Maria Holland

Posts Tagged ‘current events’

Kim Jong Il, Great Father of People

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

“Always with the political idea that genuine love for human being is like fertile soil for bringing the flower of human independence into full bloom, he made endless journey of field guidance, finding his pride and joy in the devoted service for the people.”

The KCNA is still going strong with updates on the wailing of the Korean people, which is “rocking heaven and earth”, so I would like to again offer this compilation of the best quotes from Day 2 of the coverage of Kim Jong Il’s death:

People of DPRK Mourn
over Demise of Their Leader

The mourners writhed in the bitter grief at the fact that Kim Jong Il, the great leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the people and tender-hearted father, passed away so suddenly and early to their deep regret.

They remained long at the mourning places, lamenting with the pricks of the failure to provide the leader even a moment’s rest and with sorrow at his demise.

Former Anti-Japanese Revolutionary Fighter Laments Demise of Kim Jong Il

Former anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter Hwang Sun Hui who came to Mansu Hill on a wheelchair grieved over the leader’s demise, her knees on stone steps. She said: "The news was so unbelievable that I felt as if the sky were falling down.

"I feel my heart would break. The general passed away all of a sudden not in his office or residence but on a running train about which our people talked in tears, on his way of forced march for field guidance to meet soldiers and people.

"I wish I rushed to him and weeped bitterly. I want to stand before your statue, calling you in a chocking voice, but you did not allow us to erect your statue. You never allowed any monument to your exploits to be erected.

Employees of Kwangbok Supermarket Grieve over Demise of Kim Jong Il

All Koreans are lamenting over the unexpected demise of leader Kim Jong Il, the great loss to the nation.

Among them are officials and employees of the Kwangbok Area Supermarket recently visited by Kim Jong Il.

They are throwing themselves into each other’s arms and wailing over his death, saying it was just a few days ago when they saw him full of bean.

When Kim Jong Il said he was somewhat relieved to see the modern supermarket, they clung to his sleeves in happiness, they said.

We knew that he thought only of people but were not aware of how his health condition had been. How can we be called his soldiers and disciples, they lamented.

They said that they could hardly keep back their bitter sorrow, saying it is unbearable for them to think about sufferings he had to undergo, giving the field guidance till the last moments of his life for the happiness of his beloved people.

Kim Kyong Suk, 39, who had the honor of being received by Kim Jong Il said, "I hardly imagined he would visit our shop in a cold weather. When he actually came to my counter, I was so happy and made a bow to him. But finding his haggard face, I could hardly hold back tears."

Song Su Ryon, 24, a saleswoman of the supermarket, said "I can not believe that he really passed away. I wish that time would turn back so that he can come back to us."

Korean People’s Wailing Voices
Rock Heaven and Earth

Pyongyang, December 20 (KCNA) — People’s wailing voices are rocking heaven and earth in the DPRK after the release of the news that leader Kim Jong Il passed away from sudden illness in the middle of his tour for field guidance.

Employees of the Fun Fair of Kaeson Youth Park are bursting into tears, saying they can never forget fatherly General Kim Jong Il who came to the park several times.

"When the respected General came here on December 4, an unusually cold day, we asked him to come on a nice day, not a day of such an unfavorable weather, saying there are lots of fine days. Kim Jong Il, with a smile on his face, said people should come on a fine day while he may come on such a bad day," they said.

"He passed away leaving behind his promise to come back next spring and watch our art performance. Heaven is so indifferent to us," they added.

A poet who wrote the verses of "The blue sky over my country" went to the square relying him on a stick. He, knocking the ground, cried "I can not see the sky. When you were with us, I could see its blue color but today I can not see it at all."

Former unconverted long-term prisoners went to the Mansudae Art Studio where they threw themselves before the mosaic portraying President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

They lamented the demise of Kim Jong Il, saying he passed away so early even though he brought them, who were passing out as breathing fossil, back to his fold and gave happiness so that the whole world could envy them.

Kim Jong Il’s Life Bright as Snow

Looking back on world history, there were many statesmen who advocated patriotism and dedication. But, no one has ever made such total dedication with a pure and true mind like snow.

It was only Kim Jong Il who made his life shine like snow.

He worked hard day and night, having uncomfortable sleep and taking rice-balls. He was the first to greet dawn like a man in his twenties. Seeing his dedication in tears, the people would ask him to stop making any more journeys along snow-covered roads in cold weather and sitting up all night. Hearing this, he said he considered it as his pleasure and his routine to do so and continued his journeys despite strong wind and snow and spent nights full of enthusiasm.

Who is the last laughter? No one in the world can beat the man ready to die. With such pluck and gut Kim Jong Il made trips to inspect the front and give field guidance to factories and co-op farms, providing a bright prospect for building a thriving nation.

Kim Jong Il’s Preoccupation

He made endless journeys for field guidance to make people happy despite snow or rain, sultry summer and intense cold of midwinter.

During his field guidance to the February 8 Vinalon Complex he touched white vinalon cotton again and again with pleasure and he visited again in autumn the Ryongjon Fruit Farm and personally tasted an apple in the wake of his visit to it in spring.

When visiting a fish farm, he showed loving care as a real father would do, asking in detail how big fish production was this year and where fishes were sent and whether servicepersons and people liked them.

Indeed, the people’s happiness was Kim Jong Il’s preoccupation.

Kim Jong Il’s Wish

Leader Kim Jong Il dedicated himself to the happiness of the people all his life.

He had a noble wish.

It was to bring the greatest happiness and honor to the people even if he had plucked a star from the sky and grown flowers even on a rock.

… Watching a shoal of fishes gathering before him at a fish breeding farm, kind-hearted Kim Jong Il said it would be much better, if all of them found their way to people, instead of coming to him.

Kim Jong Dead

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm

During my summer on the farm in China, I lived about as close to North Korea as one can while not actually living in North Korea.  Because of this, I came home with a love of bulgogi, the bragging point of having eaten dog, a collection of Korean stamps, and two issues of the North Korean English-language propaganda newspaper, the Pyongyang Times – it’s like The Onion, only the writers think it’s for real.

These papers whetted my appetite, and then I discovered the Korean Central News Agency, where they spew this stuff every day for the reading pleasure of the internet world.  I used to check it occasionally for laughs – but you have to be careful because too much propaganda will turn your brain to mush. 

So it had been a while since I had read up on the doings of the Dear Leader in the words of his very own propaganda machine.  But as soon as I heard the news of his death on Sunday, I immediately headed to the website and began clicking refresh.  Unfortunately, until today, they were still printing news of “National Meeting Marks 50th Anniversary of New System of Agricultural Guidance” and “S. Korean Dictatorial Regime Riddled with Corruption”, so I had to do with the American sources.  Luckily, they still had some gems; it’s easy to have a good time when you’re writing about the Kim personality cult:

Mr. Kim is believed to have been born in Siberia in 1941, when his father, Kim Il-sung, was in exile in the Soviet Union. But in North Korea’s official accounts, he was born in 1942, in a cabin, Abe Lincoln-like. The cabin was in a secret camp of anti-Japanese guerrillas his father commanded on Mount Paektu, a holy piece of land in Korean mythology. The event, the official Korean Central News Agency would often say, was accompanied by the appearance of a bright star in the sky and a double-rainbow that touched the earth.

But today they finally  posted news of Kim Jong-il’s update.  Here, culled for you from among articles such as “Idea and Exploits of Kim Jong Il Are Immortal” and “Korean People Fully Determined to Win Final Victory under Leadership of Kim Jong Un”, are the highlights of the coverage:

Medical Analysis
of Kim Jong Il’s Demise

Leader Kim Jong Il … suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock, on train on December 17, Juche 100 (2011) for a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.

Every possible first-aid measure was taken immediately but he passed away at 08:30 on December 17.

An autopsy on December 18 fully confirmed the diagnosis of his diseases.

Notice to All Party Members, Servicepersons and People

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army . . . genius of the revolution and construction . . . supreme incarnation of the revolutionary moral obligation . . . great master of politics and illustrious commander born of Heaven . . . father of the nation and lodestar of national reunification . . . great guardian of socialism and justice . . . great revolutionary who covered an untrodden thorny path with his iron will and superhuman energy . . . peerless patriot.

The heart of Kim Jong Il stopped beating, but his noble and august name and benevolent image will always be remembered by our army and people and his glorious history of revolutionary activities and undying feats will remain shining in the history of the country forever.

Journeys to Mix with People
Will Go on Forever

The whole country was shocked to hear the news that leader Kim Jong Il passed away of a sudden disease on train while making his indefatigable efforts for the prosperity of the country and its people’s happiness.

The sad news of the loss of the father of the nation was so unbelievable for the Korean people that they call his name again and again in chocking voices.

Considering it as his maxim to believe in the people as in Heaven, he worked heart and soul day and night, without having any good rest, prompted by his desire to enable the Korean people to become the most dignified happy people in the world. He did just the way the President did as he always traveled a lot to mix with the people.

Visiting every corner and nook, remote mountainous villages or isolated islets where people live, he unraveled their knotty problems with his loving care as their real father would do.

Having a short and uncomfortable sleep and taking a rice ball as his meal, he made ceaseless efforts to bring the day of prosperity when the people will have no more to desire in the world.

Pyongyangites Call Kim Jong Il
in Chocking Voices

"General, don’t go!"
"General has not passed away."
"General, our father!"

These are the voices of grief heard from among all Pyongyangites, young and old, men and women, at the sad news of demise of leader Kim Jong Il which came like a bolt from the blue.

The … mosaics depicting Kim Jong Il are visited by an endless crowd of citizens.

They are shedding bitter tears, their knees on the ground, as they courageously weathered out stern adversities, trusting him only and holding him in high esteem as the sun of destiny and father.

They are getting the paved stones drenched with tears, feeling so regrettable as they can no longer see him whose smile was as broad as sunshine.

Korean People Stay up All Night, Deeply Grieved over Kim Jong Il’s Demise

An endless stream of soldiers, working people and school youth and students visited the statues of President Kim Il Sung and mosaics depicting the peerlessly great persons to express their bitter grief though it was past 12 at night.

They are weeping bitterly out of self-reproach and regret that they failed to keep Kim Jong Il in good health despite the behests of the President.

Korean People Stricken
with Bitter Grief

Anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter Hwang Sun Hui, who came by a tricycle, grieved over the demise of Kim Jong Il, her knees on the stone stairway. . .

Former unconverted long-term prisoners, too, could not stand to their feet, grieving over his demise before the mosaic at the Mansudae Art Studio.

Ten Steps Forward, One Giant Leap Back

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I’ve been following the news out of China about the Catholic Church, and most of it this past year has been encouraging.  Recently, the 10th bishop was ordained with papal and government approval.  After years of no ordinations, this seemed like a really positive step in church-government relations

Then I suppose that the most recent ordination can’t be viewed as anything but a giant leap backwards. 

Last weekend, Father Guo JinCai was ordained as the bishop of Chengde, Hebei – illicitly, without papal approval.  This was the first illicit ordination in four years, and the first since Pope Benedict’s letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007. 

So much about this news disturbs me.  From the sound of it, it bears no resemblance to any church service I’ve ever attended, in China or elsewhere.  The ceremony was reportedly attended by “more than 100 faithful” – and, because this warrants mention, “about 100 uniformed and plainclothes police”. Security seemed to be an issue, as “cameras were banned in the church and mobile phone signals blocked in the area.”

Most disturbing was the pressure applied to legitimate bishops to participate in the ordination.  The ordination was performed by eight open bishops, who were coerced through house arrest and even taken away by government officials. 


Cardinal Zen, advocate of religious freedom in China, wrote on that topic after the news of the ordination. 

I think it is my duty, given this special opportunity to inform my eminent brothers, that there is still no religious freedom in China. There is too much optimism around something that does not correspond to reality. Some have no way of knowing the reality, others close their eyes to reality, others still see religious freedom in a very simplistic way.

If you were to visit China (which I do not recommend, because your visits will be manipulated and exploited for propaganda purposes), you would see beautiful churches full of people who pray and sing, as in any other city in the Christian world. But religious freedom cannot just be reduced to freedom of worship. It is much more.

An anonymous priest from a diocese of one of the coerced bishops also wrote on “What It Means To Force A Bishop’s Hand”:

Police sealed off the cathedral of Cangzhou (Xianxian) diocese to prevent priests going to save their bishop, who has been taken away to attend the Chengde illicit ordination.  Bishops of Cangzhou (Xianxian), Hengshui (Jingxian) and Baoding have been put under house arrest and pressured to attend Father Joseph Guo Jincai’s ordination since Nov. 11. broke the news on Nov. 17 and since then, almost all media outside mainland China have fixed their focus on the bishops being forced to attend the illicit ordination.

Undeniably they were. But what is implied by the phrase “being forced?”

First, the expression shows sympathy towards the bishops. Second, it suggests they were innocent.

. . . During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), was there anyone who gave up his or her religious belief not because of being forced? How many people were persecuted, with some even sacrificing their precious lives, because they opposed the establishment of an independent Church? The “self-election and self-ordination” of bishops is a principle of the independent Church.

And now it seems that there is no responsibility when one is “being forced.”  . . . If the bishops can do that, then the laypeople can also easily give up their faith when being forced.

After all, we should reflect on which direction the faithful would be guided when media reports emphasize only the pressure brought to bear on them.

I Officially Don’t Exist

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 12:14 am

I never wanted to be one of those bloggers that just posts links to other articles, but there’s just always interesting news coming out of China! 

First, an article about a recent interview with the Premier (Wen JiaBao), in which he talked about political reform, democracy, and freedom of speech.  Of course, this part of the speech was censored in the mainland, because they don’t have any of those three things. 

The irony of Wen’s statements on freedom and censorship being censored in official media was not lost on Chinese observers.

“A lot of Chinese people don’t know their premier has been harmonized,” prominent Beijing University Internet researcher Hu Yong wrote on Twitter, using the Chinese euphemism for censorship. “Wen Jiabao’s comments about political reform being censored at least tells us one thing: In front of the big wall, everyone is equal.”

Also, here’s an article on the census that is underway in China.  I feel like I definitely fell through a gap somewhere.  I was not counted in the US census in April 2010 due to my residence in China, and now that I’m back in the States, they’re counting foreigners for the first time.  I basically don’t exist for the next decade, and I feel a little bit weird about that.

But I should have a more real update later this week, and maybe I’ll start posting my Chinese recipes as I perfect them.  (I get my recipes from the internet in Chinese, so they’re legit.  They have MSG listed as an ingredient, so you know they’re good.)

Timely News

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 at 1:04 am

I know I haven’t been posting much on here.  I am very happy, though, that I have resumed my private journal semi-regularly!  I will probably not be writing a 700-page book this year, but you gotta start somewhere. 

There is a long list of half-baked post ideas, lists that I’ve started, and articles that I want to share, however.  They’ll come out slowly, or die a slow death of obsolescence.  One of the two. 

While this is still timely, have you heard about the recent mining disaster in China?  The successful rescue of the 33 Chilean miners was the highlight of my entire week, but then a much sadder story followed on its heels in China on the 17th.

Deadly Blast Traps Miners in China

YUZHOU, China (AP) — Frantically working rescuers feared the 11 Chinese miners trapped by a deadly gas blast may have suffocated or been buried by coal dust, as loved ones kept a vigil Sunday and the death toll rose to 26 with five more bodies recovered.

The Chinese mine drama unfolded as the world still was celebrating Chile’s successful rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months. Chinese media had detailed coverage as the Chilean men emerged to cheers.

Du Bo, deputy chief of the rescue headquarters, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that hopes that the others were still alive after Saturday’s early morning blast were slim.

. . .

Two dozen police officers were stationed outside the mine’s main gate Sunday, preventing anyone from entering the site without authorization. About 50 of the trapped miners’ friends and relatives quietly waited outside, some of them tearful. Murmured discussion of the mine’s poor safety record could be heard.

One relative, He Qiaofei, the mother of a missing 20-year-old miner who has worked in the mine for about a year, expressed frustration about the mine.

"This place is not even safe," He said. "They don’t care about the workers’ safety, they only care about their production."

Two years ago, another gas blast at the same mine killed 23 people, state media said.

On Sunday, it wasn’t clear how far underground the workers were trapped in the mine in the city of Yuzhou, about 430 miles (690 kilometers) south of Beijing. The bodies of all 26 people confirmed dead have been recovered.

The gas level inside the mine was 40 percent, far higher than the normal level of about 1 percent, state media said.

China celebrated its own stunning mine rescue earlier this year, when 115 miners were pulled from a flooded mine in the northern province of Shanxi after more than a week underground. The miners survived by eating sawdust, tree bark, paper and even coal. Some strapped themselves to the walls of the shafts with their belts to avoid drowning while they slept.

But it was a rare bright spot. About 2,600 people were killed in Chinese mining accidents last year, even as the country’s leaders have been making a high-profile push to improve mine safety.

Premier Wen Jiabao this summer ordered mining bosses into the shafts and pits with their workers or else risk severe punishment.

Mining fatalities decreased in recent years as China closed many illegal mines or absorbed them into state-owned companies, but deaths increased in the first half of this year. At least 515 people have been killed nationwide in coal mines alone so far this year, not including Saturday’s blast.

I guess there are some causes for hope.  The stifling of dissent, especially those potent forms such as “mourning loved ones”, is troubling, but I like the idea of those responsible for adherence to safety standards working in the mines. 

And, it hasn’t been 15 days yet.