Lively NKorean capital celebrates Lunar New Year
AP via Boston.com
North Koreans bundled against the freezing cold paid respects again to late leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang’s main plaza Monday and celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday with colorful flowers and children’s games.
A massive portrait of Kim Jong Il, absent after the mourning period for his death last month, has been restored at the vast Kim Il Sung Square. People stood in line to bow and lay single red flowers — the late leader’s namesake “kimjongilia” begonias — made of fabric.
North Korean defectors’ American Dream
Lee Jang-gil (assumed name, 24) washes dishes at a restaurant. On June 18, 2011, he got home late at 11 o’clock and immediately dialed 911. His mother was lying on the floor bleeding. Fire engines, police cars, and an ambulance arrived to the house on South Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York. Police discovered that Lee’s father had hanged himself in the attic. The North Korean defector, 54, had stabbed his North Korean defector wife, 48, during a quarrel and then killed himself.
Jang-gil lost both his parents that night, just two years after arriving in the United States. Since then he has been drinking day and night. His brother, Myeong-gil (assumed name, 22) is now seeing a counselor. In early August, we managed to meet Jang-gil in Rochester, though he kept his mouth shut whenever the incident was mentioned, electing only to talk about the hardships his family had to go through.
Small talk: Krys Lee
Financial Times (U.K.)
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Krys Lee was brought up in the US but also studied in England. Her first book, Drifting House, is a collection of short stories set in North Korea, South Korea and the US. Lee lives in Seoul.
When did you know you were going to be a writer?
Since I was young – I always wrote poetry. My parents encouraged me to turn my love of writing into law but I did an English degree instead.
South Korea firm turns human ashes into beads
Los Angeles Times
When Jeon Gyeong-suk lost her husband to cancer three months ago, she agonized over how to keep his remains.
Because land is at a premium, burial was out, and she found the idea of a heap of ashes stored in an urn sort of creepy. So the 51-year-old widow paid $900 to transform her husband’s ashes into a few handfuls of tiny bluish beads that have the look of beluga caviar.
Even though the beads look like pebble-sized gems, they aren’t meant to be strung into a necklace. Instead, some mourners keep them in dishes and glass containers, the point being to keep a lost loved one close by.
How To Keep The Dear Leader Well Preserved
New York Times
Kim Jong-il has been dead for just over a month, and the embalmers in Pyongyang are reportedly at their work — draining blood, scooping out internal organs, removing the brain and preserving the genitals. Even in death, Mr. Kim’s remarkable bouffant hairdo will remain intact.
Reports from Moscow say that Russian scientists are guiding North Korean doctors in giving Mr. Kim the same treatments that have kept Vladimir Lenin in the pink since 1924. (A Russian team in 1994 also embalmed Kim Il-sung, Mr. Kim’s father and North Korea’s founding president.)
Korean Hip-Hop: K-Hop Goes Global
South Korea’s music industry gave the world ‘K-Pop’ with its peppy girl and boy bands. Now it’s taking on hip-hop’s swag.
Review: Miss Kim
There’s no doubt there are dark histories people need to reveal in order to get on with living, but those stories are best told to psychotherapists or during 12-step meetings. It’s in those rooms where Gina Kim and Ryan Tofil’s Miss Kim, now at the 45th Street Theatre, properly belongs.
My Korean Quest for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and a Silicon Valley
I set out seeking a new destination for U.S.-style venture capital and small companies poised to grow. I came back from Korea with a greater appreciation for its unique innovation trajectory, technology commercialization process and the big conglomerates that dominate its industry. As much as parts of Korea wanted to be like Silicon Valley, I found myself wishing that parts of Silicon Valley would be more like Korea.