Purchase Popular Jangmadang Goods at State-Operated Stores

Daily NK
Yang Jung A

A North Korean insider source relayed on the 2nd that citizens’ complaints have been rising because the North Korean government recently gave guidelines to sell a portion of products which have been selling with popularity at the jangmadang (markets) only at state-operated stores.

This source, who resides in North Pyongan, revealed in a phone conversation with DailyNK, “Recently, plastic floors have been popular, so “plastic sales” is earning a lot of money. However, government authorities have mandated that the commerce office directly oversee plastic floors and that they be sold at state-operated stores.”

The insider relayed, “Families above middle-class have been showing a lot of interest in acquiring furniture. Besides floors, drawers on which TV can be placed and cabinets displaying wines and others are very popular.”

Previously, floors made of paper covered the floors of houses, but since North Korean civilians’ standard of living started rising recently, Chinese-made plastic floors decorated in flowers is drawing popularity.

He said, “Rumor has been leaking that pork (1,700 North Korean won per kg), the price for which has declined recently, is also directly managed by the commerce office, along with plastic floors.” “Besides this, the complaints of merchants have been rising since rumor starting circulating that the list of items to be overseen by the office will increase.”

He added, “Would they want to do any business given that individual sales are discouraged and turned over to national control when sales go even remotely well? There are grievances due to the fact that earning a livelihood through jangmadang sales is not even allowed, on top of the lack of provisions.”

Further, he said, “Regulations regarding people engaging in “Chapan-Jangsa (sales by trucks)” using privately-owned buses or trucks exceeding eight tons have begun. If one is caught, the vehicles become registered as national property and the vehicle owner receives a salary from the country instead.”

“Chapan Jangsa” refers to carrying out wholesale while ferrying the load on trucks. The “plastic floor” and “Chapan Jangsa,” along with what is popularly known as “ice (drug) sales” are counted are the top three business that brings in the most amount of money.

“The complaints of people are high, but the scope of regulation is wide-ranging, so there are people who think that the inspections will stop after several times.”

Even guideline to prevent wearing of wedding dresses

He also said, “Since October 2006, there were even guidelines to prevent wearing of wedding dresses at weddings. Not only wedding dresses, but wearing white gloves were also prohibited.”

In North Korea, wearing wedding dresses at weddings became a trend seven to eight years ago. Nowadays, many civilians are known to wear them. Even if they do not wear wedding dresses, North Korea’s general wedding culture is donning flowers on the chest part of dresses and on the head and putting on white gloves.

Additionally, the insider relayed, “The size of the flower of the groomsmen and the bridesmaids should not be bigger than the groom’s and the bride’s. The flower of the groom and the bride is fixed at 7cm and the flower of the groomsmen and bridesmaids fixed at 5cm. In the case with those who go against the orders and get their pictures taken after marriage, the photo volunteer in charge’s volunteer card (employment permit) can be revoked.”


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