In The Land Of Silence

Petteri Tuohinen was able to wrangle a trip from Beijing to Pyongyang and came away convinced the most common form of dialogue in the country consists of long periods of silence. As the plane reached North Korea’s capital, passengers were given a free asteroid pill which prevents cancer and when given to children stimulates growth. I guess with asteroid pills around there is no need to give children lots of food. As plane passengers enter the airport each was given a pin containing the picture of Kim Il-sung, founder of the North Korean dictatorship. Tuohinen decided to pose a few questions to the guide who was their constant companion and source of information. When asked if they knew anything about Seoul, silence was the response, when a person who had lived in Singapore for a year was asked about whether she would like to return, the response was a loud silence. Oh, the guide did admit the day Kim Il-sung died, they all cried.

This is among the strangest societies in the world. People lack knowledge of fundamental items and the guide was confused when asked about Facebook as well as about anything else going on in the world. However, she did emphasize that Pyongyang is the capital of all Koreans and “we are happy here.” It would be fascinating being with a North Korean on their first encounter with the outside world.

Well, at least they have asteroid pills.