North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is one of the world’s most secretive countries and it goes way out of its way to dissociate itself from the rest of the world. Pyongyang is the capital and largest city in the country which defines itself as self-reliant socialist state, widely considered a dictatorship with totalitarian and Stalinist influences, the supreme leader being Kin Jong-un. It is also the world’s most militarized society. If these things aren’t already freaking you out, read on to know more:
1. There are only three channels on TV and you have to watch only those
We, Indians have a choice of flipping through 1000 channels on our television sets while relaxing on our sofas. However, poor North Koreans have only three channels and have to sit through them because they have no choice. Everything that goes on the channel is controlled by the government.
2. The ‘three generations of punishment’ rule will give you a nightmare
In North Korea, if you commit a crime, not only you but your entire family would be punished for the same. Your three generations, i.e grandparents, parents and children bear the brunt of punishment. The law was made to try to prevent individuals from escaping from the prison.
3. All men and women should only cut their hair according to 28 government approved hairstyles!
Yes, you heard that right! North Korean government has 28 official hairstyles approved and all men and women in the country have to follow the same hairstyles as other hairstyles are banned. Spiked hair are exclusively banned because the government thinks it’s rebellious. The law was brought in by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in 2013 where he did not include his own hairstyle because he wanted to keep it unique.
4. The country has its own basketball rules
They changed the entire game, because why can’t they right? So in North Korea, slam dunks are worth three points and not two, field goals in the final three minutes of the game are of eight points. Also, if you miss three throws, a point is deducted.
5. You need an approval from the government to live in the capital
Kim Jong-Un wants only the most successful, rich and powerful people to live in Pyongyang. Thus, you need to have an express permission to make the capital your home. So if you’re someone who wants to make it big from scratch, then Pyongyang is not for you!
6. Parents who send their kids to schools are expected to provide desks, chairs, building materials
A student going to school has to pay for their own desks and chairs! The fees don’t cover it and the parents have to pay it separately.
7. Owning a bible is illegal in North Korea
In North Korea, the Bible is considered to be a symbol of western culture and therefore not allowed in the country as it might influence the people and convert them. Once, a Christian woman who was distributing the Bible, was arrested and executed.
8. Apple Inc., Sony, and Microsoft are not allowed to distribute their products to North Korea
No iPhones, TV and laptops from the aforementioned brands for the North Koreans! Very little is known of their electronics and technology industry, as the government’s isolation policies don’t reveal much.
9. You cannot smuggle in western literature about North Korea
For tourists, even if it’s a Lonely Planet guide book, it would be confiscated during the security check. Therefore, if you’re a tourist, all your music, television, films and written material would be checked before and only then would you be let in.