Last year we were late getting to the Pyongyang Children’s Palace – we got to see most of the show but missed the tour of the classrooms. For this year’s visit to the larger Mangyongdae Children’s Palace I made it a point to arrive extra early so we could get the full tour – on a day when a major performance was scheduled for western tourists and foreign dignitaries we were the first group to arrive.
Below is just a portion of what we were shown on our tour. Child protegees and students work hard to perfect their studies in folk music, propaganda oration, drawing, and piano. How much of this was staged for us and how much was typical of what goes on, visiting tourists invading their classrooms or not, I cant really say.
Our student guide for the classroom portion of the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace.
- The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace (americaninnorthkorea.com)
An average Pyongyang street scene – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
While surfing the web I found some interesting posts over at NK News about Ashen, a Russian student living and blogging in Pyongyang, North Korea. Believed to be the only blogger in the DPRK, background about Ashen has been hard to track down. His blog, Show and Tell Pyongyang, is in Russian, and the guys at NK News have spent a lot of time running it through translation software, polishing up his text, and presenting summery posts. Their investigative work leads them to believe Ashen’s parents work at the Russian embassy, where he has access to the internet and is able to blog, and that he is currently enrolled at the Pyongyang Kim Il-sung University.
Here are the links to the NK News site summery posts and translations of Ashen’s blog:
A Blogger In Pyongyang (Part 1) – Intro and college life in the DPRK.
A Blogger in Pyongyang (Part 2) – Further investigation into college life in the DPRK.
A Blogger in Pyongyang (Part 3) – Metro, Ostrich farm, and North Korean cigarettes.
Pyongyang Shooting Gallery – Ashen visits a gun range.
New Year & Xmas Celebrations – Rare photos of Pyongyang in the winter.
North Korean Toys: Juche Lego Sets – Popular North Korean toys.
North Korea’s Juche Toy Industry – Part 2 – More popular North Korean toys.