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ParkIlHwan3550 karma

Because collective action and lifestyles are so important, people don't use the word 'loneliness' very much. Although it is in the dictionary, it is not a word that people use to describe their daily life. So North Korean people do not have time to be lonely and in my experience, there is very little depression or suicide in North Korea caused by loneliness.

ParkIlHwan3470 karma

I lived further south from Pyongyang, so I if I wanted to go to a border town, I had to pass through Pyongyang. There is a city a little bit North of Pyongyang called Pyongsong. From Pyongsong, I got on the train from Pyongyang to Onsung. It is too hard to get travel permission in Pyongyang, so I boarded in Pyongsong. My train was delayed approximately 15 days. It was so full that people were riding on the roof of the train because no one knew how long it would take until the next train. If you weren't careful you could get electrocuted by the power lines above the train, or fall off the train. If that happened, the train would just keep going. I saw someone get electrocuted, so I left the roof and squeezed into the train. I got off at Namyoung (a city on the border before Onsung). I spent a night in Namyoung and one in Onsung and I crossed the river at night. It was December, so the river was frozen. I hid in a warehouse on the border and waited until night to cross.

ParkIlHwan3044 karma

When I was 18, just after I took a physical exam for military service, I was scared because at that time military service was 12 years, so I knew I would not be able to come back home until I was 30 years old. I started to dream about leaving when I was 15 but I knew I had to leave at age 18. My family background was also bad, because my grandfather lived in the U.S., so even if I had gone to the military, I would not have been able to become a party member, so I had no choice but to follow my dream.

ParkIlHwan2573 karma

My dream for North Korea is that it can be unified with South Korea and that all North Koreans can undergo the same change of consciousness that I did. And that is why I believe the work I am doing sending information is so important. I believe that the information we are sending to North Korea will help facilitate that change.

Since I left North Korea and came to South Korea, I have not worried for my safety. I feel safe here, and I am not afraid. Thank you for your great questions!

ParkIlHwan2270 karma

North Korea seems like a wreck, but there is a reason to continue surviving the Kim regime. Average North Koreans living in the heart of the country still cheer on the Kim family, but people living close to the border are more aware of the situation that the country is in, because they have the most access to outside information.

As for the second question, I lived in hiding in Shenyang, China for 2 years, so my first experience with culture shock was in China. There was a train station called Yuanji train station. When you leave the station there is a big square. When I first arrived there was a poster of a model wearing a bikini and a fur coat and high heels and red lipstick. It was an ad for the fur coat, and for me that was the most provocative image I had ever seen before. I looked at the ground the entire time I walked past that ad because I was too embarrassed to look at the ad.