Apparently there’s some stuff going on in the news about North Korea. I don’t really follow local news, I find it about as drearily dull as analyses of how Nick Clegg stole David Cameron’s thunder in his bid to unseat Gordon Brown in UK elections.
Still, I feel duty-bound to track and opine on these events at least a bit. Not because I feel the need to prepare for the worst, but because they are in fact entirely my fault. In fact, a glance at the historic record will show you that for nearly 2 decades now, all North-South Korean tensions have revolved around my travel patterns:
1994: I spend the summer studying Korean at Koryo University. While there, president Kim Il Sung (aka “Great Leader”) dies, prompting the country’s first succession crisis.
2002: I plan and take a short trip to Korea to attend to some family matters. In that same year:
- President Bush labels NK part of the Axis of Evil
- SK abandons its Sunshine Policy of rapproachment
- the Agreed Framework on Yongbon nukes collapse
Tensions peak with a naval skirmish over contested fishing waters leaves 4 SK sailors dead, resulting in the cancellation due to security concerns of my visit to the World Cup stadium, the entrance dramatically blocked by a tank.
2010: Towards the tail end of my gap year of traveling, I spend a month in Seoul. While there, forensic verify that the sinking of a SK naval vessel was caused by a NK torpedo. Everyone goes ape shit that NK subs are able to navigate these waters previously considered too shallow.
At the same time – in an eerie preview of what’s to come in 2012 – I can’t sleep at nights due to irritation with that damn Wonder Girls song playing on constant rotation at every cafe, shop, and bar.
2012: I fly from SF to Seoul on Oct 8. The very next day, NK announces that the US is within range of its rockets.
2013: No need to elaborate on how much tensions have escalated since I moved to Seoul on March 1 of this year.
Clearly the solution to the NK problem is for me to leave the country and go to more neutral climes like, say, Australia.
But things are just so much more interesting this way, wouldn’t you agree?