Lots of people have a tough time of it in Kim Jong-un’s North Korea: farmers, laborers, prisoners, meteorologists, artisans, housewives. But especially meteorologists.
This week, “Fatty the Third” took time out from murdering his hot wife’s old friends and having his hair shaved into a helmet, to stop by his nation’s “Hydro-meteorological Service,” the office that produces weather reports. But Kim’s visit was not the usual state propaganda event, where a smiling Kim puts his arms around a group of terrified young women with grins plastered into their faces. Little Kim was pissed off.
According to the state-run “newspaper,” Kim was miffed about incorrect weather forecasts, and didn’t seem to think that a lack of education, infrastructure, Internet, technology, interaction with the global scientific community, or funding should have anything to do with it.
He said that there are many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis… ”It is necessary to fundamentally improve the work of the Hydro-meteorological Service in order to scientifically clarify meteorological and climatic conditions and provide accurate data for weather forecast and meteorological and climatic information required by various fields of national economy in good time [sic].”
It is apparently unheard-of for North Korea’s leader to publicly criticize a government service, as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a perfect Socialist paradise where everyone is perfectly content and the streets flow with rice. Usually, disappointing public servants just disappear and are never seen again.
Apparently, Kim “recommended” that the service’s equipment be modernized, to which the meteorologists undoubtedly responded, “okay, please modernize our equipment.” Then “also can we have some rice? We’re starving.”
As Vice points out, Kim is far more interested in amusement parks than in actual necessary government services. Two years ago he toured the Mangdyongdae Funfair and called it “pathetic,” apparently surprised that fairs are less fun when everyone is starving and has soldiers pointing guns at them. The government said the park should “glorify forever Kim Jong-un’s leadership exploits,” so these are people who really understand what “fun” is all about.
Kim also visited a water slide factory. Yes, North Korea has a water slide factory. Seventy percent of North Korean children under six years old are chronically and dangerously malnourished, but there’s a water slide factory. It’s not surprising; Kim Jong-un spent a reported $646 million on “cosmetics, handbags, leather products, watches, electronics, cars, and top-shelf alcohol” in 2012 alone, according to the recent United Nations human rights report. So I guess he also likes water slides.
And you can’t plan a day at the water park if you don’t know if it’s sunny or not!