The NY Times interviewed eight North Koreans who recently left their country about the increasingly dire conditions there. It seems impossible, but the November currency devaluation has made life worse for what was already essentially a country of slaves.
His daughter tried to comfort him. “Father, I will keep this pair of pants until I die!” she pledged. He told her the cutting board would be her wedding gift.
“At that moment, I really wanted to kill myself,” he said. He gestured toward the safe-house window and beyond toward nighttime Yanji, brightly lighted and humming with traffic. “It is not like here,” he said. “Here, it is not a big deal to make money. There, it is suffering and suffering; sacrificing and sacrificing.”
He said he lay awake night after night afterward, fixated on the navy track suit his daughter had coveted. She had said it put her thick winter sweater and plain trousers to shame. He had put her off because the cheapest ones were nearly $15. When she brought it up once too often, he had cursed and shouted, “People in this house need to eat first!”
“I cannot describe how terrible I feel that I didn’t buy that for her,” he said, his voice trembling.
Kim Jong-il: putting the dick in dictator since 1994.