“Yeah, didn’t you know? I’m a North Korean spy. Kim Jong-un pays me in cash and strippers to monitor all of you.” That’s what I say whenever my nationality is brought up. You would think that the phrase “cash and strippers” would signal sarcasm, but that’s not the case, apparently. The last time I made that comment, a passing student stopped, looked me over, and asked if I was being serious. Of course I was! After months of openly bragging about my spy skills, someone finally figured it out! It doesn’t matter how difficult it is to cross the border into China as a spy, much less cross the ocean. Forget getting past TSA’s not-so-random security screenings and passport checks. How hard can it be to blend in with people who spend more time commenting on my English than actually listening to what I say? Why bother explaining why I couldn’t possibly be a spy, when I fit so neatly into your Asian stereotype?
American people have a hard time understanding what it’s actually like in North Korea because what little they understand comes from sensationalized news stories about Kim Jong-un’s latest failed attempt to make Olympus fall and dumbass comedy movies that turn the autocrat into some caricature to assassinate. They fail to understand that North Koreans are actually raised to believe that Kim Jong-un knows everything they do. Citizens who have no connection to prominent government or military officials live in constant fear of being executed or being sent to the gulags, which in some cases is a fate worse than death.
See, when I joke like this, I know exactly what I’m talking about: where Kim Jong-un’s pigheadedness comes from, the lack of access to outside information, and the huge divide between the wealth of the government versus the wealth of the people. Kim Jong-un is the first leader to have been born after the establishment of our great nation, after Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il built cities up from the dust of war. The Supreme Leader was raised to believe that he was indeed the Supreme Leader, with literally every resource in North Korea at his disposal from birth and the divine right to destroy anything he pleased. North Korean people know exactly how desperate their situations are, but because of the government’s extreme aversion to allowing people to leave the country, there is little citizens themselves can do from the inside. Everyone is cowed and starving, with no hope of freedom through revolution. The government hoards what little wealth it has and keeps it concentrated in its upper tiers, which is how the military (and national athletes) stay fit while the citizens they supposedly protect and represent die of thirst and starvation both in the gulags and in their own homes.
Now that we’ve established that Kim Jong-un is a horrifying dictator with more human rights violations than his ample waistband can hold, perhaps people will actually stop and think about the implications of reducing a figure like him to a punchline in a third-rate movie. Then again, I’m probably just a murderous sleeper bent on the destruction of the United States (but mostly Amherst College because who the fuck can live in an empty valley?), so I suggest you watch your backs. You never know what nukes have been hidden away on campus through my
bazooka bassoon. It’s not like you really care anyways. Happy running! Now if you don’t mind, my republic is calling me.