within three days time, i finished my book entitled “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story”. it’s a memoir recounting the hardships of escaping north korea and a happy reunion with the family after ten years. the author had to change her name many times to survive hiding in china. i happened to see this book displayed at one of the local bookstore so i bought my kindle copy which is cheaper and more handy. i am interested to know more about north korea, not because i want to go there but simply out of curiosity, to be more aware of what’s happening inside this mysterious country. a first hand tale from a defector is one of the best source of information that you can have.
i learned many things about north korea, through this book. for instance, each household must have a portrait of kim il sung and kim jong il, and a special cloth provided by the government should be use to wipe it. the country also doesn’t have a concept of religion and personal rights and the only persona they should look up to are the great leaders. they even have their flowers named after the two leaders namely kimilsungia and kimjongilia. north korea, a communist country, is known for violating human rights. if a person is caught escaping, they will be punished and send to a prison camp. if an escapee is caught inside china, the person will be returned to north korea and will suffer the consequences. the lucky ones to survive and reach seoul will be granted asylum and given a south korean citizenship. despite sharing the same blood, ethnicity and language, north and south korea are very different as night and day.
the author was invited to speak in a TED conference and here’s the video.
it’s a nice read, inspiring and educational too. at the moment, i’m looking for other good autobiography books to read. who’s life story should i be reading next?