Did you know that the United Nations actually has a disarmament conference that meets regularly. That’s a bad enough oxymoron but it gets worse. Its current chair is North Korea which has more nuclear weapons than it has food to feed its people. 

Much like  most things in life, it occurred through happenstance; the chair goes by alphabetical rotation and the N’s had been coming up.

Needless to say, Pyongyang took to its new role with its usual tact. “My country is still at war with the United States,” declared Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae-Song with the characteristic belligerence all North Korean diplomats are trained to display at multilateral meetings. 

The country is ruled by Kim Jong-un, a rotund rascal who routinely suffered bad hair days which he blamed on the US because its sanctions were making it impossible for his people to get good shampoo. In fact, the dumpy despot was sick and tired of shampoo and insisted that the United Nations get  him the real poo. 

The people of North Korea were so poor they couldn’t even pay attention but they admired the fortitude with which the moneyed Kim tolerated the disadvantages of his wealth.

The ample autocrat adored the good things in life and his larder was full of the good stuff,  groaning under the weight of delectable Parmar hams, wheels of robust Roquefort’s, enough sweet Persian figs and the choicest French wines. “Nothing succeeds like excess,” he told himself cheerfully while prescribing his people patience with kimchi on the side. 

Kim felt he had governed his country with skill and great leadership not seen in Asia since Hideki Tojo, a Japanese politician who’d urged his country into the Second World War and a true visionary in Kim’s eyes. 

In Tojo-like fashion, the tubby tyrant had built up his country’s military might into Herculean proportions. Its arsenals bulged with nukes, missiles, ICBMs and enough guns to force the President of the National Rifle Association to take a knee in covetous admiration. 

North Korea  was armed to the teeth and continually reminded its neighbours that it was by carrying out various weapon tests on every which weapon but the pea-shooter. 

It isn’t even clear why.

After all, it was North Korea, then under Kim’s grandfather,  which began the Korean War of l950 when it invaded its southern neighbour although it was clear that the war was principally directed from Moscow and Beijing.  

UN troops supported South Korea and backed by US air power, finally drove the invasion back to the borders we see today.

Seventy years after the war, South Korea has grown, according to Wikipedia, more than 55 times richer than its northern neighbour in terms of nominal gross domestic product. Meanwhile, almost a thousand North Koreans defect to the South every year while the numbers of those who die trying are  unknown. 

These statistics alone should give the tubby totalitarian pause but the grandson of the man who started the Korean War still seems more interested in beefing up his military than in making life better for his people. 

Meanwhile, North Korea is now being  tasked with chairing the world’s foremost multilateral disarmament forum. 

There goes the neighbourhood. 



The South Koreans knew what Donald Trump’s supporters stood for. They were a money grabbing, Bible-thumping, greenhouse gassing, missile firing, seal clubbing, oil drilling club whose idea of a good time was to practise firing on gay parades.

On the other hand, North Koreans even approved of some of these practices especially missile firing. As a result, they made up for having no money to grab and no gay parades to fire upon by religiously threatening their neighbours, except China and Russia, with imminent extermination.

You could say it was consistent. North Korea consistently threatened, bullied and hectored its neighbours, most of whom simply ignored the republic and went on making their nations better places for their citizens

North Korea today is the most repressive, the most authoritarian and one of the most consistently famine-stricken nations in the world. South Korea, the nation the North invaded in 1950 because it thought it would win, is currently 54 times richer than its northern neighbour and is ranked among the world’s affluent.

The North’s current leader is the grandson of the rocket scientist who thought nothing of invading his southern neighbour all those years ago. Clearly, the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree.

That’s because said grandson, Kim Jong-Un, who dubbed himself Supreme Leader, thought nothing of sending hit men to Malaysia, a friendly country, to assassinate his enemies.

When a Malaysian court extradited said hit man to the US, an enraged SL broke off diplomatic relations with Malaysia, an act that enraged all North Korean diplomats in Kuala Lumpur because they knew, with foreboding, that while it was certainly a farewell to nasi lemak, it was likely to be even worse.

Supreme Leader loved US basketball, bourbon and burgers which was why he was overweight and suffered perpetual bad hair days. But he was also a plump predator who thought he deserved everything he stole and knew that Larry Hagman was right: the only rules to live by was never to be caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.

He also thought he should Lead by Ruthlessness and once reduced a defence chief to a smear by ordering him executed by anti-aircraft fire. The reason, according to South Korean TV, was a lamentable error by the chief: he dozed off during a particularly tedious SL speech.

Something new this way comes and it’s called K-pop, a cultural phenomenon out of South Korea that’s become hugely influential globally and threatens to change the way North Koreans think.

Standout example: Korean boy band BTS is the most popular group in the world and the first since the Beatles to have three number 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Fat Boy was horrified and has labelled K-pop a “vicious cancer” that’s corrupting his country’s youth. Meanwhile, his people were consuming South Korean movies, K-dramas and K-pop videos with an abandon that terrified the tubby terminator.

Kim knew that his people had to be weaned off the stuff as it portrayed the South as an attractive alternative. Worse, K-pop content encourages thinking, self-expression and individuality, all themes that were inimical to SL’s obey-or-else tendencies.

The stout slaughterer’s response has been typical: he imposed harsh punishments like 15 years in a labour camp for listening to K-pop and death for those smuggling the videos in from the south.

It isn’t clear if he will prevail. History has always bet on the former when the popular will comes up against the dictatorial won’t.


North Korea – Where Eagles Don’t Dare

When Albert Einstein quipped that “only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity and I’m not even sure about the former,” he must surely have been thinking of Kim Jong-Un.

When not plotting the murder of his half-brother in Malaysia, Dear Respected, as he was fondly called by the North Korean media, was preoccupied by lofty matters of state like thinking up new and ingenious ways to get rid of his mostly imagined enemies.

Standout example: Pyongyang recently executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second US-North Korea summit that collapsed in Hanoi, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday. 

Even Mr Kim’s interpreter during his talks with President Trump was executed. Mr Kim thought there might have been many a slip between the cup and the lip and knew that you couldn’t be too careful in foreign policy. 

You can see why a citizen might be chary about working for the North Korean government?

Dear Respected had taken his grandfather’s management lessons to heart. While Kim Il-Sun had believed in management by assault, – he hit his officials over the head – his grandson had taken it a step further: He espoused leadership through assault with a deadly weapon.

Theodore Roosevelt summarised his foreign policy as “speak softly but carry a big stick”. Similarly, Dear Respected felt North Korea should speak softly but carry as many nukes as possible. 

He also thought that if at first he didn’t succeed, he should blame his officials, which generally explained the periodic purges, executions and public floggings. 

When he was younger, Respected used to see a therapist until the idiot told him that he might have a vengeance complex. “We’ll see about that,” snarled Dear and the fool was promptly executed. 

Even so, Dear Respected liked to think of himself as a well-liked leader and it might even have been true. A 2014 survey of the North Korean people by CNN found that most people, when confronted by the question, “how’s life in Pyongyang?” invariably answered, “can’t complain.” 

Dear Respected felt proud that North Korea possessed enough sophisticated scientific knowledge to churn out nuclear weapons and guided missile systems and felt that the people should be equally proud about those accomplishments and not carp about a small thing like a famine in the provinces.  

He thought that Marie Antoinette was ahead of her time and unjustly treated. When told that the French people were starving and had no bread, she replied: “Let them eat cake.” 

She lost her head because of that injudicious quip.

Secretly, the North Korean people longed for reunification with South Korea and an end to shortages, which they heard were unheard of in their southern neighbour.  

But the shortages persisted because of Dear Respected’s prodigious ineptitude. It was so great that he continually dug the North Korean economy into the ground. And if he deemed that the hole wasn’t deep enough, he would simply grab a shovel and keep digging. 

To soothe the people, he regaled them with motherhood statements. “True wealth isn’t measured by comparing yourself to others but enjoying what you have,” he would say. 

He specially liked the statement because he knew he had more than everyone else, combined.