I was watching a lot of youtube videos about North Korea and came across the TED talk about Hyeonseo Lee who wrote the book "The Girl with Seven Names". It's a very easy read because it is written more like a fictional novel and each chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I finished reading in 24 hours because I was so captivated by her story.
There were a few bits of the book that really struck me. First, she was insanely lucky. She was never forced to work as a sex worker. She didn't have to sneak into China or Mongolia or South East Asia because she had family in China and she managed to buy herself a PRC ID card which allowed her to fly to Seoul to claim asylum. Her first serious boyfriend in China was a young and rich South Korean who lived in Gangnam. In fact, she has been very lucky in love. She always seem to run into really good guys who liked and respected her. Her second boyfriend is her current American husband who is patient and understanding. And of course there was that famous encounter with the Australian Dick Stolp who gave her hundreds of dollars in Laos in order to bribe the officials to release her brother and her mother.
I was also really into her stories about her childhood. The brainwashing in North Korea is real. First, it confirmed to me that children are vulnerable. If you tell kids that santa claus exists, then santa claus exists. Of course for North Korea, the fairy tale is that the Kims are such supernational beings who can change the weather with their minds. I was also kinda inspired by it. My thinking goes, if kids or adults can be tricked into believing in ridiculous lies then I can also re-program or trick my mind into more positive messages. Brain plasticity, you know? Never too late to reprogram better vocabs and better habits.