(Washington Post) When Jeon Geum-ju was a girl in Hoeryong, a depressing mining town at the very northern reaches of North Korea, she used to sing at school about the country's supreme leader.
"Kim Jong Il, how hard he works, he works so hard that he sleeps in the car and just eats rice balls," sang Jeon, now 29, sitting in a restaurant here trying to recall the words that were once ingrained into her. "On his desk there are piles and piles of reports that he has to read and approve. He works so hard for us, the people."
And when Lee Hyun-ji, 19 and also from the country's north, was in elementary school, learning to throw wasn't a simple matter of pitching a ball.
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In gym class, there was a wooden target of a human figure with pale skin and a huge nose, with "cunning American wolf" written on it. Lee and her young schoolmates would practice their throwing with a wooden "grenade."