Something is Missing Here

I read North Korean media so you don’t have to. And I noticed something in some photos posted on the Rodong Shinmung’s webpage for the Supreme Leader’s Activities. These are the lede photos for the last three entries:

Kim Jong Un Provides Field Guidance to Bio-technical Institute under KPA Unit (06 June 2015)

And this

Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Historic Site Associated with Fatherland Liberation War (09 June 2015)
Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Historic Site Associated with Fatherland Liberation War (09 June 2015)

And this

Kim Jong Un Inspects Anti-Aircraft Artillery Academy (13 June 2015)
Kim Jong Un Inspects Anti-Aircraft Artillery Academy (13 June 2015)

Where’s his flair? You know, the big red flag pin he wears over his his heart bearing the images of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il? I know he’s worn that pin with his white coat before, such as when he visited the world’s happiest (and best fed, apparently) industrial lubricants factory:


So, in this series of pictures (which were probably all taken on the same day), he’s missing that pin. Where is it? Why isn’t he wearing it? Was it an accident or an oversight (“Oh, shit, Dear Leader, I think you left it on your dresser this morning…”) or is this on purpose?

UPDATE: In this series of photos dated 15 June, Kim Jong Un is still without his flair. Now, if anyone in North Korea can go without, it would be him. But still…

I have no answers, and I won’t pretend to have any either. When it comes to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the only media and sources I trust are those in or from the DPRK itself. Because it’s possible to read between the lines — and deconstruct the images — without speculating too much. But this is interesting.

Someone’s clearly not interested in expressing himself…

One thought on “Something is Missing Here

  1. I am very glad that you keep up on N Korean affairs – it’s something which I know is important, but I just can’t bring myself to pay attention. I do follow Israeli politics, in a dilettantish sort of way, because I know a bit of the history, and the politicians are highly entertaining – no American since Clinton has provided such colorful episodes. They are sort of like the British parliament used to be back when the Brits were the best debaters in the world and the most outrageous eccentrics, and there were no inhibitions about expressing contempt for one another in highly creative ways. Now the Brits still insult one another, but they are dull and spiritless in doing so, because they all now profit from the same corruptions in the same way, so there are no essential differences. Israeli parties, by contrast, are a kaleidoscope of ever-shifting alliances among people who genuinely despise each other, which is actually healthier for the country, because someone is always speaking the truth, if you can just figure out who it is.

    I would like to follow the Greeks and the Scots, because I love the traditional music of both nations, but as far as I can tell all Scots in government tell the truth but in dull ways, and all Greek politicians hide the truth and probably don’t even care much what it is. Both are traditionally poor nations of little consequence in themselves, but they both produce very interesting people – but the latter seldom go into politics.

    My son-in-law is of Korean descent via his mother, but I don’t think he is very interested in the country or in politics. His parents are, and I heard much interesting talk about Korean culture the one time I visited (they live in the far south of Indiana about 75 miles away and I don’t travel well any more). This was around the time of the “gangnam style” music video. My grandson was turning one year old, and there was a traditional ceremony in which he was dressed like a little emperor, and certain objects were placed in front of him, to see which he would pick up first – an indication, perhaps, of the course his life would take. I can’t remember the result (along with much else which happens in my life). But now he is 3-and-a-half and already has a passion for math. He pesters his big sister (a freshman in high school) to tell him about the properties of circles and multiplication and even Venn diagrams. My wife and daughter are somewhat math-phobic (my wife far more so), but I feel like the dad who is a fanatical football fan whose kid is already built like a pro linebacker in junior high. Too bad for him, of course, if the kid comes to hate football.


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