KO YONG HEE – the mother of KIM JONG UN

Family PICKINGS: Ko Yong Hee was born in June in 1952 in Osaka, Japan. She was the daughter of a Korean-Japanese judomaster professional wrestler, Ko T’ae-mun. The Ko family repatriated to the DPRK via Wonsan in 1960. Ko Yong Hee joined the Mansudae Art Troupe in the early 1970s. She met Kim Jong Il around 1974. Ko Yong Hee was a popular North Korean dancer.

Ko Young Hee was Kim Jong Il’s second mistress. In official propaganda she was called “Respected Mother”

Ko-Yong-hee and Kim Jong Il had two sons, Kim Jong Chol, 1981, who, according to his father, “was no good as a successor because he was too much like a girl” and Kim Jong Un, 1983. They also had a daughter, Kim Yeo Jong, 1989. Ko-Yong-hee was reportedly Kim Jong il’s favorite wife who could prepare his favorite foods.  She also did not tolerate his mood swings and fits of depression.

Officially she died of breast cancer in August 2004.

NO “wishi-washiness” says North Korea’s “Supreme Leader”

National Defense Commission PICKINGS.

Kim Jong Un vows NO CHANGE policy – the dynasty is promising "final victory"

North Korea issued two stamps after 14 days of mourning has ended

“We declare solemnly and confidently that the foolish politicians around the world, including the puppet group in South Korea, should not expect any change from us,” said the statement. “We will never deal with the traitor group of South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak.” The statement was carried by the Korean Central News Agency, the regime’s official mouthpiece to the outside world.

Hostile posture and typical bellicose attitude towards the outside world with a characteristically common threat to punish President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea for his “unforgivable sins” I read as a sign to rally its military and people behind the new leader KIM JONG UN who is believed to be in his late 20s.

“Don’t expect change from me!”was the slogan of the dynastic rulers. “The Eternal President” KIM IL SUNG used it, his son “My Dear Leader” KIM JONG IL ensured continuity with no change in policy and “The Great Successor” KIM JONG UN is promising “final victory” and presses North Koreans to remain faithful to the dynastic rule.
I register the confrontational behavior towards the external world as a tactic to extort large shipments of humanitarian aid from South Korea and USA.

Kim Jong Un during a memorial service for his father. On our extensive trip through North Korea, everybody I met or saw in the cities or in the countryside were slim, haggard or emaciated

KIM JONG UN inherits an extensive network of prison gulags. He faces a widespread food crisis, starvation,

an impoverished population and is confronted with an enormous fuel shortage and extensive daily powercuts all over the country, in tourist locations as well.

Traveling through North Korea, we met electricity shortages every day in the cities and in the countryside. Fuel shortage was visible everywhere, no gas stations along the highways or in the cities.

When our driver went to get gas in Pyongyang, we were dropped on the roadside at the outskirts together with our two guides and he disappeared for twenty minutes. My questions to our two “permanent guides”, why we could not stay in the car, were not answered.

Girl reading a book – she said hello

As Ursula stayed with our two guides talking to keep them busy I managed to cut myself loose and slipped away to the nearby river to see if  I could make contact with some people.  Away from my two guides I met this girl reading a book, she was a little shy but nevertheless she said hello to me.

KIM JONG-UN, the “Great Successor”

"The Great Successor" salutes his father

State news broadcasts PICKINGS: North Korea has been proclaiming KIM JONG IL’S youngest son, the Swiss educated KIM JONG-UN, the “Great Successor”. At the age of thirteen, he lived under an assumed name with an employee of the North Korean Embassy in Berne, Switzerland. From 1998 – 2000, he visited the public school “Liebefeld Steinhölzli“ in Köniz.KIM JONG-UN is to become the youngest leader of a nation with a nuclear arms program. Though he was not in his homeland known, he certainly will be feared.

KIM JONG UN, second right, and his uncle, JANG SONG THAEK, at far left

His uncle, JANG SONG-TAEK, is the husband of KIM JONG IL’S sister, KIM KYONG HUI.

Kim Jong Il's sister KIM KYONG HUI

She also appears to be playing a prominent role in the shaping of the new leadership.  JANG SONG-TAEK has been promoted to general of the armed forces of DPRK.

BE AFRAID … “to the ends of earth and heaven“

glass coffin PICKINGS – born-of-god KIM JONG IL is dead

The North’s official news agency, K.C.N.A., reported that coal production in the past three days shot up radically because miners “rose up heroically, turning their grief into strength and courage.”

MY DEAR LEADER surrounded by his special flower Kimjongilia, a begonia bred by Japanese botanist Mototeru Kamo and presented to KIM JONG IL as a birthday present in 1988.

the top five titles KIM JONG IL heldgeneral secretary of the ruling Workers’ Partychairman of the party’s Central Military Commissionpresidium member of the Politburochairman of the National Defense Commissionsupreme commander of the armed forces. The country honours him with a 10m-high rock carving on Mount Sokda in the south west calling him “PEERLESS PATRIOT”.

KIM JONG IL is expected to become the next client for embalming experts at the Research Institute for Biological Structures in Moscow.

Vladimir Lenin has been preserved for almost 90 years

He will join join the exclusive club of Communist tyrants like LENIN, STALIN, MAO ZEDONG and HO CHI MINH whose bodies have been pickled for posterity by Russian specialists. The maintenance of the body is said to cost more than $1 million a year. A secretive group of Russian technicians is said to travel to North Korea regularly to look after KIM IL SUNG  his father, “The Eternal President”.

the ULTIMATE NO!

forbidden PICKINGS from my DPRK DIARY 11.–21. April 2011

There is an ultimate NO! beside other NO! and NO’S! in the Kingdom of KIM, an absolute ban on all fotos of “The Eternal President” and his son “My Dear Leader” that are not taken in full size. Pictures or portraits of KIM IL SUNG and KIM JONG IL shall not be photographed in parts. Cuts are forbidden as well as detail shots.

The KIMS live on a "different planet", the oxygen is an inane mix of mystification, paranoia and a bizarre utopia – They are totally removed from the harsh reality of daily life in North Korea

The KIMS cruel reign does also keep their lifestyle away from the screen of DPRK citizens. The inner power circle remains a mystery to the people and the KIM family itself is puzzling and elusive to the man in the street. Several times different people asked us what we knew about the women and children of KIM JONG IL. It was unknown to all of them that his youngest son KIM JONG UN – a lover of heavy drink – was named as his successor – most likely by the military commanders – and should follow in his father’s footstep. When I told them that KIM JONG IL’S second son KIM JONG CHOL was spotted at an Eric Clapton concert in Singapore they said I was lying and when I told them that I read KIM’S eldest son KIM JONG NAM was deported from Japan trying to enter the country with forged travel documents to go to Tokyo Disneyland they stopped asking…

KIM JONG UN was born on January 8, 1983. He was educated in Switzerland, as were his two older brothers. He is the son of KIM JONG IL'S third wife, Ko Yong Hi, a former dancer. She died under suspicious circumstances in 2004 – officially of cancer.

The absolute authority to exert power and the fear that surrounds the military dictatorship keeps everybody’s interest in check.

PYONGYANG – “City under Water”

Revolutionary Wake-Up Call

balcony PICKINGS from my DPRK DIARY 11.–21. April 2011

Pyongyang is a “No-Today” city, a city without “Gegenwart”.

The aura of The Eternal President" who died of a heart attack in 1994 shortly before a meeting with the president of South Korea, is engulfing North Korea

View from the balcony of the Grand People's Palace

The architecture of the buildings, the monuments, murals and the mental state of propaganda, dominated by the communist party, give the impression of a “City under Water”.

Lost in the abyss of Necropolis

The deeper I dive into this sunken amalgam mixer the more images and symbols appear of KIM IL SUNG’S ever-present personality cult.

The Juche Idea is based on a set of principles by KIM IL SUNG that “man is the master of everything and decides everything”. In fact this hands a blank check to the KIMS to do as they wish.

Grand People’s Palace – though it is called “Grand People’s Palace” – people cannot walk in without permission. They are chosen from their factory or workplace and sent to the Palace after passing ability tests. They have to conform to the strict ideological guidelines of the Communist Party of North Korea to be allowed to learn languages, join the library and read foreign books, specially chosen and translated for them.

From the balcony on the top floor of this huge building made of marble we have an excellent view over Pyongyang and the Central Place. The huge buildings and monuments – some the tallest in the world in size, volume and marble – leave pointless marks.

T

SWISS YODELING over Pyongyang

“Appenzöller”- PICKINGS from my NORTH KOREAN DIARY 11.–21. April 2011

“If you act from the heart, you can’t make a mistake.” And DPRK is no exception.

Grand People's Palace – The Chinese enjoy KIM IL SUNG'S pet – The the largest selection of folk music in the world

Our guides didn’t like alcohol and went to bed early every night...

No easy task – Not for her and not for me...

Guides usually relax after some late nights with a lot of beer and wine but ours were different. They didn’t like alcohol and went to bed early every night. What was I going to do? How could I establish contact with “True Children of the Red Spirit”? How could I break the deadlock of professional suspicion without a lot of beer and wine?

Professional suspicion - Visiting the house of the local guide at the farm cooperative outside Wonsan, on the left: my "permanent" guide

Walking to the Lighthouse with my male "permanent guide

How could I avoid being made into a capitalist monster?

Film City – US corner – Capitalist Monster

Sometimes I felt like that when people reacted to me as if I had an infectious disease when our guides forbid me to make contact. Relating to someone looking at something not on the official itinerary was like spying for them. Our two permanent guides were true red spirit children of the the North Korean Communist Party.

I realized that Korean names were difficult to remember, I didn’t relate to the people by their name. So got myself to pronounce the name of my female guide – she was very surprised when I called her the first time by her name – it went some way but wasn’t quite enough.

Then, traveling through the North Korean Peninsula to the East Coast of Wonsan, walking from the port to the lighthouse, I bought a big bag of sea shells from divers on a rudimentary black market – not for her! but to make her mother a present. My spontaneous act turned out to be a useful gesture. Over her mother I could relate personally to her, she told me the next morning that her mother never got such beautiful shells before, that she would prepare them and the whole family would get together – but it was no ice-braker either.

Some time later we visited the Grand People’s Palace, the National Library. This enormous marble palace, a reading and learning center of North Korea, also had a audio department containing the largest collection of folk music from all over the world – KIM IL SUNG’S favorite pet project. The audio room was filled with dozens of desks and radio sets. From the vast selection of  Swiss songs we chose the yodel “Min Vatr isch en Appezöller…”.

Grand People's Palace – audio department

Ursula – surprised to hear Swiss folk music – immediately started to yodel too. Her voice was so catching that our female guide began to yodel too. This finally turned the page – Tung Hui was still yodeling the next day… . Swiss yodel finally broke the ice.

How to remove the sting of being a spy?

It didn’t mean that from this day on I could do what I wanted but it removed the dangerous sting of being a spy, a snake in the grass. Something in the emotional fabric had changed for the better as I found out when we departed from Pyongyang airport.

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