Tracing Freedom to a Pair of Jeans

On arrival, defectors expend up to three months remaining investigated by South Korea’s Countrywide Intelligence Provider whilst dwelling at an isolated developing in the mountains. If they are accepted, they move to a settlement help middle known as Hanawon, in which defectors are taught the fundamental principles of banking, technological know-how and shopping.

Section of this training generally includes a discipline excursion to a section retail store, exactly where Hanawon pupils are offered purchasing funds. Nevertheless North Korea reportedly has a handful of section suppliers stocked with Western manufacturers for the 1 %, the Hanawon journey is a initially for most defectors.

Kang Nara, who misplaced all her outfits when crossing the Yalu River in 2014, stated she remembered picking out a K-Swiss padded vest lined with raccoon fur, an item her trainer advised her was attractive for youngsters her age. Ms. Yoon described the mall she attended, Shinsegae (this means “new world”), as “an wonderful, alternate entire world.” She recalled getting a pair of limited cotton pajamas with frilled trim she had witnessed on the Korean drama “Stairway to Heaven.”

When they still left Hanawon, all three of the women of all ages found that each day South Korean everyday living hardly resembled what they had found on television when they lived in North Korea. Jihyun Kang, who defected in 2009, mentioned it was the initial time she really assumed about the bills of dressing very well and located daily South Korean design disappointing.

“The more I looked at clothing, the additional I understood high-quality,” she said. “I wanted additional lovely things, but I couldn’t afford them. In Korean dramas, anyone wears vibrant, high priced clothes and adjustments typically, but in real life, it was not like that at all.”

Kang Nara reported she couldn’t have an understanding of why men and women with money dressed so plainly and that she had a tough time swallowing some tendencies her initially calendar year. “I was horrified by those very low-hanging, Justin Bieber-model trousers,” she explained.