The Workers in North Korea, from 'People in Kaesong Industrial Complex' ④The Constant Change on Kaesong Industrial Complex

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Here we are to introduce some stories of North Korean workers who work in Kaesong Industrial Complex, whose lives are introduced in the book 'People in Kaesong Industrial Complex'(the followings will be abbreviated as 'Kaesong Complex'). The book, published by 'The book to make tomorrow', answers to many questions on the Kaesong Complex.

It contains plenty of contents that not only help solving the suspicions and misunderstandings on the Kaesong Complex but also providing the honest information through the interviews with North Korean workers. From the book we can take a look at their culture, thoughts, and the ongoing changes on 'work', especially through the interviews. Moreover, we can also discover the hearty thoughts of South Koreans on North Korean workers in Kaesong Complex. Now, let's take a look at the life in Kaesong Complex.

The Constant Change on Kaesong Industrial Complex

Through 10 years up to date, There have been many changes on Kaesong Complex.

The Complex where only were the grey and navy blue all around has now turned into a feist of variety. New buildings and upgraded infrastructures are now all that Kaesong Complex and especially the style of the local people stands out. In short, the complex is now full with brightness and vividness.

They do make up as well, which is of quite rarity in the past. The women apply mascara, eye-liner and even high-coloured lip stick. And the new hair style which seems to be introduced by South Korean female workers are easily seen among them.

As a result, Some local managers point out that the South and North Korean female workers are quite difficult to tell which is which.

ⓒKim Jin-Hyang

ⓒKim Jin-Hyang

Opening up our mind and theirs, too

As 10-year turn on the Complex, what North Korean workers first perceived on South Korean is changing.

As we(South Korean people) are unaware of the North Korean people, same as they do of us.

"They(North Korean workers) seemed quite shocked we don't have any horns on the head and this is what happen to us before. We thought that they would be the monsters or something in the past, which is quite same as they. They genuinely believed that we must have been strange and bizarre."

However, the more we come in contact, the better we understand each other.

Here is an example. In 2009, one of the South Korean manager was rumoured to be dead who was quarantined by a new kind influenza. Everyone, especially female workers were very sorry and sad crying about the sad news. But soon, the manager returned to the Complex as he recovered and they all showed sincere happiness for him and consoled him.

And they did not forget to say to meet again when Reunification comes true.

"They(North Korean workers) used to tell us that the South and the North Korea be reunited. 'Reunification' is a general topic to be brought up by the workers. They also told us that we should visit their home when reunite. It's an invitation. But only I could replied that I would do so and invite them mine with unwavering confidence. I couldn't be sure of it any other way. However I was and am sure of something sincere and earnest when they speak of 'the Reunification'."

ⓒKim Jin-Hyang

ⓒKim Jin-Hyang

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Since the bilateral relationship between South and North Korea has cooled off, there have been lot of difficulties on the Complex, which is most affected area throughout peninsula by the relationship. When there is conflict between South and North, there comes a high tension on the Complex. However, in such condition North Korean workers were those who cheer their South Korean co-workers and pet them up much.

"Despite social fuss on Cheonan Ship fall and North Korea's Missile launching, North Korean workers were as warm as always. They made sure that everything going to be fine and told me to contact more my family and also eat better in that kind of situation. It was such a consolation that I could feel their heart. Neither we(South Korean workers) nor they(North Korean workers) want to hurt each other by those kind of thing." Said one of the South Korean manager in the Complex.

It took almost 4 months until the Complex re-operate from shut down measure by South Korea in 2013. Only then could the two divided workers reunite and embrace each other. As the South Korean workers entered the Complex to check on equipment, both South and North Korean workers chocked with sorrow. What would really be the emotion that rustled through the workers of South and North that day?

The Kaesong Industrial Complex is where we could turn our misunderstanding into understanding. It is a Complex for Reunification and Peace for two divided nation. Like we can see as much as we know, we can feel as much as we see and when we can finally feel we can love. How much do we know about the Kaesong Complex? How much do we understand about North Korea, the Democratic people's Republic of Korea? This should be the basic and indeed question to ourselves.

The beginning of Peace and Reunification start by genuine understanding on North Korea, the other half of this peninsula.

The book 'People in Kaesong Industrial Complex' is written by a North Korea specialist who has devoted his life in peace matters and the relationship between North and South Korea. He actually has stayed in North Korea to gather profound understanding to the book. To follow the wish of the author, this book is aimed at gathering honest and better understanding of the society and therefore contains the hearty thoughts of the South Korean reporters who have long stayed in Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Planning and Management by Kim Jin-Hyang / Covered by Kang Seung-Hwan, Lee Yong-Goo, Kim Sae-Ra

Published in 5th June 2015 by 'The book to make tomorrow' ₩15,000

Original Article: Lee Dong-Hun reporter NKtoday21@gmail.com ⓒNK투데이
Translate: Jang Jae-Hee

 

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