The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Nov 23, 2010

Not Corian

The recent contretemps between North and South Korea reminded me of my old colleague Jaekyeong. A few years ago we shared an office cubicle, and he would regale me with stories of life in his peninsular country. The southern one, I mean. I don't think there were any North Koreans in Illinois, leave alone in our office.

It used to be the done thing, he said, for graduating high school students to be taken to the 38th parallel to see for themselves the demilitarised zone, the no-man's land, the fortifications on the Southern side, and the stern North Koreans gazing at them from across the frontier.

At least that's what they were told - that the Northern soldiers were all marauding murderers who hardly cracked a smile. When they got to the border though, they were to be astonished.

The North Koreans knew we were coming, Jaekyeong marvelled. They put up big signs of welcome, and yelled greetings over massive megaphones. Welcome, welcome, senior students of Incheon School number 21! Have a pleasant day today! We wish you all success in your lives ahead!

They always knew! said Jaekyeong. They knew when my sisters' classes went. They even knew at any given time which school's students were approaching the walls, and who was leaving. Amazing intelligence! he said.

For a half-starved people, they sure put on quite a show.


km said...

North Korean spies infiltrate high schools.

Good premise for a sitcom, right?

Fëanor said...

Sleepers, like?

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