Friday, January 11, 2013

Pyongyang Racer: Virtually Traveling to North Korea's Capital to See What It Values

The very first post on this blog was a satellite image of an empty Pyongyang street.  I remarked how desolate the streets were.  Now, in a bit of modern, internet-age tourism literature is today's post: Pyongyang Racer.

The online browser was made in North Korea and servers as a virtual tour of Pyongyang and a window into the soul of the so-called Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

  • The streets are empty except for a few soulless cars which do not move.  At one point a pop up occurs in the game which praises the fact that there is no traffic in Pyongyang.  Harsh economic conditions and government control of movement is praised here.
  • The sexuality of the female traffic wardens is emphasized both in appearance and with sayings like "Drive straight on.  Don't stare at me, I'm on duty."  Yet traffic wardens are not displayed except for sayings like this, meaning there are no traffic wardens on the street to stare at.  It seems a sort of Asian fantasy of tough, professional, sexual women who act like they are not interested but really want you secretly is behind this.
  • This is a  change in North Korean propaganda for foreigners.  Traditionally North Korean propaganda comes in two molds 1) domestically it emphasizes racial purity and innocence and 2) internationally it emphasizes North Koreans toughness and victimization.  This game tries to portray North Korea as a nice place to visit.  Except for a reference to a Korean War memorial, no mention is made about outside enemies and Pyongyang appears (or the North Koreans believe it appears as at least) to be a city as a go.

No mention is made, however, about inside enemies such as free thinkers, Christians, political dissidents, or farmers who cannot meet their production quotas.

1 comment:

Dan tdaxp said...

In "Inside the Red Box," the author quotes a KWP editorial calling for a "truly independent foreign policy," and interprets it as KWP concern over becoming a satellite branch of the CCP. One wonders if the KWP judges the greatest medium-term threat to regime continuity is a neighbor which cannot be named...