North Korea has gone through a tremendous metamorphosis since leader Kim Jong Un assumed power after the death of his father late in What were once vacant lots or neighborhoods of traditional houses have been transformed into blocks of huge skyscrapers dedicated to the nation's nuclear scientists that tower over the capital of Pyongyang. Street stalls offer fresh fruits and vegetables, even pancakes or hamburgers. A small market economy has even been allowed to develop across the country. The nation has, at the same time, continued to struggle to provide all of its people with such basic necessities as a balanced diet. Plagued by shortages of power and consumer goods, its economy was surpassed decades ago by its capitalist neighbors in South Korea.
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But in the book, Jobs said: Do not let others' thoughts rule over you. Do what you want. Be yourself. Hak Min, who grew up in Onsong, a town near the Chinese border, learned how to repair electronics in a black market economy that emerged in North Korea in the years after massive economic hardship and famine of the s. It was images of the world outside of North Korea, picked up on TV signals from China and bootleg videotapes and DVDs that sparked his desire to escape. The risks of watching these shows were very real.
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On a summer's day in a seven-year-old boy sat alone at a crowded bus station in Seoul, sobbing as he waited desperately for his mother to return. Jo Youn-hwan was wearing a baseball uniform that his mother had bought him a few days before -- the only gift she had ever given him. She told him to wait for her before leaving him at the terminal. So he did, increasingly terrified as day turned to dusk. Jo was taken into South Korea's orphanage system, but even though the country was for decades one of the world's biggest exporters of children, he was already too old for most adoptive parents' preferences.
On this day, like all other families in the country, Ryang Yong Sop and O Myong Hui living in Kwangsok-dong, Wonsan, greet their children and grandchildren who come home to congratulate on the day. Acknowledging the family members, O Myong Hui, hostess of the family, recalls the past with deep emotion. O is a chief nurse at the Wonsan Municipal Hospital No. She was a girl of small build, so when she became a mother and carried her baby on her back, some joked that she looked like a sister carrying her younger brother. But she was proud of being a mother and strengthened her resolve to bring up her children to be fine.