Some people have pornography but if the government found them they would go directly to a camp.” Homosexuality is another taboo in North Korean society, so much so that Kang says there was no concept of it, let alone a word for it.“A man followed me and tried to touch me but at that time I didn’t know what gay was.For one day, everything in the hermit kingdom is closed and a surreal fist-pumping military parade takes place across the capital city of Pyongyang.
Getting drunk with friends till dawn, going on dates to the cinema, playing too many video games.
While these might sound like run-of-the-mill adolescent coming of age exploits, these activities took on a rather different form for Jimmin Kang in North Korea.
You might say that’s crazy, but if people understand freedom or know how people in other countries live, it is dangerous for the government”. In the week they would go on walks alongside the riverside and on the weekends they would go the cinema.
However, there was a limit to the intimacy of these dates.
Nevertheless in a country overwhelmed by electricity shortages, fun was often overshadowed by the threat of electricity vanishing and Kang says sometimes it was not possible to do stuff for days because there was no power.
What’s more, he says if the government found you using heating during these periods, you could be sent to a Labour Camp.
“You can’t kiss in public places, it’s not illegal but it’s not cultural practice,” he recalls.
”You’re also not supposed to have sex before you are married.” Inevitably, young people found ways of being intimate with each other.
“Roller skating is popular but you can’t go on the streets and must go in a park.
Ice-skating is also popular but there is only one place”.
Then I came here and finally I understood what gay meant and I thought ‘Ah, he was gay. After a long shift at work, Kang would often wind down with friends over beers or Suji, Korean vodka.