Fewer tourists are visiting the country. Are there any Nigerians there? We are working on this track. So far, here’s what we know.
In a world where the internet and globalization have brought societies closer together, North Korea’s isolation is an example of what would have happened if there had never been progress. Fewer tourists are visiting the country. Are there any Nigerians there? We are working on this track. So far, here’s what we know:
Proselytizing (attempting to convert people’s religious or political beliefs) can get you imprisoned in North Korea. Although officially considered an atheistic state, there are Christians, Buddhists, shamans, etc. Just keep your faith to yourself and you’ll be fine.
2. Elections with a single candidate
North Korean citizens go to the polls every five years. Yet the ballots, for the various elective positions, have only one candidate for each. Voters vote for or against the candidate. The country is a dictatorship and the same family has ruled since 1948.
3. Regulated hairstyles
Generally, Korean men can only choose from a list of 28 hairstyles, with specifications on the length itself. Violation can lead to detention. While single women should keep their hair short, married women have many more options to explore.
4. The 4th largest army in the world
North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world, employing around 4.7% of its total population, according to Newsweek. Its oversized army is among the most powerful in the world, with around 1,190,000 troops on active duty.
5. Tourists cannot walk alone
While it is not difficult to obtain a visa for the North, a foreigner is prohibited from freely walking around the country. Whether as an independent or traveling group, guides should always be with you regardless of your number. You are not even allowed to leave your hotel until the guides pick you up the next day.
6. Human waste as fertilizer
North Korea has long sourced its agricultural manure from Chinabut this trade, as well as a number of other propertiesceased after North Korea closed its borders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A spring in North Hamgyong Province Told Daily NK that residents had been encouraged to start “producing fertilizer from human waste” after authorities launched a 10-day campaign to increase production. Citizens were asked to produce a quota of 150 kilograms of manure, and people working in state factories were asked to provide 500 kilograms between January 4 and January 14, Daily NK reported. To incentivize people, North Korea has also introduced a pass that will only be granted to people who meet this manure production quota, Daily NK reported.
7. Smoke your weed!
Isn’t it ironic that a country that ignores the basic rights of its citizens has weed available for free to buy at the roadside?
Drug use in North Korea is common, accessible and unregulated. UPI reports that about 30% of North Koreans use drugs. Radio International reports that the use of mkpurummiri (methamphetamines) is widespread although it is not allowed. The export of these drugs and pills, including Viagra, feeds some families.
8. No internet
Citizens only use one version of the Web that works in the country: the intranet. Regular internet is used by the state. Only state-approved television content is broadcast. Tourists can only take photos or videos in approved locations and have no way to distribute or store them. Visitors are carefully searched to enforce this.
9. Cinema at gunpoint
A director named Shin Sang Ok and his wife, actress Choe Eun Hui, were kidnapped by North Korean agents to establish a film industry in 1978. The couple then fled to the West eight years later, after directing a series of films.
10. Hunger thrives
Despite its over-militarization and the global theatrics on nuclear armament, poverty is rampant in North Korea. The famine has been repeatedly reported and recently Asia Press reported on a recent return of the famine in the agricultural provinces of North and South Hwanghae, forcing some to cannibalism.
Quality journalism is expensive, especially when the stories are scattered across the more than 100 countries around the world where Nigerians live. As a team, Nigeria Abroad is driven to shed light on stories shrouded in darkness, but we can also count on your goodwill. If you would like to support the work we do, click here to donate.