There's a proverb in South Korea - "It's a man and his wife and children eat dog world" - which sums up the phlegmatic oriental attitude to life and all its woes. In the land which invented moveable type and the twenty quid microwave there's a deep and crispy fried poodle-type understanding of all the travails of human existence.
But now there's a new proverb on the lips of these squat and really quite ugly little people. "Life begins at forty - especially if you're fifty." To find out why these words have so much importance in the life of this utterly irrelevant little corner of somewhere not very near here we must delve deep into the politics of envy.
At the University of A-Seoul, Chemistry and Other Stuff Department, Professor Duk Char Sui has succeeded in cloning the cells of middle aged Koreans and creating little Korean-type embryos from which little Korean-type people could be raised. For the first time in human history over 30 cloned embryos are at this moment wriggling in test tubes, each a perfect replica of its Korean donor, dreaming of its first taste of Peke in lemon sauce and just dying to don overalls and grasp its first welding rod.
"Fact is," said a Korean Ministry of Copying official, "we've got so used to copying stuff - is there anything you make that we don't make cheaper? - it was only a matter of time before we got round to people. They might be welders now - but look out over there, we're on your case. We're small and oriental today, but in a few years' time we'll be tall, blonde, and in your nurseries. You have been warned. Who is this Al Kayeeda guy anyway?"