A North Korean Defector Talks About Leaving His Homeland On Reddit AMA

It's easy to criticize North Korea because of the bad media attention it receives from time to time. That is why many of us tend to build stereotypes against North Koreans that aren't based on any actual facts. We, who enjoy freedom and democracy in our respective states, tend to think that the citizens of North Korea are but mindless robots that follow Kim Jong-Un's every command.

However, as we make closer and closer contact with North Korea's citizens, we begin to realize that not everyone in the authoritarian state is a blind follower of its country's strongman. There are some who have been fighting to the death for freedom and equality. Fortunately, a few have succeeded.

Redditor DocKim's grandfather visited Reddit AMA to answer questions about living in North Korea and escaping its hellish territories to find freedom down south.

once upon a time in north korea
Once upon a time in North Korea.

Here are some of the questions he answered:

The_PlaceboEffect asked:

What is the best memory he has from growing up in North Korea? Conversely, what is the worst memory he has on growing up in North Korea?

DocKim answered:

"My favourite memories from growing up are of just hanging out with my friends and talking. My worst memories are from during the Korean War. I was captured by North Korean soldiers when they were invading the south. I was staying with a local teacher when I was captured. He actually knew some of my captors and was able to negotiate my release. I was lucky as I would likely have been executed."
Redditor ravyrn asked:

Since your departure from North Korea, have you been in any contact with old friends and family? Or when you fled, did you have to cut all ties and basically start over your social and family life?

DocKim answered:

"I had two cousins that made it to the south. One of my cousins is still alive and had a successful construction company. My other cousin has passed away and was a professor at a medical school. I never saw or heard from my parents and my other relatives again after I left."
North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un.
North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un.

Redditor JackWilliamDent asked:

What was his perception of the south before he escaped there and how did the world differ from what he was used to?

DocKim answered:

"I was still very young when Korea was divided. At some point, missionaries had come to my home town and eventually about 90 percent of the people there became Christian. The communists did not allow people to practice religion and would eventually come to collect young people for military service. My mother told me I should go south away from communist control."
Read DocKim's AMA here. His life as a North Korean defector reveals a few things we didn't know about North Korea, its leadership, and the people who live there.

[Images from Bing and Imgur]