The Choson Wons

One of the members of my North Korean tour group uploaded a video slideshow to YouTube. The photos in the slideshow are of my group, its individual members and what we saw and did during our travels throughout the DPRK. See if you can find the shot of me sleeping, trying to drown out the blaring music and speeches from the annoying tannoys of the propaganda van, parked outside our hotel and blasting from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.

The background music is “The CNC Song”, a catchy North Korean number that will have you humming it all day. I heard this song every day while in the DPRK. It is a bouncy tune, especially the first three minutes which have accompanying vocals. I have vowed to learn the song phonetically by the next time I visit the country, so I can sing along–even take the stage alone–in the many karaoke clubs we visited.

Our group has the punny name “the Choson Wons”. The DPRK uses the term “Chosŏn” to refer to the Korean peninsula. The won is the DPRK unit of currency. Our tour guides had not heard of the English phrase “the chosen ones”, yet we informed them of its significance. Whenever one of the two Messrs. Kim needed to call the group together, he would yell out “Choson Wons!”. It was always funny to hear this callout, and to look at the reactions of the Koreans around us.

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