April 21, 2024


Alek Sigley

Alek Sigley

Alek Sigley is a PhD student at Stanford University's Modern Thought and Literature program, where he is writing a dissertation on North Korea. From 2018-2019 he studied for a master's degree in contemporary North Korean fiction at Kim Il Sung University's College of Literature. He speaks Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. Follow him on Twitter.


Pyongyang Chronicles: The North Korea I choose to remember

While state police cut short my studies, I also experienced unforgettable beauty and kindness during my time in the DPRK

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyMarch 22, 2023

Pyongyang Chronicles: A modern-day Judas at Kim Il Sung University

An early friendship ends with betrayal, demonstrating how the North Korean system begets hypocrisy and doublethink

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyFebruary 23, 2023

Pyongyang Chronicles: ‘Why doesn’t Australia develop nuclear weapons?’

A visit to a North Korean restaurant facilitated frank discussion about racism, the Korean War and the merits of Juche

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyFebruary 6, 2023
Featured Content

Pyongyang Chronicles: The North Korean roommates who spied on foreign students

It was an open secret that local students wrote reports on us, but some took their mission more seriously than others

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyJanuary 10, 2023

Pyongyang Chronicles: Why North Korean scholars love Shakespeare but hate Freud

Professors at the DPRK’s top university are passionate and curious but face considerable obstacles in their work

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyDecember 21, 2022
Featured Content

Pyongyang chronicles: Why the DPRK is no fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

All education must be revolutionary, and Kim Il Sung University instructors had no time for fantasies of Middle Earth

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyNovember 28, 2022

Pyongyang chronicles: Late-night mahjong and K-pop at the DPRK’s top university

Foreign students’ lives in North Korea can vary dramatically based on where they’re from — and how much money they have

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyNovember 11, 2022
Ask A North Korean

Ask a North Korean: What is retirement like for the elderly?

Most retirees fend for themselves and eek out a living at marketplaces due to collapse of public distribution system

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyNovember 9, 2022

Pyongyang chronicles: The privileges of life as a foreign student in North Korea

Students enjoy wider access than almost all other outsiders, but they can still run afoul of DPRK authorities

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyOctober 17, 2022
Ask A North Korean

Ask a North Korean: What are toilets like in the DPRK?

Public restrooms and toilet paper are in short supply, while expense of flush toilets results in a porcelain ‘hierarchy’

Alek SigleyAlek SigleyJuly 29, 2022
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