Han Voice is a Canadien organization which aims to advocate for the rights of North Korean refugees and to enter into dialogue with the Canadian government and other international organizations on behalf of North Korean refugees. As part of the “HanVoice Pioneer Project”, on Oct28th, the McGill Chapter of HanVoice invited North Korean defector, Ellie Gong-ju Cha as a guess speaker to raise awareness about North Korea and its human right problems.VOKO radio had a chance to interview Elli Cha after the event.
지난 10월28일에 탈북자 차공주씨가 맥길대학을 방문하여 북한에서의 생활을 생생히 들려주었습니다. 캐나다 탈북자들을 도와주는 일을하고 있는 단체인 ‘한보이스’가 주체한 이번행사는 탈북자를 통해서 북한의 인권침해 상황을 직접 전해 드릴 수 있는 뜻 깊은자리였습니다. 행사 이후 보코팀들이 차공주씨를 만나 단독 인터뷰를 해 왔습니다.
First of all, we asked her to introduce herself for the Voko listeners.
(Clip: 1. Introduction30초)
Her name is Ellie Cha. She was born in North Korea. In 2013, she came to South Korea with her family. Currently, she is enrolled in mass communication at Korea University. At the moment she is taking a year off for an internship position at the Parliament in Ottawa, Canada with the help of Han Voice.
We asked her to tell us about why her family decided to escape from North Korea.
(Clip: 2. Reasons52초)
In North Korea, there exists a social hierarchy. It is impossible for a person who belongs to a low class to be promoted to a higher class. She saw this through her parents. They kept being dismissed from their positions and were always undervalued. She lost motivation for studying because she knew what her life would be like in the future. Her parents knew this and they thought that it would not be good for the children to stay in North Korea. They were also scholars so they knew that the future of North Korea is not so bright. That is why they decided to escape.
We asked her to tell us about good memories she has from her childhood.
(Clip: 3. Memories 35초)
When she was in high school. For two months, her entire class went to a farm to help out the farmers. They shared a big tent, ate together, and while spending a lot of time with one another they became closer. To her, this was the most beautiful memory and one that she misses the most.
We asked her if there were any difficulties with life in South Korea.
(Clip: 4. Difficulties 33초)
Her first two years were very difficult. She went to university 6 months after she arrived in South Korea. She did not know anything about internet. She was told to register for her courses on the school website, but she did not know what she was supposed to do. It was hard because she had to learn everything from the beginning. In her first year, she cried alone a lot.
We asked her to tell us about the differences between North and South Korea.
(Clip: 5. Differences 28초)
South Korea and North Korea are different but they share a lot of things in common too. There exists a culture of unification, people care about how others view them so everyone follows the same trend. They are not too exposed to cultural diversity yet so they have a strong ethnic character.
Lastly, we asked her to tell us about common misconceptions that people have about North Korea.
(Clip: 6. Misconceptions 43초)
Some misconceptions are caused by the fault of the media. Because of old photos and videos of North Korea where bony children appear, people think that everyone suffers from hunger and poverty. But in fact, this is not true because the economy progressing even though it is very slow. Of course food is not sufficient for everyone. Some people still have to work hard to earn food for the day, but not everybody. There exists a gap between the rich and the poor as well and it is also an ordinary world where people live.
인터뷰에 응해주신 차공주씨게 감사드리며, 인터뷰는 보코의 배준형, 임지영씨가 준비했습니다. 잘 들었습니다.