sources quoted they were offered to S. Korea at 95 million a-piece.

There is a boy in one of my classes, he is twelve and for his age is quite big. He could easily push and shove his way around demanding what he wants of his peers. Instead, he is the gentlest of boys and on a few occasions I’ve been moved by his little acts of compassion. A few weeks ago, he accidentally hit a girl on the head as he stood up from his table. The girl, hurt, immediately buried her head in her hands and started crying. Andy, crouched down at her feet and cradled her head in his arms, patting her on the back and saying he was sorry. Remember, these are Korean kids and at 12, even 15, boys and girls are not comfortable mixing and physical contact such as this usually only occurs with members of the same-sex. And he will  help weaker students  in the class despite the fact he is not the best English speaker. I do not doubt for one moment he can be naughty and has  flaws, but when he handed me his diary, yesterday, I was again moved.


We have become so obsessed with the rights of children, and in policing their protection in so many arenas but when it comes to war, poverty or even the nature of the environment which they are to inhabit, their suffering is either ignored or justified. War, of course, is the greatest abuser of children in a multitude of ways. The lobby who so constantly demand we ‘think of the children,’ are often the ones most outspoken in justifying the need to commit to war, to continue the battle, or in maintaining the numerous systems of abuse, of which arms sales is one and which  devastate the lives of so many young people. The rights and wrongs of warfare, as with many other nasty phenomena, are not based on morality or ethics but more sinister, Machiavellian principles.

Andy can have the last word because you can be assured when any decision is taken to either engage in war or facilitate it, few will give him, his peers or their plight, much thought. Despite all the hype and considering they lack immediately exploitable skills, require support and sustenance, in times of ’emergency,’ children are probably more expendable  than the rest of us. They are certainly of infinitely less value than a high-tech piece of military machinery!

An Appeal for Peace

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.