You are here: HomeAfricaBBC2021 06 07Article 1280596

BBC Pidgin of Monday, 7 June 2021


Kim Jong-un: North Korea leader dey wage war on slang, jeans and foreign films

Kim Jong-Un, North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, North Korea leader

North Korea bin recently introduce one new law wey dey reason to ban all kind of foreign influences - and go punish anybody dem catch wit foreign films, clothes or even use dia slang. But why?

Yoon Mi-so say she be 11 years old wen she first witness di execution of one man wey dem catch wit South Korean drama.

She say dia leader entire neighbourhood dey ordered to watch di execution.

"If you no watch am, na treason," she tell di BBC from her home for Seoul.

Di North Korean guards make sure say everybody sabi say di penalty for smuggling illegal videos na death.

"I still get strong memory of di man, dem blindfold im eyes, I still dey see how im tears dey flow down. E dey traumatic for me. Im tears soak di blindfold.

"Dey put am on top stake, tie am, den shoot am."

'A war without weapons'

Imagine say you dey in a constant state of lockdown wit no internet, no social media and only a few television channels wey di state dey control, di stations dey designed to tell you wetin di kontri leader want make you hear - dis na life for North Korea.

And now di leader Kim Jong-Un, don introduce sweeping new law against wetin di regime describe as "reactionary thought".

Anybody dem gbab wit large amounts of media from South Korea, di United States or Japan now go face di death penalty. Those wey dem catch dey watch fit face prison camp for 15 years.

And no be just about wetin pipo dey watch.

Recently, oga Kim bin write letter give di state media say make di kontri Youth League begin crack down on "unsavoury, individualistic, anti-socialist behaviour" among young pipo. He wan stop foreign speech, hairstyles and clothes wey e describe as "dangerous poisons".

Di Daily NK, one online publication for Seoul wey get sources for North Korea, report say dem don send three teenagers go one re-education camp sake of say dey cut dia hair like K-pop idols and sew dia trousers above dia ankles. Di BBC no fit verify dis tori.

All dis na because Mr Kim dey fight war wey no involve nuclear weapons or missiles.

Analysts say e dey try stop make information for no reach di pipo of North Korea as life for di kontri dey become increasingly difficult.

Di believe na say millions of pipo dey hungry. Oga Kim wan make sure say dem continue dey feed dem wit di state carefully crafted propaganda, instead of make dem sabi wetin dey happun for life according to glitzy K-dramas wey dey south of di border for Seoul, one of Asia richest cities.

Wetin di law tok

Di Daily NK na di first to get hold of a copy of di law.

"E state if dem catch worker, di head of di factory go dey punished, and if na child dey problematic, parents fit also dey punished. Di system of mutual monitoring wey di North Korean regime encourage dey aggressively reflected for dis law," Editor-in-Chief Lee Sang Yong tel di BBC.

He say di law dey intended to "shatter" any dreams or fascination di younger generation fit get about di South.

"In oda words, di regime conclude say, a sense of resistance fit begin form if cultures from oda countries dey introduced," e tok.

Choi Jong-hoon, one of di few defectors wey struggle to comot di kontri last year, tell di BBC say "di harder di times, di harsher di regulations, laws, punishments become".

"Psychologically, wen your bell full and you watch South Korean film, e fit be for relaxation. But wen food no dey and na struggle to live, pipo go vex."

E go work?

Previous crackdowns only demonstrate how resourceful pipo dey in circulating and watching foreign films which dem dey usually smuggle over di border from China.

For some number of years, dem don pass dramas around on USB sticks wey don dey common now, according to Mr Choi. Dem dey easy to hide plus e dey pass worded.

"If you type in di wrong password three times in a row, di USB go delete di contents.

Why pipo still dey do am?

"We don take plenty chances watching those dramas. But no-one fit defeat our curiosity. We wan sabi wetin dey happun for di outside world," Geum-hyok tok.

For Guem-hyok, finally learning di truth about im kontri change im life. E be one of di few privileged North Koreans wey dey allowed to go school for Beijing where he discover di internet.

"At first, I no believe am [di way dem take describe North Korea]. I tink say Western pipo dey lie. Wikipedia dey lie, how I wan take believe dat? But my heart and my brain bin dey divided.

"So I watch many documentaries about North Korea, read many papers. And den I realise say na true and wetin dem dey tok make sense.

"After I realise di changes wey dey go on for my brain, e don too late, I no fit go back."

Guem-hyok eventually run go Seoul.

Mi-so dey live her dreams as a fashion advisor. Di first tin she do for her new home kontri na to visit all di places she see for Stairway to Heaven.

But stories like theirs don dey become rarer dan ever.

To comot di kontri don become almost impossible wit di current "shoot-to-kill" order for di tightly controlled border. And e dey difficult not to expect Mr Kim new law make e nor get more tougher effect.

Mr Choi, wey leave im family behind for di North, believe say watching one or two dramas no go overturn decades of ideological control. But e tink say North Koreans suspect say di state propaganda no be di truth.

Join our Newsletter