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Day 6: The Weirdest Flower Show On Earth 


Columns proclaiming that "Great Leader Kim Il Sung will live forever in our hearts" are found everywhere in DPRK


Hear of Pyongyang near the Parliament


Fountain statues


Day of the Sun. Loud band music started early on this important day of the DPRK calendar. It’s the birthday of Kim Il Sung and a public holiday. The riverside was full of families on outings, rowing boats and simple merrymaking. We visited the Taedong Gate, an ancient gate that once guarded the city of Pyongyang. Nearby, a school was celebrating the birthday of Kim Il Sung by presenting top students with prizes. 

We dropped by Kim Il Sung Square – this is the heart of Pyongyang where all the grand military parades take place – 75,000 sq m of concrete slabs surrounded by immense buildings such as the Grand People’s Study House, the Korean Central History Museum with its Socialist-classical columns, Korean Art Galley and various ministries. All that form part of a fengshui-like symmetry with the Juche Tower, Monument of Kim Il Sung and other monstrous monuments and concrete mammoth of Pyongyang’s megalomaniac city planners. 

The visit to the Korean Central History Museum has to be my favourite alternative history lesson ever. It was interesting comparing the North Korean version of history with that of the rest of the world:

a) Korea is the cradle of mankind. They claimed that ancient skulls of million of years old had been found in Korea which proved that Korea was where man began, and the peninsula had been ethnically Korean since the beginning of time.
b) Tangun was a real person who founded the first Korean state. They hadn’t tried to explain how he was descended from the gods as well as a bear-woman. North Korea also claimed that they found the skeletal remains of Tangun near Pyongyang and had carbon-tested to prove that those remains were 5000 years old. International historians and scientists, however, had cast doubts on the North Korean findings, especially on the methodology used.
c) Korea under the Koryo Dynasty was the only country in Asia that defeated the Mongols. According to South Korean, Japanese and Chinese sources, Korea was repeatedly occupied and devastated by the Mongols, who used it as a launching ground to attack Japan. Japan was one of the few countries never conquered by the Mongols.
d) Kim Il Sung defeated the Japanese during WWII and liberated Korea. Nothing mentioned about the atomic bomb and role of the Americans and Russians fighting the Japanese and Germans.
e) The US invaded North Korea and the North Koreans, under Kim Il Sung, defeated the Americans. Little mentioned about Chinese involvement or Soviet aid.

The museum guide made references to the great deeds of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il from time to time – they were responsible for all the good deeds, liberating the country, reconstructing the country and even for the preservation of historical relics. 

She pointed to some gold Buddhas found near Mt Kumgang, “Under the guidance of the Dear Leader, these golden relics were preserved and now presented to the world in this museum.” 

I was touched. I wondered what they would have done to the golden Buddhas if the Dear Leader had not given special instructions – perhaps some zealous functionaries would have melted them down to make golden statues of our two great friends?

I shouldn’t complain. In this wonderful depository of Korean historical artefacts, I realised how foolish I had believing the lies imperialists and evil capitalists wanted me to believe all my life. Maybe I should repent by setting up a Juche study group in Singapore, and spending my vacations teaching Juche ideas to Thai farmers and Indonesian sea gypsies.


Daedong Gate


Kim Il Sung Square


Lenin still lives here!





The billboard reads: Down with the Nuclear Provocations of the US Imperialists!




Lunch was on Pyongyang Boat Number 1 (what a crime, how dare they not name it after the Great Leader or Dear Leader!), which cruised along the Taedong River while we had wonderful bugogi (Korean BBQ) and got our face smelled just like what we ate. The river was full of pleasure craft and the riverbank crowded with families out on picnics and strolls. Crew of Pyongyang TV waved wildly on the riverbank, shouting greetings and filmed us waving back. I could imagine this TV news commentary, “Visitors from afar celebrating the Day of the Sun on a cruise on Taedong River”.

Then off to the Arch of Triumph of Pyongyang, sixty meters tall – the North Koreans would point out to you that it is exactly one meter taller than the Parisian version. It was built in 1982 to celebrate Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday and to commemorate his “victorious liberation of Korea from Japanese occupation”. Inscribed on different sides of the arch were “1925” and “1945”, representing the year Kim Il Sung left home to fight the Japanese and the year he returned to Pyongyang as a victor. 

About a hundred meter away is the enormous Kim Il Sung (you are right again!) Stadium, with capacity of 100,000 people. Nearby is a huge wall mural depicting the arrival of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang on 14 October 1945. 

According to DPRK official accounts, the citizens of Pyongyang welcomed Kim Il Sung on this spot where he gave a speech about the Revolution and plans to reunify Korea. The murals also depicted banner written in Hanja (which is basically Korean written in Chinese script, with the same meaning) “Long Live General Kim Il Sung!” and “Long Live Liberation of the Motherland!” 

Everyone was elated to see this bright young man who had spent twenty years of his youth fighting for the liberation of his country. Kim Il Sung’s grandparents hugged him and cried, asking, “Why did you return alone? Where were your parents, uncles and cousins? All dead? Why didn’t you return with them?” Sob, sob…just try imagining a North Korean tearjerker. Once again, DPRK official history highlights the sacrifices of the Kim clan in liberating the country.

South Korean accounts, however, claimed that when Kim Il Sung appeared at the venue, the gathering crowds were shocked that the great guerrilla hero the Soviets (who took over the northern half of Korea from the Japanese) had told them about was but a confused young men. Sensing that this was a Soviet lie, they booed when Kim Il Sung began to address the crowd. Kim Il Sung had to leave the area quickly, protected by his Soviet bodyguards. Which version of the story would you pick?


Follow the directives of the Korean Workers Party to prosperity and victory!


Chollima Horse


Arch of Triumph


Kim Il Sung Stadium


Huge mural commemorating Kim Il Sung's return to Pyongyang in October 1945


Is this real?

Another gem of wisdom from KCNA. In this one, the Old Man dead for a decade even received awards from Ecuador and Peru. Can anyone from these two countries confirm the accuracy of this report?

April Holidays Widely Commemorated Abroad

Pyongyang, May 13 (KCNA) -- Functions took place in over 100 countries to commemorate the Day of the Sun and celebrate the 11th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's election as chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and the 72nd anniversary of the heroic Korean People's Army this year. Kim Jong Il received gifts from the president of Pakistan, the Chiclayo Branch of the Peruvian-Korean Institute of Culture and Friendship, the honorary director of the Voluntad Publishing House of Ecuador, Juche idea study organizations and public figures of different countries. He was also presented with floral baskets by the Guinean president, the Political Bureau of the Party for Unity and Progress of Guinea, the Palestinian president, the prime minister of Thailand, the first vice-president of the Council of Ministers who is the minister of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba and other state and party leaders, government ministers and figures from all walks of life of many countries. 

President Kim Il Sung was awarded certificates of honorary citizenship by the government of Canar Province of Ecuador and Magdalena del Mar District of Lima City, Peru. 

Kim Jong Il was also presented with certificates of honorary citizenship by Rafael Lara Grajales City of Puebla Province, Mexico, and Magdalena del Mar District of Lima City, Peru.

Commemoration and celebration functions marking the April holidays were held at least on 1,000 occasions under the sponsorship of over 2,000 political parties, organizations and institutions in more than 100 countries. 

The functions were held in more than 20 forms such as meetings, national seminars, "cultural evenings to commemorate the Day of the Sun", the opening ceremonies of the week of Korean culture, art performances, sports contests, book and photo exhibitions, film shows and lectures. 

Over 600 media of 130 or more countries featured the commemoration and celebration events more than 2,500 times. 

Upwards of 380 newspapers of over 90 countries dedicated articles to the events with portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and over 100 TVs of 50 odd countries made special telecasts of films recording the revolutionary activities of the peerlessly great men. 

At least 100 radios of over 70 countries aired brief histories of revolutionary activities of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and articles on the indomitable might of the KPA and the revolutionary paeans "Song of General Kim Il Sung" and "Song of General Kim Jong Il" and other Korean songs.

The Weirdest Flower Show On Earth - Story & Pictures about the Flower Show

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Copyright - Tan Wee Cheng, Singapore, 2004