Yeonmi Park: In Order To Live

A great tale of the human spirit, truly.


I finished the book pretty quickly because the English was simple and easy to just breeze through, in spite of her ability to convey herself in English, the text did not lose any brevity whatsoever as she goes on with her harrowing tale.

One would think that escaping the North Korean Regime would be a battle won but I had no idea what an arduous journey it would be for them to truly gain and secure their freedom. The escape was only just the beginning. Yeonmi talks about how after the relatively simple escape from North Korea through the Yalu River, she had only just took her first steps into a world of shitstorm. A world of human trafficking, sexual slavery, discrimination and the fight for your will to keep living in spite of the horrors. 

5/5 , Great read, simple, concise, not only do you get a good look on life in North Korea, it’s also one of those biographies you will want to read of a wonderful spirit who worked hard in spite of unimaginable circumstance. 

Personal derivations

Freeing the people of North Korea or DPRK, is probably one of the world’s most impossible tasks to accomplish, but even after being freed, the people and the generations to follow,will take decades or even centuries to actually have a shot in life, to play on fair grounds because of the immense propaganda ingrained in their heads. Park notes that independent and critical thinking was a huge challenge because her people never learned to do that, mostly because they couldn’t or risk a death sentence if the government found out and much worse, driven insane by the severe oppression they are doomed to.  

I keep thinking what could I possibly do to help and it sucks to know i can’t. I wish I had some sort of superpower so I could teleport back and forth to give the citizens food. I wish politicians in China will change their policy, and welcome NK refugees so the slavery can stop. I wish that somehow all of NK’s military arsenal would just vaporise and foreign military can free the nation. It’s crazy to think how backwards some countries are. I know that everything I say here is frivolous, but I hope the millennials never lose their sense of social justice.  

When will such blatant human injustice end? It feels so wrong to go on with life whilst knowing the shit that goes on around us. But we do. When we see beggars on the streets, we tend not to look or stare for long, because its too painful to actualise the grim situations that surrounds us and potentially envelops us into that dark anguish. So we ignore. Does that make us cowards, just people trying to survive or its just easier to only care when I’ve got a problem?  Just close my eyes and hope that someone with more power will do right by them, that’s how I usually resolve those feelings… I know, a fucking coward right.


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