Occurrences as strange and high profile as last year’s assassination of the former North Korean heir to the throne, Kim Jong-nam, thankfully don’t happen that often. A world war was started thanks to a similar assassination in the past. Kim Jong-nam’s death hasn’t led to anything worse like Franz Ferdinand’s assassination led to the first world war yet, but the story was still so interesting and so incredibly strange at the same time.

I remember reading about Kim Jong-nam’s death, then going down the rabbit hole of his back story. Once I found that he’d tried to visit Japan with a fake passport from the Dominican Republic with a Chinese alias which translated to “Fat Bear,” I knew I had to write the song.

The first three verses were written the day Kim Jong-nam died and as the story progressed I wrote more and more verses. “Fat Bear” also contains allusions and metaphors to similar happenings in history and literature. Writing the story reminded me of situations in The Cold War, World War I, and Hamlet. Then I began to think about what might be coming next and that’s when it gets a little frightening.

So instead of reporting on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam like any other news site, I’m going to take you through it, verse by verse. So queue up “Fat Bear” and dive into one of the strangest assassinations in history…

Verse 1:

Fat Bear said he was Dominican
But he didn’t know the capitol
Aiming to park it in Japan
To round out his penned travelogue
“No Mice!” said inky fingered custom men
After smudging the forgery
“Go west to find safe hibernation”
They said to the exiled royalty
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
Don’t poke the one with buttons
You might think his chair’s too big
But it’s the Little Bear who governs

The opening verse to “Fat Bear” is the beginning of Kim Jong-nam’s fall from grace. He was originally favored to take control of North Korea. In 2001, he tried to enter Japan to visit Disneyland with a fake passport. This passport had a Chinese alias which translated to “Fat Bear”.  Customs realized the passport was fake and the ordeal became a huge embarrassment to the royal North Korean family. Kim Jong-nam eventually lost favor to his younger, half-brother, Kim Jong-un (“the little bear”), and was exiled. The only time he reportedly returned to North Korea was for Kim Jong-il’s (his father) funeral.

Verse 2:

Fat Bear never had gated community
Or Mexican ice pick dreams
He found his solidarity
Writing op-eds against the regime
He said the cool-pack was warming
And it wouldn’t last a week
Then went south without a smear
To find a winning streak
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
Don’t poke the one with buttons
Maybe his bowl cut’s too high
But it’s the Little Bear who governs

Kim Jong-nam spoke out against North Korean affairs. He wanted to see his home country open up and said that if Kim Jong-un did not change the ways of North Korea, it would ultimately collapse. Even though Kim Jong-nam was opinionated on the direction of North Korea, he wanted no part in being a leader for change. He became known for being an international playboy.

Verse 3:

Fat Bear found his landing
At the same time as the test
And it was but two days later
He made his final rest
Two doves flew down to meet him
Almost like in Mexico
And the donning of the great red dress
But with poison drops to the ear hole
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
Don’t poke the one with buttons
For he’s making the world hear him now
As the Little Bear who governs

A few days before Kim Jong-nam’s death, Kim Jong-un had a missile test launch in North Korea. On February 13th, two women attacked Kim Jong-nam in a Malaysian airport, applying chemical agents on his face. He died on the way to the hospital.

Verse 4:

Fat Bear laid on the cooling board
While officials waited for a nod
And crowds looked in the front lawn
To see if it was where Little Bear had trod
One dove had laughing feathers
So loud it was like an apprehending ask
They clipped her wings and hoped for more
Loud laughs they could track
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
And the whole world is watching now
The Little Bear who governs

The Malaysian authorities ran tests to confirm that the body was in fact Kim Jong-nam. While they were doing this, police began their investigation and quickly apprehended one of the assassins who wore a shirt with “LOL” printed in large letters on the front which made her easy to track on all CCTV cameras in the airport.

Verse 5:

Fat Bear got confirmation
As his former neighbors released pages
Of a letter from the late defector
Asking Little Bear to spare him his rages
And a chat with a northern driver
With orders to give him the bump and go
So Little Bear wanted him back home
Before blood met microscope
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
Soon we will all be sure to know
It was the Little Bear who governs

A week or so later, the body was confirmed to be Kim Jong-nam and South Korea released a letter written by Kim Jong-nam a few years earlier addressed to his half-brother and ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, asking him to cease the open call for his assassination. South Korea also released an interrogation with a North Korean agent who attempted to kill Kim Jong-nam once before in a hit and run car accident. With this evidence made public, Kim Jong-un requested that the body of Kim Jong-nam be returned to North Korea before authorities could find the cause of his death. The Malaysian government declined.

Verse 6:

Fat Bear was covered in the north
As a bad case of the undercooked
They told inside jokes to the followers
Which could not be overlooked
Another dove was quickly captured
But she didn’t laugh as loud
Still the path was going north
Like it was trimmed down for the crowds
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
Will a knock on the big red door
Open to the Little Bear who governs?

The death of Kim Jong-nam was covered in North Korean media as a case of food poisoning from poorly cooked Malaysian meals. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, authorities were making progress capturing all of their suspects in the assassination. Still, all evidence pointed to North Korea as being responsible for the death of Kim Jong-nam.

Verse 7:

While the world mulled over Fat Bear
The first dove kept her laughing trend
With no known ties to the north
She said her goals were Kardashian
She thought there’d be more cameras
After Little Bear bought her groceries
But it was her break to be a star
So why question the budgetary?
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
The Little Bear pokes the secret wants
Behind those who don’t know that he governs

Finally, answers were being uncovered in this mystery. It was found that the two women assassins did not know that they were going to kill Kim Jong-nam. They thought it was a prank. North Korean agents recruited and tricked these two women to be the “stars” in a YouTube-like prank video series, where they would approach strangers and spray water on their face and run away. The two women were told they would eventually become famous and would be paid fortunes but they would have to put in the work and were paid very little. When their prank target was Kim Jong-nam, everything had went the same as their previous videos only their water had been replaced with a deadly chemical agent.

Verse 8:

Some tested the locks on the morgue
To snatch up Fat Bear’s remains
But they never could come as close
As they did when the drops were laid
Reports found a secret venom
Made by men in state sewn hazmat gowns
This dance was meant for more than kin
This was the shot heard all world round
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
The Little Bear has poked you back
To signal all those who now govern

The morgue where Kim Jong-nam’s body was being held had a failed break in attempt just before authorities announced that VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong-nam. VX nerve agent is a synthetic compound which is very dangerous and difficult to produce. Only governments have the means to make the deadly chemical and it was known previously that North Korea had a significant supply.

Verse 9:

The shambles of the south began to shine
After a presidential cult and cell phone ring
Streets were divided in support
Over their leader’s place in the fling
The scuffles broke out between them
As soon as the charges were pressed
And Little Bear watched it all with glee
He’d be happy to clean up the mess
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat bear
You poked the one with buttons
But were you a small move on the board
To the Little Bear who governs?

South Korea had its own political scandal at the time, President Park of South Korea was being investigated for being involved with and influenced by a Shamanistic cult. President Park was soon impeached and after she was removed from office, official charges were filed against her. This split the South Korean population and fights started between her supporters and those against her, making the tense time between South Korea and North Korea more unpredictable.

Verse 10:

Fat Bear was phased out of rotation
The more Little Bear was phased in
Aiming for the south and Japan
Neighbors outlined defense placement
The businessman decreed to his allied half
He’d place his fire and fury there
All the world had their fingers in now
Much too close to all the hardware
Oh Fat Bear, Oh Fat Bear
You poked the one with buttons
You’re looking like Franz Ferdinand
To all those who don’t now govern

The assassination of Kim Jong-nam was covered less in the media in favor of Kim Jong-un’s repeated missile tests along with stories of insults traded between him and President Trump. Russia and China started getting involved with tense situation. President Trump then famously said that if North Korea continued down their path, he would unleash the “fire and fury” of America. The tense situation continues today as one wrong move by either country could lead to a third world war…

Thanks for reading!

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