Park’s Story

Sunday, April 02, 2023

We didn’t get that huge snowstorm predicted through this weekend. Today’s midday is supposed to deliver several hours of rain and snow, hopefully, light and without big winds.

It’s my day off from work. My key goal is to finish The Hard Road Out. It has become, for me, a not-put-down-read. I learned of this book because Christianne Amanpour interviewed Park and Chai.

Jihyun Park, born and raised in North Korea, escaped that culture of lifelong starvation and social fear. Seh-Lynn Chai, a South Korean with cultural perceptions and expectations different from Park’s, wrote this biography. Actually, it’s two stories. One speaks to how these ladies managed to bridge cultural differences; the other is Park’s memories of growing up in North Korea, in a typical family, becoming educated, and only gradually recognizing that culture’s overarching abuse of its people.

Like many reared in Western cultures, I’m fascinated by the strangeness of other cultures. Particularly by North Korea’s pomp and circumstances, its total control by a Dictator, and stories about the nation’s inadequate financial and nutritional resources for the general population. In Park’s story, those elements all are non-fictional. Reading about her life is breath-catching, through her hardships and those of her family unit, and how the family was forced to survive.

This book provides insight into a complex foreign culture and also can tune readers into their national cultures. Indeed, almost all societies on the planet change continually in response to population and economic conditions. North Korea is an oddity, as confusing and scary as Park’s story tells.

Dear Friends: Hope you will read this one. Diana

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