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Korean Sex And Cambodian Govt Corruption: Why You People Read My Blog And What You Are Fiddling Around With On The Internet

8 Feb

Korean Sex And Cambodian Govt Corruption: Why You People Read My Blog And What You Are Fiddling Around With On The Internet

By Nate Thayer

It is, together, alarming, confusing, depressing, and downright fascinating sometimes when reviewing the analytics of who you people are that come and read my blog–and exactly how you get here.

The top search terms that drove people to my blog today are as follows:

1.”choeung sopheap”
2.koreansex
3.korean sex
4.air koryo business class
5.sex korean
6.westboro baptist church number
7.khmer police big cock
8.bd korian sex.com
9.korea sex

You will note there is a theme that emerges here: Sex Continue reading

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Pyongyang Porn: “Some readers may find the book objectionable” @NKNewsorg

23 Aug

Excerpts from Pyongyang Porn

“Some readers may find the book objectionable”
BY NATE THAYER , AUGUST 23, 2013
For the full story, go to NKNews.org at http://www.nknews.org/2013/08/pyongyang-porn/ , the news organization that comprehensively provides quality journalism on all North Korea. Below are excerpts…….
cammy-smithwick-pyongyang-fuck-kim-jong-un-ladies-stockings (1)

Artwork by NK News illustrator Cammy Smithwick

 

Mhari Yi, who moved to Edinburgh to attend Napier University and stayed on to work, was excited as she embarked on a new side career as a budding author. She lived happily for ten years in Edinburgh, Scotland, she said in several interviews with NKNews.org

On May 12, 2012, she published a book. On May 14, she wrote on her blog “I am so happy. My first book has been published!” But Miss Yi had also set another precedent: she is the first to penetrate the virgin North Korean porn market, dragging the famously thin-skinned and prudish dictatorship against their will into the hard core world of erotic literature.

The cheeky promotional blurb for Pyongyang F@%K: Deep inside North Korea declares the barely legal protagonist “Dae is a young Korean girl who has just turned 18 and is looking for a little fun. Now is the time for a little excitement deep inside North Korea.“

If the North Korean government gets wind of the erotica author’s work, Miss Yi may find herself on the receiving end of a serious tongue lashing.

In August, 2012 an obscure Australian weekly paper angered North Korea by publishing a graphic of the London Olympic medal count which labeled Pyongyang “Naughty Korea” and its southern neighbor as “Nice Korea.” Pyongyang went ballistic and fired off a missive (that is missive, not missile) over state media for the “sordid behavior” of “challenging the authority of the dignified sovereign state” calling the Melbourne mX a  “naughty paper” and a “symbol of rogue paper for its misdeed to be cursed long in Olympic history.”

But the 31 year old porn writer has been much naughtier………..

BEGGING FOR MERCY

In Pyongyang F@%K: deep inside North Korea, the protagonist, the barely 18 Park Min Dae, engages in a series of bawdy Pyongyang romps using her wicked talents to seduce top party cadre, distracting them from their revolutionary duties, under the gaze of the ubiquitous portrait of the regime’s dictator, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

Miss Park, with breasts “like grapefruit” and buttocks “like two luscious juicy melons placed perfectly together” starts “working for the party” as a photographer for the Pyongyang Times.

On her first day on the job, she intends “a lot more than a boring first day at work”, returns to her bosses house and seduces him, only to then have North Korean intelligence agents appear out of nowhere and drag her now ex-boss off to his certain fate. Her future now firmly in the hands of the feared secret police, the very naughty Miss Park prostrates herself in front of the portraits of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and begs for mercy–and offers other rather risque, specific compensatory incentives to the secret police agents–and she is given a break, only to ratchet up and continue her subversive erotic antics. She returns home and tells her mom that her boss had quit but “the new one may even give me a promotion!”

The British Foreign and Commonwealth office helpfully suggests, in its travel advice offered to UK citizens visiting Pyongyang , to refrain from “perceived insults to, or jokes about, the North Korean political system and its leadership which are severely frowned upon,” adding that visitors have “found themselves in trouble for not paying what was deemed to be a sufficient level of respect.”…………

……………………………………….In Pyongyang F@!!k, Miss Park’s parents leave a life of luxury “in Japan to live in Pyongyang, North Korea. I know reading this now you may think why on earth someone would do something so stupid?” she writes. Her father was then taken by the secret police “who had come at night but I heard many rumors from my friends that my dad had been a bad man and had committed crimes of treason against the state and our Dear Leader.”

She probably made a good choice to use a pseudonym when she penned her no holds barred erotica set in North Korea. The Pyongyang authorities are famously grumpy when it comes to challenging the official propaganda portraying the Godlike virtues of the hereditary Kim family regime.

OFFENDING THE LEADERSHIP

In June last year, upset at South Korean media, North Korea threatened the “reduction to ashes in three or four minutes, by unprecedented unusual means” several offending newspapers.

One particular newspaper in South Korea merited a declaration from the famously thin skinned Korean Central News Agency that military “strategic rocket forces” had “zeroed in” on the journalists and then broadcast the precise military map coordinates of the papers office in downtown Seoul……Less than a week later the newspaper was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack, destroying their databases and temporarily paralyzing production.

“We have dispatched our investigators urgently to the Joongang Ilbo to secure evidence,” Jong Seok-hwa, chief investigator of South Korea’s government Cyber Terror Response Center said in an interview with a Seoul newspaper. ”We have never seen a strong attack like this before.”

KCNA added the international media were “dens of heinous provocateurs hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” concluding they “should not be allowed to exist.”

In Pyongyang F@#k: deep inside North Korea, after her father was disappeared, her mother then “married the head of the peoples party in our province” who the randy Miss Park proceeds to tease and seduce.

The book is decidedly not family friendly reading.  A disclaimer says “some readers may find the book objectionable, saying it contains references to “voyeurism, exhibitionism, anal play, anal sex, oral sex, extended orgasms, graphic language, vaginal sex and cock sucking. “

It can be assumed that among those “readers who find the book objectionable” would include the ruling officials in the “workers paradise” of North Korea…….

……And she might take special note of the helpful British Foreign Office tip on traveling to Pyongyang that it is “not advisable to bring books” as “these and any other literature deemed subversive or pornographic by the North Korean authorities risk being confiscated from travelers on arrival.”

She might even want to remain alert when in Edinburgh. In July 2010, two North Korean diplomats walked into the Rangoon, Burma office of ……the author of “Kim Jong Il: The Dear Leader of North Korea,” one ordering him to immediately stop distributing his book, while the other diplomat confiscated all the remaining unsold 310 copies. “They said I used two American books as references,’ Hein Latt, 62, told Reuters at the time……

“To tell the truth, I gave the books to them because I am afraid of North Koreans. I know more about them than others because I am writing about them.” He said one spoke “English but the other didn’t. He just stood there and collected the books.” The North Korean diplomats didn’t even offer to pay for them. And the Burmese language book had been approved by the Burmese Ministry of Information Press Scrutiny Department, a government hardly known for its fidelity to press freedoms or tolerance for political controversy.

“If anything came of my silly little erotica, I would love it to be that someone gets more interested in North Korea,: Miss Yi said. “ It really is shocking how little is publicized about the horrors that occur in North Korea!”

Mhali Yi, when asked if she is single, says: “One could say that. I’m not in a serious relationship at the moment. It’s not something I’m currently looking for as I don’t wish to be tied down.”

That likely would be the most pleasant of her possible fates if the North Korean regime got their hands on the Edinburgh lass.

For the full story, go to NKNews.org at http://www.nknews.org/2013/08/pyongyang-porn/ , the news organization that comprehensively provides quality journalism on all North Korea.

Canadian Sex Advice Columnist Weighs in on Atlantic Kerfuffle Over Pay the Writer

3 Jun

Prominent Canadian Sex Advice Columnist and Very, Very Good Bad Girl Weighs in on Atlantic Kerfuffle Over Pay the Writer

 By Nate Thayer

June 2, 2013

Yesterday I received a very supportive message from an esteemed colleague in the international press corps, which was deeply appreciated.

In addition to being a renowned, nationally syndicated Canadian sex advice columnist, Alex Tigchelaar has been a stripper, sex worker, playwright, performance artist and an all-around very, very good very bad girl.

She made me smile.

Alex Tigchelaar wrote in support of the lingering, only slightly muted, kerfuffle over writers being paid for their work which was sparked by a recent exchange I had with the Atlantic magazine which sought to engage my professional services with the caveat that I agree they did not have to pay me for them.

As a professional colleague, Alex took strong offense to this arrangement and wrote me to say just that.

Dear Nate,

Thank you for giving me something to reference/talk to people about when they are surprised to see me, a formerly syndicated columnist, standing behind the bar at Sweaty Betty’s or mopping the floor at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

I say, “Read Nate Thayer’s piece on the state of journalism. If he’s being asked to write for free we’re all fucked.”

On the upside it’s been nice talking to people about what a positive impact my work had on them.

As you probably know yourself, you usually only hear from people who want to kill you when you are actively writing.

Thanks Nate, for your dignified outrage.

If you are in Toronto please stop by Sweaty Betty’s. Drinks are on me if I’m behind the bar.

I also bartend at a transsexual strip club.

Not sure if that’s more up your alley but if it is, again, drinks on me.

Your pal and longtime fan,

Alex

My colleague journalist, sex worker, and Renaissance woman Alex Tigchelaar

My colleague journalist, sex worker, and Renaissance woman Alex Tigchelaar

Buddies in Bad Times is a theatre company dedicated to the promotion of Queer Canadian Culture, voted Toronto’s Best Small Theatre Company in 2012, and “dedicated to the nurturing, protection, and celebration of queer culture.”

Alex is clearly an advocate of the Queer community, but maintains cynical distance of blind support for what appears to be just about anything—an essential trait of good journalism. “Homos and hookers go together like peanut butter and jam—sometimes anyway. I could do without some of this current crop of queer, The Revolution Starts Up My Ass hookers.”

Sweaty Betty’s is a storied Toronto dive bar where “the tortured literati rendezvous nightly”, a “small, bordello-inspired den” located across the street from one of Toronto’s oldest mental institutions.

“In a city of infused vodkas and creative cocktails, Betty’s refuses to mix anything with more than three ingredients, “said a review in Lonely Planet of Sweaty Betty’s. “ This no-nonsense approach pares a night out at the bar to the essentials: having a good time and chatting people up.”

Betty’s sounds like my kind of establishment and Alex my kind of barkeep.

The only negative comment I found on Sweaty Betty’s was an online review from ‘Mellisa’, who objected to “one of the male bartenders stole my friend’s hat from off the bar where she put it down for a moment. She phoned them the next day and asked if they had found it, they said no. Then, the next time she went, she saw the guy WEARING her hat.” But even Mellisa said “I do like the location, décor and ambiance of Sweaty Betty’s — but I can only put up with the people if I’ve already been drinking. And drinking a LOT.”

Sign at Toronto bar Sweaty Betty's

Sign at Toronto bar Sweaty Betty’s

Alex did not identify the transsexual strip club where she bartends, but I am confident I can get the directions from her next time I am in Toronto where I will be sure to drop by Sweaty Betty’s to quench my considerable thirst for people with minds like Alex Tigchelaar.

Former journalist and Sweaty Betty’s barkeep, Alexandra Tigchelaar, from whom I have a standing invitation for drinks on the house, is indeed a formerly nationally syndicated columnist in Canada–author of the weekly sex advice Montreal Mirror’s column Love Bites from 1999 to 2009. Her work as a journalist has been widely praised as insightful, witty, powerful, and honest.

But, in addition, Alex has an impressive resume which includes neo-Burlesque performer, stripper, artist, playwright, sex worker, actor, author, and journalist who sometimes writes under the pen name Sasha Van Bon Bon.

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/20803154&#8243; width=”500″ height=”299″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>

MothUP Toronto IX – LOVE & SEX – Sasha (Alex Tigchelaar) – “Feature Dancer” from MothUP Toronto on Vimeo.

Alex was co-creator of The Scandelles, a Toronto male-female burlesque cabaret troupe, since renamed Operation Snatch. She is also the curator of cabaret Dirty Plotz, which is about the “Politics of Pussy”.

She studied creative writing and English literature at Concordia University but her art is mostly a product of working in Montreal and Toronto’s strip clubs, where she found her talented, unorthodox creative voice.

A nationally syndicated sex columnist since 1994, she has written about sexuality for numerous publications, and is co-author of a short porn film called Give Piece of Ass a Chance (which screened at over 20 international film festivals), has penned an erotic comic for Eros Comics called Beatrix Dominatrix, hosted erotic events, and performed as a go-go dancer on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s 60th anniversary televised show.

alex2

“As a cabaret theatre artist I explore the space of Revered/Reviled.  I know this space very well.  This is a space of divine creation but it is one that is often foisted upon a person – it’s not entered willingly.  Learning to live in it with grace and resourcefulness is difficult.  It can make a woman fucking crazy,” Alex said in a 2012 interview.

“In Dirty Plötz, we are, quite literally, examining the Sacred and Profane Hole,” she said in another interview.  ‘Plotte’ is French-Canadian slang for pussy.  In addition, the title of the piece “Dirty Plotz” is a play on the 1990’s comic Dirty Plotte by Julie Doucet.

“Doucet was, in her words, interested in ‘sex, violence, menstruation and male/female issues’, and so am I. Big time,” said Alex in the Canadian interview.

Since not only did I appreciate her thoughtful words of support to me as a colleague, but we shared similar interests, I promptly wrote a thank you note to Alex.

Dear Alex:

Out of the considerable hundreds, at least, of friendly incoming missives I have received regarding that story, yours is, by far, my favorite to date.

Thanks for the grin inducing, thoughtful, kind words,

If the bastards ever do force me off my perch, I had always thought that my only alternative employment possibilities for which I might be qualified would be working third shift at some urban 7/11.

Now I know there is at least some hope for a better alternative if such an unspeakable scenario materializes.

Good on ya. And thanks again. Keep up the great work.

Your pal and new fan,

Nate

“I don’t understand why the job is illegal—there’s just something about that that drives me fucking mental,” said Alex in another 2012 interview on the rights of sex workers. “I cannot, for the purposes of supporting myself, use my own body to do that? Sure, I can go and become a construction worker, or a  lawyer and I can use my body and my brain to generate income—often, in those cases, fairly unethically—but I cannot use my body to generate my own income? What the fuck is wrong with that picture?” said the sex worker, activist, journalist and performer.

To me, Alex Tigchelaar seamlessly integrates the essential purpose of free speech among free people in free societies and the role of a free press.

“I mean yes, putting a bunch of woman of different sizes and gender presentation on stage, that’s minimally revolutionary, but let’s get those people telling their stories,” she said. “Seeing a woman of size or a transsexual performing, that’s just one thing, but now that we have the opportunity, let’s go deeper than that. We got on stage taking our clothes off, and then we opened our mouths.”

Alex succinctly summed up her multi-talented body of work. “Underneath all of those personalities and people is the truth, which is: ‘It’s my body, I have agency over it—not you.’”

I would add only that it is Alex’s mind, as well, which she has demanded equal agency over.

“What I’ve realized is that people become quite angry when they’re faced with these stories, they’re much happier listening to the stories of women being victimized,” she said.

Speaking of sex workers, Alex says “our stories are often trivialized through the lens of shame and criminality. When we talk about kept women, we act as though these women were the only ones who were kept when this was and continues to be the reality for so many women—as though a wife, sister, or servant wasn’t or isn’t kept, and often with much more rigid terms. I contest the concept of “kept” when it comes to sex workers anyway. It’s far more complex than that. I’m also tired of people saying, ‘No girl dreams of being a stripper.’ Seriously, speak for yourself.”

female burlesque cabaret troupe, Operation Snatch performing in Dirty Plotz, which is about the “Politics of Pussy”

female burlesque cabaret troupe, Operation Snatch performing in Dirty Plotz, which is about the “Politics of Pussy”

After a cursory peak at Alex’s impressive life, I asked her for permission to quote from her private correspondence to me.

Hi Alex:

I wanted to post your kind note on my blog and FB private page, and wanted to make sure you had no objections to identifying you as the author. If you do, no worries, just give me a shout.

The message remains much appreciated. Is journalism a great fucking job or what? Not the least for putting me in the mix of people like yourself.

Best,

Nate

She responded:

Nate,

My only objection would be to referring to XXXX as XXXXX, for fear of alerting the moral authorities to its true nature and putting my hard working colleagues at risk for arrest. We are still in a fairly grey legal area in Canada. If you could refer to XXXX as XXXX, that would be very appreciated.

Alex

I replied:

Hi Alex:

Will do.

That was exactly the reason I wanted to double check. It dawned on me that Canada has been going through some legal acrobats over these laws in the last couple years, right up until recent weeks, if I am not mistaken.

The last thing I want to do is get you or your colleagues locked up. Quite the contrary, I think we would agree our shared mission is to keep people free, despite the quite alarming knucklehead factor which appears to be metastasizing against that trend and these efforts.

I will make the suggested adjustments.

Stay in touch.

Best,

Nate

Alex responded:

Nate,

Thank you! Yes, that knucklehead factor is more alarming than you can imagine.

If you can believe it, a half dozen organizations with open religious affiliations have been granted intervener status in the Supreme Court hearing on June 13th while 5 supportive, non-abolitionist and sex worker run sex work organizations  have been denied intervener status. (And here is the kicker quote of the year) I am thrilled that people who believe that the end of days will be heralded by a whore on a multi-headed beast will be permitted to object to a woman’s right to make money using her body (well, a certain part of it at any rate) over my sensible and experienced colleagues.

Alex

With that final message, and that brilliant final sentence, I formally have included Alex to my fictional “12 people in history you would invite to a dinner party” guest list.

I think I will sit Alex on my right, next to Jesus.

With Pol Pot, directly across from her, who will be seated next to the Pope, who will be allowed to be accompanied by one, handsome, young male attendant.

Ronald Reagan would be in the mix. With Beethoven tinkling the ivories in the background and Sid Viscous on vocals.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson would be in attendance along with Sir Winston Churchill and Christopher Hitchens. There are a couple remaining slots still open.

And, Alex, if you choose to attend, the drinks are on me.

Your pal and new fan, Nate

Robot Sex Poll Reveals How I Got Invited–Then Uninvited–As Guest on Huffington Post Live TV Show

11 Apr

Robot Sex Poll Reveals Huffington Post Uses Slave Plantation Economic Business Model to Convince Writers to Work for No Pay:

“You Should be Grateful We Let You be Our “House Negro” or You’d be Picking Cotton in the Fields With the Rest of  the Slaves”

Or How I Got Invited–Then Uninvited– to be a Guest on the Huffington Post Live Television “News” Talk Show

By Nate Thayer

April 11, 2013

Two days after my email exchange with the Atlantic magazine, which I posted unredacted and verbatim on my previously obscure blog, which went viral sending several hundred thousand readers to my website (a 39,000% increase in traffic over the day before. I checked), I received the following email from the Huffington Post:

 xxxxxxx@huffingtonpost.com>

to: thayernate0007@gmail.com

date: Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM

subject: Interview request from the Huffington Post for tomorrow

mailed-by:  huffingtonpost.com

“Hello Mr. Thayer,

I’m a producer with HuffPost Live, the webTV network of the Huffington
Post. As someone who’s followed your work for a long time (I lived in
Phnom Penh for several years in the early 2000s), I was happy to see
your response to The Atlantic, and the attention it’s been getting.

Would you be interested in appearing on HuffPost Live tomorrow
afternoon to discuss the issue, and the larger questions around how to
make freelancing work sustainable? Continue reading

North Korean Tourism Dwarfed by Visitors to Elvis,South Korea For Nose Jobs, Thai Sex Change Operations

22 Feb

North Korean Tourism Dwarfed by Visitors Paying Homage to Elvis, Thai Sex Change Tourists, Those Seeking Nose Jobs in South Korea; And 1/15 of UK Citizens Traveling Abroad for Dental Treatment; 

In 2012, North Korea welcomed nearly 30,000 visitors, including 4000 westerners, and official state media trumpeted this week that foreign tourism is “booming” days after they exploded a nuclear bomb drawing global condemnation. State news organ KCNA said the number of foreign visitors to the North has grown since 2000 and has surged after 2009, citing a spike in European visitors but offering no statistics. “The global popularity of tourism to (North Korea) is booming,” they said, citing socialist accomplishments by the Kim family hereditary dynastic regime.

Tourists Bow Paying Homage to Kim Il Sung

Tourists Bow Paying Homage to Kim Il Sung

Independent industry analysts have put the number of western visitors to North Korea at about 2,000 per year, but KCNA said this week tourists rose “sharply” from 2009.  The respected independent NK News quoted Simon Cockerell, General Manager at Koryo Tours, the preeminent group tour operator to Pyongyang based in Beijing, saying numbers have spiked, but visitor numbers are so small “an unexpected increase of a few dozen can look like a large percentage surge.”

It is estimated that in 2012 perhaps 4,000 Western visitors traveled to the world’s most isolated nation, and KCNA said that “eye-catching achievements made by the country in the effort for building a thriving socialist nation in recent years are one of the attractions.”

But a tourism boom in North Korea is quintessentially relative. A cursory comparative look breaks the annual visitor arrivals to North Korea down to the equivalent of the number of tourists who arrive from abroad every 34 minutes in the U.S., and every 27 minutes in France.

Less foreign visitors travel to North Korea annually than take in the British Lawnmower Museum in the U.K. Foreign visitors to North Korea per year amount to less than 5% of those who visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley—Graceland in Memphis Tennessee which attracts 600,000 people annually to pay homage to the “King”. Graceland opened for tours on June 7, 1982. “We had no idea whether 30 people were coming, or 300, or 3,000 that first day, Fortunately, it was the latter,” said Jack Sodden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. They sold out all 3,024 tickets on the first day and the flow of tourists has remained steady, with an average of 600,000 annual visitors to the mansion.

The Elvis Presley Shrine at Graceland Draws More than 20 Times the Visitors than Visit North Korea Every Year

The Elvis Presley Shrine at Graceland Draws More than 20 Times the Visitors than Visit North Korea Every Year

The entire annual number of foreign visitors to the Hermit Kingdom is less than 3% of those who trek to visit the home of one of capitalism’s most storied robber barons, the Biltmore Estate of the Vanderbilt family in America’s deep rural South, which attracts 900,000 visitors per year.

Fetish Con, an annual sex conference celebrating all things kinky, attracts more than 10,000 people annually worldwide to a U.S. city by people interested in the whips, toys, videos, outrageously high high-heels and black leather stiletto knee-high boots, and features such offerings as Kinky Karaoke, with fetish enthusiasts dressed in outfits ranging from very little to full-body latex. That is more than twice the total annual western visitors to all of North Korea at the moment.

Annual Sex Fetish Conference Draws More Visitors Than North Korea Does in an Entire Year

Annual Sex Fetish Conference Draws More Visitors Than North Korea Does in an Entire Year

Each year about a half million leather clad bikers and their half naked girlfriends converge on the small town of Sturgis, South Dakota for the world’s largest motorcycle rally—more than 15 times the entire yearly total of foreigners who visit North Korea.

A more nuanced comparison makes the entire cumulative arrival of visitors to North Korea less than those who travel to Thailand for sex change operations. It stands, for instance as 1/15 of UK citizens who traveled abroad in 2011 for dental treatment. In 2006, Israel welcomed 15,000 foreigners who traveled there for medical procedures, bringing in $40 million of revenue. 30,000 people came to Iran in 2012 to receive medical treatment. About 1 million Californians go to Mexico for healthcare procedures, mostly to Tijuana seeking weight loss, and plastic surgery, in addition to alternative cancer treatments. According to the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California, Mexico in 2009, close to 8 million people went to Tijuana for some type of healthcare.

The most obvious comparison is in South Korea where in 2009, a total number of 60,000 medical tourists arrived, rising in 2010 to 80,000. The South Korean Ministry of Health has set the target for 2015 to up to 300,000 medical tourists. Currently, the most popular treatments for medical tourists are cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery, nose jobs, facelifts, and skin lightening.

There are no reports of any visitors choosing Pyongyang as a preferred destination for medical care.

So a surge in foreigners visiting Pyongyang is all a matter of perspective.

travel sino bridge afp

Tourists to North Korea must go on guided tours and must have their tour guides with them at all times. Photography is strictly controlled, as is interaction with the local population.

In 2002, the scenic Mount Kumgang close to the South Korea border was designated a special tourist destination, and South Korean tourist companies brought thousands of South Koreans to Mount Kŭmgang until that was suspended in late 2008 after an elderly South Korean woman was shot dead by North Korean soldiers for veering off the designated tourist paths. When tours had still not resumed by May 2010, North Korea unilaterally seized hundreds of millions of dollars of South Korean real estate assets developed to accommodate tourists in the region.

In July 2005, the South Korean Hyundai Group signed an agreement with the North Korean government to open up more areas to tourism, including Baekdu Mountain and Kaesong, which was opened to tours for South Korean and foreign tourists in December 2007, with North Korea charging US $180 for a one-day trip, receiving several hundred tourists each week.

The tours to Baekdu Mountain were suspended in December 2008 after Pyongyang objected to South Korea activists sending balloons filled with propaganda messages critical of Kim Jong Il which floated into the North. When South Korea did not respond to North Korean demands to stop the propaganda balloons, North Korea suspended the Kaesong tours. The tours to Kaesong resumed in April 2010, but were again suspended the next month in May 2010 after Pyongyang sent clandestine spies into South Korean territorial waters and torpedoed a South Korean ship, the ROKS Cheonan, which sunk, killing dozens of South Korean navy sailors.

Chinese tourists make up the lion’s share of the still miniscule tourist industry. In April 2010, tourist trains from Dandong, China began a highly controlled 4-day trip to North Korea. Prior to that, the international train from Beijing to Pyongyang was the only train allowed for tourists to the North. In June 2011, Chinese citizens were allowed on controlled bus tours to a strictly delineated zone near the Chinese border focused on shopping for the first time, and in January 2012, were able to bring their own mobile phones into the DPRK for the first time without being confiscated by border authorities to be returned upon departing the country, but without a North Korean sim card, strictly prohibited in North Korea, the phones are useless as they are unable to make or receive calls. The number of Chinese tourists visiting North Korea fell 70 percent from 2010 to 2011, with Chinese tour operators citing restrictions on where tourists can travel—only the capital Pyongyang and Mt. Kumgang–for the lack of interest.

The leading tour company for non Chinese citizens desiring to visit North Korea, is the quirky, but highly professional and knowledgeable British run, Beijing based Koryo tours, which have been running curious visitors to the hermit Kingdom for 20 years.

Arrival Customs Gate at Pyongyang Airport

Arrival Customs Gate at Pyongyang Airport

When visitors arrive by plane in Pyongyang, they land on an empty runway, and walk into an empty terminal. One visitor wrote “On a visit to North Korea I had a surreal experience as my Air China plane touched down at Pyongyang airport the music which was played into the passenger cabin was Isaac Watts’ Christmas carol “Joy To The World”:

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room;

And let Heaven and nature sing.”

The nonexistent lines at customs efficiently immediately confiscate all mobile phones and electronic devices. Shortwave radios are sometimes allowed into the country—after they are taken in a back room and radio frequency access is sauntered to the state propaganda channel. Listening to foreign broadcasts is punishable by jail. Each visitor is met at the security gate by two government minders who accompany all visitors during every waking hour while in country.

Visitors can go to a handful of approved sites, which include visiting the captured US spy ship Pueblo, the war museum where guides lecture on American atrocities committed against Koreans, pay homage to the Kim clan at  statues, and visit the $900 million building where Kim father and son lay embalmed, and houses thousands of gifts from every corner of the world given to the Kim’s when they were alive. The Palace of the Sun serves doubly as a museum, and visitors are forbidden from speaking and must remove their shoes and put on disposable plastic sleeves over ones feet to make sure no germs infect the sacred site.

Some favored the portrait of Kim Il Sung behind a gynecologist's chair (insert "on-site guidance" joke here). I preferred the one of him sitting behind a desk double-fisting ears of corn.

Some favored the portrait of Kim Il Sung behind a gynecologist’s chair (insert “on-site guidance” joke here). I preferred the one of him sitting behind a desk double-fisting ears of corn.

A comparable experience is offered at the “International Friendship Exhibition” in Mount Myohyang-san, which has on display over 200,000 gifts given to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, carefully separated by country leaving the impression that the Kim’s have a fervent and massive global following. The gifts range from whole train cars and handguns from world leaders, to knickknacks from obscure communist sympathizers in the U.S. and Europe who are portrayed as famous renowned vanguard of these countries oppressed proletariat. Many of the groups one suspects have memberships in the single digits and the uninitiated might be shocked to learn that virtually none of their countrymen have ever heard of them. Other gifts include a stuffed crocodile in bow tie and waistcoat standing on two legs holding a cocktail tray and serving drinks, courtesy of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua, and a Tolpuddle Martyrs plate from the British parliamentary Labour party.

Formal attire is required of all visitors to both the mausoleum and gift repository museum, and all are mandated to bow to a statue of Kim Il-sung, march down marble corridors, pass through a wind tunnel to shake the dust from ones clothes, and then into a darkened room holding the embalmed body of Kim Il-sung where visitors line up in rows and must step forward three steps at a time, and bow three times from three different directions.

Then one is taken to another marble chamber where an audio recording is played of the reaction of North Korean’s when the Great Leader died which includes this typical clip: “All people were rending their hearts! And weeping scalding tears that as they hit the ground fossilized and became glittering pieces of stone! It was as if the earth itself had died!”

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“After depositing our cameras and bags in the coat check room, we were instructed to line up in rows of four and walk to the security checkpoint…we were quickly forced back into a single line in order to get through the metal detector and subsequent pat down by soldiers of the Korean People’s Army. But then again, this is North Korea, and if you’re told to get in a row of four, you get in a row of four.

Having been checked for explosives, weapons, and cameras, we then encounter an incredibly long moving walkway. I was a bit surprised to see a standard airport feature in a somber mausoleum. We began walking on the moving walkway, as most people, save the exceptionally lazy, usually do, until we were quickly instructed by our guide that we were supposed to stand still and let the walkway slowly take us to our destination. So we stood there, quietly, and patiently, as the walkway delivered us to…yet another walkway. It seemed like we had traveled for a mile on these things. In fact, I’m willing to bet that, as with everything in the DPRK, it’s the longest moving walkway in the world.”

The tourist then continues describing “standing before the large white statue of Kim Il-Sung, which was bathed in a beautiful pink and blue lighting…while music plays in the background. God, this place is so weird. And we haven’t even gotten to the actual corpse yet.”

Then one is taken to another room with another statue of Kim and given audio headsets “which contains a track of an over dramatic man with a British accent telling us how the death of Kim Il-Sung was basically the worst thing to ever happen in the history of mankind.

Finally, it was time to see the Great Leader himself. First, however, we had to be purified, and were led through a chamber with powerful jets of air that blew any specks of dirt off of us American Imperialists. Thoroughly cleansed, we entered a dimly lit room with high ceilings. In the center of the room was a glass coffin containing the body of Kim Il-Sung, which was draped with a blanket so that only the head was visible. In front of us, rows of somber North Koreans bowed before the coffin, under the vigilant gaze of ramrod straight white gloved soldiers clutching their polished Kalashnikovs….Lenin’s Mausoleum truly has nothing on this place.”

Then it is on to another room with a “giant map showing all the places Kim managed to visit during his tenure, as well as his personal rail car and official vehicle.”

And then to another room “filled with all of the “awards” bestowed upon Kim Il-Sung by foreign governments and political parties. Most of them aren’t real awards, but rather trinkets with little value that have been put on display to give North Koreans the impression that their Great Leader was highly respected all over the world…I was quite amused to come across an honorary degree from Kensington University of Glendale, California.”

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A cursory research of Kensington University reveals it is a fake degree program since eliminated as a fraud degree issuing mill by both the states of California and Hawaii, where it was once located run out of an obscure lawyer’s office in Glendale, California.

Kim Il Sung is not the only high profile dubious dictator to have obtained a degree from Kensington University. Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, since overthrown in a popular revolution and fled the country in January 2011, had a diploma from Kensington University hanging on his wall in his palace–a doctorate in political science awarded in 1999. The university was shut down by the state of California for granting diplomas by mail and having “little or no rigor or credible academic standards.”

The North Korean dictator didn’t go quite as far as the Cambodian dictator Hun Sen, who left school to join Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in the jungle as a teenager. He was awarded an Honorary Ph.D. in Political Science by Hanoi in 1991 and another honorary Ph.D. in Politics from the Southern California University for Professional Studies in the USA in 1995. But his most treasured accolade was when, in 1996, he was presented with an Honorary Ph.D. of Law by Iowa Wesleyan College, USA. He publicly declared that he was now an accredited lawyer and on September 15, 2004, Hun Sen was accepted and sworn in as a member of the Bar Association of Cambodia.

Dong Zong Chairman, Dr. Yap Sin Tian – a controversial Malaysian leader pushing for Chinese education bought his doctorates from the Internet, including a PhD from the Kensington University in 1993 and another doctorate in Business Administration from Kensington University in 1991.

Dr Yap is the chairman of the board of the New Era College. Kensington University has no classrooms, no laboratories, no dormitories, and its so-called campus is housed in a small Glendale office building in California. Students could earn anything from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate – all without ever attending a single class or meeting an instructor, awarding inflated credits for “life experience”.

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The California investigation revealed that students were awarded doctorates for four-months of “work”, by reading magazines and writing short reaction papers, according to the California report that resulted in closure of the diploma mill school by Californian authorities in 1996, whereupon it shifted its operations to Hawaii only to be shut down by the authorities there in 2003. It is also illegal in the State of Texas to use a degree from Kensington University.

Other graduates included Florida State Representative Jennifer Caroll, who was forced to resign from the National Commission on Presidential Scholars after being exposed for having a degree from Kensington University.

These revelations have not sufficiently concerned the Pyongyang government from displaying the degree  awarded to Kim Il-sung, which is displayed alongside his embalmed corpse at his mausoleum in Kumsusan Memorial Palace, in Pyongyang.

Along with the fake Kensington University Doctorate degree, displayed also is a peace medal from Japan, which lies next to his “Medal “For the Victory over Japan”” awarded to him by the USSR. The room is dominated by large paintings and photographs of Kim Il-sung meeting various world leaders during their visits to North Korea and during Kim’s trips abroad, most of which have since been violently overthrown and executed by their own people during popular revolutions, including Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, , Nicolai Ceauşescu of Romania, Erich Honecker of East Germany, Gustáv Husák of former Czechoslovakia, Wojciech Jaruzelski of Poland, Todor Zhivkov of Bulgaria, János Kádár of Hungary, Houari Boumediene of Algeria, and Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania.

Other leaders featured prominently at his tomb include Yasser Arafat of Palestine, former Soviet leaders Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev, and other well-known people including Che Guevara, and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Chairman Mao Zedong of China, Fidel Castro of Cuba, and Josip Broz Tito of former Yugoslavia

The 2007 celebration of Kim Il Sung’s birthday, Pyongyang

Also on the tourist itinerary is a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, the most heavily mined piece of real estate on earth. The four lane highway typically has virtually no other vehicles. It is in fact a hundred kilometer long military air landing strip.

The leading European tour group is the British, excellently run Koryo Tours (koryogroup.com). Koryo Tours makes very clear what the prerequisites and terms of visiting are. Under a section titled “RULES”, the tour group says: “Please be aware that whilst we do the utmost for our tourists you are under very strict regulations as to what you can and cannot do and this is not negotiable. For example; you are not free to wander around on your own, there are photographic restrictions and video cameras are generally prohibited….WE CANNOT TAKE JOURNALISTS INTO THE DPRK. We therefore ask all journalists to notify us of their position so we can suggest other alternatives.”

They continue: “It is therefore only advisable visiting the DPRK if you can tolerate the following points:

1) In the DPRK you will be under close scrutiny from the guides and security. Use of cameras causes the majority of problems. You can only take a photograph of what the guides allow. The public are obliged to report all photography. Taking photos of soldiers, at check points, poverty, sneaked photos and close ups of people without their express permission will cause serious problems. Photography when being driven around is also restricted….DPRK regulations state that you cannot take a lens over 150 mm into the country.”

2) Leaving the hotel without the guides or the guides’ express permission is not possible. If you are feelng the need for ‘a breath of air’ then a casual stroll along the river is possible but only if accompanied with a guide. It is possible to stroll in the grounds of the hotel but please ask the guide and do not take your camera.

3) We are ‘invited’ to the DPRK and therefore we ask our tourists to respect the Koreans and their vision of the Great Leader – this involves bowing at the 20 meter statue on Mansudae and on various other occasions. Chewing gum, eating sweets and wearing scruffy clothing in places of Korean national importance (such as Mansudae statue to Kim Il Sung, the Friendship Exhibition and Manyongdae birthplace of Kim Il Sung) will offend guides.

The tour company reemphasizes the point again and again: “If any of the above poses a problem it is advisable not to visit the DPRK….”

The number of foreign visitors to the North has grown in the last decade and in 2009, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said “The global popularity of tourism to (North Korea) is booming,” without providing any details or numbers of visitors, citing the reason for the increase as Pyongyang’s “shining, socialist accomplishments” adding “Most tourists gave positive reviews about their experiences in (North Korea) on the internet and other media.”

Here is a list of National holidays:

January 1st – New Year’s Day

February 16th – Comrade Kim Jong Il’s birthday (1942)

April 15th – President Kim Il Sung’s Birthday (1912)

May 1st – May Day, International holiday of Workers

July 8th 1994 (Juche 83)Memorial day of the death of Kim Il Sung

July 27th 1953 Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War (Korean War 1950-1953)

August 15th – National Liberation Day (1945)

September 9th – Day of the Foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1948)

October 10th – Day of the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea (1945)

December 27th – Day of the Promulgation of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK (1972)

And here is the list of government recognized “Major Commemoration Days”.

February 20th – Machine Workers’ Day

March 5th – Farmers’ Day

March 8th – International Women’s Day

March 22nd – Fishermen’s Day

April 5th – Public Health Day

April 6th – Reforestation Day

April 8th – Communications Day

April 25th – Korean People’s Army Day

May 11th – Railway Day

May 15th – Geological Survey Day

May 21st – Builders’ Day

June 1st – International Children’s Day

June 6th – Day of the Foundation of Korean Children’s Union

June 7th – Local Industry Day

July 1st – Miners’ Day

July 7th – Coal-Miners’ Day

August 10th – Forestry Workers’ Day

August 20th – Air Force Day

August 28th – Navy Day and Youth Day

September 5th – City Administration Day

September 15th – Commerce Day

October 9th – Metal Workers’ Day

October 14th – Broadcasting Workers’ Day

October 15th – Textile Industry Day

November 1st – Press Day

November 16th – Land and Marine Transport Day

December 6th – Chemical Industry Day

An Airplane From New York to Tokyo With a Pit Stop In Heaven

19 Jan

An Airplane From New York to Tokyo With a Pit Stop In Heaven

It was another long 16 hour non-stop transcontinental flight from the New York to Japan, and a three hour layover there before boarding another 6 hour flight to Bangkok. I was, as always traveling alone. And it promised to be interminably boring.

I always wait to near boarding time and request a seat in the very back middle row of four seats often left free by airline check-in personnel where if one is lucky you might find yourself with a row all to yourself and can raise the armrests and stretch out and sleep. I was lucky that night and got such a seat, but one never knew who might end up sharing your  row once boarding is complete. I settled in prior to take-off as the plane continued to board new passengers taking their assigned seats. I eyed each one headed towards me hoping they would take a seat prior to reaching the last row I was in.

Rolling a carry-on bag behind her, I spotted a very attractive woman walking towards me in her late 30’s, raven hair framing high cheekbones, full lips, and a smart form fitting black above the knee dress which highlighted a pair of strong thin legs that were those of an artist’s dream. She was checking her boarding card and looking at the row numbers as she made her way to my row, gave me a wide smile, and said ” I am sorry to ruin your privacy but I am seated next to you.”

“Oh no apologies, please. There is plenty of room. We have four seats all to ourselves,” I half fibbed, not sure whether to be pleased or not. She sat down in the middle leaving a seat between us.

Soon the plane taxied and took off, the loud hum of the engines made small talk difficult. We both exchanged pleasantries and settled into reading our books, newspapers, or computers we had with us. Drinks were served, meals arrived, and movies started all designed to distract from the monotony of a seemingly endless flight.

We would lean over and talk, offering short biographies of ourselves and our travel plans. I was returning to Bangkok and she was on her way to Japan on business. Both of us were single and Americans and both had made this plane trip too many times to count. The conversation was pleasant and easy and friendly and her smile and ease were enchanting.

Within a couple of hours the plane lights dimmed and people began to doze, although a steady traffic of passengers passed by us to the restrooms and the flight attendants came and went continuously. We fell into conversation passing the time, but it was hard to hear over the drone of the engines.

“Do you mind if I move to the seat next to you?’, she said,” It is hard to carry on a conversation form this far.”

“Please, i would be delighted, ” I said, and she raised the armrest and slid over next to me, holding my arm to assist her moving, my eyes moving from her lovely smile to her endless enticing legs, her short dress hiking up as she slide in next to me.

” Ah, this is much better. I can hear you!”, she whispered near my ear and smiled.

We laughed and chatted and told each other random stories as the time passed. The plane grew quieter as people dozed. The flight attendants came by and we asked for another round of drinks, both ordering a double vodka. The air-condition was quite chilly, we both agreed, and unwrapped the blankets provided and put them around our laps, sharing the two blankets. It was an easy relaxed conversation and we both fell into periods of the silence of our own thoughts. She began to doze and her head fell nuzzled on my shoulder in her dream state as if it belonged there. I tucked the blanket around her and let her rest and continued to read. She would adjust herself trying to be comfortable and her armed draped over my lap as her head felt like a perfect nook to fit in the cranny of my neck and shoulder. It was if it had always belonged there.

She woke briefly, looked up at me as if assessing approval. I smiled.

“You look very relaxed,” I said.

” I am”, she smiled and snuggled closer wrapping her arm more firmly around my waist, her elbow resting on my lap with the ease of a familiar lover. It was as if we had known each other before. But in fact just two people bypassing the awkwardness of first meetings and falling into  a comfort zone usually reserved for  those who had long before allowed themselves to be vulnerable to another. I put down my book and closed my eyes and drifted, with her, into slumber.

I was dreaming delicious feelings of arousal when I slipped back into consciousness and felt her hand brushing softly over my light khaki pants and looked down as she stared up at my eyes.

” Good morning”, she said with a mischievous smile.”I woke up and my hand felt you needed my attention. You were smiling in your sleep.” I shuddered and smiled……..

She responded with a firmer stroke. “Oh my, that feels so nice,” I said and moved my head to kiss her lightly on her lips. She pressed her mouth hard against me and let out a quiet moan. I reached down under her blanket and moved my hand up her firm thighs hiking her dress and she responded with approval by parting her legs further and moaning, and she rose to greet my touch with desire.

As I touched her she kissed me harder and. It was all so natural and sweet. No awkwardness or embarrassment as we let ourselves both revel in the pleasure we  were exchanging.

” God, that feels so nice,” she whispered softly.

“Oh yes, please don’t stop,” I said.

We bucked and grunted and moaned softly in muted approval, both gripped in lust and pleasure in synch with each other as our eyes locked with expressions contorted in pleasure.

I looked over and saw a blonde middle age flight attendant sitting across from us watching and she gave an approving smile, fixated on us. I was too distracted to care but appreciated she had no objection.

My new found lover in the air kissed me hard as she let herself lose herself to  pleasure moaning softly. Her freedom to let her desires go free made mine unleash with natural ease.

Panting,  her head rested on my shoulder and neck, our hands held each other exchanging sighs.

Breathing hard, we both said nothing for moments.

She looked up and smiled, kissed me, and said: “Thank You. What a wonderful travelling companion you are.”

“God, I feel like we are flying through the heavens. You are a gem, baby. Come rest with me.”

We wrapped our arms around each other and slept until woken for breakfast by the flight crew. The last few hours of the flight were one’s of easy banter, and smiles, and laughter, punctuated by random kisses and affection.

We deplaned in Tokyo, exchanged contacts, and kissed goodbye. I have never heard from her since. But I will always remember that flight free of the  restraints that limit us from pursuing pleasure when two people have the opportunity to seek, give, and receive it in such gentle ease.

 

 

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