Initial findings Slaves to the System published

DPRK worker in Poland. Copyright Vice Media Germany.

DPRK worker in Poland. Copyright Vice Media Germany.

The initial findings of the Slaves to the System project have just been published at the LeidenAsiaCentre website. Peruse the report at your own risk, for it is a ‘grave provocation’ to the DPRK, an ‘act of hostility’ and an “attempt to damage the dignity” of the Supreme Leader. Judge for yourself and read the report. But first back up your hard drive, because if only one tenth of the stories about DPRK hackers is true, they are already listening in on your phone and watching you saving your precious bitcoins. 

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Podcast: Van wave naar wave (lang!)

Dit is de elfde aflevering van Bureau Breuker en het is een heel lange aflevering (35 minuten). Van wave naar wave is gebaseerd op een lezing die ik een tijd terug gaf voor Studium Generale in Leiden. Over K-pop, de Korean Wave, Fu Manchu en Bruce Lee. De term ‘bruceploitation’ valt, dus het is een goede podcast. Ja, er is hier wat mij betreft sprake van een causale relatie.

Hier is het reusachtig grote mp3-bestand (320 kbps):

Definitive program and conference poster

A3 Poster A State of Non-Legitimacy It took some doing, performing magic tricks with lecture halls, conjuring up discussants, contacting every media outlet in and outside Europe, and fighting off some dodgy characters with pronounced Hwanghae-do accents (no, not really), but the program for the conference has been finalized. It seems as if there’ll be lots of people, which is why we made sure to get the biggest lecture hall of Leiden University. And trust me, it is big. Big enough to accommodate the speakers, discussants, audience and the media. Haven’t heard from Pyongyang yet,

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Registration for A State of Non-Legitimacy is now open

You can now register for the conference by reading this text, liking it on FB, retweeting it 3,568 times and starting a fan club. Alternatively, you can scroll down the page, click the registration link and fill out the form. And be honest when you fill it out, please. You’re expected to own up to every bit of graft you ever received from Room 39 (we’re not interested in the cognac bottles though). And we know what’s going on in there, don’t forget. Oh, and it’s Chatham House Rule. Which we take seriously. If you are from the media and are looking for a interview let us know. We can’t promise anything (well, we could, but we’d have to break some promises probably, so we won’t), but we’ll do our best.

Provisional program for A State Of Non-Legitimacy

And here’s is the provisional program. We won’t release the names of the speakers (except Jang Jin-sung) until the conference starts and then it’s Chatham House Rule. Discussants have also been left out of this program for the time being. The elite exiles will be in conversation with discussants who are recognised scholars or practitioners in closely related fields of expertise. There’s enough to wet the appetite though, I imagine.

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On the serendipitous nature of idiosyncratic typo’s

81eEpttzBfL._SL1500_To err is not only human, it is absolutely crucial in the development of new ideas. No, I’m not referring to that obnoxiously necessary but tedious practice known as ‘trial-and-error’ according to which you do something, you fail and next time you do it better (or not and fail again). I am referring to the altogether more elegant notion of serendipitous erring when you make a mistake or do something rather stupid, but the outcome is unexpectedly and unfairly pleasant. Such as when yesterday when I was writing something, I typed ‘idiosyncretic’ instead of ‘idiosyncratic.’ It was late at night, so it took me a while to figure out what I had done wrong. Then I realized I liked the mistake: it speaks of a very personal notion of syncretism.

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The South Manchurian Railway and academia

As a Dutch nationalmansyu-s11 who braved the vagaries of Dutch public transportation daily (not anymore! Now I just cycle to the institute. Life is good, to quote what was once called Lucky Goldstar, yes, Lucky Goldstar – I wonder how many marketing millions went into trying the erase the memory of Lucky Goldstar, btw, but that is an entirely different matter), I probably have a tendency to underestimate (and severely so)

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New Focus published article on upcoming September conference in Leiden

My favourite North Korea-related website ( just carried an article on the September conference featuring seven of the most prominent NK exiles in Leiden. This of course means that I have become searchable on the New Focus website. I realize this is my vanity talking, but I really like it. Can’t help it. Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas, as my grandmother used to say, but there you go. (for the philologically inclined among you, this is from Ecclesiastes1:2.)

A few updates:

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