A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

War & Noodles

Tomorrow I'm taking the subway into Seoul to meet up with Shane and head back to Lucy's to get some photos for the first installment of my column in Halifax magazine. Not that you really need an excuse for pie.

The whole North Korean missile test has been the focus of much media attention over here, but the people I've spoken to seem fairly ambivalent to the threat. "Just one more way to die," as one newpaper put it. It's not nihilism, just a simple rationalization. I suppose I can't understand the mentality of having spent the last few decades in the shadow of the world's most heavily armed border.

I had planned last weekend to tour the Demilitarized Zone, but in light of recent events I think I'll wait till things cool off. At least until they install the robot supressing fire machine guns. That's not a joke.

One story in the Korea Herald, one of the two big English dailies, cited a low cause for concern from the reputed tests, because there was no visible spike in the "ramen index." Essentially, you shouldn't be too worried until people rush out to the stores to stockpile instant noodles in preparation for a potential fallout— the Korean equivalent of the Cold War stockpiling of canned goods for the family bombshelter. For many it seems, possible nuclear warhead tips pointed at Seoul from across the DMZ, is no more cause for worry than the thousands of artillery barrels which have kept aim for the last 40 years.

I don't know if that should make me feel better or worse.

1 comment:

Shane said...

And so my planned trip to Pyeongyang goes right out the goddamned window.