Friday, January 29, 2010

All they know is the yellow line

Right now I'm in Ilsan, a suburb of north of Seoul. North Korea is about 15 km away as the crow flies. The nearest North Korean city is Kaesong, about 40 km away. I can't think of any other place on earth where the gap is so stark between the First and Third World, between taking pictures of yourself for fun and not being allowed to wear blue jeans, between watching TV while you drive and having never heard of Coca Cola.

Every time we have lunch at school, a lot of food gets wasted. Kindergarten students are not too fond of tasteless white rice, so it tends to go to waste. Every time I threw out a half-full dish of rice, I thought about all the people that would kill for that rice. But, of course, this is more or less a new dressing on the cliche from the '80s, now adapted as "drink your beer, there's sober kids in Africa".

The food we waste at school isn't going to go anywhere but the garbage, but the situation in North Korea is the opposite of the Ethiopian famine in the '80s. Toronto is a long way from Addis Ababa, but North Korea is alarmingly close. Activists recently sent 150,000 leaflets bearing information to North Korea via hot air balloon. Surely a few packages of instant noodles and the chocolate pies (moon pies) that sell for $10 on the North Korean black market could also be sent.


RJA said...

I would like to try a choco pie.

Jennifer said...

They sound gross.
This from someone who loves chocolate.