Having been to South Korea (and 12 feet inside North Korea at the DMZ), I know exactly how weird this part of the world is. As a collector of Cold War propaganda–I have posters from the USSR, Red China, Viet Nam and a few other places–I’d been hoping to find some DPRK material in Seoul. Sadly, though, I was told that under the 1948 National Security Law, it is illegal to possess, sell and otherwise distribute any and all North Korean propaganda. The best I was able to do was buy a bottle of some hideous DPRK rice wine–which I will never open, of course–from a special “Friendship Store”–that didn’t seem all that friendly, if I’m honest.
Despite its best efforts at maintaining a secure border with Kim Jong-un’s nutter hermit kingdom, the South is subject to various incursions from the North. South Korea is experiencing one of those, er, invasions right now.
For some reason, select South Korean karaoke machines–and this is a country that loves their karaoke and soju–have been loaded with patriotic songs from The North. They’re catchy tunes, too.
General Kim Jong-Il!
Other classics include “Glory to the Dear Leader” and “Living Well in the People’s Paradise!”
How did these illicit karaoke tracks make their way into the KTV parlours of Seoul? No one is quite sure other than it must be the work of DPRK spies. Lawmakers have dispatched undercover operatives to investigate establishments suspected of having infected machines. Two have been located and more are under surveillance was I write this. One official says “Like water soaking through a sponge, singing songs that praise North Korea can slowly penetrate our minds and make us weak.”
What purposes could these songs have? They’re revenge for the South blasting K-pop through loudspeakers over the DMZ last month.
More at the South China Morning Post.