With a bow to Polly’s, a couple of modest predictions for 2004Be forewarned. Polly’s, the bar near the top of Hooker Hill, seems to be putting more than soju and fruit juice in its kettle drinks. The latest downed by this columnist helped tune him in to prophetic visions, showing what’s to come in 2004. Here’s a taste:
The big loser in April’s National Assembly elections will be the conservative Grand National Party, and Choe Byung-yul will quit as its chief. To succeed Choe, the party, in a reformist mood, will elect Itaewon’s own Hong Suk-chon, the owner of the restaurant Our Place. Mr. Hong will then give the party a makeover themed “Queer eye for the right-wing guy.”
Mr. Hong’s rise will set off another spat between the Grand Nationals and the Roh Moo-hyun camp when reporters learn that Mr. Hong, like Mr. Roh, uses Botox. After some Roh-Hong sissy-fighting, Mr. Roh will vow to resign if his Botox-injection tally is more than a 10th of Mr. Hong’s.
In time for the elections, Hyundai Motor will roll out a new luxury car, the Assemblyman, to replace the Dynasty. An ad campaign will boast that the Assemblyman can carry up to 7 billion won ($6 million) in cash, or 2 billion more than its predecessor. The Grand National Party will then announce that all its members must get Class 1 driver’s licenses, permitting them to operate cash-laden delivery trucks.
Guus Hiddink, former coach of the national soccer team, will agree to coach Japan for the 2006 World Cup. But a week later, while here to shoot a commercial, he will be detained by authorities, who will remind him of the honorary citizenship he received last year and tell him that he must choose military service or jail.
The chief of the U.S. forces here, Leon J. LaPorte, will secretly invite George W. Bush to fly in for a surprise April 1 visit to the troops at the Yongsan base. Mr. Bush, plastic turkey in hand, will arrive at the front gate, then peek around ― to find that the GIs have decamped to Pyeongtaek.
The professor Song Du-yul ― now incarcerated because for years he was Pyeongyang’s Western-academia-installed shill ― will be offered freedom and citizenship if he signs a statement saying Kim Jong-il wears funny sunglasses. Mr. Song will refuse, calling the gesture undemocratic and anti-reunificatory.
The American diplomat John Bolton will again come to Seoul and call North Korea a hellish nightmare. In response, Pyeongyang will call him “Michael Bolton” ― one worse than its previous comeback, when it called him “human scum.”
Washington’s Proliferation Security Initiative will cut off Pyeongyang’s cash inflows from running narcotics. To compensate, Mr. Kim will begin selling his cheerleaders on eBay.
Mr. Kim will then be ousted in a peaceful army coup. North Koreans, though initially confused, will rejoice, and 200,000-odd raggedy souls will be freed from concentration camps. CNN will run tape of the ex-dictator undergoing a medical exam ― with hair depuffed and without elevator shoes ― showing that he is only 137 centimeters (4 feet 6 inches) tall. The local broadcaster KBS will refuse to broadcast the tape, calling it “unnecessarily humiliating for the Dear Leader.”
And KBS and other local media outlets, with the American troops gone from Yongsan, will celebrate the imminent collapse of Itaewon and its sleazy bars.
Undaunted, Polly’s will keep on pouring kettles.
by Mike Ferrin