Satirical Song Causing Consternation

Park Sung Kook  |  2010-10-27 16:46
North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity (NKIS) says that a popular North Korean children’s song has been changed to include satirical references to the Kim family dynasty, and the new version is spreading in North Korea, unsettling the authorities.

NKIS, citing an inside source, revealed, “The lyrics of a children’s song satirizing Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun have been found in a classroom and the restroom at Osandeok Senior Middle School.”

The children’s song is a well-known one in South Korea called “Three Bears.”

The re-written lyrics of the song, NKIS claims, are as follows: “Three bears in a house, pocketing everything; grandpa bear, papa bear and baby bear. Grandpa Bear is fat, Papa Bear is fat, too, and Baby Bear is a doofus.”

Even though when singing the song the Kim family members are not named, a short glance reveals the song’s satirical nature, leading the authorities to reportedly treat it as a reactionary element and investigate its origin.

The real song, which is about a cute bear family with a chubby papa bear, a slim mommy bear and a cute baby bear in a house, has been popular since 2007, when a famous South Korean drama, “Full House,” in which main characters sing the song several times, reached North Korea.

Since then, it has been sung widely by children, including in kindergartens, since it does not contain any ideological element and has only simple, repetitious lyrics.

The NKIS report adds that people who sing the song now risk inadvertently getting punished.

According to NKIS, in one case students from Haebang Senior Middle School were caught and beaten overnight by National Security Agency agents because they sang the song to the tune of a guitar.

The NKIS source added, “The authorities are extremely sensitive because there have been several attempted arson cases and negative opinions directed at the Kim Jong Eun succession,” so, “For the time being, it is impossible to sing South Korean or other foreign songs.”

Kim, who escaped from North Korean in 2009, explained that people tend to sing songs to satirize their dire situation or thumb their noses at tough regulations by changing lyrics, a trend which is booming among teenagers. However, directly satirizing the Kim family is a much more recent phenomenon.

She introduced another example, “One of the representative Kim Jong Il idolization songs is ‘The rolling thunder at Jong Il Peak.’ One part says, ‘Jong Il Peak is rising,’ but children change it to ‘Jong Il Peak is collapsing,’ just for fun.”

She said even though parents try to stop children from singing like that, kids just enjoy it and cannot easily be stopped.
 
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