Archive for the ‘Plastic Surgery’ Category

Plastic surgery required to work in prestigious DPRK restaurants

Friday, May 20th, 2011

According to the Daily NK:

It has been belatedly revealed that since the start of the 2000s, young women working in North Korean restaurants both in Pyongyang and abroad have been required to have double eyelid surgery.

A source with a long history of visits to Pyongyang explained to The Daily NK yesterday, “When I was in Pyongyang last year, I heard from someone related to the North that since the start of the 2000s all waitresses had double eyelid surgery on Kim Jong Il’s instructions,” and added, “It seems that Kim Jong Il places great importance on the appearance of workers in restaurants earning foreign currency.”

According to the source, the target of Kim Jong Il’s requirements includes workers at restaurants within Pyongyang fraternized by foreigners, including Korean and international restaurants in the Yanggakdo and Koryo Hotels, coffee shops and other shops.

But it also includes those sent to work in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Yanji), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), the Middle East (Dubai), Nepal, the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Kaesong.

The reason why Kim Jong Il made the decision is supposedly connected with restaurant sales; the waitresses at such establishments are not merely waitresses, for they must also be talented singers and dancers, too.

According to the source, “They are mostly young university students born in Pyongyang, and I heard they get the surgery in hospital in Pyongyang for $17.”

North Korea pushed into the foreign restaurant market at first in the 1990s in an attempt to boost hard currency earnings. Now, with foreign currency earning businesses under both Party and military organs operating in the market, there are more than 100 North Korean restaurants worldwide.

According to the scale of the restaurant and number of waitresses, each is expected to earn a certain amount of foreign currency per year, and while getting a job in one of the restaurants naturally relies heavily on family and educational background, the waitresses are still watched more carefully by the authorities than ordinary North Korean citizens.

A former resident of Pyongyang told me that elite North Korean women were all getting this procedure done back in the 1980s.  It was very cheap and common.

Read the full story here:
Eyelid Surgery a Restaurant Must
Daily NK:
Kim Yong Hun


Plastic Surgery Popular, Breast Augmentations a Trend

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Daily NK
Kim Young Jin

Recently, it has been reported that businesses in charge of facial plastic surgery and skin maintenance are becoming more popular among the wealthy class.

Through a survey DailyNK conducted on actual living conditions in the Northeast region of North Korea, it was discovered that massage rooms, steam baths, beauty-related enterprises (plastic surgery and skincare maintenance) are the main thriving businesses.

Beauty-related businesses such as these prevail in relatively large-sized cities, such as Chongjin in North Hamkyung, Hamheung in South Hamkyung, and Wonsan in Kangwon. This trend seems to follow the up and coming wealthy class who have risen through doing business in North Korea.

Skin maintenance and plastic surgery which has caused a stir among the women in Shinuiju and Pyongyang have spread to inland countrysides within the last several years.

Double eye-lid surgery, eyebrow tattoos, and others can be simply performed by a plastic surgeon doctor or beauty operation specialists, so it has been widely popular among young women.

The cost of plastic surgery, in the case of double eye-lid surgery, was 500 North Korean won per one-eye in 2004, but the asking price has been 1,500 won since 2006. The North Korean exchange rate was recently 2,980 won per dollar.

In addition to double eye-lid surgery, breast augmentation has been spreading to a portion of upper-class women. The popularity of the breast enlargement surgeries demonstrates an encouragement of beauty among North Korean upper-class women.

◆ “Massages” a rage, centered on large-scale cities = Chinese-style health massages cost around 10,000 (US$3.4) North Korean won per hour and for an additional 2~30,000 won, on-the-spot sex with a female masseuse is possible.

This survey, based on the latter half of May, took place by focusing on the price of commodities in five cities, such as Kim Chaek and Chongjin City in North Hamkyung, Danchun and Hamheung in South Hamkyung, and Wonsan Kangwon.

The results of the survey showed that the region with the highest standard of living in the Northeast region is Wonsan City of Kangwon. The reason why Wonsan has a relatively high standard of living is that it has been a central place of trade with Japan.

If North Korea and China’s trade can be represented by Shinuiju, then Wonsan has played that role with trade with Japan. However, it has recently been severely targeted by the suspension in North Korea and Japan’s trade.

Wonsan’s upper-class restaurants are known to show aggressive service by shouting “Welcome” when guests come in, by decorating the interior of restaurants, and by adopting a Chinese-style waiter and waitress system.

In addition, Japanese secondhand goods have been highly traded in Wonsan. Electronic rice cookers, sewing machine, fans, TVs and other Japanese thrift goods are commonly traded and have more reasonable prices than the other regions.

Newly released 2-3 person electronic rice cookers are around 13~150,000 won, fans around 7~80,000 won, used gas stoves around 15~200,000 (approx. US$50.34~67.10), used TVs around 20~250,000 won, and flat-screen TVs over 350,000 (approx. US$117.50) won.

The supply of electricity is not an issue, so it is provided 24 hours long and electricity is better-supplied than in Hamheung.

Further, the “105 factory (furniture production factory)” in Wonsan produces furniture which is delivered to the Central Party and the quality, compared with the cost, is supposed to be the best in North Korea.

Industrial goods in Chungjin are relatively economical, but Chinese-made color TVs and flat-screen newly-released TVs are sold for 20~250,000 and 350,000 won, respectively. Used bicycles imported from Japan is sold for 10~150,000 won.

In Chongjin, the number of taxis have risen lately, but because of the expensive cost, not too many people take advantage of it. Going 4km costs around 5,000 won. Taxis that are operating are either Chinese used taxis or imported cars which are past the expiration date.

◆ The price of rice narrowly rises = In Hamheung, the cost of taxis is supposed to be slightly higher than Chongjin. There are not too many people who ride taxis, so the rate is doubled beyond the center of cities and in remote places.

The cost of penicillin has risen significantly in Chongjin, with the spread of the measles, the scarlet fever, and other infectious diseases since last winter. Chinese penicillin is hard to acquire due to its reputation for having poor quality and North Korean penicillin is sold at Jangmadang (market) for 500 won per one.

The cities considered to have low standards of living are Kim Chaek of North Hamkyung and Danchun in South Hamkyung. The size of the jangmadang (market) is smaller than in other regions and there is a limit in the variety of goods. Steam baths or massage places do not even exist. The price of medical goods are also supposed to be exorbitant.

The specialty of Kim Chaek City is its low cost of nails. The Sungjin Steel Works Complex in Kim Chaek produces nail by melting steel and sells them, which is sold for 2,200 won~2,500 won per kg in Hoiryeong, at 1,200 won in Kim Chaek. However, not only is the weight heavy and is difficult to package, but the usage by civilians is not very high, so the incidence of sale to other provinces is low.

In Danchun, the price of fruit is very expensive, so it is not sold by the kilogram unit, but is sold individually. One medium-size apple is sold for up to 800 won.

On one hand, the price of rice in North Korea’s northeast region showed a narrow upward tendency in the latter half of May at the end of the spring shortage season. Corn, the staple of low-income civilians, did not show a huge change.


N. Koreans growing familiar with digital devices

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007


NKeconWatch: Joshua at One Free Korea is skeptical about the article below, read here.  As a side note, see how much lower health care prices can be if consumers are permitted to pay for it themselves. 

High-tech portal devices such as music players and cameras are almost ubiquitous in South Korea, but many may believe they are nowhere to be found in poverty-stricken North Korea.

Unlike the conventional wisdom, however, a growing number of North Koreans, though still confined to some privileged classes, listen to music with MP3 players and take pictures with digital cameras in their daily life, a North Korean souvenir shop clerk told Yonhap News Agency.

A group of South Korean reporters visited North Korea last week to cover a delegation from South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province which has been promoting agricultural exchanges with the communist government. The reporters were allowed to visit a department store and other attractions in the North’s capital, Pyongyang.

When asked what he was listening to with an earphone, the North Korean clerk answered plainly, “MP3 music files,” adding that he downloaded songs from the Internet.

When asked if he has a digital camera, the clerk replied, “I am using the same model Canon that you are carrying now.”

In terms of IT development, the reclusive North has been regarded as lagging far behind South Korea where almost all younger people take it for granted to use digital devices.

The clerk’s response does not provide any insight into the North’s IT sector, including how many of them use such digital devices, but experts say that they offer a glimpse into changes taking place in North Korea, though slowly.

Meanwhile, a North Korean restaurant worker said that many beauty-conscious North Korean women receive plastic surgeries to look prettier. “You can easily see a woman on the street who had a double eyelid operation,” he said.

Such eyelid plastic surgery costs around 0.7 euro in the North, slightly less than the average monthly salary in the country, he said.


Plastic surgery catching on in the DPRK

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

This is an interesting aticle from the Daily NK:

Plastic surgery has been prvalent in the DPRK for some time. In Shinuiju it accounts for more than 60% of the famle population.

Trader Kim Man Gil (pseudonym, 53) who trades in shoes and clothes coming and going to Shinuiju and Dandong said that, “North Korean […] women have increasingly gotten plastic surgery on the eyes”, and “At a glance, more than half of young women walking in the streets have traces of plastic surgery”.

North Korean has implicitly allowed plastic surgery hospitals in Pyongyang, Chongjin and Shinuiju to operate for simple double-eyelids plastic surgery and tattoo eyebrows. Officially the North Korean government does not permit plastic surgery, yet defectors said that in big cities plastic surgery is overtly done with connivance. (NKeconwatch is skeptical of this claim.  In Pyongyang there is a hospital that does plastic surgery, and a simple gift can get you an appointment.)

Regarding women who work at North Korean tourist resorts, the North Korean government exceptionally and actively pursued plastic surgery. It is an already well known fact through witnesses of North Korean women living in North Korea.

Mr. Kim said that, “It was from 2004 that plastic surgery of non-licensed operators, not of doctors, has been in vogue”, and “Although the government does not let plastic surgery, because of very extensive popularity, there have hardly been practical crack-downs on it.

He also said that, “Because in Shinuiju many people are working at the workplaces related to Foreign Currency Earning departments and thus well-off, they have enough money to get plastic surgery”, and “Yet women who do not have enough money tend to get plastic surgery even by selling food”.

He said that, “However, in counties or districts away from Shinuiju most of people have no money so that one of three children in a family could not go to school. The gulf between rich and poor is really wide and serious”.

He said that, “Plastic surgery items are limited to relatively simple double-eyelids surgery and tattooing eyebrows. As for Shinuiju, 60% of single women without double eyelids seemed to get plastic surgery”. Subsequently, he said that, “North Korean women and Chinese women are all the same in that women want to be pretty”.

The feature of North Korean double-eyelids plastic surgery is that after an operation, lower eyelids are rather thick, so that eyes look artificial, not natural.

Plastic surgery on one eye cost 500W ($0.17) in 2004, yet now is quoted 1,500 won($0.5) in 2006. Both eyes cost 3,000 won, and 1 dollar if converting into U.S dollar. As for tattooing eyebrows, it costs one eyebrow 200 won($0.067) in 2004, and now 500 won.  (talk about price competition)

In order to confirm that 60% of young women living in Shinuiju got double-eyelids plastic surgery Daily NK contacted a North Korean insider. During the confirmation, we were asked “Why does to be pretty sound strange? Because it does not cost much, wealthy women already got plastic surgery or try to get it”.

Mr. Kim said “Almost all the people have gotten plastic surgery through recommendations of other people. And well-known surgery operators would make great money”.