taken from the farmerfs village goes to
the market by the hands of Tegori merchants,
as I wrote in the previous article. Then
the food goes to retail sellers, before
reaching the common people.
Rice and corn can be found in every market
all over the country. This contrasts with
the military institutions which struggle
with chronic food shortage.
I visited the capital city, Pyongyang
in the end of January to early February
to cover stories. I saw plenty of food
being sold in the market there. @
Markets were crowded with many people
in preparation for the lunar New Year.
A market is one of the best places that
the government can collect food effectively.
collection triggers the people's anger.
People are ready
for themselves to fight against anything
to protect their own source of life to
survive in this country.
In the past, when the market tax(*1)
was raised, I heard that there were people
who openly criticized this tax introduction.
This is completely unusual in our country.
(Note *1 - A tax which a merchant pays
to the market administration office everyday)
So the first step which the government
took was gincentive and encouragement
of contribution of rice for the militaryh.
As far as I know, it has never been seen
that the government asks merchants to
contribute food from the market. So it
proves how serious is the critical food
situation the military is facing. It makes
sense that young cadet soldiers said more
than half of their troop is malnourished
in my interview. [Previous
I began to walk around in the market.
I came across the scene of a quarrel.
It seemed to be between a merchant and
the market administration officer. Both
Market Administration Officer:
Hey! Donft you know we are collecting
rice for the military? You canft say no!
You heard the first time, hah? Donft act
Woman merchant: No, I
donft mean thatc.
Officer: I say stop playing
Woman: I have heard that
each family contributes one kilogram in
the farmerfs village. But it is the first
time for me to hear that the contribution
campaign is imposed here [the market]
Officer: Donft lie to
me. You think you can get a discount from
me? No way! Everyone submits a fair contribution.
Woman: I am doing business
here everyday. So why does it have to
Officer: Did I tell you
to contribute right now? It can be evening,
or it doesnft have to be rice or corn.
I said even soybean is fine. I made considerations
for you. But now you sayc.
Woman: How I can make
contributions. I donft have enough earnings.
Officer: Shut up! You
donft have earnings? What a crap! I gave
you a bargain, that 300won market tax
for 250won. How can you say you canft
afford to submit a contribution! I have
spent the whole day today collecting rice
contributions. Now I got to shout. It
ends with such shit! Even old women submit
contributions without any complaint. Itfs
not food for myselfc Those who donft submit
Finally the officer could collect the
contribution. I talked to a woman who
was witnessing this scene standing next
to me. She seemed to be a merchant as
You are told to contribute rice for the
Woman 2: Right.
Kim: How much from each
Woman 2: 10 kilograms
Kim: Is that asked of
You canft make business in the market
if you donft submit the contribution?
Woman 2: Thatfs why they
try to collect inside the market place.
canft earn their living if they canft
make business in the market. The government,
who knows these circumstances, targets
especially merchants in the market.
Contribute or die. This rules the market
and our country.
by Kim Dong-cheol. 2011, July)
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