Unrelated to this, something important has happened on the Korean peninsula this week. Kim Jong Il has died. This has brought back opinions and debates in the news and in conversations about what the situation is really like in North Korea. In the news, you see North Koreans crying hysterically over his death, but are they crying real tears, or is it all for show? From what I've gathered, the situation is drastically different outside of Pyongyang, the capital, as opposed to inside the city. In the news, we only see videos and pictures of people in Pyongyang. But, as I understand it, the people living in Pyongyang are not a good representation of all North Koreans. This is because North Koreans are only allowed to live in the city if they are chosen. And, of course, you have to be pro-North Korea/dictator to get in. So maybe the crying people in the news are genuinely sad that Kim Jong Il is dead. Or maybe in order to be in the authorities good books, you have to be a good actor.
What do South Koreans think of Kim Jong Il's death? No doubt they are influenced by it. It hasn't yet been a full lifetime since the two countries were one. And yet, I don't get the sense that the Koreans around me feel all that affected by it. It is on the news, of course, but it doesn't seem like people talk about it at all. It even seems like CNN/America is making a bigger deal of it than South Koreans. Of course, as a foreigner, I can't claim to know at all how Koreans feel about things. Yet, more than on this occasion, I've been surprised by how much of a barrier (both physical and mental) has been built between the North and the South in such a short time.
In other news, I'm a recorded musician! This weekend, my co-teacher Roman, another friend Scott, and I got together with a guy from out of town who's putting together some kind of 'Foreigners in Korea' album. He brought his recording mechanisms with him and, in his small hotel room, we jammed out and put down a pretty good cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles. Here's the link for it. I'm the drummer. (Unfortunately, the other guys didn't think a drum solo was appropriate for the song):
I'll leave you with funny Christmas video that I've been showing my afternoon students just for fun.
Thanks for reading,