Whether it's a gift or a curse, this has yet to be decided.
The announcement of North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-il death (by heart attack, aged 69) was met with joy, fear and uncertainty. To the North Koreans, if we are to trust the short video clips that were released, the sudden death of their "dear leader" was met with grief and anguish.What happens next, is anybody's guess. How will the unofficial successor in the form of youngest son Kim Jong-un decide to rule? Or will he even have the military support to become the "Great Successor", as he has been named? At only a rumoured 28 years old, will the powers-that-be give him any room to have his say? This is one of the main reasons the world (in particular, South Korea, the US and Japan) is on tenter hooks - for fear that the young and "untested" successor will feel the need to show military strength to help establish his position. An optimistic hope is that he will begin to lead the hermit nation to peace with the world, and in turn, help his starving people.
Kim Jong-il was known for his secrecy, unpredictability and harsh rule. He was ranked 31st in Forbes Magazine's List of the World's Most Powerful People in 2010, and is in the news often, mostly for threats of nuclear testing or attacks on South Korea.
North Koreans lead a surprisingly normal life, though famine is one of the main problems faced by the self-sufficient state. The state is also said to have one of the worst human rights records in the world. All media and telecommunications are controlled by the military, and phones and the internet are not available for the public. Even so, many North Koreans now illegally wear clothes listen to music and watch videos of South Korean origin. The majority of North Koreans are atheist, as freedom of religion does not really exist (though it is always "said" to). Despite the border separation between North and South Korea, the two still share the same language (though dialects may differ), and traditional culture.
Contrary to popular belief, tourism does exist in the state, though it is controlled. Every group or individual visitor will be permanently accompanied by a "guide", who usually speaks the mother tongue of the tourist. Getting a visa for South Koreans, however, is virtually impossible. Judging from photos that can be found on the internet, North Korea (also known as Democratic People's Republic of Korea) does seem like a beautiful place though. Take a look for yourself!
Baitou Mountain, TianchiLake Samilpo Pyongyang CityRyugyong HotelTomb of King Dongmyeong
And that was your little lesson for the day! ;p On a lighter note, let me leave you with an article that was sent to me. I personally find this hilarious, so read on, and tell me what YOU think of the man who was globally condemned for most of his reign..