The news of the past couple of days leaves me relieved that I’ve never been offered a job as a North Korean big shot. The execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, shows you how North Korean big shots treat one another. On top of that, I don’t know a word of Korean.
I know one person who speaks Korean, a language he had to learn because he married a woman from Seoul. “Otherwise,” he said, “I wouldn’t have known whether she was bawling me out or telling me a joke. Both sound about the same in Korean.” He said he found Korean “utterly incomprehensible” even after he had learned it.
“For one thing,” he said, “their names are backwards. The last name of Kim Jong Il (who was dictator when my friend and I last spoke) is Kim. Shouldn’t it be Jong Il Kim?”
Kim Jong Un, the current dictator, also has his last name first. He became dictator when his father died, and supposedly his uncle was his mentor in helping Kim get to know the dictating business. Apparently one of the things Kim’s uncle taught him was what to do with people who had been hanging around too long. Executing them apparently is easier than firing them and then having to go through all that human resources red tape, such as exit interviews and giving them their last paycheck. And speaking of paychecks, getting rid of Jang probably saved a lot on payroll.
Another reason not to want to be a North Korean big shot is many of them have to wear those big hats if they happen to be Army officers. They don’t look happy in those hats.
Now that Jang has been executed, a lot of those big shots will be watching their backs, wondering who will be next. If I were one of them, I’d start looking in the help-wanted ads.