yeojean-ah:

They JYP Girls (except Jokwon XD)♥
15&, Ahyeon (and 6mix) are still not here though~

Jokwon totally is a JYP girl let’s be honest here. *

yeojean-ah:

They JYP Girls (except Jokwon XD)♥

15&, Ahyeon (and 6mix) are still not here though~

Jokwon totally is a JYP girl let’s be honest here.

People probably don’t really care but there seems to be a lack of upto date English sources of recent Sewol news, for more updated information I’ve been keeping a post on reddit that I plan to keep upto date. 

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words to live by

Predebut IU

Predebut IU

when i was young and playing the 2nd generation of pokemon I could never pick Chikorita because everytime I saw her I had to sing Chiquitita to myself and that gets old fast.

susemoji:

snapchatmi:

Some of my snapchats~

have you thought of capitalising on your skills

I never knew Ailee used snapchat.

North Korean Life

Many people seem to view North Korea as pesky and impish rather than focusing on the atrocities committed by the state. This is completely understandable due to us being much more exposed to their blunders than their crimes. The difficulties involved in getting into North Korea and the lack of freedom of any journalists in the state mean that the world cannot be brought images and pictures of what is really happening, so although I can’t show you any revolutionary scenes education is key. A recent viral post talked about Park Yeonmi and her defection, but she is just one of between 100,000 and 300,000 (LFNKR,  2014) North Koreans to escape the Kim regime.  Most of the 25,000 who have escaped to South Korea have been interviewed to help in our knowledge of the North Korean System. In this post I’ll go through a few of the major human rights abuses that the regime commits, and also tell the story of some people who have managed to escape. If you have any questions still (as this post will leave a lot unaddressed) please message me and I will do my best to help you.

Firstly let’s talk about one of the key features of the North Korean judiciary systems, this is known as guilt by association (연좌제), this is where the parents and children of any wrongdoer are also imprisoned. In 1972 the ‘Great Leader’ asserted in a speech that “Factionalists or enemies of class, whoever they are, their seed must be eliminated through three generations.” This quote is even carved in the wood of prison guard headquarters.  This philosophy also gives rise to the caste like system in North Korea, the Songbun (성분) wherein every citizen is classified into one of three major groups depending on your family’s levels of loyalty to the Kim regime. This classification carries huge importance in one’s life, dictating everything from what jobs you can get, to the levels of aid you can receive in times of famine and hardship (or at least more hardship than usual). Due to this many people are born into kwan-li-sos (prison camps) where they are educated with even less gusto than in the Korean public. It seems that extra propaganda has to be used to correct these ‘bad seeds’, a typical day of the camps’ education system includes the forced memorisation of Kim Il-Sung speeches and organised “self-criticism” sessions where the individual kneels in front of guards to confess to wrongdoings and receive criticism from the guards and other prisoners.

“I was obliged to report every detail to the guard that was the law. That was the rule of the prison’s camp, so that’s why obviously I thought it was my job to report about [my mother’s] plan [to escape] to the guard at that time. At my age, I was really proud of that. I was not the only one who would feel that way. Regardless of whether the person was close to me or not, in that situation we would feel proud about our reporting such an incidence… I was put in a prison and for two days I was chained and hanged upside down. And, they lit a little bit of fire from coal. They tortured me. They burned my back with that, lit coal, and I was tortured for two to three days like that. I couldn’t move afterwards… I don’t think they had any specific purpose. All I could think of was that I committed a crime, I was a criminal and I deserved it that’s all I could think of, and I think like that still now… I was born a criminal and I will die criminal. That was my fate. And for an inmate, when you are in prison you do what you are ordered to do. You eat what you are given. There was nowhere we could go. All we could do was to do what we are ordered to do. If they beat us, we take the beating. If they don’t give us food, we starve that’s all we could do. “

~ A former prisoner highlighting the mentality taught through kwan li-so ‘schools’ and the philosophy of guilt by association after reporting his mother’s plan to escape from a camp.

 

One of the downsides of spending all your allowance on Nerf Guns is that you can’t buy yourself food. At least that is what’s happening in North Korea. Excluding political prisoners, who generally get fed about 300g (11 ounces) of corn every day, roughly 50% of the North Korean population survive on primarily corn and kimchi (fermented cabbage), have difficulties eating three  meals daily, only wear hand-me-downs or second-hand clothing from china, essentially lack any electronics of fuel, and in general live in extreme poverty. The only agency of the UN allowed into the country for any reason is the United Nations World Food Program to distribute food aid. However all ‘gourmet’ foods handed out, including any meat, are often apparently seized by government officials after UNWFP has left, to give to families most loyal to the regime.

Kim Yong was born in 1950, and at the age of 7 was placed in an orphanage after his father and brother were executed.  After rising in the North Korean military his true ancestry was discovered. He as tortured and interrogated for three months after being accused of purposefully infiltrating the security service, included in his punishments was being forced to kneel for long periods with a wooden bar place between his knees and calves (it doesn’t sound too bad but try it, it’s torture), being suspended from the ceiling by handcuffs and being submerged waist deep in cold water during freezing winters. The prisoners’ food rations were limited to 20-30 kernels of corn and watery cabbage soup in a day. For his first two years imprisonment all he saw was the coal mine, and his barracks, which held 50 people per room, sleeping on wooden bunk beds. During this time 25 of the 300 prisoners working in the mine were executed. One man died from having his mouth ‘smashed by a faeces-covered sick for having stolen a leather whip, which he soaked in water and then ate the softened leather. Inmates also regularly picked through cow dung ‘to find bits of corn to eat and also to eat the fleas feeding there’.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to send them to me and I will try your best to answer them. But let’s finish on something optimistic. Now predicting the demise of the Kim regime has been a popular topic with pundits since as early as the 1980, but even with the deaths of the major leaders since that time, there appears to be little change. However not even totalitarian states are immune from the technology revolution. The North Korean regime gets around the issue of twitter by simple only allowing internet access to a central server in Pyongyang which only allows access to specified sites, however despite this technology has still infiltrated the North Korean way of life. Despite being illegal it is possible to buy radios modified to receive South Korean signals in almost any market - and after all, who wouldn’t want to listen to the dulcet tones of Ryeowook on Kiss the Radio every night? In the words of a recent defector “When you do a crackdown of MP3/4 players among high school and university students, you see that 100 precent of them have South Korean music.” Education can trump the North Korean propaganda and with this rise in foreign technology North Korean residents learn about life in South Korea and further abroad. As a result of this residents are becoming less tolerant of the Kim regime; fewer people are reporting illegal activities than ever before and individuals are accosting military officers after being reprimanded for illogical laws. With technology allowing the connection of individuals all over the world it gets harder and harder for the propaganda which the North Korean political system previously relied on to work. Even Kim Jong-Un’s older brother doesn’t believe the system will survive in to the distant future.

Incidentally Kim Jong-Un’s older brother didn’t succeed Kim Jong-Il because he snuck out to Tokyo Disneyland with his family. And that is why you might be excused for considering North Korea as impish. Hopefully I’ve helped you see that they are more than just ‘a bunch of punks’.  

Further Reading

Marked for Life: Songbun; North Korea’s Social Classification System (http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/HRNK_Songbun_Web.pdf)

The Hidden Gulag (http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/The_Hidden_Gulag.pdf)

Public Hearings for the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Korea (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIDPRK/Pages/PublicHearings.aspx)

The Quality of Life of North Korean: Current Status and Understanding (http://www.kinu.or.kr/upload/neoboard/DATA05/SS12-02.pdf)

Survey Report on Political Prisoners’ Camps in North Korea (http://nkdb.org/bbs1/data/kornkbdpaper/Survey_Report_on_Political_Prisoners_Camp_in_North_Korea_final_edit_5.pdf)

Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoIDPRK/Report/A.HRC.25.CRP.1_ENG.doc) – Direct Download

White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea, 1996 – 2013 (https://www.kinu.or.kr/eng/pub/pub_04_01.jsp)

Image Credit:

1st Image – Rita Willaert - https://www.flickr.com/photos/rietje/

2nd and 4th Image – Walter Callens - https://www.flickr.com/people/waltercallens/

3rd Image – Shan Lu - https://www.flickr.com/people/loolooimage/

5th Image – Joseph Ferris - https://www.flickr.com/people/josephferris76/

6th Image – NASA - http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/NightLights/ 

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