Dear Korean Promotional Brochure:
The Korean government has long been making crazy slogans and rolling out aggressive advertising campaigns promoting Korea as a tourist destination ("Visit Seoul Year 2010-2012" and "Happy Suwon" are two of many slogans). Bearing this in mind, I've long wondered why the DMZ tours to Panmumjeom aren't promoted more? It's something unique to Korea that no other country can offer and it seems to appeal to foreign tourists. Why not aggressively market Panmumjeom as a tourist destination only Korea can offer rather than... (I'll keep this polite and stop here).
From: A Long Time Expat (oops: them said please don't use real name.)
From: A continuously extended foreigner
Dear A Continuously extended foreigner:
Not since Dangun proudly passed through his mother's bearish birth canal, and emerged from her vagina to be King of Korea, and the World's Greatest Baby (that's right: even better than Hero, the Beatles Baby above!), has Korea been more proud to explain the latest step of our 5000 year plan for world domination of culture. True, it seems sometimes that our plans and especially slogans are birthed, implemented and abandoned almost weekly, but this is simply part of our attempt to be a world mecca of slogans. Presently, New York, the Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, is the world hub of slogans and catchphrases, but we only need to change our tourism slogan four more times and we will be the world hub number one. And don't forget: some of our slogans and plans have a LOT of staying power: for example, Visit Korea Year 2010-2012 is three times longer than Visit Japan Year 2010: our Visit Korea Year is world number one longest visit year! Even longer than "Visit North Korea Year 1971-June 1972: Kim Il Sung Added Seven Months Named After Himself To Our Calender, and Things Have Been Confusing Since Then"
You ask an interesting question about Panmunjom: you see, we actually have big plans for Panmunjom, planning to make it an inspired and sparkling mecca of dynamic hubs, if you will. There are a handful of things about Korea that our main tourism organizations try to, shall we say, downplay, for fear of bad international press... but after some advice from a failed stand-up comedian who is a friend of the Minister of Tourism, and therefore represents every foreigner in the world, we've decided to go the opposite way.
Starting next year, we will be adding buildings and features to the Panmunjom complex, to create the "Korea's Dirty Secret Theme Park" -- it will be fun for the whole family, and it will be an opportunity to explore all the aspects of Korea that the brochure writers wish you wouldn't notice.
The theme park will include everything the President, and Invest Korea don't want you to know or hear about, adapted into fun games for the whole family:
View the wares walking through a whoring district (with authentic purple lights, and real gangsters in black suits hanging around outside -- this one might mostly be fun only for daddy). Also: once an hour, watch the "talent" do the marital infidelity dance!
Fill up your tank at "Bow-Wow-Chow-Wow!" - our special cafeteria that features ONLY dog meat dishes. All dog meat was properly tenderized the authentic, traditional Korean way.
Try your luck at the insane netizens comment board: it's an interactive game where you can type comments about Korea into a simulated online forum: see how critical you can get before 1000 flames flood your inbox!
Play the Blood-money Simulator: commit a "crime" in this interactive game, and then find out how much blood money will get you off the hook! All amounts lower if the victim is a foreigner!
Watch the suicide counter's moving digits slowly climb, and play a fun choose your adventure game called "How will Suji Cope with her Shame for Failing the Suneung?" The traffic fatality counter is also worth a gander!
Tour the "Kimchi causes gastric diseases" research center
Attend regular seminars on distorting information for political purposes, hosted by political leftist Korean organizations.
Justify This! (also known as "I've lived a hard life") Try to convince a judge that it was consensual, and not date-rape. This game may be boring for some, as it's really, really easy.
Toss seniors out into the street, by repossessing their homes in old neighborhoods for redevelopment, or just by having no social programs for the aged and unable to work. For extra fun, hand them a cart to gather recycling materials while they leave their homes, crying!
Bother the white foreigner: how long can you chat with him before he realizes you're just trying to get a free English lesson and gets annoyed? Or: can you surreptitiously stare at the white girl's boobs, without her noticing?
See if you have the skills it takes to work in Korean government with National Assembly Virtual Reality Boxing
The Xenophobia Filter Game: select which foreign influences to fear, and which to tolerate. The game is over if you don't spit on the English teacher dating a slutty-looking Korean girl!
Walk through the "I'm Afraid of Negroes" house of horrors: a replica of an inner-city African-American neighborhood: which one will you stare at, lest he steal something, where there are five walking around? Don't choose wrong, or you'll have to pay admission twice! Also: don't call the police on Heinz Ward, or people will KNOW you're a racist!
Challenge yourself with "I'm Not A Russian Whore!" - try to get admitted into a hospital with blonde hair and blue eyes, at 3 a.m.!
Throw rocks at the police and set fire to police buses at Protest Plaza! Or desecrate American and Japanese flags with various items from our desecration kit, including pig guts, bird blood, human pinky fingers, and 100 000 bees!
Welcome Back the Adoptee, for real prizes: give flowers to the ones who "made good" and cynically try to get the others to say nice things about the country that didn't want them, in order to improve the country's brand! Plus, every month, winners are entered into a draw for their OWN unwanted Korean baby!
Grab a sledgehammer for the "Destroy Part of Korea's Heritage" play room, where adults and kids alike can destroy ceramics and parts of hanok houses, to make way for modern apartment buildings!
Rest your tired feet watching a slide-show photo exhibition of the factories built with the money Korea took for selling out the Comfort Women
Be a CEO with the Gender Gap Job Interview Simulator, where you get to refuse to hire or promote female applicants. Send pink slips to pregnant women! Promote male slackers! Force pretty young subordinates to do love-shots with you! Fire women during unprofitable quarters, while propping up male "breadwinners!"
Put on blinders and see if YOU can ignore the sounds and images of starving North Korean children, and dying prison camp victims, while you walk through the Sunshine Policy Parkway. If you ignore them and walk all 100 yards without feeling a pang of guilt, you'll win a discount on that new phone you wanted! Sweet!
Exploit a tour guide! We have Southeast Asian tour guides to help you find your way around the park. You can make any unreasonable demand of them, and if you're in the least dissatisfied with their performance, you can sign their deportation order yourself!
And remember: hocking, spitting, and smoking are always allowed, ANYWHERE on the premises!
Come in the morning, stay all day remember: you're not allowed to leave until the boss goes, so find your favorite exhibit, and look busy!
Have a complaint? Come to the customer service booth, where we'll correct you!
So stay tuned, Continuously Extended Foreigner! And if you can think of any other exhibits that belong in the Dirty Secret Theme Park, please add them in the comments: we're still in the planning stages, so we'll take all suggestions into consideration.
If you don't like what I wrote, please go to the comments as well, where I'll correct your wrong opinion of my post. You should learn more about my blog, or go home.