Kippumjo


The Kippumjo, which translates as ‘Pleasure Squad’, is a group of approximately 2,000 North Korean women who are recruited by the head of state to serve in a private harem. Although most women are believed to retire in their twenties, there is evidence to suggest that the age of Kippumjo members ranges between 13 and 40.

‘Although Kim Il-sung appears to have been at least in part a feminist, in that he sought to bring women’s education up to scratch and elevate their status by involving them in the workforce, he nonetheless possessed a virtual harem of young women selected purely for the purposes of entertaining him and Kim Jong-il. Kim Il-sung’s interest in young women was not just for pleasure, but for rejuvenating himself through absorbing a young virgin’s ki, or life-force, during sex. As such, it was extremely difficult being an attractive teenage girl in North Korea, lest the authorities (schools, in practice) recommend her to recruiters of the so-called “happy corps” (entertainers), or “satisfaction corps” (sexual services). Remarkably, parents were often happy for their daughters to be selected for these corps, for it would confer on them enhanced status, and therefore money. Pleasure girls retired from the corps at 22, after which they were often married off to other members of the elite. The two Kims’ easy-going sex lives were in sharp contrast to the stricter social mores of North Korea’s conservative society, yet another example of the leaders not practicing what they preached.’

– “The Kims’ North Korea. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin (Bookreview by Yoel Sano)” Asia Times, 4 June 2005

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On Waking up in Science Fiction


“Imagine waking up one day and realizing you were born on a completely different planet; and everything you learned was a lie, and your country’s history was so fabricated, and everyone around you was so brainwashed, and the heroes of your worship were actually monsters, villains.

This is like the plot to a science fiction novel, but it’s the insane reality for North Koreans, like me. From the moment I was born I was indoctrinated towards the first dictator Kim Il-sung and I always used to bow to his pictures, which hangs in every North Korean home.

To us he was a Santa Claus and God who is delivering presents on holidays and performing numerous miracles. When he was fighting our enemy he made bombs from pine cones and turned sent into rice and crossed a river on tree leaves, and he even walked across the rainbow. So that’s why, when I was young, I used to believe that I could also work across the rainbow.”

– Hyeonseo Lee

Necrocracy and the Eternal President


North Korea displays all the trappings of a fundamentalist theocracy (Tellis, Wills. 2007). It has long been established that the North Korean culture of government has taken the shape of a leadership cult with special reverence for its founder Kim Il-sung. This worship became particularly apparent in the 1990s when its founder – the first in the current trinity of Kims – passed away.

‘Under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Korean people will hold the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung in high esteem as the eternal President of the Republic and carry the revolutionary cause of Juche through to completion by defending and carrying forward the idea and achievements of Comrade Kim Il Sung.’

– Preamble to the Constitution of North Korea (1972, revised 1998)

In 1998, four years after the death of the so-called beloved and dear leader, it was established that Kim Il-sung would hold the office of President of the Republic for the rest of time.

Subsequent North Korean leaders (a hereditary privilege of the Kim family since the founding of the state) have been made head of the party and of supreme commander of the army, but the office of president is still held by the man who died in 1994. This makes North Korea the only state in the world with a dead president; effectively, the only necrocracy in the world.

North Korea and the Status Quo


It could be argued that North Korea qualifies as a failed state. The regime is so unstable and insecure it requires a totalitarian grip on every citizen in order to survive. The government aspires to control every aspect of life to ensure the perpetuation of its power. It mainly achieves this by indoctrinating its citizens from birth and maintaining an atmosphere of fear and constant battle against invisible foreign enemies.

In reality, the allegedly perfect regime is ludicrously incompetent and inconsistent. Supposedly, there is housing for everyone, but no citizen can choose where to live. Supposedly, there is schooling for everyone, but no one can choose what they want to learn. Supposedly, there is universal healthcare, but there are no medicines to cure patients. On the one hand, individual initiative of any kind is stamped out, on the other hand, the government cannot provide basic necessities for its citizens, most importantly, food. On top of that, dissenters, nonconformists, critics and others who are considered traitors to the regime are regularly imprisoned, tortured or executed, often together with their entire family. (The list of known human rights violations is too long to go into any further.)

This begs the question, with such a tenuous grip on power, how does the North Korean regime manage to survive?
Continue reading

Conversations: Evil Atheists?


Lysandra
If you are right to believe that religious faith offers the only real basis for morality, then atheists should be less moral than believers. In fact, they should be utterly immoral. Are they?

Helena
No. Do members of atheist organizations in the United States commit more than their fair share of violent crimes? Do the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent of whom reject the idea of God, lie and cheat and steal with abandon? We can be reasonably confident that these groups are at least as well behaved as the general population. And yet, atheists are the most reviled minority in the United States. Continue reading

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Salvador Dali broke his jaw while putting his fist in his mouth as a party trick. He was trying to impress the woman who would later become his wife.

Odontophobia is the fear of teeth.

Queen Victoria wore a bridal veil made from human hair.

According to USA Today, North Koreans must abide by one of 28 approved haircuts. Unmarried women must have short hair, but married woman have many more options. The hair of young men should be less than 2 inches long, older men can go as long as 2¾.

Since 1968 onwards, more Americans have died from gunfire on home soil than in all the wars in United States history.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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John Cleese’s father’s surname was Cheese. Cleese grew up 10 miles from Cheddar and his best friend at school was called Barney Butter.

In 2013, Monaco and North Korea had an unemployment rate of 0,0%.

The record for the most babies born to one woman is 69. She gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. While the woman’s name is not known, she was the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev, a peasant from Shuya, Russia who lived from 1707-1782.

There is a town in Finland called Leppäkummuntie.

Coco Chanel, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, George Harrison, Aristotle Onassis, Jack Nicholson, Ronnie Wood, Elvis Presley, Rowan Atkinson, Jeremy Clarkson, Park Chung-hee, Josip Broz Tito, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Pol Pot, Enver Hoxha, Ferdinand Marcos, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-Il and Sadaam Hussein have owned a Mercedes-Benz 600.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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The scientific name for an ice cream headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. This basically just means ‘nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion’.

Tolstoy said Anna Karenina was the first novel he ever published, even though he wrote War and Peace first.

The most expensive coffee is coffee in which the berries go through the digestive tract of the Kopi Luwak, a small cat-sized Indonesian animal.  The “beans” are then harvested from the animal’s waste, cleaned, roasted, and sold.  This coffee costs $100 to $600 per pound.

In Latin, the numeral “one” has 15 plural forms.

Even though North Korea is ruled by a totalitarian leader who is both chairman of the Worker’s Party and leader of the armed forces, Kim Il-sung (1912-1994) is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country’s Eternal President. The author and journalist Christopher Hitchens therefore dubbed the country a necrocracy.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts