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`Dozing off` can take your life

Posted May. 15, 2015 07:19,   


“Do you want to risk your life on drowsiness?”

On a sleepy spring day, it’s not difficult to spot such a banner that immediately sobers you on an expressway. Pungent phrases, such as “The final destination after dozing off behind wheel is not where you are now,” or “Drowsy driving kills you and others,” make you grab the wheel even tighter. The Korea Expressway Corporation has placed straight-forward warning signs some might think it’s too much at some 2,700 places across the country. It is said that some 180 people die every year due to drowsy driving, the majority of which is in spring days.

While sleepiness is physiological phenomenon that is natural to all human beings, it could be an illness to some. At Karachi village in northern Kazakhstan last winter, hundreds of residents caught mystery sleeping sickness. Some would never wake up for several days once they fell asleep, while some developed physical paralysis or showed signs of hallucination. Having failed to find a treatment for the mysterious illness, the Kazakhstan authority announced that it would move all the villagers to other places. Tsetse fly is the intermediate host for the sleeping sickness, an African epidemic. Without proper treatment, it could lead you to fall asleep for good.

Minister Hyon Yong Chol of the People’s Armed Forces in North Korea has been reportedly executed by anti-aircraft gun because he committed a disrespectful act by dozing off at an event of Korean People’s Army in the presence of Kim Jong Un on April 24 and 25. The Rodong Sinmun dated on April 26 showed Hyon with his eyes closed sitting at the second chair from Kim Jong Un. The North Korean leader seems to believe that senior executive staff disregard him if they do not show respectful attitude as seen the death of Jang Song Thaek who "clapped half-heartedly."

Some leaders of South Korean conglomerates speak out that they feel bad when executives do not take notes of what they say during meetings. Ministers and secretaries at president-presided meetings are busy writing down what President Park Geun-hye says, which is a sign of authoritarianism. So are North Korea’s high-ranking officials. From the “crime of half-hearted clapping” to “crime of dozing off at the event with Kim Jong Un,” it seems that high-ranking officials in Pyongyang have to walk very carefully on the thin ice to stay alive.