Monday, June 18, 2007 Other stuff

A book recommendation

Please buy The Aquariums of Pyongyang (US:, UK: No, we haven't signed up for the Amazon affiliate program so we're not getting commission. We just think that everyone should read this book.

We bought it when we arrived in Seoul, to help us when we were trying to reprogram ourselves after our trip to the North. The book's author came from a relatively well-off and trusted family in Pyongyang, but they fell on hard times when the author's grandfather was suspected of being a bit less than 100% supportive of the regime. The author and his entire family were carted off to one of North Korea's gulags, the Yodeok concentration camp (official name: Reeducation Centre No. 15). He was only nine years old. He spent the next ten years there, eating rats on the good days, and nothing on the bad days.

Incidentally, three generations of a 'hostile' family are purged, as that is apparently what is needed to root out the bad blood and prevent it from corrupting the workers' paradise.

His re-education complete, the author was eventually released from the camp. Using the resourcefulness he had developed in the gulag, he managed to escape from North Korea itself and tell his story. His book is a chilling read and it certainly had the desired effect on our own process of re-education. We guarantee that however bad your own problems in life are, they are completely insignificant.


Jimmy K. said...

That is all well and good, but jeezz what is happening on your jobs. inquiring minds want to know. Where are you staying, What are your hours, What kind of students, when is pay day ? Come on...

Glenn Livett said...

Patience, patience... all will be told. We have got a few posts saved as drafts right now, they're coming up real soon (we want to take some photos to make them more interesting).

It takes time to write to such a high standard and make all this stuff up, y'know! :-)