Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Attempted observations of everyday life in Pyongyang

Recently the Hankyoreh has been sending reporters to Pyongyang to cover pro-unification events and other things. This longer report, by Ryu Yi Geun, is a nice attempt to make everyday observations of how people get by in Pyongyang. Of course, the author experiences the familiar frustrations encountered by visitors there of having very few genuine interactions with locals and thus much of his article is based on pedestrian observations like the one below. Nonetheless, his discussions of factories, markets, and urban life are still worth reading.
Yet apart from each building being built on Liberation Street and on the premises of Pyongyang Medical School, it is difficult to find any buildings currently under construction. The Children's Heart Hospital Center under construction within the campus of Pyongyang Medical School is being built with the giant steel beams all too common in the South. Indeed, the beams were made in the South. Across the street, dozens of Northern laborers were constructing a building with their hands, devoid of any assistance from machines. After the run-up to the 1989 World Youth and Student's Festival, when apartment complexes were built along Liberation Road, all construction stopped along the road as the North descended into the Arduous March of the 1990s, which is how it refers to the period of devastating economic downturn and famine.

No comments:

Post a Comment