In November 2017, I travelled to Singapore for an series of academic conferences. Almost two years later, I’ve edited some of the photos from the trip.
I’ve just finished reading Hyeonseo Lee’s book The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story.
This is one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. The story of Lee’s escape from North Korea and emotional battles along the way are deeply moving. It’s also harrowing to think that other North Korean defectors experience far worse treatment that Lee did.
A year or so ago I read Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. What strikes me the most in both of these books on North Korea is just how repressive the Kim regime is and the apparent lack of international action to rescue the general population from horrible human rights abuses.
While I strongly believe that every country should be able to govern without outside intervention there must be limits where outside intervention becomes necessary. Especially as people are being politically imprisoned and executed without any due process. Other abuses of this magnitude in other areas of the globe have resulted in war crime trials. I don’t know what it would take to intervene in North Korea but the international community cannot continue to be so lenient on a country that treats its citizens so poorly.
Embeded below is a TED talk that Lee gave before writing the book, it’s much lighter on details than the book. Additionally there is an SBS Insight program on North Korea that Lee took part in which features some of her, and other’s stories of escape.
In mid-April I went up to Singapore for three days. This was my first time in Asia and the decision to visit Singapore was mainly made because of friends who live there and great airfares on Singapore Airline’s budget carrier Scoot.
The flight from Sydney to Singapore left just after midday and arrived almost an hour early around 6.30pm local time. By the time I had collected my bags, cleared immigration, and caught the MRT to my hotel it was quite late in the evening so I had an early night.
The next morning I met up with an Australian workmate who was also visiting Singapore and we explored around Little India. This was a little bit of a culture shock as it was not what I was expecting Singapore to be like.
After getting lost a few times we found a MRT station and headed through to the Marina Bay area which is a complete contrast to Little India. At Marina Bay we met up with another friend at the Merlion and walked around Marina Bay to Marina Bay Sands where we had lunch.