It is surprising how many people ask “Is he from North Korea or South Korea?” You’d think with Kim Jong Il dying last year and North Korea being in the news that people would understand the big differences between North Korea and South Korea. Unfortunately many don’t…
I’m also often shocked at how many people don’t realise that South Korea is a modern first world country and North Korea is a horrible communist regime that it is very hard to escape from.
The images we usually get of North Koreans show them as sad, starving and oppressed or being incredibly fake happy but always dressed in those dour grey or green ill fitted clothes. When I say my husband is from Korea is that what they are picturing in their mind?
Probably the answer is that they haven’t thought about it at all. So the conversation usually goes like this:
Me: My husband is from Korea so we (blah blah, whatever the reason for talking about him is).
Other person: Korea eh? I love the TV show MASH*. (Or some other MASH reference).
Me: Um… yeah.
Other person: Is he from North or South Korea?
Me:………..from South Korea
At this point I tend to feel really embarrassed for the person. I don’t know why because they generally have no idea at how ignorant they sound. But still I’ll rush on to hide the awkwardness.
Me: Oh, it is really hard to get out of North Korea because of the regime. Koreans you see here are always South Koreans.
Other person: Yeah, I really liked MASH.
Me: (just smiling and nodding)
I’ve also been asked whether North Koreans are allowed to leave for a holiday. Yes… the average North Korean holidays in Hawaii all the time…
So because people ask is he from North Korea or South Korea they must be thinking there is the possibility he is from the North right?**
What are they thinking? Do they think he is a North Korean spy or something? And if he is, do they think I’m completely oblivious and don’t know that he is?
That I’m all like this?
Do they think our relationship is like this?
I must be pretty clueless to not notice the camouflage clothes and binoculars…
Of course he doesn’t really look like that. He looks more like this:
EXACTLY like that! That drawing is the spitting image of him I swear.
*Actually I do love MASH too.
**Perhaps to be fair there is a TINY TINY chance that my husband could be from North Korea. Those that do escape get rehabilitated in South Korea and can actually travel to countries like Australia eventually. However it’s a very small number who do and they seem to hide that they are from North Korea because of the stigma attached to it. Or he could really be a North Korean spy. Hmm…