By Felix Jehle, NKHR Volunteer and Intern
Most of the approximately 50 people who attended NKHR Rescue Fund’s most recent event on Friday, February 27 left the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon with smiles on their faces and fond memories of an evening filled with stories and festivities.
At the beginning of the event, they listened to the story of North Korean escapee Sungju Lee, who gave an emotional, yet informative and intriguing account of his survival story. The 27 year old captivated the audience. As both of his parents left North Korea before he did, he was confronted with the life of a kkotjebi (or homeless boy) and was forced to endure many hardships until he eventually attempted the risky escape himself and arrived in South Korea in 2002. He explained, “When I was on the plane from China, I knew I was going to a place called “Hanguk,” but I thought Hanguk was just another city in China. I had no idea that it was actually what South Koreans call South Korea.” More than a decade after his departure from the North, Sungju is not only well-integrated into South Korean society, but has also recently finished an internship as an assistant to a legislature in Canada.
During the second part of the event, the members in the audience were distributed into ten groups for an exciting adaptation of the popular game “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each group was provided with two true propaganda facts about North Korea, and subsequently had to come up with a credible propagandistic “lie” that the other groups would hopefully believe. The ten groups listened to statements about Kim Jong-Il climbing Mount Paektu when he first learned to walk, writing more than 1,500 books throughout his time at university, and scoring 11 holes-in-one after first picking up golf. The winning group, selected by means of a tie-breaker question, received a pitcher of beer donated by the great Rocky Mountain Tavern and a selection of vegan and gluten-free snacks from Plant Bakery in Itaewon.
In addition to the prizes for the winning team, each of the attendees had the chance to participate in a raffle. Among the many great prizes were gift vouchers, t-shirts, beer pitchers, and USB sticks. As such, NKHR would like to thank everyone for their interest in North Korean issues and for their generous donations. We are proud to announce that we were able to raise around 600,000 KRW (roughly 550 USD), which will be used to help North Korean defectors on their difficult journey to South Korea.
We would like to thank our many donors, without whom we would not have been able to host our raffle. Apart from Mike’s Cabin, Plant, Craftworks Tabhouse, Phil’s Korean Computer Repository, Phillies Pub, and the Beastro. We also extend our deepest gratitude to the Rocky Mountain Tavern for providing us with a great venue, accommodating our event so well, and graciously providing us with gifts for the attendees.
We are a group of volunteers fundraising for NKHR (Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights) to rescue