“THE WEATHER TODAY will be cloudy with a chance of North Korean missiles.”
That’s been the forecast too often in Asia the last few years. Whenever that mad country launches its rockets I warn my children to take umbrellas to school.
You may think I’m over-reacting, but I have a good source of info. A reader who is a North Korea expert tells me that their rockets, launched by a complex system of elastic bands, can veer huge distances off course, with bits dropping off, etc. Case in point: the one launched last week was due to fly over East Asia and land near the Philippines, but blew up 60 seconds from home-base, showering the sea with bits 2,000 kilometers off target.
The following day, Kim Jong Un’s government announced that any country which picked up debris would face “ruthless retaliation”. I think this means that they would launch another missile that would disintegrate above its own launch pad. Somehow this failed to terrify neighboring countries.
So lots of ships went looking. They found not one scrap of anything. I’m not surprised. Cardboard doesn’t last long in the open seas. My theory is that it exploded because of the kim-chi they use as rocket fuel. Have you tasted that stuff? Man, it’s powerful.
That day bought another surprise. The North Koreans admitted it was a disaster. In the past, they never admitted anything. Every government event ruined by a rainstorm, for example, would be followed by a press release saying: “The heavens celebrated with magical fountains.”
So I had expected an announcement saying something like: “Our rocket blew up after launch today because it did not wish to leave the presence of our new glorious leader. From now on it will be referred to as Loyal Sister Rocket (Deceased).”
Incidentally, I realized that Kim Jong Un’s granddad was Great Leader, his dad was Dear Leader, but he himself has no equivalent title yet.
That night I met a gang of readers at a local night market, so I asked them for suggestions. They came thick and fast.
I scolded them for showing disrespect to a world leader. This produced a round of more elegant suggestions:
But six rounds of Carlsberg produced more imaginative offerings:
The following day, my North Korean expert told me Kim Jong Un became heir to the throne after the rightful heir, Kim Jong-chul, was caught trying to get to Tokyo Disneyland in 2001 (not a joke).
The Pyongyang politburo felt there was a risk that Older Brother Kim, his brain deranged by his love of Disneyland, might try to re-make the country into a totally artificial, fictional kingdom.
So, no change there.
What is Kim Jong Un like? “He is known to be a heavy drinker with a hypertension problem,” the expert told me.
Hmm, now I see why people want to discourage him taking up nuclear missile testing as a hobby. Look, just take my advice. Wherever you live, make sure that on North Korean rocket launch days, you take umbrellas to school, work etc.
You know it makes sense.
IN OTHER NEWS…
MANY MANY THANKS FOR the warm email response to the post about packages to the poor. I’m always nervous about mentioning aid work in case of attack, but this time it seems that almost everyone has “got it”. What matters is not tiresome arguments about things that allegedly divide us, but taking positive action on values we share. Here endeth the sermon!