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N. Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies (bbc.co.uk)
327 points by josscrowcroft on Dec 19, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 83 comments

I've lived in South Korea for two years and this is the most I've ever heard people talk about Kim Jong Il or North Korea. Even the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 didn't generate this much talk. This is also the first time I've ever heard anyone tell a joke about North Korea. People are telling jokes in the street right now.

What's an example of the kind of jokes South Koreans tell about Kim?

North Korean jokes/humour

First story

Jung Man Yong, a farmer at a collective farm in North Korea, catches a large fish in the river. Exalted, Jung comes back home and asks his wife to fry the fish. “We can have fried-fish for dinner!” said Jung. “But we don’t have oil.” “Then, let’s have steamed fish.” “We don’t have an iron pot either!” “OK, then let's just grill it.” “There is no firewood.” Angrily Jung goes back to the river and lets the fish go free. The fish circles around and jumps out of the water, yelling “Long live the General Kim Jong Il!”

Second story

At the museum, there is a painting in which Adam and Eve are holding an apple. A Briton says, “They are Britons. The gentleman is sharing a delicious apple with a lady.” A Frenchman says, “They must be French. They are walking around in the nude.” A North Korean says, “They are North Korean. They have no clothes and little food but think of themselves as living in paradise.”

Third story

Kim Jong Il inspected a collective farm and found some cute little pigs. He decided to take a picture with those pigs. That evening, a North Korean newspaper editor was put in the awkward situation of writing a caption for that picture to go in the paper. “Well… ‘Comrade Kim Jong Il among pigs..’” “No, ‘The pigs are with Comrade Kim Jong Il.’” “That doesn't work either.” Finally, the paper was published the next day with the caption, ‘Comrade Kim Jong Il is third from the left.’

Fourth story

A Briton, a Frenchman, and a North Korean are having a conversation. The Briton: “I feel happiest when relaxing before the fireplace on a winter night.” Frenchman: “You guys are too old fashioned. I feel happiest when I go on vacation with a beautiful blonde and then beak up with her up on my way home.” North Korean: “One night, somebody knocked my door. When I opened the door, he said ‘Kang Sung Mi, You are under arrest!’ I felt happiest because Kang was actually my neighbor.”

Fifth story

Kim Jong Il and Vladimir Putin are having a summit in Moscow.

During a break, both are so bored and decided to test whose bodyguard is more loyal. Putin calls his bodyguard Ivan first and tells him to open the window and throw himself off from the twentieth floor. Ivan cries “Your Excellency, why are you doing this to me? I have a wife and a kid.” Putin apologizes and lets Ivan go. Then Kim Jong Il calls his bodyguard Lee Myung-Man. “Lee, jump off from the window.” Without saying a word, Lee tries to leap from the window. Surprised, Putin grabs Lee to stop him from jumping and says “Are you crazy? You will die if you jump from here!” Lee struggles to jump, saying “Let me jump! I have a wife and a kid.”

Sixth story

In the Pyongyang Subway, two North Koreans are sitting next to each other. “How do you do, comrade?” “How do you do?” “Are you a Party member?” “No.” “Have you ever been one?” “No.” “Are any of your relatives member of the Party?” “Not one.” “Then get your feet off from mine, now.”

source: http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&n...

Love the third and sixth

Get some video! I'd love to hear what others are saying.

Maybe the joke what he heard was about his cause of death. I am South Korean and there are many joking tweets about it. It's not really usual expression in South. But after I read the comment below about the chinese trope, understood why they announced like that...

"died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work." His propaganda machine is still alive and well.

This is something of a trope. In Imperial China the death of an emperor was often ascribed to "積勞成疾", which literally translates to "illness from accumulated labor".


Honestly I find it in a bad taste. Also, there is nothing to ashame about using IE especially IE9. It's truly a decent enough browser.

IE6/7 have left so many mental scars on developers over the years that I think "IE" will evoke those two for developers for many years after it stops being objectively worse.

I find this comparison offensive and juvenile.

I wasn't talking about the comparison, just that the post clearly was clearly referring to the bad old versions rather than the new, more compliant IE.

But while we're on the topic, jokes are often meant to be logically absurd but ring sort of true. For a lot of developers, IE has had more of a direct, negative impact on them than all of those dictators combined, so it kind of feels right, even if it shouldn't. You shouldn't take it so seriously. People getting offended by jokes is offensive to me, because it makes for a more humorless world.

Look at the tables on caniuse.com. The only browser to which it compares favorably is Safari 3 (from 4 years ago) and all other versions of IE.

That's why I said it's "decent enough" and not "best". Even as a developer who have had problems with IE before, I can say people find that IE9 is real good. It's the opinion from my extended circle and not anyway scientific. They don't know what HTML is for a fact.

Wanted: Hegemony of International Elites looking for despicable candidates for Two Minutes Hate media roles. Slightly senile, doddering old men preferred. Work remote!

☑ Kim Jong Il ☑ Khaddafi ☑ Osama Bin Laden ☑ Saddam Hussein ☐ Internet Explorer ☐ George W. Bush ☐ Condoleezza Rice ☐ Tony Blair

Is there an algorithmic reason this post isn't higher on the front page? It has more upvotes and is newer than everything but 1 or 2 things ahead of it. Here's a screenshot: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/397675/Screen%20Shot%202011-12-18%20...

I bet it has many flags

That sounds likely to me. Part of the guidelines say "No current events", which probably led to people flagging it. I'd rather not comment on the story's appropriateness, but I'm pretty sure that's why.

It was at the top about half an hour ago. And your post is 20 minutes old now. Something special must have happened in ten minutes.

Talk about good timing.

With the political climate of change in afrika and middle east, this might be a great reason for the goverment to tear itself apart as various factions try to take over 'in the name of the people'

We do live in exciting times

He's been grooming Kim Jong Un (his son) for quite a while now.

In North Korea "grooming" refers to randomly placing some spoiled little fat kid in charge of the entire North Korean military ahead of all the four star generals after you have a stroke and realize that you aren't the immortal demigod that you once thought you were.

This isn't meant as a jab at your comment, I just think it is really funny that anyone including his father would think that he is capable of running a country. On the other hand I guess he can't do much worse than dad.

Kim Il Sung was his father.

Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the annotated successor, though will be a puppet for a while, if he survives the next few days and weeks.

> Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the annotated successor

I'm pretty sure you meant "anointed" there.

Yes, "anointed", typed too fast & forgot to re-read. :-(

Thanks for the note.

Nobody wants an unstable North Korea with nuclear weapons tearing itself apart.

Nobody wants an unstable North Korea with nuclear weapons, period.

Well, except maybe North Korea.

http://kimjongunlookingatthings.tumblr.com is up and running though.

I swear this thread is a mirror of the reddit thread on the same topic...

Will be interesting to see if his son and chosen successor is able to retain power and persure a similar governing style. Seems like the perfect opportunity for change in North Korea.

I wonder if his son's violent statements toward SK will turn into violent actions.

Yeah, I think everyone will be watching closely to see where this goes.

This is a two-year-old article but it's pretty interesting to read: "North Korea After Kim Jong Il: Four Scenarios" http://www.nps.edu/Academics/centers/ccc/publications/Online...

A mixture of scenarios two and three have long been considered the most likely by many "informed" (a relative term for NK) observers.

North Korea is very skilled at manipulating world opinion to seem like a rogue state. They know very well that their existence depends on never taking action, no matter what they say.

Think of them like a crazy family member that keeps in trouble unless people pony up cash and you pretty much have their entire strategy in a nutshell.

Well, beyond that you have the fact that in order to maintain the kind of control that the regime maintains, they need isolation. This means that they do things to get isolated, so that the North Koreans get only one side of things.

As US News and World Report once commented, threatening the North Korean government with isolation was like threatening a drowning man with a life preserver.....

Excellent way of putting it.

Not for at least 20+ years.

His son is about to achieve one of the last great overt dictatorships in the world.

I bet everything he is going to want to taste that power for a long time before he actually does something aggressive.

That is not to say he doesnt press his luck, make a strategic failure and gets attacked (e.g. not accepting a rothschild-backed central bank)

I wonder if his son is prepared for the massive power play that will come from the military brass over the next few months.

Not likely. Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law was generally understood/guessed to be the one holding the reins of power in 2008 when Kim was ill then and will likely take firmer control again, even if its from behind the scenes, using Kim Jong Un as a figurehead for perhaps a decade. This is similar to what happened when Kim took over in 1994 after his father's death.

There isn't sufficient command & control capability or maneuverability for the NK military to take swift control of the country or perhaps even the capital, if the party apparatus (cadre, spies, police, informants) doesn't stand in its way.

I purposely chose "power play" over "coup d'etat" to allow for less sweeping changes. There will certainly be a push by the military for a greater share of power.

Looking at the released list of funeral mourners, this has already begun. A few surprises in the order, though it could be a ruse. Everything in NK is a ruse, tough to ever know anything for certain, even with 'educated' speculation. But its fun to try (if you are outside of NK). :-)

Saddam Hussein: dead at 69. Gaddafi: dead at 69. Kim Jong-Il: dead at 69.

How did Fidel Castro get out of this?

Climate in Cuba is way nicer than any of the other places.

Also, he's not an isolated international pariah whose own people want to kill him, just a thorn in the side of the US.

If this continues it may become a club 27 analogue. Though 27 is perhaps a much less random number than 69 in that regard since all three of those dictators had different causes of demise.

investment in healthcare?

How about a black banner, pg?

Some people have no sense of humour.

One for Vaclav Havel would have made sense though.

2011 certainly is a disastrous year for Terrorists and Dictators around the world :)

The surface will probably be quiet for a bit, while the internal political machine of the DPRK roils. There are certainly a lot of possibilities (both good or bad) that can happen depending on who actually takes over control. Even if the regime collapsed non-violently, the ensuing chaotic human crisis would still be immense. My belief is that it will continue largely unchanged for the short to mid term.

I'm patiently waiting for the submissions about Angelina Jolie.

Another article that shows HN turned into a regular American newspaper.

Hardly, HN only covers world events with real global significance. I enjoy reading HN users takes on this kind of news as I find it interesting to discuss this kind of news but comments on mainstream news sites are terrible and I don't really have the time to invest in other sites with quality comments who cover this stuff in far higher volume.

Agreed, the tone and community here provide interesting discussion and insights on the really big turning points such as these. Comparably on reddit there is a lot of chaff to work through to get to the interesting kernels.

please show me those "interesting discussion and insights" http://i.imgur.com/GaBJJ.png

Since you asked, http://i.imgur.com/NpexT.png

I've highlighted the sort of discussion I'd like to see more of in blue, and the ones that I'd like to see fewer of in red. The unhighlighted comments provide no value to me but I don't mind their existence. Under this scheme, my own comment would be red, because it's meta and off-topic.

Would you like to have a hacker community having smart conversations about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, too?

Why not, if there is something smart to discuss about them, something gratifying our intellectual curiosity[1]. I vaguely remember even pg referring to Lady Gaga as hacker in clothes space in (I think) Hackers&Painters (anyone have the reference? I can't seem to find it :/).

[1] - http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Were the president of North Korea and Paris Hilton friends? No?

I'm personally very happy that such articles appear here. I got used to the fact that HN covers only significant geopolitical events, so I can ditch every other news service and be sure that if something of actual importance happens, it'll be covered here as well.

Also, I'd be hard pressed to find such quality of discussions anywhere else.

You don't think this headline will be running across all the world's newspapers tomorrow?

I think he thinks exactly that. Which is why it makes a bad HN submission. Flagged.

I flagged it too. I don't know why you're downvoted. I wanted to say sth for myself, but maybe I'll stick to quoting the guidelines:

"On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic."

Flagged also. A million places I can go for this sort of news.

I don't give a piece of shit to international politics. If I did, I would read globalsecurity.org which does it very well.

BTW American newspapers are much more interested at the politics of other countries because of the leadership of US.

I see, I thought you were saying that it is only of concern to Americans and thus not suitable for HN.

After his death, Kim Il-sung was declared the country's Eternal President.

Could it be possible to take control of North Korea by getting a plant in there, killing Kim II Sung and his family and then using his power to work behind the signs and use the totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship to morph the country into a free capitalistic republic? Sounds like something the special forces could do in a few weeks, it just has to be a surprise so the military doesn't get a chance to respond.

Not doing anything seems cruel and unusual punishment. We may be born there in your next lives, wouldn't you want someone to do something about it?

> Sounds like something the special forces could do in a few weeks, it just has to be a surprise so the military doesn't get a chance to respond.

Right, because surprising nutjobs with nukes is a great idea.

Thank god.

You'd think god would have done something sooner.

EDIT: This joke going over a few heads?

> This joke going over a few heads?

That this isn't reddit seems to have gone over both your heads.

The OP is probably better suited to Reddit. But I take your point, will try and refrain from spiteful digs.

God doesn’t exist: it’s simply an interjection. One that expresses my gladness over the death of someone who is legitimately an evil person.

I see what you did there.

North Korean Authorities suspect Fair Play.


What is the black bar policy out of interest?

pg places a black bar on top of the orange bar when some one significant dies.

I think it's specifically only for someone significant to the computing/hacker community.

Please can we have two HNs.

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