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Separated By an Age

Posted October. 10, 2002 22:46,   


The North Korean cheering group and brass band, who came to the Busan Asian Games, had a fall festival.

In the morning of the 10th, the pier of the Dadaepo Port International Passenger Terminal, where the Mangyongbong 92 is anchored. They, who were exhausted by the continued cheering, were relieving their fatigue with games and recreations in casual outfits.

The cheering group in white caps and training wears was the Team Geumgang Mt. The brass band in red shirts and white pants was the Team Myohyang Mt. The games like ‘run with bottles in legs,’ ‘run with their legs tied and over the line,’ ‘run with a ball between foreheads,’ ‘run with a ball on sticks,’ and ‘run after catching a bounced ball’ were continued and their feelings went up, the spectators got exited shouting and singing ‘go our players’ and ‘Onheya.’

On October 10, 2002 was the 57th anniversary of the foundation of the Chosun Labor Party. In North Korea, this day is considered as one of the 7 most important holidays along with the Foundation Day of the Regime (September 9) and the birthday of the Chairman of the National Security, Kim, Jung-Il (February 16). It was known that this festival was held by the request of the North Korean delegation to appreciate the cheering group and the brass band, who were restless to go around each game places cheering and playing.

The 250 some cheering group members in the festival had comfortable atmosphere chewing gums and chatting each other. The 30 some crewmembers of the Mangyongbong 92 also went outside the ship and beguiled the tedium. While the festival was going on, there was nimble music came out from big speakers on the ship, and gifts were abundant including crystal vases, ceramics, and drinks.

One inconvenient thing was that this event was closed to the public and held as an event for just themselves. The pier is blocked with an iron fence, so no outsiders can enter. Therefore, the Busan citizens, who gathered from early morning, sat on the lawn yard on a filled land near the Dadaepo Port and video taped the festival from a distance.

The citizens said, “It is interesting to see North Koreans having a festival in Busan, and we realize that the world is changed a lot,” and “it would be better to have a festival with the South and North together.”

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com