Sunday, December 4, 2011

More pictures : Life in North Korea

Source : North Korea Real Talk by Joo Sung-ha
These pictures were posted on the North Korea RT blog, with commentaries by a defector from North Korea.

On top of the entrance to the building, it says : "Voting Booth"
1. Voting in North Korea is only a formality, as the results are predetermined before the election. Elections in North Korea takes place in schools and local offices, and they put together a dance festival and whatnot to create a joyous atmosphere for the event. Everybody must participate in voting. But nobody comes in for the sake of voting; instead, they come to enjoy the show like above. When voting begins, everyone is assigned a number and name. Then you walk in with the voting paper government agent gives you, and there are two agents guarding the door, and two more guarding the voting box. There is no real voting booth, because the paper has only one name - Kim Jong-Il - and all you have to do is put the paper in the box next to the agents. After the election, Kim Jong-Il takes the obvious winner with 100% support. Well, they used to say 100%, but now they have become more conscious of international criticism and started announcing 99% support instead.

2. To own a car for the vast majority of North Korean is simply an impossibility. So people must hitch a ride on the back of trucks, but this is not easy either. You have to pay the driver with alcohol, money, or tobacco. Even then so many people try to get a ride, so it's a difficult task.

3. In North Korea, bicycles are the major mean of transportation. However, North Korean produced bicycles cannot meet the massive demand for bicycles, so they must import them from countries like South Korea, China, and Japan. Above picture shows a transport ship with a ridiculous amount of bicycles piled on top of each other.

4. Every woman, man, and child must participate in constant cleaning of Kim Il-Sung statues, buildings, and plazas all over North Korea. Visitors of North Korea have recounted that they couldn't find a speck of dirt in any of the Kim Il-Sung plazas and statues. This is because the whole local population is rallied to clean it continuously, squatting over like the picture above.

5. According to North Korea's 'Socialist Labor Law', every man must work until 60 years of age, and every woman must work until 55. Even after retirement the government encourage them to participate in "the construction of socialism", as portrayed above. These retired soldiers and veterans from the Korean War are encouraging and cheering the farmers working below them. [editor's note : God, I hope this is photoshopped.]

6. You can see this kind of display in North Korean department stores : a variety of plates, bowls and whatnot. But when you ask the employee, "how much are they?", they answer, "they are not for sale." The purpose of these plates and the department stores are only to show off to foreign visitors. All these extravagant display of kitchenware is to pretend that they live in a wealthy society. Ironic, eh?

7. During the early 1990s, North Korean government installed guard posts at every small units of houses. The purpose of these guard posts is to prevent thievery and strangers. However in 1994, when the famine got worse, someone ripped away the door, and broke the windows sometime after. Now most of these guard posts have turned into little stores selling petty foods.

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