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Photo: Theconversation.com

To foreign eyes, the life of an ordinary North Korean citizen might look to all intents and purposes like science fiction. This is a 21st century country where resources and freedoms are scarce, threat of invasion from neighbouring nations is ever-increasing and the people are brainwashed from birth to obey the dear leader.

From the outside, North Korea – or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as it’s known by its people – looks like a dystopia. On closer inspection, however, the country only gets weirder. Here are twenty of the craziest things that are just a part of daily life in North Korea, according to Eightieskids.

1. Power cut every night

You know how occasional power cuts are so annoying. Now imagine the state of North Koreans whose entire country goes dark at night. It's apparently due to the energy crisis in the state that it can't supply sufficient electricity to homes. This was revealed after a photo of North Korea taken from space went viral, as noted by Scoopwhoop.

2. You’re only allowed to date someone if you plan on marrying them

We’re guessing Tinder and Grindr don’t exist in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The purpose of dating in North Korean is not just about getting to know someone…it is for the sole purpose of marriage. Homosexual relationships are totally forbidden.

Many things that we take for granted in the West, North Koreans are not allowed to do. This includes things like public displays of affection (including hugging and kissing, even for marries couples,) getting tattoos and having piercings.

3. The plunder order

Starvation is a specter that looms over many of the ordinary citizens of North Korea, and food aid has long been part of negotiations with the country. In the summer of 2017, however, matters worsened somewhat with the implementation of an order by the regime for soldiers to plunder farms for corn in order to feed themselves.

A North Korean source told the media in Seoul that these soldiers, who are malnourished largely due to exhaustion from training, have been ordered to steal to eat in order to keep their strength up for what the military believes could be an impending war against South Korea, Japan, or the United States. As a result, farmers are reportedly being forced to defend their farms against the military, and soldiers themselves are said to be selling the stolen corn at markets across the Ryanggang province.

4. Parents have to provide desks & chairs for their kids

Parents who send their kids to school are required to provide their own desks and chairs. Some students are also forced to do laborious tasks for the government, such as collecting discarded material.

5. The year is 107, not 2018

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Photo: Uritours.com

Even in some of the most basic ways, North Koreans have an experience that we would struggle to comprehend here in the West. For starters, North Korea has an entirely different calendar to us, and right now the year is most definitely not 2018. In 1997, just before Kim Il-sung was made Eternal President, the revised North Korean constitution also changed the year.

The new calendar that was adopted, the Juche calendar, began recorded time with the birth of Kim Il-sung in 1912. This makes 1912 ‘Juche year 1’ in North Korea, with the current year being 107.

6. Cars are almost nonexistent

Kim might have nukes now, but if you thought North Korea had fully entered the 21st century yet then you’re sadly mistaken. In the DPRK, while cars have become a more common sight of late, it’s still rare to see one in action. So rare, in fact, that no one has even bothered to make the traffic lights work yet.

While there are traffic lights in the country, hardly any of them are operational, and female traffic wardens (who must be young and beautiful and retire at 26) do most of the work instead. Highways are also eerie sights in North Korea, as transport going to and from connecting cities is virtually nonexistent. Instead, you’ll see people walking the miles of road and attempting to flag down any vehicles they might be able to hitch a ride with.

7. Methamphetamines as New year gifts

Meth is even seen as a luxury and a popular gift. The New York Times reports it's common to exchange meth on the Lunar New Year, especially for young people. People use the drug as casually as they would smoke a cigarette, and it's considered little more than an energy boost. It has the added benefit of making a starving population feel less hungry, from Grunge.

8. North Korea Can Cure AIDS And Cancer

In an apparent effort to promote the scientific advancement of the country, North Korean state media reported in 2016 that researchers had invented a new type of miracle drug. Supposedly made from rare earth elements, it was able to cure AIDS, eradicate certain types of cancer, and completely destroy the Ebola virus.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, scientists from the country declined to share the specific ingredients involved in manufacturing the drug, according to Ranker.

9. If you commit a crime, your entire family goes to jail

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Photo: Axios.com
When it comes to punishing citizens for misbehaviour, North Korea is about as hardline as countries get.If someone commits a crime, for example, they might not be the only ones who go to prison. In North Korea, an apparent ‘three generations rule’ means that, if one person is jailed, their entire family might be too. Even if they’re completely innocent of any crime, parents, grandparents and children of the accused can be sentenced right along with the guilty. So watch out!
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