Kim-Xi Crockery

When Koreans ferment salted cabbage in chili paste for a few months or more, kimchi is the result.  Although large ceramic crocks were once the only type of container used for this purpose, modern-day Koreans frequently employ a much less traditional substitute: plastic tubs.

Lunghu was reminded of these inexorable 21st century changes when he saw media coverage of recent meetings between Chinese officials and a South Korean “special envoy” dispatched by president-elect Park Geun-hye on a tribute mission to the Middle Kingdom.  For most of its history –whether as Koryo, Silla, Baekje or united Chosun–  Korea was more or less a vassal state required to inform the Chinese Emperor whenever a new king supplanted his predecessor.  The new sovereign could not be considered fully legitimate until approved by China.  If the Emperor didn’t approve, he sometimes sent his army to convey the message.

China’s new emperor is Comrade Eleven.  South Korea’s special envoy is Kim Moo-sung, Park Geun-hye’s 2012 campaign manager and a former legislator from the city of Busan.  He is being rewarded for his loyalty … with a consolation prize:  in order to give Park’s Saenuri Party a younger “look” in the 2012 elections, Kim was denied a spot on the ballot despite having won four consecutive terms in Busan’s Nam B District since 1996.  “The party comes before me, and the country comes before the party,” Kim said at the time.  That kind of sentiment would ordinarily go down well in the PRC, but it really all depends on which Party one is referring to.  Korea’s Silla faction/ GNP/ Saenuri Party has been on the wrong side of Sino-Japanese conflict for more than a century.

Lunghu doesn’t know anything about the ancestry and family background of Mr. Kim, but suspects that it might include multi-generational association with Japanese economic and cultural interests (if you catch his drift).  Comrade Eleven’s ancestry, on the other hand, is rather different.  So one might expect that interaction between the two could be a bit strained, especially in light of President Park’s own ancestral baggage.

Pictures worth ten thousand words:

CN-SK_20130123_wide_angle

Does this mural show an actual location?

Does this mural show an actual location?

CN-SK_20130123_close-up

Priceless

Priceless

Xi_Jinping_20130123

 

When all is said and done, Lunghu would like to imagine what kind of wonders Comrade Eleven could work with a textbook anti-corruption campaign in Busan.  Perhaps only in the world of cinematic fantasy ….

 

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