Tracing Liberty to a Pair of Jeans

Upon arrival, defectors expend up to 3 months currently being investigated by South Korea’s Countrywide Intelligence Support when dwelling at an isolated setting up in the mountains. If they are authorised, they move to a settlement assistance heart identified as Hanawon, wherever defectors are taught the basics of banking, technological know-how and purchasing.

Part of this education generally includes a industry vacation to a department retailer, where Hanawon college students are offered purchasing cash. Though North Korea reportedly has a handful of office retailers stocked with Western brand names for the 1 p.c, the Hanawon trip is a initial for most defectors.

Kang Nara, who dropped all her clothing while crossing the Yalu River in 2014, stated she remembered finding out a K-Swiss padded vest lined with raccoon fur, an item her trainer explained to her was attractive for youngsters her age. Ms. Yoon described the shopping mall she attended, Shinsegae (which means “new world”), as “an awesome, alternate entire world.” She recalled buying a pair of short cotton pajamas with frilled trim she experienced viewed on the Korean drama “Stairway to Heaven.”

When they still left Hanawon, all 3 of the females discovered that day to day South Korean daily life hardly resembled what they had found on tv when they lived in North Korea. Jihyun Kang, who defected in 2009, explained it was the very first time she seriously imagined about the costs of dressing effectively and uncovered daily South Korean model disappointing.

“The more I seemed at outfits, the extra I comprehended quality,” she mentioned. “I needed far more lovely issues, but I couldn’t afford to pay for them. In Korean dramas, absolutely everyone wears colorful, costly outfits and improvements frequently, but in genuine life, it was not like that at all.”

Kang Nara claimed she couldn’t have an understanding of why people with dollars dressed so plainly and that she had a difficult time swallowing some trends her first 12 months. “I was horrified by those people low-hanging, Justin Bieber-design trousers,” she claimed.