North Korea and Kim Jong Un

This is what else Kim Jong Un does when he isn’t firing away at countries that don’t accept his behaviour.





Age has failed me.

Fair enough. The title makes me sound like I’m about ninety years old, about to kick the bucket and have nothing to smile about. At twenty-four however, I really am starting to feel old and concerned that I have nothing to show for my life.

I told my mom not too long ago, how I was feeling anxious about the future, how little I had achieved thus far, and how others just seemed to have their lives together already. My mother laughed and I cried. Together amongst our chatter and my mother’s banter,my mother reminded me that if I were to constantly compare myself to others, I would never be happy no matter what. Even if I did have that degree(that has been out of reach for so long), an easier boss or an ideal car, somebody would always have it better.

What my mom was trying to make me realise was that I was never to compare myself to others. Comparing myself did nothing to change those things that I knew I had to change myself. If I wanted to be happier, it was a fruitless exercise in finding my happiness in the comparison of another, considering that no person led the same life as I did, norhad the same circumstances.

How at twenty four-years old was I feeling so much pressure to have already become thebest thing around? A few explanations could be; 1) What I see on social media; 2)My perception on things around me; 3) My plans differ to reality and; 4) My personal expectations are unrealistic to say the least.

Let us start with social media and perceptions. Not many people post what is really going on in their worlds on social media. They post what they would like us to perceive and believe. They create an illusion and we believe it. Trust me, it works. For example, Alice will post the incredible picture of her new house, the kind that you dream of owning at about seventy, when you have worked your life away in order to be able to afford it. Making sure she shares it on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, with the hashtags along the likes of ‘#itwillbetoughbutworthit’. What Alice fails to mention in this post, is that she probably won’t be socialising for a while, eating or sleeping too well and constantlyconceiving ideas as to how she will be paying it off. Otherwise she fails to mention that she most certainly did not pay for it all by herself. Or perhaps that her family has all the money in the world, and yet not a minute of time, to listen to how she is feeling. Because of course, who could possibly be depressed with all the money in the world?

What Alice posts, is what Alice wants us to believe, and maybe in return she, will believe it too. Those many ‘likes’ you get on social media, and the euphoric high of a new materialistic item are incredible, until it wears off.

It is those small reminders on social media that remind me of what I don’t have. A reminder what those around me do have, and make me believe that I should have similar by now. Leaving a feeling that if I don’t have it by now, then I have failed at being the success I expected of myself. Even if a house you could only dream of does seem far-fetched I have also started questioning if I will ever be able to afford marriage and have children. When I see people my age, celebrating their wedding with a lavish style wedding, it overwhelms me completely. How can they afford it? I don’t even know if I could afford a lavish wedding in ten years to come. Then there are children. How the hell are people celebrating and embracing it? How are they giving them the best life possible? I can barely give myself a good life at this point.

Plans of what I wanted, whom I wanted to be, and where I wanted to be, differ so much in between the years, you could almost be excused for believing that you were dealing with a different person. At eighteen, I came out of matric and was advised that it was imperative that I complete a BCom. I was advised at the time it didn’t matter which Bcom I did, I was just to find something I was interested in. Thus, I chose marketing. Studying, and working (something I chose, as I was adamant I wanted to make a basic salary every month), has proved to be a bitch (Trust me, that’s putting it nicely).I went into a law firm after school, and have remained with a law firm since. It was in law that I found where my passion lay and realised that I disliked marketing, I decided to complete a BCom law, and soon after discovered that it really was the BCom that I despised with a passion.

Here I am today, a 2nd year LLB student, and still unsure in regards to the time frame as to when I can be expected to have completed it. It is exceptionally frustrating and tiring to continue, when you see others whom you went to school with, graduating together. This certainly wasn’t where I saw myself six years ago. That said, six years ago my personal expectations were highly unrealistic.

What I fail to recognise when I am feeling despondent about where I am, and where others are, is acknowledging that which I have achieved thus far. That which I have achieved may seem minor to me now, but at one stage it was all I dreamed of. That which I have now, is what many my age still dream of having. That in no way means, you should compare yourself to those who have less, to make yourself feel good, but rather acknowledge that which you have now, you can be exceptionally grateful for and dare I say a little proud of.

There are different forms of comparing, of which I am sure we have all done at one stage or another. These include; comparing upwards; comparing downwards and; comparing to those just like us.

Comparing upwards consists of the idea that you compare yourself to individuals whom you perceive as better than you. This can be used to either inspire you and motivate you when looking at how the individual lives their life, or it can break you down and make you believe that you are a failure for having not achieved the same. As mentioned earlier, there is also comparing downwards. This includes comparing yourself to others who haven’t had the same opportunities as you. It can make you acknowledge that which you can be grateful for, or it can create a false sense of superiority. Lastly there is comparing to those just like you. This is often used to assure ourselves in the decisions we make and to support our ideas, or it can be used to support behaviour that one knows is incorrect, however, we use the excuse that others have done it and therefore it is ok.

Compare yourself to yourself. That is it. Obviously it is not that simple to do all the time, and I am still learning myself, but the main idea behind it is simple. Nobody is you and nobody is on the same journey as you. You are here to live your life and here to be as happy, kind, and memorable as possible. Your degree, money, house, cellphone and all the other things that you keep comparing yourself to others for, are really not of any importance when you leave this earth.


Most importantly though, stress and comparisons are not going to be the happy memories you replay over and over in your last few days. Memories and experiences will be. It will those memories and experiences shared, that you are remembered for.

Go out and make them.


“By comparing yourself to others, you limit yourself to being only as excellent as they may be and in so doing, prevent yourself from achieving a higher level of accomplishment that you never knew possible. Let others be GUIDES not GOALS!”



1930’s Great Depression Letter

Letter I entered into a competition


My dearest Rodney,

It is with heavy yet elated heart that I sit and write this letter. Truthfully, I believe we both knew this time was coming.

I will try my hardest to remain as positive as possible when explaining the sorry state of affairs that occurred. Regrettably, there really is nothing cheerful about it all, my dearest love. I have scrawled and torn as many a paper as one would scrap. All with the intention of relaying the events to you. It all sounds so cruel though. As if it is even worse when written down and confirmed on a piece of paper.

I have tried to chronologically replay the events out in my mind. Trying to make sense at which point I knew I had no choice but to run. Trying to make sense at which point I knew in order for you to live that I would…

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1930’s Great Depression Letter

My dearest Rodney,

It is with heavy yet elated heart that I sit and write this letter. Truthfully, I believe we both knew this time was coming.

I will try my hardest to remain as positive as possible when explaining the sorry state of affairs that occurred. Regrettably, there really is nothing cheerful about it all, my dearest love. I have scrawled and torn as many a paper as one would scrap. All with the intention of relaying the events to you. It all sounds so cruel though. As if it is even worse when written down and confirmed on a piece of paper.

I have tried to chronologically replay the events out in my mind. Trying to make sense at which point I knew I had no choice but to run. Trying to make sense at which point I knew in order for you to live that I would have to leave. Reflecting now, I suppose it is safe to say there is a very clear point when my world collapsed. However at the time, it could have been compared to a row of dominoes. Where the first domino collapsed and all the others followed suit. By the time I had realised what caused the first domino to collapse, I no longer had the strength in me to build them all up again.

That said, I have carried this letter around like a burden and I must tell you why it ended. It is time the truth is set free, carrying you with it.

I will never forget the Saturday of the 8TH of August 1930. It was the day I met the only boy who ever made me understand what the word “kindness” meant. The only boy who didn’t make me feel like a complete waste of a life, sniggering or pitying me when I walked past him in my torn frock and shoes without any buckles. You were the only boy who ever made me believe there could be some form of good left out there.

After the day that you captured my heart and perhaps my mind too, I promised you that I would never leave your side. Mentally, physically and emotionally I never believed I would be neither capable, nor strong enough to ever leave you, whether you wanted me around or not.

It has been one and a half years since that day has passed, and I suppose I proved both myself and all the others who taunted me for being a weak individual wrong. I left you, Rodney. It was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done. But it was either your heart or ultimately your life at risk. Or me and my heart, that I truly thought could be mended one day.

Father left me no ultimatum the night he stormed into my room as drunk as ever. He was being physical with the nurse whom had just put baby Isabella to sleep. He was shouting abuse at her and stating that he no longer wanted the baby now that my “useless bitch of a mother” had since passed on. I decided that night I could no longer be the weak individual I was known as. If anything, I would, I had to, protect the innocent baby.

Begging my Father to please stop with his abuse and leave the room, Father turned around and slapped me. I had seen Father on drunk on many occasions and fuming with rage about one thing or another. That night however, it was as if looking at a man I had never met. He was spitting and seething with anger. He grabbed me by the hair and stared me in the eyes and then he told me very, very calmly, “Get that pompous Rodney boy out of your life by the end of tonight, or else I will physically remove him from it for you. I don’t want those high almighty kinds around us, and if I find my orders are not obeyed, it will be you and Rodney and both your dead corpses to blame for the death of both families”.

It was then I knew I no longer had a choice in the matter.

I packed my bags that night after cleaning up Father’s vomit, which had soon proceeded after him beating me. Father was unconscious by the time I began to pack my belongings. It was my only chance of escape. If only I had known the night I ran away, you were with me all the time. I could never out run what was growing within me. This wicked world forced me to run away from the only thing I ever truly loved, just to be haunted by your face in the eyes of my, our, child daily.

Margaret Willow Allen was born on the 11TH June 1931. Her second name was named after your love for Willow trees. The trees, where you and I used to swing on the branches squealing like little children again. The tree where you used to sit watching and begging me to climb, all because you delighted in my fear of falling down and showing my knickers off for all to see.

Margaret is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid my eyes on. Her green eyes pierced through me, just the way yours used to do. Her hair as dark, shiny and as rich as a chocolate pudding. Her smile as naughty and yet kind as one could ever ask for. But what really made Margaret stand out from all the rest was her laugh. It bellowed right from the bottom of her tummy. It could make anybody believe this world was a perfect place for the few seconds it rang through the crowds.

There was a not a day that didn’t pass where I didn’t think of stopping everything I had built up since running away and coming to find you. Show you our beauty Margaret. Show you that sometimes this world does have mercy.

But I was always reminded of Father’s threat. With age came no mercy for the bastard. It was clear that I had not run far enough when I still got to read in the Daily Telegraph about the many murders that took place in London. Sickening, I knew that Father was behind more than half than them. His evil didn’t relent. Not with his friends, nor his family. I was never willing to risk the only happiness I had left with me.

On the 2ND of August 1932, whilst cleaning the office at the law firm that I am hired at, it was announced on the radio that Father, Humphrey Wesson, England’s most notorious gangster who had escaped bars for most of his grown life had been found dead in his flat. Elated was not the word to be used when describing how I felt. How I still feel to this second. I felt like a bird which had been caged all his life eventually being set free. With Father’s death meant the beginning of a life for me. I no longer have to live in fear. I was granted the peace I have been searching for my whole life.

It has now been a week since Father’s death and I am finally doing what I have dreamt, hoped and craved to do for the past two years of my life. I am packing my bags to come to be with you again, my beloved Rodney.

Margaret and I will be leaving Northumberland for the Alnmouth station in four weeks’ time. It will take an expected three hours travel to the London Railway. Margaret already knows your name. As if born with it imprinted in her mind “Dadda” was the first word she ever said. As if using the word “Dadda” continuously would fill a little piece of what was missing without you there.

I have not and will not be able to have a good night rest until I am back where I belong. The excitement is no longer containable. I cannot wait to see you again my sweet, sweet Rodney.

Yours forever and always,








Perhaps, whilst you read this, you could play the song “Hello darkness my old friend” in the background for greater effect. Though, in all fairness, I doubt many of you would need it. You don’t often need enhanced effects for anxiety, she already has that all covered for you. Anxiety makes sure you feel everything and nothing all at once. Anxiety is almost what you could call that BFF of yours, who has you covered constantly in what to do, think, feel, may need, not need etc. Of course, anxiety also always has that shitty advise to offer you, once you’ve cried, broken down, or have no idea which way next, after accepting the initial shitty advise that they offered you. Anxiety provides you with those irrational thoughts to work with, that just seem so correctly rational at the time.


Growing up, ie. becoming an adult, hasn’t all been bad. Apparently anxiety hasn’t taken too well to it. It is almost like she feels she may be losing control of situations that she suddenly felt the need to take control of. The constant need for control of situations, and the absolute fear when control is no longer in her hands, causes anxiety to throw one of her greatest displays. In all fairness, anxiety does try to keep herself together in public; it is unfortunately those closest to her, which have to bear witness to the performance.


I suppose that making jokes, having a fairly decent sense of humour and, most importantly, an incredible group of family and friends surrounding me does makes things bearable most days. It is just that sometimes some days are harder than others. The days, when anxiety is no longer just anxiety, but also depression, anger, fear and every other emotional member of her family she decided to invite over. Let me add, invited over for an extended, unwelcome period of time.


I would be lying entirely if I said that it was an unexpected visit. There was nothing surprising, nor unexpected, that came with the depression and complete lows. It would considered ‘normal’ to happen. After having avoided any form of emotion trying so desperately to be acknowledged by me; when something didn’t feel ‘happy’ inside of me. My natural reaction was, “I don’t have time to deal with this right now”, or “suck it up”, or the most commonly used one “I will deal with that later”. Avoidance after all, is my second name.


Reading it, when set on paper, it is almost like witnessing a relationship. One where the partner just could not be bothered, nor has the time or energy to really sit and listen as to how their respective partner is feeling about something. What it is that is killing them inside? What it is that has drawn all motivation from them? What it is that has made them so scared to do things that are considered different, or risk taking? What is it that you so desperately fear? This is certainly not the type of relationship most people would ever choose for themselves, yet, why is it, that we are so willing to inflict it on ourselves? What are we so scared of, when it comes to emotions, that we feel that we could not possibly handle the impact of feeling of it?


I always said that if I were granted one personal wish, it would be to be as ignorant as possible. I wish that I didn’t have to feel everything so deeply, or feel the immediate responsibility to help, when something wasn’t right. This leads to my constant guilt, and suddenly anxiety is greeting me again.


I am currently reading a book, ‘The man who broke into Auschwitz’, written by Denis Avey. It is incredible. You really have to dig to find any happiness in it. Despite the many questions raised in regards to the facts shared in the book, it is based on the story of Denis Avey. He was a British soldier who willingly marched himself into the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III, determined to witness what he could there. I am determined to not give up reading the book until the end, and I am also determined to continue to believe that there is still good in this world (If Anne Frank can do it, I will continue to try too). I suppose, I allow myself to feel and think the many things I do, when opening my mind and eyes to what has/what does go on in this world. I could never allow myself to stop learning though. I am slowly making progress in making a conscious effort to not allow things I don’t have control of or, things that happen to others to not control my emotions, that I eventually become debilitated in helping where I can. Empathy is an incredible thing, provided you know when to switch it off.


In writing this article, my objective was not only release my own thoughts and logic onto paper. It was also to help others understand that it is ok to feel scared, fearful, and worried about the ‘what ifs’ of everyday life. The control of anxiety becomes a problem when it is a part of your everyday life, which it did for me. It will get better. I will regain control over my thoughts and emotions, but to do that, I am learning first how to acknowledge them when they are there.




  1. Reminding myself that I am not responsible for anybody else. Not even my mother or father. (If you have children, please don’t read too far into this).
  2. It is ok to fail.
  3. It is ok to feel sad. Stop fighting it. Acknowledge it.
  4. You are not perfect and that is ok.
  5. Stop exaggerating your ‘what ifs’. Those dramatic, worst case scenarios that you keep creating in your head, most often don’t even happen. When it does, it is not as bad as you created it out to be.
  6. Be in the moment. Acknowledge what is around you; nature, children, animals, animals and animals again. No, really, animals are the best thing for you to smile.
  7. As silly as this may sound, I genuinely need to remind myself to breathe sometimes when I feel overwhelmed. Focus so much on your breathing, that you regain control over your body.
  8. Remind yourself that this too shall pass.
  9. Find your passion and pursue it. This was one of the harder ones for me. I kind of lost all motivation in everything I was passionate about, but sometimes you need to read a book, watch a documentary or go out of your way to remind yourself what it was that sparked your passion in the beginning.
  10. YOU WILL ALWAYS COPE. No matter what the situation, you will cope no matter what.


                                                                                 This is for the ones

                                                                                 Who cried themselves to sleep

                                                                                 Who cut

                                                                                 Who starved themselves

                                                                                 Who puked

                                                                                 Who felt ugly

                                                                                 Who felt alone

                                                                                 And for the ones who died

North Korea


I recently read a book that I could quite truthfully say changed my life and perspective on many things. It is written by a man by the name of Jang Jin Sung, a former high-ranking propaganda official and poet of North Korea. “Dear Leader”, as written by Jang Jin Sung, is a personal account of the author’s life and experiences in North Korea, as well as insight into the inhumane, totalitarian leadership and brainwashed society North Koreans face every day.

Thinking of where to start this article has been exceptionally overwhelming. So overwhelming, it has often been easier to put it aside and not continue. There is so much information and so many different sources to refer to that I truly have battled knowing where to begin and how to present the information.

My biggest concern is that I come across as repeating what could just as well be read…

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North Korea

I recently read a book that I could quite truthfully say changed my life and perspective on many things. It is written by a man by the name of Jang Jin Sung, a former high-ranking propaganda official and poet of North Korea. “Dear Leader”, as written by Jang Jin Sung, is a personal account of the author’s life and experiences in North Korea, as well as insight into the inhumane, totalitarian leadership and brainwashed society North Koreans face every day.

Thinking of where to start this article has been exceptionally overwhelming. So overwhelming, it has often been easier to put it aside and not continue. There is so much information and so many different sources to refer to that I truly have battled knowing where to begin and how to present the information.

My biggest concern is that I come across as repeating what could just as well be read in “Dear Leader” itself. That said, knowing not all people will read the book, I have decided to mention points which I found interesting. My interest being sparked-one; because I have not personally read of such inhumane conditions before, but even more so, due to the fact that living in the 21ST century, it is hard to believe that such sort of behaviour and ignorance is allowed.

Before getting too ahead of things, it is probably necessary to famaliarise yourself with the Kim leadership of North Korea. Reading “Dear Leader” proved to be incredibly difficult when trying to keep up with the many “Kims” involved and trying to separate their periods of leadership. This may seem rather odd as there have only been three generations of the Kim leadership since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) came into power in 1948. That said however, the name “Kim” belonged to nearly every second individual, including nearly all other members of the Kim family.

Kim II-Sung. The first president of the North Korean State and leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Ruling from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.
Kim Jong Il. Known as the Supreme leader of the DPRK. Son of Kim II-Sung. Ruling from 1994 to 2011. Jang Jin Sung’s book is based mainly on Kim Jong Il’s leadership due to the fact that he was working under Kim Jong Il’s leadership at the time.
Kim Jong-un. Son of Kim Jong Il and grandson of Kim II-Sung. Ruling from 2011 until present.

Formally Korea, North Korea came into existence after Japan was defeated in World War II, resulting in the division of the two occupied zones. Namely-the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south.

The circumstances of the war made North Korea look like an attractive choice in terms of its economic superiority. This enabled Kim II Sung to pursue a policy of embracing expatriates. Using these immigrants as evidence of people choosing Socialism (North Korea) over Capitalism (South Korea).

The immigrants however, began to cause ripples in the North Korean society. The Japanese being of the most concern. Before the Japanese had arrived, North Koreans had only known North Korean products, as allowed by Kim II Sung. Almost instantaneously North Korea became caught up with the Japanese products. The influence of the Japanese and their products soon upset the North Korean leader. Thus, resulting in their oppression. So threatened was Kim II Sung he even prohibited white cars to be driven as white cars were the same colour as the Japanese flag.

Unlike as so often experienced in South Africa, laws and rules are laid down and conformed to whether you like them or not. However, in North Korea everything is done in the name of the “Dear Leader” and increasing his influence and improving his lifestyle (I do seem to see a similarity here). The rules implemented, give one insight into the brainwashed society the North Koreans live in and the idea that they believe their leader is superior and almost superhuman.

A few of the bizarre and in my view ridiculously insecure and condescending rules implemented include:

•Any form of writing or music is to be done with the intention of portraying the Dear Leader in the best possible light. This rule is clearly seen when attending a karaoke bar where all songs are filled with praise for the leader. The most popular songs being “Nice to meet you” or “Whistling” which were relatively free from political implications, however, the lyrics have been adapted to comply with the party. “Morning Dew” was another song which was in fact a South Korean song. However, the party had edited the lyrics in order to suggest the South Korean citizens looked towards Kim Il Sung as the force to unify Korean peninsula.

•At any performance or event, the protocol dictates that all attention is focused on the leader. This, despite any live performances around them.

•Writing out of free will is not an option. In fact, anybody who composes work that has not been assigned to the writer through a chain of command is by definition guilty of treason. All written work is initiated in response to a specific request by the Workers’ Party. It is not however the writer’s job to articulate new ideas at his own whim. Thus, every writer in North Korea produces work according to a chain of command that begins with the Writers’ Union Central Committee of the Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department.

•After the economy collapsed poetry became the literary vogue. This was brought about by the lack of paper and therefore lack of material to write novels on. There are three poems all North Koreans are to learn:

“For My One and Only Homeland”-Where the writer describes that even with his only life to live, he will sacrifice it to his homeland.
“Mother”-Which describes the motherly love of the Workers Party as deeper than any love a Mother could feel for her own child.
“My Homeland”-Which describes the leader as the poet’s true homeland and how the country is subsumed into the identity of its leader.

•In the early 1980’s the North Korean state decided that the presence of disabled citizens in Pyongyang (the capital city) was an affront to the beauty of the city and banished them en masse to the countryside. One man broke down to Jang Jin Sung describing how he was forced to say goodbye to his daughter who was incapable of looking after herself.

•An individual is not allowed to travel at will. He is first required to present an official travel pass before buying a train ticket, which will only be granted after all reasons for travel are made apparent to the officials.

•Speaking out negatively on a party issue will result in one being accused of being an anti-revolutionary. This will result in being sent to the gulag (forced labour camps). Any family member will be sent too, based on the system of guilty by association.

•It is compulsory to have a picture of the leaders hung in your house. Calendars of famous actresses do exist, however they are to represent their loyalty to the party through their art. If discovered that this isn’t the case, the individual will be found guilty beyond doubt of worshipping materialism.

•At birth each individual is assigned an ID booklet. It is a lifelong report card on education, contributions to the workplace and efforts in the local party branch, as well as stating any changes in circumstances. Even if an individual is unemployed, the office in charge of the residential area and officer from the Ministry will jointly assign a grade for behaviour, therefore leaving blank years as not an option.

•As known and experienced by the author Jang Jin Sung, when books are loaned to agents of the state (as the author was), the agent is required to show their official identification and sign for it. In the contract of admission a clause states very carefully that if any Southern Chosun literature were to be exposed outside the department they are working in, they will be executed for treason. Family and associates of the traitor are destroyed along with the criminal based on the concept of guilty by association. Family dating to three generations back is affected, with the State using the excuse that they are removing any corruption which may be rooted. (The author worked in a department where they are kept up-to-date with South Koreas literature to know what they were doing. South Korean literature was however banned generally).

•When a cadre is ill, he is to notify the relevant authorities of his whereabouts as somebody shall be sent to verify the truth to his claims.

•North Korean women are not allowed to grow their hair or let it down, as long hair symbolises the corruption of a Capitalist society.

Besides the oppressive, unrealistic and absurd rules implemented, I also came across facts and information that gob smacked me just as much. A few of these ridiculous and sad facts include:

•Kims household has the protection of the Guards Command which consists of 100 000 infantry, seamen and pilots.

•When the Leader enters the room one is to salute whilst saying “Long live the General. Long live the General.”

•The Foundational Sciences Institute was an academic body devoted to the study of the Dear Leader Kim Jong Ils health, also falling under the Guards Command. Three thousand researchers worked there. Planning and preparing medicines and dishes specifically designed to extend Kim Jong Ils longevity. It is unclear whether Kim Jong-un has kept this institute going.

•North Korea operates under the concept of a “Hundred Copy Collection” which is a restrictive measure put in place in order to restrict the circulation of foreign books. Allowing only a few of the North Korean elite access to the books.

•There is only one TV channel in North Korea. Namely, Central TV, which broadcasts from 5pm to 11pm on weekdays and on Sundays from 10am. This channel is purely dedicated to the empowerment of the party.

•There is such a thing called the “corpse division” where a van is dispatched through the different provinces to collect all the dead corpses which have suffered death due to starvation. This, whilst the leader lives in pure luxury.

•Signs are placed all over the market places, stating things such as “Death by firing squad to those who spread foreign culture”, “Death by firing squad to those who hoard food” or “Death by firing squad to those who waste electricity”.

•Public executions: Peoples trial. Trials that could take place on almost a weekly basis. A siren will sound and individuals in the vicinity are to remain where they are until the trial is over. A public execution is not regarded as a punishment, but rather a method of moral education. The individual on trial has his judgment read out and then the sentence is to follow. The individual (prisoner) has a spring like object shoved in his mouth in order to prevent him from speaking and uttering rebellious statements. He is then shot dead. Mr Jang Jin Sung witnessed a trial where the individual prosecuted was a farmer who stole rice as he was near starvation.

•Tumen River is a boundary river between China and North Korea where soldiers have been spread out along the river on the North Korean side, ready for any North Korean individual wanting to swim to China as an escape. Stepping into China is an unredeemable act of treason.

•Often North Korean women trying to escape, flee to China, just to become prisoners and be used for sex slavery. In China, the North Korean women are called pigs. As in the Chinese countryside pigs are valuable. The women are graded according to their age and appearance.
o Grade one pig: 200 000 won (Roughly R2000.00)
o Grade two pig: 150 000 won (Roughly R1500.00)
o Grade three pig: 100 000 won (Roughly R1000.00)
Below the above amounts the women are taken to remote farms or are forced to marry disabled men who can’t find a wife. Thus, due to a shortage of women in China. The wives are often shackled in order to avoid escaping.

•There are many religious institutes in North Korea that are controlled by the United Front Department. However in practice North Korea is a one-religion state, where only the worship of the Leader is allowed. The United Front Departments (UFD) religious institutes exist so that North Korea may claim it is a pluralistic state. Although a cadre may appear to be a monk or priest he too is behind the Kim cult. The churches are composed of exclusive UFD members and their family, who are obliged to attend out of duty to the party. No ordinary North Korean individual could ever consider worshiping in these buildings as they are operational zones restricted only to UFD personnel and foreigners.

•One of the cruelest stories I read regarding the churches of North Korea consisted of an elderly man in his 80’s who went to church and presented a Bible he had been hiding all his life. He explained that he had been a believer in Jesus before the Korean War; however after losing his family to an American bombardment he converted and became a believer in the Supreme Leader. He stated that he had gone to the church after hearing hymns that took him back to his childhood. The elderly man was immediately reported by the UFD and arrested on the spot. The cadre involved in the arrest of the man was awarded a First Class medal reserved for the most loyal to Kim, for his achievement of exposing a religious element that had succeeded in keeping his subversive beliefs a secret. The sickening and twisted irony in all of this, is how the same Bible the man presented at the church, is now used by North Korean UFD’s as a prop to boast about the history of North Koreas religious tolerance.

•In North Korea unconditional love is purely reserved for your Leader. Not even a marriage should consist of a love as strong as that for your leader.

•Revolutionary rooms: Rooms attached to all workplaces and schools. In these rooms students receive ideological indoctrination appropriate to their age group. Thus, by the time nursery school to university is covered, the entire span of Kim II Sung and Kim Jong Il’s formative years have been covered. For working adults, various self-criticism and political sessions take place in the room.

•Everything in North Korea operates off a centralised system. You can never just go out and eat a meal because you want to, or ever just pay with cash. If you go to a restaurant you are to pay with special coupons issued as a special privilege to you by the Workers Party. The coupons system was implemented in 1992 when the food rations shrank.

•Section 5 of the Organisation and Guidance Department oversaw all matters relating to Kim Jong Ils private life. Staff was placed in every city and district in order to go around girls middle schools and hunt for the prettiest one. They would only pick 13 year olds when they started menstruating. After selection at the age of 13, the girls would undergo an annual physical inspection to check for diseases and to make sure that they were still virgins. At 16 years old, when they were finished with school, the regional branches of Section 5 made a selection among them. The girls who made it through were sent for 1 years’ worth of training around the country at Kim Jong Ils holiday homes. At 17 years of age they received assignments. At the age of 24 their duty came to an end. It is unclear whether Section 5 has been kept in place for Leader Kim Jong-un.

The above contains just a few of the points mentioned and revealed in Mr Sungs book. All these points were mentioned in between Mr Sungs personal account of how he planned his escape from North Korea with his friend, Young min, after a book issued to him by his department was lost and found by a Cadre in Young min’s bag (He had lent the book to Young min). This meant that when Mr Sung and Young min were to be caught, they, as well as their family dating to three generations back would face being charged as guilty.

Mr Sung, after 35 days on the run from North Korean and Chinese authorities eventually arrived in South Korea alive where he was to seek exile. Mr Sung to this day still receives death threats of physical harm from North Korea. North Korea has even gone so far as to publically threaten him in the media stating things such as, “remove his existence from this universe.”

Mr Sung has tried to move on as best as possible with his life, having got married and had a child. He too has started a newspaper dedicated to exposing North Korea as it is. Informed and updated by North Korean perspectives as its information, thus, being as unbiased as possible.

The North Korean individuals have no freedom to press, media or speech and through New Focus International this is Mr Sungs way of speaking out on behalf of the trapped North Koreans.
New Focus International can be found on Facebook.

“Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. To-day I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity-I belong to the earth!” Henry Miller.