In North Korea, many people just sit by the roadside with nothing to do

July 15, 2012 by Joshua
in NorthKorea

Many times daily in North Korea you see someone crouching doing nothing but passing time. Usually they’re alone, but sometimes in a group. I kept meaning to take pictures, but it feels funny to take a picture of someone doing nothing. I found the two below on the web. As best you can tell they’ve been squatting all day and will be for a while longer.

Squatting in North Korea

Squatting in North Korea

They’ll be in a park or on a street corner. Not far away someone else may crouch alone doing nothing too. I don’t see them complaining. I didn’t see any police telling them to move along or other people asking them to join an activity.

It got me thinking about government, systems, and motivation.

I don’t know the cause of these people’s idleness. I presume no business is happening that could employ them, nor can they find any opportunity to start their own projects. When a nation is not productive, life seems boring, with no escape.

When you have no chance to succeed, what else can you do? You get futility. I can only imagine the situation demoralizes you. What more fundamental role can a leader have than to make sure people have ways to improve their lives?

It’s hard not to think about things going too far the other way: everybody working hard producing nothing of value. I think about the over-the-top advertising of Times Square, overdone yet more in many neighborhoods here in Shanghai, not to mention many other large Asian cities. Or America’s strip malls, making the areas from city to city homogenous across the country. Or the waste of the overproduction our markets require or of luxury goods.

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2 responses on “In North Korea, many people just sit by the roadside with nothing to do

  1. I somehow, randomly ended up on this specific post of your blog after clicking today’s Doodle on Google which is about a nun/artist named Carita Dent (sp?) saying it’s her 96th birthday. But the confusion set in when I realized she had died in the early 80s (of course, November 20) and they did this out of celebratory efforts but with that in mind, I still don’t understand how someone can still have a birthday, 30 or so years (even one millisecond) after they die? Yes, it is their birthday as far as “it will always stand as the day that they were born” just in a previous year and I can see that if someone is famous, how there are celebrations, etc. during the “day” that certain people in the world were born BUT Google’s Doodle today treats it, in a misleading, false advertising sort of way–especially for people like me who have no idea who Carita Doritos is whatsoever so initially I had figured it was some famous lady’s 96th birthday, someone I had no idea about. So, after I’ve completed all of the complaining which had stemmed from the aforementioned frustration I’d went through, I came across a painting she did on the former “Boston Gas” tower in, well, Boston and I was interested in it because supposedly there was great controversy with the locals over how she may have secretly painted the outline of Ho Chi Minh’s face (made sense because she wasn’t for the Vietnam War) and then I began searching for Ho Chi, which led me to notice the strange way they sit down and then boom! From Jersey to Joshua Spodek and a funny, inspired by curiosity blog post that I totally would have wrote myself. I was laughing through the entire thing, and then I had to agree with you because unfortunately (minus a few things here and there I’ve done for $ on the side, i.e. writing projects, websites, etc.) I have literally been “sitting on my ass, though on the computer more realistically” since February 2013. Unemployed. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. I do have reasons wherein I’m destitute really but this sh*t is causing health issues and all I’m saying is I cannot wait to get up and go out and walk from 9 a.m. this morning until I’m done getting some errands complete. I am not even going to sleep, well I may get an hour or two (Eastern Time) but anyway, it was very random but nonetheless an interesting visit to your blog, mr. random internet blogger person. You made some great points about social policies and motivations behind all of the people as well as governments in America first, and then other countries that are moving the Hell forward while other countries are literally, actually sitting on their asses doing, like you said here, “nothing”.

    • Thank you for sharing!

      I write mostly to develop ideas and writing style, but I post to share with the world in case something resonates. It’s exciting to me when someone finds what I wrote and it resonates with them. If it encourages them to act to improve their lives, all the better.

      I hope you find ways to improve your work situation, or that something comes your way. (I secretly hope reading the blog helps contribute to that improvement.)

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