South Koreans defecting... ...TO North Korea

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thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 2:58 pm

I'll just leave this here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24668080


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28 Oct 2013, 3:01 pm

A whopping total of SIX MEN! :roll:

Quote:
Some had experienced employment problems and had believed life in North Korea could be better, local reports said. Instead they were housed in detention centres around North Korea and questioned for months before being handed back.


And they were all sent back by North Korea as "undesirable".

:lol: :lol: :lol:


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thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 3:07 pm

The point is, its still telling that people with first hand experience of South Korea still prefer the idea of life in the North.

Perhaps the living standard deficit isn't as pronounced as the anti-communists want us to think it is. The main reason the North sent them back is as a token of diplomatic goodwill. Otherwise I'm sure they would have been keen to keep them for propaganda purposes.


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28 Oct 2013, 4:23 pm

thomas81 wrote:
The point is, its still telling that people with first hand experience of South Korea still prefer the idea of life in the North.

Perhaps the living standard deficit isn't as pronounced as the anti-communists want us to think it is. The main reason the North sent them back is as a token of diplomatic goodwill. Otherwise I'm sure they would have been keen to keep them for propaganda purposes.


What would they know about life in North Korea? I don't think they crossed into North Korea to be held in detention camps and interrogated for months.

You're not seriously trying to defend North Korea are you?



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28 Oct 2013, 4:39 pm

At least the North Koreans don't suffer so much from light pollution:

Image



thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 4:45 pm

Jacoby wrote:

What would they know about life in North Korea? I don't think they crossed into North Korea to be held in detention camps and interrogated for months.


They've had the opinion of their government drilled into them from the cradle ie. a negative one yet they have resisted that conditioning.

Jacoby wrote:
You're not seriously trying to defend North Korea are you?


No, I am just pondering if the general life quality is as different as Seoul wants its citizens to believe.

Personally, I believe that both people inside and outside (ie we in the west) North korea are lied to, and subject to negative propaganda about the 'other side'. The truth probably lies somewhere down the middle.


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thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 5:00 pm

trollcatman wrote:
At least the North Koreans don't suffer so much from light pollution:

Image



North Korea is in a de facto state of war with the USA.

The UK had night time blackouts during WW2.

Anyway, most of the area around PyongYang i'm guessing is largely rural. Not much cause for bright lights.


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thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 5:04 pm

PyongYang at nighttime. Looks like any other asian city to me.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TI_1sVy79c[/youtube]


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28 Oct 2013, 5:19 pm

thomas81 wrote:
No, I am just pondering if the general life quality is as different as Seoul wants its citizens to believe.


There are loads of photos online from people who have gone on guided tours of the DPRK. They are monitored and surveilled like you wouldn't believe, and are taken specifically to select places and told to photograph certain things. There are guards everywhere watching your every move. You can't talk to locals. Locals are watched on every single step. Propaganda is constantly pumped in to people's houses.

It looks like the people outside the inner circle live miserable lives of real hardship and suffering.

The experiences from the people I spoke to online who went is that there's a lot of bad stuff hinted at, and the good stuff mostly looks very false and put on for tourists. What you don't see is more powerful than what you do.

Most North Koreans (apart from those working with the government) are living on subsistence level - or less - and they know little of the outside world.

You seem to think that the United States is as dictatorial as North Korea. Well, I'll take the U.S. any year of my life, thanks.

I think North Korea will eventually fall, but it will be a glacially slow and miserable business for everyone involved in the country. Even North Korean defectors to the South get very depressed because they just can't adjust to life on the outside.



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28 Oct 2013, 6:05 pm

Most North Koreans who find their way to South Korea are women, many of whom end up marrying South Korean men.

http://www.nknews.org/2013/03/perfect-m ... orean-men/



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28 Oct 2013, 7:40 pm

If North Koreans are so happy and Americans are so miserable, then why are North Koreans so miserable and Americans are so happy?


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thomas81
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28 Oct 2013, 7:55 pm

Fnord wrote:
If North Koreans are so happy and Americans are so miserable, then why are North Koreans so miserable and Americans are so happy?



1- Never claimed that North Koreans are happy. Just that the western media may be exaggerating the extent of the issues. Arguably also undermining the extent to which the west is responsible. The sanctions aren't helping anyone in North Korea.

What annoys me the most though is the how North Korea is portrayed as the paragon of suffering and poverty. What about Africa? Or even Latin America and South East Asia? A cornucopia of nations with liberalised markets! All bitterly poor, with starvation, disease, illiteracy and very often zero access to basic healthcare or even clean drinking water!

To quote Fidel Castro, at the time he said "people are fast to criticise Socialism's failures, where are capitalism's successes in Africa and Latin America?"

2- Not all Americans are happy by a long shot- Take this veteran for example-

Heres your American dream summed up in one picture. Ya want fries with dat?

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crackedpleasures
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28 Oct 2013, 9:04 pm

Please don't compare Fidel and Cuba (the one socialist state us modern communists should see as the example to follow) to a dictatorship and cult of personality like North Korea. NK is not even communist. It's nothing. It's a cult of personality around the Kim dynasty with no system that can be tagged around it.

But OK, it is known North and South Korea constantly spread lies about each other, with the added problem that North Korea is so sealed off that it is impossible to verify all stories that reach the outside world.

For what it's worth:
the documentary "Welcome to North Korea" by Peter Tetteroo is a must see and sums it up quite well: "we now understood even less than before what goes on in this country".
the documentary "Crossing the line" is about Dresnok, an Americal soldier in the time of the cold war who defected to the North and still lives there. He even totally adapted to North Korean life and says he would not go back to the US even if offered, and it's clear he would defend North Korea rather than USA if it would ever come to a dispute. He has found peace in North Korea and wants to live there until the end of his life.

Of course, many documentaries much more biased exist too, these two are somewhat neutral.

In the end, as long as the North isolates itself, no newsfact can ever be verified by anyone. We got rumours, possibly partially true, but we cannot know.




This I have to add: I interviewed a guy who lived in Pyongyang for 3 years as a humanitary aid worker. He lived in a compound for the expats, safely away from where locals live of course. Within that compound the modern amenities such as internet were present, but nobody was stupid enough to spread the outside world's news to locals when dealing with local people. Also, he had total freedom to go anywhere he wanted in Pyongyang but had to ask permission to visit countryside villages (even when those visits were to provide food to the local population)

Another guy I interviewed started a first offshore company in North Korea. He lives part of the year in Europe, part of the year in Pyongyang. He calls Pyongyang a nice city to live in, and says he likes life in North Korea. He also says the average North Korean workers are very nice people who should be disassociated from their government. Which makes sense since they never elected that government themselves. But he did literally call Pyongyang "a nice place to live". Of course, he also lives in that compound where luxuries are present the average local citizen never heard of. There are just below 500 expats in North Korea (excluding Chinese who are larger in numbers) and almost all those expats are either diplomats or in the humanitary aid field. They almost all live in a compound for expats in a different area of town than locals, and I guess they are clever enough not to talk about the outside world when they mingle with locals.



I hope to visit North Korea. If I could choose one travel destination, it'd be that. Because in documentaries and testimonies there are so many contradictions and surreal statements... I just want to see with my own eyes if it is really as surreal as it is portrayed (although I am under no illusion that I would be able to see things the government wants to keep hidden. Every visitor, unless invited by a local, has 2 guides following you everywhere. Only if invited by a local you have freedom of movement, but hard to find a North Korean pen pal when internet is inexisting in the country and post in/out the country is carefully scanned. Also, only governmental institutions can be called from abroad, locals' private numbers can only dial or receive calls from fellow countrymen. So finding a friend to invite you is extremely hard, so guess I'd be stuck with the standard 2 guides deciding what I'm allowed to see and what not.


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28 Oct 2013, 9:48 pm

Millions of North Koreans have died of starvation since the collapse of the Soviet Union who they received substantial aid from and which their economy was totally dependent on. That picture of North Korea at night speaks for itself. All of North Korea's resources are funneled to its military while its people eat dirt. Their are hundreds of thousands of people(men, women, and children) imprisoned in slave labor camps, most of whom will never leave alive. There is no worse country in the world than North Korea.

The division of Korea is artificial, they are the same people. All you need to do is look at the South, they were a military dictatorship and one of the poorest countries in the world in the 60s and now they're free and one of the largest economies in the world.



Last edited by Jacoby on 28 Oct 2013, 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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28 Oct 2013, 10:26 pm

Tequila wrote:
PyongYang at nighttime. Looks like any other asian city to me.


I was in North Korea just over a month ago... you sir are a muppet. And it is pronounced P'Yongyang if you want to be technical about it. The p is short and the rest is said like it is one syllable.

Yes they went into the North, going there did not help them at all. The situation was so bad for the group that one of the men killed his wife and tried to take his own life.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 09299.html

And they love Capitalism in NK... Most of the people's basic needs are met through the underground grey market. The ration system only takes care of about 50% of their basic needs when it is working perfectly. I was at the underground market in Rason and the the citizens were trading like it was going out of fashion. Check out the recent currency reform to work out just how clueless the government really is.

Tequila wrote:
There are loads of photos online from people who have gone on guided tours of the DPRK. They are monitored and surveilled like you wouldn't believe, and are taken specifically to select places and told to photograph certain things. There are guards everywhere watching your every move. You can't talk to locals. Locals are watched on every single step. Propaganda is constantly pumped in to people's houses.


Having been in Pyongyang, they do a pretty good job these days of keeping the lights on in the centre of the city. Outside of that, it is total darkness. Even in the hotel the lights are out on most floors (which incidentally is where our minders slept during my exchange there). The most fantastically lit apartments are the new Mansudae Housing Complex, which although look like any other Chinese apartment block, are completely unfinished on the inside and piled with construction junk. I spent time touring the country and at Kim Il Sung Uni (although they only let me in during the summer when most of the students were not there). I was free to discuss things with locals and my minders. The locals were terrified but my minders were often curious of the outside world (during one trip to Nampo I gave one of my female guides my iPod for four hours.. it was a pretty awesome moment and coincidentally she now loves Ellie Goulding and Coldplay).

Propaganda is not really pumped into people's houses as they don't really have power. I never met a true believer in the country, mostly just career people, people who were just trying to get along and the terrified. But you cannot hide the backwardness, there are no decent roads and you can see the light pollution from Seoul when you are in Kaesong. So the locals generally know how bad they have things. People spoke openly of their experiences, especially when you drink with them, I met people who openly admitted to being purged.

One of the best comparisons I saw was when we were boarding our Air Koryo old Soviet plane a massive Korean Air 747 went past.

I do not believe that people should go there as tourists because all it does is give that despicable government money.

Jacoby wrote:
Millions of North Koreans have died of starvation since the collapse of the Soviet Union who they received substantial aid from and which their economy was totally dependent on.


Pretty much. On an interesting side note, there is a survey out there that only 10% of defectors reported received any aid during the starvation. So the aid was going in but it seems likely that not much of it was getting through.


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28 Oct 2013, 11:20 pm

Why even discuss North Korea as if it is anything other than a feudal dictatorship?

They're no threat to anybody, economically, militarily, or politically.

It is even worse than Somalia.


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