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Stream and mountains

North Vs South

By Olivia Langford

Purpose of the Story:

This piece was written to expose the stark contrast in lifestyles between those who reside in South Korea, and those who reside in North Korea. It is a description on setting that focuses on the significant disparity between two countries that should be the same yet aren’t. It also highlights the struggle endured by those who are still, unfortunately, trapped in North Korea and are unable to escape, unless through what is known as ‘chain defection’; a system whereby one family member who has already escaped from North Korea must obtain thousands of dollars in order to pay for the transportation for the rest of the family, too.

Creative Writing Piece on North and South Korea:

If it weren't for my father, I wouldn’t be here. Standing amidst a thriving culture where colours are vibrant, lights flash excitedly and the bustling street around me becomes more congested by the second, I can't help but compare it to what it could have been. The city is a pitcher filled to the brim with colourful paints, set to topple over at any minute. Yet the city continues to flow effervescently, seeming to expand every time I think it to be past the point of overflowing. I can't help but be shocked when women in short skirts pass me, or when people bump my shoulder having been too engrossed in the internet displayed on their phones. My senses are overwhelmed by the abundance of new music, sights, textures and aromas that envelope me, a warm embrace of culture compared to that of my old home, North Korea.

Everything about North Korea is against living - deprived of food, religion, and entertainment, each day consisted of one goal: surviving. The promise of a new life diminished when my father left. Yet my mother and I persisted, even when everything about our lives lured us closer to giving up, and the concept of death seemed so painless that I was tempted to welcome it with open arms. Even now as she stands next to me, radiant at the thriving scenery around us and the prospect of happiness within her grasp, I can't help but notice the way my mother's skin is taut against her face, or how her bones jut out unevenly, as if trying to escape the thin layer of skin enclosed around them.

An extravagant wedding is positioned next to us - a flamboyant occasion where hundreds of guests are drinking away reality, conversing animatedly and dancing theatrically. The bride dons a ridiculous affair, decked out in a glittering ballgown and a five-metre-long train that trips up those behind her, should they be careless in where they step.

It was the first wedding I had ever seen where people were enjoying themselves - it was no stern ritual, where the bride and groom exchanged vows with sombre expressions and bid farewell to the guests as they left their parents' house in which the ceremony took place. No - the whole ordeal of this Southern Korean wedding was ostentatious, and I was revelling in it.

If our father had not managed to escape North Korea, South Korea would have been a place we'd only be able to conjure up in our dreams. Before the reign of tighter laws and the impossibility of evacuation, my father escaped to South Korea and saved up enough money for my mother and I to leave North Korea through what was known as 'chain defection'.

And now that we're here, it's incomprehensible that North and South Korea are in such close proximity to one another, for I have come to realise that the closest similarity between both is the second halves of their names. Two countries that should be equal in all aspects contrast each other significantly. Where South Korea is alive, prosperous and flourishing, North Korea is controlling, restrained and suffocating. The state of communism governed by a malevolent dictator is one I will never return to, a bleeding wound that has been slashed into the once wholesome flesh of Korea.


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