North Korea

Discussions about North Korea

Memorial Day 2

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in South Korea. It is for commemorating and honouring those who have given their lives for their country.

Read more here.

It’s also time remember that the Korean War never officially ended. We aren’t just commemorating fallen soldiers from long ago wars, but also remembering those who have died recently while protecting their country. Soldiers are still killed in skirmishes with North Korea and in military service accidents.

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North Korea Problem 52

North Attack

I had another blog post ready for today but decided to quickly make this comic and talk about this issue.

My husband had a hard time at work last night because of the North Korea issue. We are a bit annoyed when people don’t really know the difference between South Korea and North Korea, but when people don’t even know that there are two Koreas… it actually makes me a bit angry. North Korea has been in the news for years and years, you’d think at some point these dumb would have realised that. I feel really sorry for my husband that he has to deal with this ignorance. Over and over at work he had to explain the situation, people were asking him if he is from the North or South, people thought North Korea had already launched a rocket at the USA and it was on it’s way now or something. When he said we are still planning on going to South Korea people were telling us we were going to die….. yeah.

Anyway let’s talk about North Korea. The situation is very delicate at the moment and it is really worrying. Even though it’s suicide for North Korea if they attack, there is still that chance that they will do something stupid and some people will die.

I think they have already achieved their goals. The whole world is looking at them and is worried and scared, they have our attention. They are causing problems for South Korea’s economy and tourism and provoking the US military. They have also rallied their people with a common goal, so people will stop concentrating on the food shortage and focus on the “enemy”. They can now point out to their people, “Look at the American imperialists dogs and the South Korean puppets getting ready to attack us, just like we’ve told you all this time.” It’s all feeding into their propaganda machine.

The Western media has been irresponsible in reporting as well, but I suppose they usually are, the way they hype things up. It’s just dangerous when so many people know nothing about the North Korean situation. My husband got the full force of that at work last night. It’s not his job to educate people. We have so much information at our fingertips, it takes only a few seconds to realise there are two Koreas and that a rocket has not actually been launched at the US.

At the moment we are still going to South Korea in a few weeks. We will watch the situation and see what happens. The thing is, when North Korea actually does something to South Korea, there is usually no warning. They don’t talk the big talk like they are doing now, so I hope that is an indicator that they won’t do anything. We won’t be flying into Seoul either, we’ll be flying into Busan which is down the bottom of South Korea. All we can do is wait.

I’m sorry this is not a fun topic today.

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Video of North Korea 3

I can’t do a comic today as I’m not at home so I have no access to my paints and scanner. My wacom tablet was delivered but I’m a traditional artist trying digital art for the first time so it may take some time!

I was browsing some videos about North Korea on youtube because I was trying to find some propaganda videos uploaded by North Korea that I’ve watched before. I came across this video by someone who took a trip into North Korea and it’s really interesting. Well worth watching.

I’m always curious about North Korea and fascinated by how different it is from South Korea. I can’t find the propaganda videos now, so they may have been removed.

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Faces of North Korean soldiers 2

 

Whenever North Korea is in the news – and they have been in the news even more this week with their failed rocket launch- I search for the faces of more ordinary people. They are not usually shown as most photographs released from North Korea are of the Pyongyang elite. With foreign journalists allowed in for the rocket launch we have seen some close ups of young soldiers at the rocket launch site.

What surprises me about these photos is how familiar the faces look. It really shouldn’t be a surprise as the countries have only been separated for about 60 years but I’m so used to thinking of North Koreans as so different and so alien. And I know their lives are so different to my own South Korean family and friends so it’s almost a shock to see faces that resemble people I know.

But then at the same time there are such differences: the expression on their faces, the gauntness due to lack of food and the wary look in their eyes.

 

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Is he from North Korea or South Korea? 9

It is surprising how many people ask “Is he from North Korea or South Korea?” You’d think with Kim Jong Il dying last year and North Korea being in the news that people would understand the big differences between North Korea and South Korea. Unfortunately many don’t…

I’m also often shocked at how many people don’t realise that South Korea is a modern first world country and North Korea is a horrible communist regime that it is very hard to escape from.

The images we usually get of North Koreans show them as sad, starving and oppressed or being incredibly fake happy but always dressed in those dour grey or green ill fitted clothes. When I say my husband is from Korea is that what they are picturing in their mind?

Probably the answer is that they haven’t thought about it at all. So the conversation usually goes like this:

Me: My husband is from Korea so we (blah blah, whatever the reason for talking about him is).

Other person: Korea eh? I love the TV show MASH*. (Or some other MASH reference).

Me: Um… yeah.

Other person: Is he from North or South Korea?

Me:………..from South Korea

At this point I tend to feel really embarrassed for the person. I don’t know why because they generally have no idea at how ignorant they sound. But still I’ll rush on to hide the awkwardness.

Me: Oh, it is really hard to get out of North Korea because of the regime. Koreans you see here are always South Koreans.

Other person: Yeah, I really liked MASH.

Me: (just smiling and nodding)

I’ve also been asked whether North Koreans are allowed to leave for a holiday. Yes… the average North Korean holidays in Hawaii all the time…

So because people ask is he from North Korea or South Korea they must be thinking there is the possibility he is from the North right?**

What are they thinking? Do they think he is a North Korean spy or something? And if he is, do they think I’m completely oblivious and don’t know that he is?

That I’m all like this?

Do they think our relationship is like this?

I must be pretty clueless to not notice the camouflage clothes and binoculars…

Of course he doesn’t really look like that. He looks more like this:

EXACTLY like that! That drawing is the spitting image of him I swear.

 *Actually I do love MASH too.

**Perhaps to be fair there is a TINY TINY chance that my husband could be from North Korea. Those that do escape get rehabilitated in South Korea and can actually travel to countries like Australia eventually. However it’s a very small number who do and they seem to hide that they are from North Korea because of the stigma attached to it. Or he could really be a North Korean spy. Hmm…

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