Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Kim Jong-il: Ceauşescu Moment?

Kim Jong-il 2010
Caught in the Spotlight of History?
En-Uk Sequoya Hwang
(Image from En-Uk's Art Blog)

Several blog entries back, I mentioned that my ten-year-old son, En-Uk, has started an art blog. He's been at it for 21 days now and has posted an artwork every day. We'll see how long he keeps this pace up.

I particularly like the work of art that he posted two days ago. We had taken a walk after church through North-Seoul Dream Forest (북서울꿈의숲), a park not so far from where we live, and during that walk, En-Uk asked some questions about Kim Jong-il because he's recently been reading on the division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South and also knows that his maternal grandfather came from there.

I therefore said a few things about Kim Jong-il, we worked on a satirical song about the man, and I happened to mention that he is rather short and thus wears his hair poofed up to look taller.

That evening, En-Uk posted the image above to his art blog and wrote the following:
This drawing is called "Kim Jong-il." Kim Jong-il made his hair go up so he would look like he is tall. He is the North Korean dictator. He is a bad man. I don't like him. I made a song. It goes, "With the Jong-il, the mighty Jong-il, the lion seeks to fight . . ." It was funny. Bye.
I was surprised to see that En-Uk had caught the point about Kim Jong-il's hair and used the detail in his artwork. Speaking of that image above, I think that En-Uk has captured something about the man, as we can see by comparison to this official North Korean photo:

I doubt that En-Uk was working from any particular Kim Jong-il photo, rather from a montage of mental images, but he has captured well the more recent, emaciated state of the man, almost skeletal -- far thinner than in this photo -- and also depicted well the sense that time is running out for this more enfeebled dictator, who stares at us in En-Uk's portrait like a startled creature caught in the spotlight of history. Perhaps En-Uk has had some premonition of Kim Jong-il's imminent "Ceauşescu Moment," when the North Korean people themselves rise up like an angry lion? We can at least entertain the thought that the sleeping lion wakes up and seeks out its enemy:
With Kim Jong-il, the mighty Jong-il,
A lion seeks to fight.
Until then, lala kahle, Mr. Kim, and dream that the lion doesn't wake up . . .

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At 12:01 PM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Most honorable professor,

I am still reading everyday, but am using my comment time over at En-Uk' blog. Your child is amazing!

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Jeanie. I agree . . . and so is my other child (if I could just post her guitar playing).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:40 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

You could post Sah-ra's music on YouTube and use En-Uk's art as the "video" part, if she's not into making music videos yet.

At 1:40 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

Oops. That's Sa-rah, right?

At 2:57 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

You can use your cell phone to video her and send it to a blogspot of her own. That is assuming that she desires her own blog.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, actually, it's "Sa-Rah" with a capital "R."

I'm not certain that one can post videos to You Tube from Korea. There was some controversy about this a couple of months ago. The Korean government wanted You Tube to forbid pseudonyms and require real-name registration. You Tube said no. I don't know if this was resolved or not.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, can that be done without You Tube?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Joshua Stanton said...

Interesting that they say "lala kahle" for "sleep well" in Kenya. I worked in the mines in South Africa eons ago and had to learn a patois called Fanakalo to talk the African miners. Fanakalo is a mix of Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho, English, Welsh, Afrikaans, and Malay. In that order. But the Zulu for "anyeong hi kasshipshio" is "hamba kahle," literally, "walk well."

And Zululand is a long, long way from Kenya.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Joshua, I'm in over my head. The site that provided the lyrics identified "lala kahle" as "Sleep well" and called it Zulu. Was The Lion King set in Kenya?

You appear to have had an interesting history -- I knew only that you'd served in the US Military in South Korea and gone on to greater things . . . but your past runs further back than that. You must be older than I imagined.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Joshua Stanton said...

No, I just feel older.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You must have put a lot of living into your youth.

Jeffery Hodges

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