I'm The U.N. Undersecretary Your Mother Warned You About

Sha Zukang
Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

From the moment I showed up at the General Assembly, the other countries knew I was trouble. They took one look at my three- button navy suit jacket and my dark, searing eyes, and prayed to whatever God they knew up there to keep their daughters safe from me. I guess it was the way I just waltzed right in, pulled my collar up, looked Ol' Ban Ki-moon dead in the eyes and asked if we were gonna sit around talking like a bunch of nancies all day or do something about child slavery in Burma. "Just what are you the U.N. Undersecretary of?" they asked. "Well," I said, stubbing out a cigarette on my wingtips. "What do you got?"

See, I'm not like those other public servants who are dedicated to saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war and promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. I'm dangerous. I play by my own set of detailed bureaucratic procedures. I'm a rebel. A rogue. And I make the ladies swoon from sub-Saharan Africa to the shantytowns of the Mekong River Delta.


So don't call me Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang. Call me Daddy.

I came here to do two things: advance the cause of economic equality, and get some tail—and I'm all set on economic equality. Spend a couple General Assembly sessions with me and I can teach you things no air-dropped pamphlet decrying the dangers of unprotected sex in developing countries ever can. These special envoys, they've never seen anything like me. I'm a bona fide, high-ranking ambassador- and lady-killer. Give me just one meeting with the Brazilian Commission on Women's Rights, and I promise institutional sexism won't be the only thing they'll be moaning about all night.

Just don't get too close to me, 'cause you're gonna get burned. I don't go looking for trouble. Trouble has a way of finding me. And when it does, I grab trouble by the horns, compile all relevant data, draft a committee report, and deliver a summarized two-minute presentation to the whole assembly. I've done it before and I'll do it again.

I won't even blink.

When I was born, the doctor told my mama I had the devil in me. That the international community had better watch out so long as I'm still breathing. Man, they should have listened—just like you're going to listen right now. I come at you like a bolt of lightning and I don't stop till somebody calls a point of order and politely requests we move on to the next item. But I just go right ahead and finish my prepared remarks anyway, because nobody—no one—tells me what to do. I'm like a tumbleweed.  Just can't be held down. I'm a free spirit in a mixed-up, crazy world of straightlaced NGOs, and if you don't like it, I got four words for you: Kiss my diplomatic immunity.


I've always been a drifter. Left home when I was 18 and never looked back. I started running with a bad crowd, a group of ragtag political- science majors who were itching to take on the whole rotten world and didn't care who knew it. All those years on the open road of foreign policy may have closed off my wicked heart for good, but I learned a few things, and not just about Keynesian economics, either. I'm an expert in intellectual property, served as the director-general of the Department of Arms Control in China for four years, and I'm handy with a blade. So if you hear one thing, hear this:

If you ever cross me, I'll slash your damn tires and then cut your face. And if you think I won't, go on and ask former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan what happened the time he got cute and called me chicken in front of the whole Security Council. Or better yet, just look at his face. And if U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gives me any guff about international aid as a percentage of GDP, I'll send him back to Washington with a mouthful of bloody Chicklets. That's a promise.


You don't want to know what's behind these eyes. Nothing but pain, baby. Pain and anguish and an intimate knowledge of the positive effect microloans can have on the farming families of eastern Sudan. Dark things. Things you could never understand. So go on home before you get hurt. This is my world, and it's only getting worse.

What I'm trying to say, I guess, what all this is about—aw, hell. Yes. I urge you to vote yes to approve U.N. Resolution 1774 pertaining to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighboring States Between 1 January and 31 December 1994.


So sit on that.

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