Happy Family or Hostage Situation?

North Korea

This happy family was selected for a photo opportunity with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. You can tell they are overjoyed. This reminds me of a recent Twaggie about family portraits. -via Buzzfeed

(Image credit: KCNA/Reuters)


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You're right about the smiles, nach. Traditionally - and traditional - Koreans don't smile in photos. There's even a superstition that if a woman smiles on her wedding day/ in her photos then her first child will be a girl (not always the prefered choice in the Far East). It's not taken so seriously anymore and South Korea has been invaded by camera phones and cute poses jut like other countries but for older generations, and almost certainly for North Koreans, smiling would be a no-no. They probably havent had many photos taken in their lives either. The looks of terror on their faces on the other hand are most certainly because of *who* they are posing with. :)
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Kim Jong-un is considered a living God, and he has dropped in to visit them. These people are not "absolutely terrified" at all -- they're overcome with emotion, overwhelmed and in shock. ...this would be like Jesus showing up in someone's back yard in Kentucky. (Here is a North Korean pop song about some of the Dear Leader's magical abilities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEqc6H4RXos -- He can see us all times, he flies across the nation at the speed of light, he blesses us with his mighty powers... you get the idea -- he's a living God.)
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I'm not a supporter of N. Korea, but let me play the devil's advocate. Kim Jong-un is familiar with western customs and this photo op is almost certainly propaganda in his campaign. Most North Koreans are not familiar with western customs. It is a ENTIRELY western custom to smile in photographs. In fact, many believe it's disrespectful to do so in deep parts of India, China, middle East, and I presume East Asia. Reference the number of photos of my parents and grandparents and family in the village that are super serious in their wedding photos.
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Seeing as how the North Koreans literally deify their first family, this would kind of be like Jesus and Elvis both showing up on some redneck's doorstep in the Southern US. Sure, that woman is on the verge of tears, but girls stared weeping when they met The Beatles too.
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