Weird Dream of Korean Peninsula 朝鮮半島怪夢

I have had a weird dream last night. And I wonder if my recent reading of another book on North Korea has something to do with my weird dream of the pathetic state.

I was a South Korean in the dream. Thanks to the Sunshine Policy advocated by President Kim Dae-jung, I was selected to join the Inter-Korean summit and see my aunt in Pyongyang, 200 kilometres north of Seoul. My mum gave me a photo which she took with my aunt, her younger sister, when they were studying at a kindergarten in Seoul. The photo has turned yellow but mum still keeps it as her treasure. In the dream, I didn’t know how many saddening stories of the split of the Korean Peninsula and families this photo represents; I was blurred and caught the bus sponsored by Hyundai Group. Along the journey, I saw the excitement and uproar of Seoul fading away, and I found myself in the midst of the tranquil Kaesong, the border city, after I had passed the heavy inspection of the North Korean soldiers at the other side of the 38th parallel north. I saw the splendidness of rivers and mountains in North Korea, and the scenery outside the bus captured my heart perfectly. However, I suddenly felt sad for this country which has failed to spare her people from hunger. In my dream, I was thinking that ours are two countries whose soil links together, but why our destinies are completely different from each other?

As both North and South Korea allowed families of both sides to meet each other for the first time in fifty years, the venue attracted many local and foreign reporters. There were many old folks at the venue, and as they reunited with their brothers and sisters who have separated for fifty years, they hugged and cried together. Some of them, having shed their tears, started to hold hands and sing the folk songs which became a craze in the Korean Peninsula before the Korean War. I was looking for my aunt while they shed happy tears.

In the dream I became a South Korean, and my aunt and her family the North Koreans. My young aunt brought her daughter, my little cousin girl, to the reunion. My aunt said that my little cousin is studying Grade 2 at an elementary school in Pyongyang. The school had a speech contest to commemorate great leader Kim Il-sung, and the theme was How to Implement the Juche Ideology of the Great Leader Kim Il-sung in Our Daily Life. And my cousin performed well and won a runner-up. My aunt also said that with her husband’s rank in the army, their family enjoys the priority to have more food ration, and even if the whole Pyongyang blacks out, their apartment still shines like Kim Il-sung square.

“The whole Pyongyang blacks out?” I was aghast.

“Yup. The whole country blacks out at night! And now we have electric supply only a night or two every week. Mind you, only places which commemorate the leaders enjoy stable power supply, such as Kim Il-sung square and Kim Jong-il statues,” said aunt.

Oh my goodness! Food and electricity are a matter of course! Why are they distributed according to class? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

My aunt told me that communist countries promote fairness through their propaganda, but they are instigating class struggle in practical. If you are from a lower class, you deserve the starvation and chilliness, and sometimes the government, at its free will, accuses you of having ‘tainted blood’.

I was even more curious than ever. Because the North Koreans sitting at the next table might report her to the party accusing her of humiliating the great leader and the nation’s pride. She should had been fearful of that.

She said the grandfathers and grandmothers sitting at next table are busy gathering with their old relatives to shed the tears of missing each other for five decades, who on earth cares about whatsoever great party and nation, whatsoever Juche ideology?

I nodded in my dream. And at this moment, my cell phone’s alarm rang and woke me up from my weird dream of the Korean Peninsula.

I had my breakfast and started working on my laptop. And I saw the three books on North Korea issues that I kept in my bookshelf. I thought of hunger, the disaster that these three books kept on mentioning pathetically. Next to my coffee mug I have some biscuits. All of sudden I felt that I am really lucky to have a cup of coffee and biscuits. As I was feeling lucky, at the same time, ironically, I felt pathetic for hundreds of thousand of North Korean souls who have died of famine. I stared into the sunshine outside the window, praying that today’s sunshine will warm North Korea’s spring and cultivate its farmland, and never let North Koreans die of starvation in the land which is already full of helplessness.

昨夜作了一個很奇怪的夢。不知道是不是因爲我最近又讀了一本關於朝鮮的書,所以連夢境都會跟朝鮮扯上關係。

在那夢境裏,我是一個韓國人,拜金大中總統的陽光政策所賜,我有幸從首爾北上距離兩百公里以外的平壤跟我的阿姨見面。媽媽給我一張照片,那是她跟阿姨小時候在首爾念幼稚園的時候拍的照片,一張經已發黃但媽媽依然當寶來珍藏的照片。夢裏的我,不知道這張照片的背後代表著多少個南北韓國土分裂、妻離子散的辛酸故事,只是迷迷糊糊地上了現代集團贊助的巴士,沿途望著逐漸遠去的首爾式喧鬧與塵囂,通過了站在三八北緯度線另一端的朝鮮軍人的重重檢查,耳聞邊界城市開城(Kaesong)的沈默。我在夢裏看見朝鮮山河的壯麗,這幅風景完全俘虜我的心,然而,我馬上又爲這個無法擺脫飢餓的國度感到悲哀。我在夢裏想著:我們是兩個國土完全銜接的國家,但爲何我們的命運竟然如此迥異?

南北韓相隔五十年之後首次允許兩國親人相聚,會場自然吸引了大批國內外記者。場內有很多老人,他們尋回五十年不見的親生兄弟姊妹,不禁相擁而泣,有些哭了沒多久就開始手牽手唱著韓戰前風靡朝鮮半島的民歌。我一邊看著這些畫面,一邊找我的阿姨。

可笑的是,雖然我在夢裏變成一個韓國人,我的阿姨和她家人變成朝鮮人,但我在夢裏卻鏡像般地看到自己的模樣,阿姨也依然是原本年輕的樣態,而我的表妹也是以一樣的樣子出現在夢中。阿姨說表妹在平壤的小學上二年級,上個月學校主辦懷念偉大領袖金日成的演講比賽,主題是「如何在日常生活中貫徹偉大領袖金日成的主體思想」,表妹表現優異,得了個亞軍。阿姨還說以她丈夫的軍人官階,他們一家人可以優先享有更多糧食分配,而且即使整個平壤停電了,他們的公寓依然像金日成廣場一樣燈火通明。

我大吃一驚:「整個平壤停電?」

阿姨答道:「對啊!到了晚上我們全國都停電啊!現在一個星期只有一兩個晚上有電,只有金日成廣場、金日成和金正日銅像這些紀念領袖的地方才會一直有電流供應啊!」

天啊!吃飯、用電本來就是天經地義的事情啊!怎麼都要靠階級來分配啊?我在夢裏覺得很莫名其妙。

阿姨說共產國家就是表面上跟你宣傳人人平等,但實際上都在玩階級鬥爭,你的階級低一點你就活該受罪捱餓受凍,有時候還可能被政府任意套上一個「沾污的血統」的罪名。

她這樣子說話我就更好奇了,她難道不怕被隔壁桌的朝鮮人聽到然後回家跟黨告狀,指控她污衊偉大領袖、有辱朝鮮國格嗎?

她說隔壁桌的阿公阿嬤忙著跟韓國老親人團聚共訴五十載相思之苦,哪有心情管他什麼偉大黨國、什麼主體思想啊?

我在夢裏也點了點頭,就在這時,手機鬧鐘響了,把我從朝鮮半島的怪夢中吵醒來了。

我迷迷糊糊地吃早餐,打開電腦開始工作,轉頭看見書架上我收藏的三本朝鮮專題的書。我想起三本書裏頭不斷重複苦訴的浩劫,那就是飢餓。我看著咖啡杯還有旁邊的餅乾,突然覺得自己擁有咖啡和餅乾是一件非常幸福的事,然而,當我覺得幸福之際,我又爲千千萬萬個因飢餓死去的朝鮮靈魂感到悲哀。我望向窗外的陽光,祈禱今天的陽光可以溫暖朝鮮的春天,可以滋養朝鮮的稻田,不讓朝鮮人活生生餓死在那一片經已佈滿無奈的土地。

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