April 24, 2024

Socialism with a human face? North Korea’s brief, but impactful, cultural “thaw”

DPRK official culture in the 1980s sought to encourage citizens to be more empathetic

A mini-bus driver runs through a busy city street, violating all the traffic rules. He speeds, tailgates, overtakes at prohibited areas, and almost causes an accident. He invites the irritation of other drivers, including an intelligent middle-aged man.

A road police officer, who happens to be a pretty girl, Un Suk, stops the offender, only to discover that in addition to these infringements, he abuses state property: though affiliated with the state grocery shop, the driver is transporting unrelated goods to a different direction, which has nothing to do with his assigned route.

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