North Korea's New Leader Still a Mystery

February 2, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. dub (v.) 
[duhb] – to give or call someone or something another name or title
Example: The fireman was dubbed a hero after he saved many lives during the disaster.

2. bestow (v.) [bih-stoh] – to present something as a gift or an honor
Example: The trophy was bestowed upon the winner.

3. enigmatic (adj.) [en-ig-mat-ik, ee-nig-] – describes something that is mysterious or puzzling
Example: People describe him as enigmatic because he hardly speaks about himself.

4. adore (v.) [uh-dawr, uh-dohr] – to admire or like (someone or something) very much
Example: The audience adores the artist because of his consistently wonderful performance.

5. uncanny (adj.) [uhn-kan-ee] – extraordinary or beyond what is normal or expected
Example: The country’s rapid economic boom is uncanny.

Read the text below.

The death of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il has made the world turn its attention to his youngest son Kim Jong Un. While dubbed by the Worker's Party of Korea as the "great successor," the young man remains an enigmatic figure to the outside world.

Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s, is said to speak English, German and French. He also supposedly likes James Bond movies and basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Basketball meant the world to him in his teenage years, says Joao Micaelo, who claims to have known him as “Pak Un” when they were classmates in Switzerland between1998 to 2001. Micaelo remembers that Un was competitive and hated losing but was a good person overall. Micaelo is unsure, however, how Un might have changed after 9 years.

An analysis of WikiLeaks documents revealed that Kim Jong Un was dearest to his father. One report from former Japanese chef Kenji Fujimoto says the elder Kim adored his youngest son because of their uncanny likeness in image and personality. In 2009, Kim Jong Un served as the National Defense Commission chairman, and it became clear that he would most likely succeed his ailing father.

But experts find him too inexperienced for tough decisions. Kim Jong Un started "training for the job" only three years ago, whereas Kim Jong Il was trained by his father, Kim Il Sung, for 14 years. As such, the ruling political party will most likely follow the decision-making system established by Kim Jong Il. As the young Kim continues training for the job, his uncle Jang Song Thaek might be ruling behind the scenes.

With power bestowed on such a mysterious leader the world can only wait to see how his leadership and the future of North Korea develop.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

     Based on the description in the article, can you describe Kim Jong Un’s personality?
     Why do you think countries around the world want to know information on Kim Jong Un?

Discussion B

     What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having a young leader?
     How do you think can a young leader make up for his lack of years in training?


February 2, 2012