North Korea has banned the use of a sarcastic phrase popularized by the South Korean drama series, Crash Landing on You after it irked its supreme leader Kim Jong Un. The nation-wide crackdown on the sarcastic phrase, about 'General', came after the authorities found it to be disrespectful towards their dictator.
The South Korean romantic drama series that has topped the popularity charts, revolves around the relationship between a rich South Korean heiress named Yoon Se Ri and a North Korean army officer named Ri Jung Hyuk. The North Korean officer meets the South Korean lady at the borderline after she accidentally lands there. When he learns about the paragliding accident, he tries to protect her and gradually falls in love with her.
Already at loggerheads with South Korea, the hermit kingdom, who often blames its neighbors for any cultural ruffle, has launched country-wide elimination of South Korean cultural influences.
North Koreans Using 'Are You a General or What?' Phrase to Mock Kim?
According to Radio Free Asia, one of the phrases used in the series was aimed at a military general. The phrase, when translated to English went as, 'Are you the general?' RFA reported that in its international release, the phrase was translated as 'Are you a general or what?
However, neither translation captures the sarcastic nuance of the phrase, which is closer to 'Who died and made you the general?' or 'You think you're the general or something?' in Korean, reported Daily Mail.
The North Korean tyrant often referred informally as General by the authorities, appears to have taken an offense of the sarcastic phrase. An unnamed source told RFA, that people were starting to quote lines from popular South Korean dramas which prompted the law enforcement agencies to launch an investigation.
"The Security Department and the police actually launched an investigation into 'You think you're the general or something?' trying to find where it came from. They were not aware of the meaning, but since the end of last year, they have been cracking down on people using the phrase," revealed the source, a resident of North Hamgyong province, adding that the phrase is now being regularly used by the North Koreans.
Another undisclosed resident of South Pyongan province also said that the phrase is being widely used by people in his area. "In the past, people held the utmost respect for the highest dignity, but not anymore. Now people use these kinds of South Korean phrases more often than using the term 'highest dignity' in their daily lives," said the source.
NK Authorities Investigating Sources for Entry of South Korean Dramas
NK authorities are also investigating the entry of South Korean media in the hermit kingdom. The citizens will not only face punishment for sharing 'underground' content such as movies or music but also for using South Korean spelling or colloquialisms in speech and texts, reported RFA.
"Law enforcement is trying to discover the distribution channels of video, CDs and SD cards containing South Korean dramas like 'Crash Landing on You,' but they are one step behind, "Before they are investigated, people are able to hide or discard their video records before they are investigated. But the slang and sarcasm they learned from these South Korean shows remain in their minds," added the source.
In a report, last month, RFA said that authorities were targeting the North Korean youth during a crackdown for sharing illegal content on their smartphones. In its report, RFA quoted sources stating that the youth would not only be punished for sharing South Korean movies or underground music, but also for texting to each other using South Korean spellings or slang.