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All Quotes by author - Lee Hyeon-seo
" Because North Korea was so totally cut off, we didn't hear anything of the outside world. We had only one TV channel, which showed only propaganda, and we believed everything. "
" Breathing in South Korea, even though the life here is not easy, makes me so happy. I feel that sitting in a coffee shop, having a cup of tea, and looking out of the window at the blue sky - this is happiness. Truly happiness. "
" Certainly in North Korea, man is always superior to woman. Even the government treats women horribly. What is the slogan? Woman is a flower. "
" Here in South Korea, I'm continuing to learn English in order to boost my prospects. When North Korean defectors try to get a job to stabilize their lives, their lack of English is a handicap. It was the same story while I was living in China. It took an enormous amount of time and enthusiasm to learn Chinese. "
" I know North Korea is the most ridiculous country in the world, but for me, my mum, my brother, and my families and old memories are so important. "
" In communism, we never had any freedom - of movement, of speech, of press. We didn't even make own decisions for our lives, our future. We were human robots. "
" Inside North Korea, we have many informants and spies watching everyone; they're paid by the government. Even a husband and wife can't trust each other. "
" It was really tiring always pretending to be someone else. Not my life, not my real name, nothing. "
" I was growing up in Hyesan, right by the closest North Korea-China border. China was just across the river: you could see across. So I was curious. On the river, on both sides, you have houses, then mountains. I wanted to know what was on the other side of the Chinese mountains. "
" Leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like leaving another universe. "
" Like every country, North Korea has some very smart people. They could be contributing a lot more to science and other areas, but North Koreans are forced to spend so much time memorising the fake history of our dictators and other propaganda, so are at a huge disadvantage. "
" Many people - when they think about North Korea and the dictatorship, or the military or nuclear weapons, nuclear missiles, those things - tend to forget ordinary citizens are living there. "
" Most people in the country didn't - and might still not - know about how powerful the United States is. They think North Korean weapons are the best in the world, and they're very proud of them. They believe they can protect the country from anyone. "
" My favourite Korean food is delicious black five-layered pork belly, cooked over a charcoal grill. And Jeju chocolate, in citrus fruits and green tea flavour, which is famous throughout Korea. "
" My favourite place in South Korea is Jeju Island: it's a tropical paradise with sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and the magnificent Geomunoreum lava tube system of underground caves. "
" No dictator can last forever. History shows that in the end, people around the dictator bring about change. Of course, a lot of high-ranking officials don't want change because they want to keep power. But there are other good people who want change. I believe they are waiting for the chance. "
" On a bus ride through China, my family and I had talked for hours before a police officer boarded to conduct an inspection. My mother and brother couldn't speak Chinese, so they pretended to be deaf and mute, and none of the Chinese passengers said anything, sparing us. "
" People who live in North Korea, they die for food, but living in the free world, the cat even eats expensive sushi. "
" Some people criticize North Koreans and ask, 'Are they stupid? How can they believe those ridiculous things?' But I say, It doesn't matter if you're smart: if you were born in North Korea, you would be exactly like us. We don't know what freedom is. We have never enjoyed it. "
" The moment I escaped to China, I didn't have any money; I only had one address in my hand of some long-distance Chinese relatives. I didn't know China was that big. I thought I can find their home very easily, and I would come back one week later. But then I found out the address was a 10-hour drive away. "
" The North Korean regime really can control people. I think they are the best dictator in the whole planet. "
" There are people who are destined to embrace endless pain and suffering, and there are people who desire to dream. Everybody dreams, of course. But does anybody desperately want to dream more than the people of North Korea? "
" The TED talk I gave, that gave me another character I didn't know about. I'm not saying the mind of a hero, but a kind of responsibility. Every word I'm speaking, it's not from myself. I'm speaking for and representing the people of communist North Korea. "
" We were all blocked from western media, outside information. We were captured in a virtual prison cell. People would disappear in the middle of the night - not every day, but sometimes. We hear about it, and we never knew what happened inside the prison camps. I learned about them after I escaped. "
" When I explain to people what was the situation in North Korea, they think, how can such a country exist? They know North Korea is bad in some vague way, not clearly. But when we explain it, they then wonder how can a whole country be modern-day slaves? "
" When I was little, I thought my country was the best on the planet. And I grew up singing a song called 'Nothing To Envy.' And I was very proud. In school, we spent a lot of time studying the history of Kim Il-Sung, but we never learned much about the outside world, except that America, South Korea, Japan are the enemies. "
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