So… I have to admit being quite disappointed that the world didn’t end the other day.
Whilst the Mayan apocalypse may have seemed a bit far fetched for most people’s taste, there is a definite underplayed possibility of nuclear annihilation over here. I think the Koreans are probably desensitised to this outcome at this point, but it doesn’t stop them from pussyfooting around diplomatic issues. Yesterday, the South Korean people lit the DMZ Christmas lights, despite fears that it may upset the North Koreans, who have previously called it “psychological warfare” on one of their government-run websites. The pussyfooting actually took place last year following the death of Kim Jong Il when the church group that has been handling the display since 1998, agreed to suspend it for a year to avoid an international incident.
So, what was I doing whilst waiting for the world to end? Well, I was getting drunk with some friendly American folk at a Mexican bar. I found it interesting that people seemed more concerned about the Mayan prophecy than the recent events with North Korean rocket testing, with a rocket confirmed to have a 10,000 km range (well within reach of the US’ West Coast). The autopsy conducted by the South found the rocket to be quite primitive and has yet to reveal the actual capability to be used with warheads and in fact as to whether it may be intended for such a purpose, but that’s enough for me to welcome an invite for a drink.
The bar seemed like a fairly good and respectable joint, the beer was relatively cheap compared to the £4.75 pints I’m used to back in the UK, and the company of my Yankee friends was much appreciated when I consider how welcoming the Koreans have been so far. I will definitely have to brush up on my mid-week drinking skills if I keep up, though; the mild hangover from coming back home pissed at 2:30 am was a bit hard on me to say the least.
In other news, the South Koreans voted in their new president, Park Geun-Hye, daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, a fact that didn’t seem to put off 51% of voters. Her father, a former army general, seized power back in the sixties, made himself president for life and ruled for eighteen years, before being assassinated by one of his best buddies, the director of the Korean CIA. According to what I’ve been reading he picked up the economy significantly from its $72 per capita GDP, which was inferior to the North’s at the time, mainly by trading with the dreaded Japanese oppressors, which was bound to upset a country that spent 35 years under Nihongo rule. Like most dictators, he is said to have had a terrible human rights record, neglected most of the people’s personal freedoms and tortured anyone who got in the way. Condensed history for you, right there.
I’m not too clear on Mrs. Park’s policies, but I understand she is to be tougher on crime (seemingly non-existent here), open up the market a bit (sound familiar?), support science and technology (seems an obvious choice), and not let the country be fucked with in a general sense (cf relationship with North Korea and the island disputes with the Japanese).
Will it make that much difference? I have no idea. All I know is that financial prosperity is good, people seem to enjoy a fair amount of freedoms, and have mutual respect through the tenets of the Confucian principles that I am constantly reminded this country is built upon. I am told that there is a divide between the generations however. The older generation diametrically opposes the acceptance of Western culture that has been flooding the country since the war in favour of a more traditional Korea, and the younger generation embraces it with zeal whilst making it very clearly its own. Maybe that’s the only difference with a conservative candidate; she’s maybe more likely to have a return to values…
All I know is that I’m sure that it’s quite important for the country to have that comfortable brainwashing (with senseless TV, catchy pop music, flashy trainers, high value consumer goods, etc..), that allegedly “distracts, misinform and anaesthetises the brain” as suggested by “Propaganda 2012”, the viral North Korean educational video.
After the drinking on Thursday night and a difficult Friday, I went to the jjimjilbang (the Korean equivalent of a bathhouse) for three hours to relax in totally naked way. I feel that I may have intimidated the Korean men with my colourful pubic hair and most certainly trumped them on the penis size front. I, of course, have never felt concern about penis size, but I’d say if I was that small, I’d probably not get my dick out in public. It definitely confirmed some long-standing rumours vis-à-vis Asian lack of length and probably girth, although not many people talk about girth unless they’ve personally taken a penis or two inside them.