Sunday, July 24, 2011

A glimpse into the daily lives of North Koreans

If the two Korea reunite, or North Korea opens up,
Pyongyang will make a great movie set for  future dystopia movies...
"Jean H. Lee, The Associated Press bureau chief in Seoul, and David Guttenfelder, AP's chief Asia photographer, have made numerous reporting trips to North Korea in recent years. They were granted unprecedented access on their latest journey to Pyongyang and areas outside the nation's showcase capital."

With AP and Reuters opening new bureaus in North Korea, the amount of coverage done in North Korea is increasing accordingly. This time, the AP bureau chief in Seoul, along with the chief photographer, went on a journey to North Korea - especially in the Pyongyang area, with 'unprecedented access'. 

Link is here :

For my thoughts, read more below.

The main point (or one of the major points) of this article is this : although North Korea is known as the most isolated nation in the world, the truth may be a little different. "We know less about North Korea than they know about us."  North Korea is rapidly changing. Their Juche (self-reliance) ideology is losing its significance as their own industries are failing, and Chinese goods and Korean goods are becoming the top choice for many. Restaurants, amusement parks, entertainment facilities, luxury housing are becoming more and more common. 

So Pyongyang is opening to the world in its own little way. But let's not forget that Pyongyang is the city of the selected few. These journalists ventured into Pyongyang with more privilege than most other foreign journalists get in North Korea : access to cellphones, internet, less supervision. I just felt like that was intended for a reason. North Korea is well-known for their propaganda, for their own citizens and foreigners alike. They want the world to see what North Korean government wants the world to see. Their foreign relations and politics have been known to swing around for their benefits. One time they may bomb you to get your attention, then offer peace for food/financial aid after. Perhaps the reason North Korea allowed AP and Reuters on their own soil is because they're trying to spread even more of that propaganda with an American brand sticker on it.

But I digress. What I really wanted to say is this : This is mostly 'a glimpse into the daily lives of Pyongyang citizens'. You're looking at the top social tier of a most bizarre Orwellian society on Earth. The lives of the majority don't even compare to Pyongyang citizens. What you hear and read often about North Korean famine, poverty, human rights abuse all and only happen to those common folks outside Pyongyang. You won't find amusement parks, luxury restaurants, luxurious apartments and like outside of Pyongyang. So I hope that readers (and a heck of a lot of people read this AP article, it was posted everywhere) didn't get the impression that such is the 'daily lives' of typical North Koreans. Because it isn't.

But besides that, I think that this article has a lot to contribute. Now that major news networks like AP and Reuters are opening centers inside the nation, more news will come out of this bottomless blackhole of a nation. I only hope that they don't turn into a puppet news source that get fed one-sided stories from the government. I will look forward to the honest (and brave, really. Remember the two Chinese American that got imprisoned in North Korea a while back?) journalists shedding some light on this dark nation. So much nonsense is going on in this place, and more people should know about it.

This post had a lot of rambling... Sorry folks, I didn't get much sleep last night. (I will have to come back later and re-read this article in case I entirely missed the point in my deliriousness. Heh)

AP article here :
Their photo gallery is here, check it out :

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