Pyongyang

  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Aug 09, 2014 10:47 AM GMT
    Am pretty impressed; it's clean and orderly

  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Aug 09, 2014 8:03 PM GMT
    beaujangle saidAm pretty impressed; it's clean and orderly



    And also culturally and architecturally boring.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Aug 09, 2014 11:21 PM GMT
    beaujangle saidit's clean and orderly

    Disingenuosly clean and orderly.
    The team admit that they were monitored by the country’s National Tourism Administration and had to follow rules about what not to film.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamiefullerton/this-timelapse-video-of-pyongyang-north-korea-is
    North Korea would only allow a video such as this to be made if it was displaying a heavily vetted, entirely positive image of the city. Beneath this artifice, life is very different for the citizens of North Korea.
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    Aug 10, 2014 12:17 AM GMT
    I don't know if they still do it but back when I was in the Navy we pulled in to Yokosuka for a week or so. I took time off and spent it in Tokyo and stayed at the Stars and Stripes military hotel. While there I met a guy who was in the Swiss army, stationed at the demilitarized zone in South Korea. This is the area between North and South Korea. He was part of the UN peacekeeping force. He told me how North Korea has these loudspeakers pointed at South Korea that are constantly 24 hours a day blaring propaganda.

    The Soviet Union did the same thing. In one of James Herriot's books he tells of how he was a vet on a ship transporting some sheep from the UK to the Soviet Union. They docked at a Soviet Union port in the Baltic Sea. He said that they had loudspeakers blaring propaganda constantly, presumably for the non Soviet Union ships that were there.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14342

    Aug 10, 2014 1:16 AM GMT
    jjguy05 said
    beaujangle saidAm pretty impressed; it's clean and orderly



    And also culturally and architecturally boring.
    And strangely devoid of traffic and any type of urban activity, a virtual ghost town.
  • jaroslav123

    Posts: 600

    Aug 10, 2014 11:59 AM GMT
    If you're being ironic: hahahaha.

    If not: don't be fooled. Pyongyang is pretty much the "showcase area" of North Korea. Outside of Pyongyang are areas filled with misery, and just utter poverty - which they will never show on their propaganda (for obvious reasons).

    North Korea is a country suffering from dire dire poverty, and is so obsessed with image and how it's perceived that it's built it's own waterpark...and of course numerous fancy buildings which have still yet to be completed...

    If you want to know what North Korea is really like, read this insightful, thoroughly detailed, and at times: enlightening and disturbing book:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/North-Korea-Paranoia-Paul-French/dp/1780329474
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    Aug 12, 2014 4:19 PM GMT
    Any US citizen (except perhaps those traveling with a famous basketball star) who travels to North Korea ought to have his head examined. The country continues to arrest and detain americans at random (for no good reason except to intimidate the US).
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Aug 12, 2014 4:33 PM GMT
    HikerSkier saidAny US citizen (except perhaps those traveling with a famous basketball star) who travels to North Korea ought to have his head examined. The country continues to arrest and detain americans at random (for no good reason except to intimidate the US).


    Not really true.

    Regardless of your nationality, travel into North Korea should only be done with a tour group organized by North Korea itself. It's fairly easy, according to lots of foreigners (including Americans) who have done it. You need to travel first to Beijing or Shenyang, and visit the North Korean consulates there.

    Americans arrested have tended to be people that have "tried to enter North Korea illegally" according to North Korean officials. This would mean crossing the Chinese-North Korean border on their own, although some suspect that they were actually arrested, technically kidnapped, by North Korean agents on the Chinese side of the border.

    There's plenty documentaries on Youtube of foreigners, Americans included, visiting North Korea and having a good time. And by "good time" I mean the foreigners were treated fine and got to see a bizarre world that exists nowhere else.

    Wikitravel: North Korea

    How to travel to North Korea
    CNNYou would think with tension so high, the isolated state would be off-limits to tourists. But it's not. Here's how to travel to North Korea and the best times to go


    North Korea desperately needs the hard currency, so they're trying to attract tourism, but at the same time, they're trying to keep the tourists completely isolated from locals, so that they don't influence them. As a result, they haven't been able to build a sizeable tourism industry. Aside from organized tours that Americans can join, they also have built resorts and casinos for Chinese and South Korea tourists, who -again- must remain isolated from local ordinary North Koreans. It's a silly way to run a tourism industry, and unsurprisingly their tourism industry remains very small, but that's North Korea for you.
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    Aug 12, 2014 6:00 PM GMT
    jjguy05 said
    HikerSkier saidAny US citizen (except perhaps those traveling with a famous basketball star) who travels to North Korea ought to have his head examined. The country continues to arrest and detain americans at random (for no good reason except to intimidate the US).


    Not really true.

    Americans arrested have tended to be people that have "tried to enter North Korea illegally" according to North Korean officials.


    Yes - quite true. You are apparently not well-informed on current events.

    "tried to enter North Korea illegally" ?
    Propaganda lies. Those arrested recently have been part of commercial tour groups.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Aug 12, 2014 6:08 PM GMT
    HikerSkier said

    Yes - quite true. You are apparently not well-informed on current events.

    "tried to enter North Korea illegally" ?
    Propaganda lies. Those arrested recently have been part of commercial tour groups.


    I am far more knowledgeable on world events than you are.

    Being arrested while part of a tour group has only happened once, to the best of my knowledge.

    And re-read my previous post. I used quotes around "tried to enter North Korea illegally" indicating that this merely North Korea's claim, and I clearly stated that many observers suspect kidnapping.

    Learn how to read.
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    Aug 12, 2014 6:43 PM GMT
    Loved this episode of VICE on HBO, when the Globetrotters visited.



    Fave part was the "computer lab".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 13, 2014 1:32 AM GMT
    jjguy05 said
    HikerSkier said

    Yes - quite true. You are apparently not well-informed on current events.

    "tried to enter North Korea illegally" ?
    Propaganda lies. Those arrested recently have been part of commercial tour groups.


    I am far more knowledgeable on world events than you are.

    Being arrested while part of a tour group has only happened once, to the best of my knowledge.

    And re-read my previous post. I used quotes around "tried to enter North Korea illegally" indicating that this merely North Korea's claim, and I clearly stated that many observers suspect kidnapping.

    Learn how to read.

    There are at least 3 US citizens - Jeffrey Edward Fowle, Kenneth Bae, and Miller Matthew Todd - who have been detained (and remain in detention) by the North Koreans - all were there on tourist visas, and none had entered the country illegally. Plus there is Merrill Newman, an elderly american who was taken off his plane as it was about to depart North Korea, after a tour, and held by the Koreans for over a year.

    One can expect that whenever the North Koreans think they may be able to extort something from the USA diplomatically, they will arrest and detain another american tourist. That's what they do.

    .
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Aug 15, 2014 4:54 AM GMT
    HikerSkier said
    There are at least 3 US citizens - Jeffrey Edward Fowle, Kenneth Bae, and Miller Matthew Todd - who have been detained (and remain in detention) by the North Koreans - all were there on tourist visas, and none had entered the country illegally. Plus there is Merrill Newman, an elderly american who was taken off his plane as it was about to depart North Korea, after a tour, and held by the Koreans for over a year.



    Bae didn't just visit North Korea as a curious tourist. He was actively doing religious-oriented underground political work. Nothing wrong with that, but that's what got him detained.

    The others were all part of a single group and were arrested together, hence "once".

    Merrill Newman wasn't arrested to extort anything form the US (yes, NK does other shit to extort the world for aid), but because of mistaken identity. This is according to even the mainstream US media.


    HikerSkier said
    One can expect that whenever the North Koreans think they may be able to extort something from the USA diplomatically, they will arrest and detain another american tourist. That's what they do.

    .


    False.

    As I said, North Korea does indeed do things to extort aid, not from the United States, but form the world (most of the aid comes from the United Nations, the European Union, and China, not the US). But arresting Americans? Extremely rare. Now if you knew your shit, you would have mentioned NK's kidnapping of Japanese and South Korean citizens in the 1970s. That is true. But arresting American tourists that entered the country legally? Rare.

    I'm not by any means validating NK's regime. Just pointing out that the risk for an American visitor is actually very low. Americans get arrested all over the world. NK isn't the only place, and it's rare when it happens.
  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Aug 16, 2014 10:24 AM GMT
    roadbikeRob said
    jjguy05 said
    beaujangle saidAm pretty impressed; it's clean and orderly



    And also culturally and architecturally boring.


    And strangely devoid of traffic and any type of urban activity, a virtual ghost town.



    In contrast to this?
  • jaroslav123

    Posts: 600

    Aug 16, 2014 7:00 PM GMT
    I've been thinking about North Korea recently (as you do), and I don't think it's quite possible to put into words how nasty a place it is.

    The problem when it comes up in political discourse is that it's called Marxist, or in broad terms 'left wing'. Although it does have a (failed) control-economy that's pretty much it. There is still a class system in North Korea. Marxism is about a classless society, and I believe North Korea has 52 classes (I forget the exact figure, but it is certainly within the fifties). Kim Jong-Il is remembered widely for being an avid film fan and owning over 20'000 DVDs, whilst surrounding him are hundreds if not thousands of dying peasants without a scrap of money. This isn't Marxism.

    The best way to understand North Korean society is through the lens of it's state-imposed ideology: Juchism - a strange blend of leader-worship, Confucianism and pseudo-Marxist thinking (emphasis on the worker, communist symbols dotted around everywhere - 'pseudo' because it's about making people believe they're living in a Marxist paradise when they're really not), and of course it's infamous 'military first' policy.

    It doesn't even stand the test of non-economic Marxism or 'Cultural Marxism' - in terms of the sexes, there is a strong sense of traditionalism: women work in the home, men go to work; at one stage it was illegal for women to wear trousers. Aside from feminism, other ideas associated with Cultural Marxism is the rejection of Nationalism. If there was a state which could be described as having a Nationalist ideology it's North Korea: what with its hatred of South Korea and America, and gruesome back-alley tales of women who have been impregnated by non-North Korean men giving birth and then having their newborn child massacred before their eyes.

    The crux of how North Korean society persists and operates is to do with its leader-worship. History is rewritten. Lies are told. The leaders (or 'The Holy Trinity' as I like to call them) are made out to be Gods, figures who are beyond sin and are the personification of perfectionism.

    Whilst I don't particularly like moral-binary words like "good" and "evil", there is something undeniably evil about totalitarianism, especially the North Korean state, it's ideology and its leaders.