All around the world, people celebrate New Year’s Day in different ways, most with a sense of optimism that a new year means a new chance at achieving their dreams. However, in North Korea it’s a time of enormous anxiety for the people. Reports out of China claim that North Korea’s New Year is rung in with a speech by Kim Jong-un, and by his order everyone in the country must commit the entire speech to memory.

According to reports, memorization is to be done at the workplace and workers are unable to return home until it’s done. Defectors from the country say that the pressure to remember the leader’s remarks in detail is considerable and residents feel that memorizing a speech around 10,900 characters long is enough to make them go insane.

If you haven’t seen the speech, it’s a humdinger. Well, actually the beginning is pretty good when Kim Jong-un briefly alludes to the “removal” of his uncle and other party members and when he boasts about North Korea’s tireless efforts to prevent a nuclear war from foreign powers. The ending is pretty dramatic too when he refers to the USA and South Korea as “war maniacs” who are “going frantic in their military exercises for a nuclear war against the North.”

However, the bulk of the 26 minute 28 second speech is the usual political mumbo-jumbo about infrastructure building that never seems to actually happen – just like in most countries. Spoiler alert: Kim Jong-un seems to believe animal husbandry, mushroom farming, and developing unmanned military equipment is the way to go for 2014.

Overall, it’s really not too dissimilar to other addresses made by heads of state, except the only person seen is Kim Jong-un and the applause starts and stops in meticulous unity. For coverage, Korean Central Television cuts to an exterior photograph of the building. However, they seem to forget to cut back until the very end.

It looks to be a royal pain to memorize, but the reports seem to suggest that citizens are simply tested on the material rather than having to recite the entire thing. Still, just imagine having to get tested on your own nation’s government addresses. I’d be the first sent to the forced labor camps for not knowing how pivotal a role the Trans-Pacific Partnership plays in Abenomics.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Record China via Toychan Net
Video: YouTube – Martyn Williams