Unjong is for Kiddies!

Adults, doing adult things.

Adults, doing adult things.

Unjong is one of the DPRK's SEZs that we argued is most likely to succeed and its easy to see why. They have a comprehensive masterplan, they're close to key political and trading hubs and have an institutional home with a strong mandate. They face plenty of impediments, too, but...all that is stuff for the adults to worry about. What's it like for the kids of scientists?

After a visit in late March, we're pretty sure that there is nowhere better to grow up, if you happen to be a child growing up in the DPRK. Educational and recreational facilities have been heavily invested in by the authorities, so no doubt the kids love being there. By contrast, we heard half-jokingly that Pyongyang-based male scientists face some resistance from their wives about moving out to the 'burbs. But again, that's adult stuff. 

                                                                                                                Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

                                                                                                                Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

The kids, however, get brand new basketball courts, rollerblade rinks and very unusually for the DPRK, artificial turf football fields. However, they also get this swing-game device - ubiquitous in North Korea - which to this observer looks terrifyingly dangerous, kids whip around, having to dodge spinning metal and other participants being flipped over a central axis. There is no way this could exist in playgrounds where we are from.

The terrifying swing game thing.                                                            Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

The terrifying swing game thing.                                                            Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

Also, note this angled climbing ladder, which kids can climb and hang from fully five meters off the ground.

How brave are these kids                                                                      Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

How brave are these kids                                                                      Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

Finally, note the size of this swing, which is LITERALLY as high as a mountain*.

Are all DPRK kids adrenaline junkies!?                                                   Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

Are all DPRK kids adrenaline junkies!?                                                   Photo by Chua Guan Cheong

We may come from helmet-and-elbow-pad cultures - these kids do not. Even the most fortunate youths in North Korea grow up tough. 

 

*LITERALLY.