Dear Leader: Advice from the Heart and Mind of Kim Jong-un by Peter Dabbene

What if an oppressive dictator wrote an agony aunt column, asks Peter Dabbene in this epistolary comedy.

Image generated with OpenAI
In a special joint venture of the North Korean government and several global news agencies, this feature translates the advice column of the man-god god-man who says he does everything perfectly, as Kim Jong-un answers questions from supplicants in North Korea and around the world about love, life, and happiness.

* As a condition of this arrangement, all text was subject to final editing by North Korean authorities, including changing the names of those seeking advice in order to protect their privacy. In the interest of readability, all further indications of editing have been removed.

Dear Dear Leader,

I am a 13 year old girl, in love with a boy who doesn't seem to know I exist. I've tried passing notes, but he never talks to me, and I don't know how to break the ice. Can you help?


Confused Girl Who Does Not Know How To Break The Ice

Hey Confused Girl, take a deep breath and relax - we are all comrades here, and "Dear Leader" was my father! We can keep it casual... just call me Great Leader, Supreme Leader, or Comrade Supreme Leader. I will forgive your other silly mistake, too - as a God on Earth, of course I can help. The question is, will I? And lucky for you, yes, I will, because I am a generous God you should love to the exclusion of anything else, and don't you forget it.

Confused Girl, if you are truly interested in breaking ice, I can arrange a stay at a labor camp in the cold northern reaches of my country. Ha ha, just kidding! Getting attention can be difficult; sometimes you can use humor, as I just did, but when I really want to engage in conversation with someone who seems shy, unwilling, or uninterested, I like to launch a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. Next thing you know, my phone is ringing off the hook!

I know you probably do not have access to such weaponry. (If you do have a source, please let me know, I am always looking to buy and launch more!) But a flaming torch or Molotov Cocktail, thrown toward the object of your desire, can also get the young comrade to look your way. If he still resists conversation, just threaten his family and friends, and he will be forced to meet with you. Once you are together, you can chalk it up to a silly misunderstanding on his part. Many years from now, you will have many hearty laughs about the entire experience.

Dear General Doctor,

I am sick of my family. They are incredibly annoying, and constantly get in the way of me living my life. For example, just the other day, my aunt asked me to cancel my plans to go shopping with my girlfriends because she wanted to sew a dress together. What could I say? I canceled my plans and sewed with her. My family isn't all bad, but there are a few of them who seem to give me nothing but headaches. How should I deal with this?


Woman Bothered By Humans Who Share Her DNA

Dear Bothered Woman,

I am a cool and chill kind of leader, and I understand that my many triumphant titles can be confusing, so I will be merciful regarding your improper use. I was once merely the General of the Korean People's Army, but I have since pulled myself up by my bootstraps and, through the hard work of observing rocket launches and brainstorming better titles, earned the rank of Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And while I am General Secretary of the Workers' Party and I do hold an Honorary Doctorate in Economics from HELP University in Malaysia, as well as a Correspondence Doctorate in Secretarial Studies from the Mavis Beacon typing school in the USA, I do not like to brag about such achievements. Thus, I would request that in future correspondence, you simply address me as Peerlessly Great Man, Symbol of the Mightiness of Our Country, Banner of All Victory and Glory. You may, if you so choose, add the title, "Master of Modesty and Mercy." Failure to so choose would be inadvisable in any context.

Since I am able to read minds, your letter was, of course, unnecessary. We all know that dealing with family members can be difficult, and it is best to avoid confrontation whenever possible. Therefore, it is often useful to involve an intermediary, someone who can help to settle your disputes without the ugliness of a face-to-face shouting match. Through the right intermediary, problems can be solved with a minimum of bother to you.

I use several highly skilled intermediaries, and in a situation involving insolent or inconvenient family members like your aunt, I would simply instruct my intermediaries to "make her disappear." Do you have people who can do that? If not, you should find some; it eliminates much of the stress of complicated familial relationships. Depending on your level of frustration, you can also consider taking a more direct hand, such as feeding a troublesome family member to a hundred starving dogs; I can tell you from experience that this can be quite cathartic. As a bonus, you may find, as I did, that the rest of your family acts much nicer toward you after such an example has been made. Good luck!

Dear Ultimate Sexy Power In The Universe,

I am an accomplished man in my 40s who has gained a position of respect in my community. I have a wife, children, big house, and yet somehow I'm not satisfied. The problem is that my father was also a respected member of the community, and I feel like nothing I do measures up to what he did. People are always comparing us, and I can't take it anymore. What should I do?


Loving But Jealous Son of Great Imperious Community Leader

Dear Loving But Jealous Son,

Finally, someone who understands the title creation process! I enjoyed your salutation, and will adopt it as yet another highly accurate appellation for myself.

In the same way you are able to comprehend my greatness, I am able to understand your feelings in this matter. A father whose legacy is hard to live up to? Tell me about it! Was your father's birth marked by a new star and a double rainbow? Did your father bowl a perfect game the first time he played, or hit 11 holes-in-one the first and only time he ever went golfing? Did your father invent "double bread with meat"?

Sure, I could drive at age 3 and win yacht races at 9, but my father didn't urinate or defecate! I have tried to model such Godlike behavior, but have only succeeded in ruining many pairs of pants. I travel with a personal potty, which aside from being comfortable, also defies those who would attempt to steal my sacred turds and golden leakage. But as cool as that is, I must admit there is a fundamental difference between my father's public image and mine.

The solution is to be yourself! You cannot erase your father's identity, but you can create a different one for yourself. Seek to thrive in areas that he did not explore. For example, in the coming months, I plan to further forge my own identity by excelling at eating competitions, staring contests, and worm charming. Be warned, however: you might not want to completely abandon your former identity. I have gone undercover for competitions before, and without my dozen bodyguards present to protect me and verify my phenomenal performances, the results of my efforts have been less than spectacular, a fact that I attribute to bad luck, cheating, and the psychological terrorism of the United States government.

Dear Newly Svelte and Well-Coiffed Beacon of Light In The World,

I am an overweight man, looking to improve my attractiveness, and my chances with the ladies. My roommate is a chef and always brings home delicious leftovers, and it's been having a negative effect on my health and appearance. I saw your recent success in losing weight and wondered if you'd offer a few tips? Also, I like your new haircut.


Overweight Man Admiring Of Magnificent Leader's Body and Appearance (But Not In A Decadent Western Way)

Dear Overweight Admiring Man,

You are very observant. Years ago, I intentionally forced myself to become overweight so that I could one day show my people how easy it is to drop excess pounds when one has the right mindset.

The model for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is Juche, or self-reliance, but when it comes to weight loss, self-discipline can be difficult, so do not be ashamed to seek the assistance of others to meet your goals. For example, if you cannot resist the food your friend brings home, irritate him and the restaurant that employs him until they are "fed up" and impose sanctions on you, which will restrict your ability to eat as effectively as gastric banding.

When you do eat, the key is to regulate portions. When China and other countries provide food to my people, I carefully regulate the portions to keep my comrades from getting fat. Some outsiders call this "famine," but it is actually The Greatest Diet Ever Conceived. There is no better way to achieve quick, dramatic, permanent weight loss.

Finally, yes, I am youngish and hip to being square, as you can tell from my choice in haircuts. As you know from the smash hit 2004 television program Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle, long hair negatively affects human intelligence by depriving the rest of the body of nutrients, so one must be careful to monitor hair growth closely. You cannot go wrong with any of the 15 state-approved hairstyles for men, but you can go very wrong if you choose to imitate my own, in which case you will be immediately sent to prison.

Good luck with your Socialist Lifestyle Makeover!

Dear Unique, Ubiquitous, and Uplifting Ultraleader,

A few years ago, I met a man with whom I had much in common. We had an on-again, off-again relationship, and at one point he told me he loved me, but in the months and years that followed, he contacted me less and less, and I haven't heard from him in over a year. Should I hold on to my dreams of what might have been, and perhaps still could be? Or am I deluding myself? Maybe the best thing is simply move on with my life? Please advise.


Distracted By Love To The Point Of Affecting Outlook Toward Life In Glorious Socialist Country

Dear Distracted By Love,

Another score on the salutation! I will be known not merely as "Supreme Leader," but also "Ultraleader," from this moment hence.

Being omniscient, I know of what you speak - love is tricky, like the United States and its allies. I, your Glorious Ultraleader, face a similar situation in my own life. A few years ago, I met an older blond man with whom I had a powerful connection. He said many kind things, but could be devastatingly cruel as well. Although I have sterilized and sent many short people to remote villages to allow for the breeding of taller comrades in society, it is not someone's fault if he is "little," nor is he worthy of abuse just because he enjoys shooting rockets.

Ours was a long-distance relationship, which added to its complications, but we wrote to each other regularly. Our governments were at odds, and our fate sometimes seemed as star-crossed as that of the lovers in that famous cautionary tale about living in a capitalist society, Romeo and Juliet. I consoled myself by listening to my favorite music group, Moranbong Band - especially their love songs like "I Love Pyongyang," "I Love My Country Best," and "We Love the Party Flag," along with deeply moving compositions about pledging one's heart to a special person, such as "Our Beloved Leader" and "We Will Follow You Only."

But our feelings grew, and one day the target of my affections announced our relationship in public. "He wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters," he told his friends about me. And I will never forget his next words: "We fell in love."

Even though I did not write 1500 books in 3 years, as my father did (along with 6 operas that are considered better than any in the history of music), I am no slouch, and in my letters to my fair-haired love, I conjured my most romantic and poetic thoughts, marking the days since our last rendezvous: "It has been 200 days [but] even now I cannot forget that moment of history when I firmly held Your Excellency's hand at the beautiful and sacred location as the whole world watched."

Separation was painful, and our visits together always too short, but when we were reunited, it was magical, as I told him in another letter: "Like the brief time we had together a year ago in Singapore, every minute we shared 103 days ago in Hanoi was also a moment of glory that remains a precious memory."

Alas, the frequency and passion of our meetings faded, and my thoughts spiraled: Was I not enough for him? Had I somehow bruised his ego, which was as delicate and fragile as a Fabergé egg?

Distracted By Love, I must tell you that my "Pleasure Squad" did its best to cheer me up, but when one finds true love, one must be faithful to it. You must wait for the call of your own true love, as I patiently await mine. It could be a while, but for some reason, 2024 seems like it might bring love again.


  1. Peter, this is wonderfully, satirical and charming. Given the way things are going these days, this was a terrific, first thing in the morning read. And, like all great stories, there’s an arc here, and a natural progression to an inevitable and surprising ending. The pace, energy and rhythm here is terrific. You could have gone way over the top with some of the language, but there’s just enough here for some terrific laughs, without overdoing it. Very well crafted and thanks for sharing.
    Regards, David Lanvert

  2. What wonderful satire!
    I want a “socialist lifestyle makeover”...
    If this were a regular column in my local paper, I’d read it religiously.
    Excellent work!

  3. I hope that this is reprinted in Korea's "Most Grande Tall Leader Who Exceeds Roman Emperors' And Mongol Leaders' Achievements Daily Exalted Gold Journal". Amazon Worst Seller Doug

  4. This satire had me laughing out loud on the train. Well done, Peter.

  5. Peter Dabbene’s “epistolary” comedy was a real treat. Taking for granted the N. Korean Leader’s excessive vanity, Peter has a good time poking fun at Kim Jung-un, advice seekers and even the 45th president. I once considered doing an advice-column parody myself and would have, could I have come up with something as winsome and funny as this. Good job, Peter!