Thanks for the timing, Kim Jong-Il

I’m not sure if this is Pit-worthy, but I’m in a bad mood, so it ought to fit in here.

I also mentioned this in passing in another thread, so I’m being a bit repetitive here, but I selfishly decided that this deserved its own thread. I anticipate no responses, since I don’t think anyone has any reason to care, so I think of this more as a venting exercise than anything else.

A couple of hours ago, I dropped off my wife at the airport. She’s going to South Korea to visit her father who is quite ill and who probably won’t be alive much longer. I am unable to join her because of my work. Before I go on, I should mention that I have a morbid fear of any situation that mixes my loved ones with airplanes. I have no fear of flying, in that I’m not nervous if I am in an airplane. I only get nervous when family members fly. Please note that I never said that any of this was rational. All this to say that the very fact that my wife is taking this long trip from Montreal to Seoul (or more precisely, Montreal to Toronto to Seoul) is making me nervous.

So, when I woke up at 4 this morning to get ready to drop her off, I was already nervous. I took a look at the news on my phone and quickly saw headlines announcing the death of Kim Jong-Il. I then noticed lines like “South Korean military on high alert” and “risk of attack”. I then mentioned his passing to my wife, and she did not take this as good news at all. No, she’s not a member of the KJI Fan Club or anything of the sort (though she doesn’t seem to have anything in particular against the guy), but she’s not happy at all about going to Korea during a period of instability.

Whenever news media report threats made by Kim Jong-Il, my wife tends to dismiss these reports as though they were something that sits somewhere between sensationalism and propaganda. So, seeing her get visibly nervous at the news of the dictator’s passing was a bit unexpected. If anything, I expected her to brush it off and tell me that it would be “business as usual” in South Korea, but that wasn’t her reaction at all. Granted, she was already stressed and tired due to a night of getting ready for this trip, but repeating this to myself isn’t helping as much as it should. I also keep telling myself that the risk of an attack is actually quite low, but that’s not helping either.

So, now I’m twice as nervous as I was expecting to be in the first place, and I was expecting to be very nervous for the next 18 to 20 hours. Fuck.

All right, I apologize to those of you who expected a rant. Nothing to see here. I just thought I’d feel better if I made a post about it. I was wrong.

You’ll be OK. She’ll be OK.

Thank you. I’m sure we will be, but that’s just the rational part of me talking. The irrational part of me has that part of me in a corner and is throwing some nasty punches to the ribs.

No offense, but I’ve reported the thread for a move to MPSIMS. And I hope things work out OK for you and your wife.

None taken. It probably belongs there. I just started this thing thinking I was going to use a lot more MPSIMS-inappropriate language than I did. As a matter of fact, I threw the word “fuck” in there at the end in an effort to disguise my whiny post as a rant. And thank you.

You can swear in MPSIMS if you want. In fact, I encourage it. :slight_smile:

That’s good to know. :slight_smile:

I agree, everything will be okay.

There are 47.8 million people in South Korea. Your wife is just one in a crowd of 47.8 million people living their everyday lives. Even if something did happen, the chances of your wife being affected would be minuscule.

For comparison, about 33,000 US troops died over three years in the Korean War. That’s a hot, active war over the course of years.

She will be fine.

The old man was old and sick. His death isn’t a surprise- heck, people have been positing for years that he was probably already dead. He has a plan for succession. If that goes smoothly, the kid certainly isn’t going to suddenly decide to go full-on nuclear war for no reason. At worst, he’ll do some symbolic stuff to throw his weight around, like he has been doing. If the succession doesn’t go well, people will be too busy worrying about that to be looking towards the outside. Nobody starts a war when they are planning a coup.

For the next few weeks, 47.8 million will be waking up, eating breakfast, showering, trudging off to work, going home, watching some TV, taking a shower, and going to bed. Your wife will be among those.

She’ll be fine.


Mind you, my fear isn’t so much that she’d be killed in a war (although at my most irrational, that sort of scenario does cross my mind), as that she will end up being stuck there because they’ll close down the airports and go into some sort of state of emergency.

I know all this is very unlikely to happen, but I do tend to get paranoid when family members take airplanes, so I’m not at my most level-headed at the moment.

If something were to happen, she should probably look up the location of the appropriate embassy…I’m guessing Canadian, since you mention flying from Toronto. One of the things embassies do is help travelers get out of the country in emergencies.

She isn’t a Canadian citizen. I’m not sure how much assistance they would give to a Canadian resident who isn’t a citizen. Then again, that would probably be the best place to look in a crunch.

Where is she a citizen? Any embassy would help one of its’ citizens get out of the country, even if the end stop was elsewhere. (Or at least issue travel advisories.)

She’s a citizen of South Korea, but a Canadian resident.

If you are worried about flights being grounded, it’s probably more likely that flights would be grounded due to heavy snows than to a state of emergency. And the process would probably be pretty much the same- you hang out in the airport a bit, drink a lot of coffee, get mildly frustrated and eventually get put on a flight.

Anyway, countries generally don’t shut down civil air travel, even when things get gnarly. The US did for a few days after 9/11, but that was an event that was directly tied to civil air travel. Other than that, commercial flights have happily rolled out of places like Kabul, Cairo and Mogadishu even when there is active full on fighting. Civil air is just too important to the economy to shut down. I can’t find any real cases beyond 9/11, and events related to strikes or weather.

I was in Hawai’i when air travel was shut down after 9/11. I spent a few days watching TV and keeping in touch with the airlines until I knew when my flight had been rescheduled to. It was obnoxious- I almost missed the start of the academic year at school. But it was less obnoxious than being stranded due to weather last year during holiday travel- at least in a planned shutdown they know when they are going to open things back up and plan for it.

I just wanted you to know I have the exact same irrational fear. And part of me always tries to rationalize it by thinking, “Maybe this time I’m psychic and the plane is going to go down, and I’m squashing my supernatural warning system!!” (do you do that too?).

Anyway, the plane never goes down (duh), and they always come home safe, and so will she. But, I understand how this must be upsetting you. You have all my sympathy.

Well, when I was in Korea myself in 2000-2001, a friend of mine was waiting for his Congolese wife to come to Korea, but airports in Congo had been shut down due to unrest in the area. Granted, Congo probably depends a lot less on civil air than Korea does.

Thanks for being reasonable with me. A dose of sanity is pretty much what I need.

Well, I’m too much of a hardcore skeptic to accept the idea that I’m psychic. If I were to predict something accurately, I’d probably be annoyed with myself for scoring a point for believers and do my best to deny it even happened.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets like this, though.

LOL, I’m a skeptic too. I think that’s what keeps it under control, and why I don’t rush through the airport yelling, “The plane is going to go down!! Get off the plane!”

Haha! Yeah, I know how you feel. :slight_smile:

Well, a transition of power is genuinely a bit more dangerous than Kim Jong-Il blusting for the 379th time. That said, I don’t expect her to run into any problems other than those resulting from heightened security.