Flag of the United Nations
Not every day does one meet Lee Myung-Hoon (이명훈) -- Secretary General of the United Nations (UN사무총장), President of the Korean Peninsula, Professor of Management Somewhere, and Important Guy Wearing a Woolen Cap -- but I met him yesterday on Bus 273 as I was heading for Kyung Hee University to teach my British and American Culture course.
Secretary General Lee of the UN is also running for an office of some sort (차기경선후보), despite what must be an already busy schedule, given the four important jobs that he already holds. In spite his busy responsibilities, Secretary Lee invited me for a coffee on his coin, which turned out to be my
coin, perhaps because he hadn't "always a shilling to spare
" after all.
In our wide-ranging conversation, Secretary Lee spoke nearly flawless English and expressed his opinion on an impressive variety of topics.
According to Secretary Lee, Satan differs from demons because Satan only attempts to twist life into an evil direction, whereas the demons try to destroy life.
"Take Jesus, for example," Secretary Lee offered. "Satan tempted him in the field . . . uh, wilderness, because he wanted to twist Jesus toward evil, but he didn't try to kill him."
"I thought that Christians believed that Satan arranged to have Jesus killed," I pointed out.
"No," retorted the Secretary, "God did that."
"Okay," I acknowledged, "that was the soteriological plan, but according to the Bible, Satan played the effective role in bringing about Jesus's death."
"Jesus didn't die," the Secretary informed me.
"Well, yes," I insisted, "he did die."
"No, he survived," the Secretary insisted.
"He survived?" I inquired.
"I mean..." the Secretary groped for the right word, "he was resuscitated
"Okay," I said, "but it would still seem that he died."
Perhaps sensing that he wasn't going to get far in convincing me of the UN's policy statement on the difference between Satan and demons, the Secretary turned to political positions.
"Bush knew about 9/11 in advance," the Secretary whispered, looking askance toward the door.
"In advance," I murmured -- my tone not questioning, but skeptical.
"Yes," the Secretary confirmed, "in advance
. On September 10th, I was outside the U.S. embassy, and two officers came out to talk with me. They had a camera, took several pictures, and asked me a lot of questions. Also, a Jewish Master Sergeant gave a talk and said some very curious things. The Jews are a very curious people, always wanting to understand everything. And then, the photos of the World Trade Center exploding -- they were too perfect. The cameras had been arranged in advance to catch the best possible images."
Unsure which dangling strand of this complex fabric to pull on first, I finally just observed that with thousands of New Yorkers and tourists wandering around the WTC on the morning of 9/11, somebody with a camera was bound to take the perfect shot at precisely the right moment.
Secretary Lee, however, was unmoved. "I sent a letter to George Bush," he revealed, "and I called him 'Bullsh*tter' in my letter."
The Secretary then showed me his literary cleverness, printing "Bu(ll)sh(itter)" on the newspaper that he was carrying.
"This is how I wrote it," he boasted. "It made Bush very angry."
The Secretary writes a lot of letters. He has written President Vladimir Putin, President Bill Clinton, and even Mr. Lee Myung-bak
(이명박), the former mayor of Seoul.
"Lee Myung-bak's name is very similar to my own," Secretary Lee Myung-Hoon proudly noted, adding that the former mayor would be running for president of South Korea in the upcoming national elections. Lee Myung-bak's candidacy will be supported by Lee Myung-Hoon, but whether in the latter's official position as Secretary General of the United Nations or as President of the Korean Peninsula, I don't know. Perhaps Lee Myung-Hoon is offering merely private support in his role as Professor of Management Somewhere or as Important Guy Wearing a Woolen Cap.
At this point in our fascinating conversation, I had to break off and head for my teaching duties. The Secretary asked for my email address. I didn't want to seem discourteous by refusing, so I wrote it down for him ... correctly, too, though I was tempted to write a false one (but I don't like to deceive people).
The Secretary then copied my email into his address book, but he made the same, usually
annoying error that countless people make, misspelling my "jefferyhodges" as "jeffreyhodges." This time, however, my heart leapt up in joy -- the one time in my life that I've been thankful for the unconventional spelling that my parents gave to my middle name.
Smiling, I rose from our table, thanked him for the pleasant conversation, told him to enjoy his coffee, and exited the cafe without once glancing back at the quixotic Lee Myung-Hoon, Secretary General of the United Nations and President of the Korean Peninsula...