By Michael Harrold
In 1987 Michael Harrold went to North Korea to paintings as English language adviser on translations of the speeches of the past due President Kim Il Sung (the nice chief) and his son and inheritor Kim Jong Il (then expensive chief and now head of state). For seven years he lived in Pyongyang having fun with privileged entry to the ruling periods and having fun with the boldness of the country’s younger elite.
In this interesting perception into the tradition of North Korea he describes the hospitality of his hosts, how they have been shaken by way of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and some of the interesting characters he met from South Korean and American GI defectors to his Korean minder and socialite acquaintances. After seven years and having been stuck passing South Korean track tapes to neighbors and going out with out his minder to locations forbidden to foreigners, he used to be requested to go away the rustic.
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Additional info for Comrades and Strangers: Behind the Closed Doors of North Korea
If found out, Philippe could expect to lose his job; the consequences for the Koreans involved didn’t bear thinking about. To guarantee his friends the fullest security possible, Philippe reasoned, he should maintain the utmost secrecy, whoever he was meeting. 29 COMRADES AND STRANGERS Philippe had come to Pyongyang from Beijing, where he had been studying to add Chinese to the already impressive list of languages he spoke. There he had fallen in with a crowd of North Korean students and, with the assistance of one of their number, he had been offered the job at the Foreign Languages Publishing House.
We certainly hadn’t taken an interpreter with us to get our money back. The driver would take us to the restaurant, Mr Choe told us, the fashionable Chongryuguan. The building, some 15 minutes’ walk from our guest house, was supposed to resemble a boat by the River Potong. Mr Choe would join us there. It was important that the other foreigners didn’t see us, he explained, especially Madame Beatrice, since they would be jealous. A private room had been reserved on the first floor of the restaurant.
They tilted forward, giving the impression that the two leaders were presiding over the room ^ just as they presided over every other room I’d been in so far, it occurred to me, from the airport lounge, to the dining room, to my bedroom. Mr Choe led me to my bookcase, which occupied almost a whole wall of the room. The top shelf was taken up by some two dozen royal blue volumes with gold lettering on the spine: Kim Il Sung ^ Works. Below were a series of other hardback volumes, also collections of the great leader’s speeches and writings, along with a number of books by the dear leader.
Comrades and Strangers: Behind the Closed Doors of North Korea by Michael Harrold