Sunday, January 30, 2011
A Story Of North Korea And Its National Flower
In the western countries, North Korea is always associated with dictatorship, nuclear weapon, poverty, nightmares. Many try to neglect its absolute beauty of its people, its culture, its collective dance, its scenery, and its flower.
If I am offered to go overseas, the first country I’ll pick is not Hongkong, or France, I’ll surely prefer to go to North Korea. Why? Despite all the negativity, North Korea indeed possesses beauties you cant find anywhere else on earth. In addition to that, North Korea is not only clean, it’s immaculate, with all put in order. No traffic jam, and time seems to stop there, and you can still find many things from the 50’s era. In the 60’s, the north fared better than its neighbor in the south in term of wealth, but now, it’s totally a different story.
Now, I’ll focus on one particular thing, its national flower,which is so popular, named KIMILSUNGIA. What does that mean? KIM IL SUNG, is of course the dearest leader, the founder of North Korea, but… what about the IA? I’ll share with you one story.
On a diplomatic visit to Indonesia in 1965, Kim was presented with a recently cultivated orchid by President Sukarno, who offered to name the flower after the Korean leader. The official story is that Kim modestly declined the honor, and Sukarno had to insist he accept it. At any rate, the orchid was christened Kimilsungia (‘-ia’ refers to Indonesia), and became a symbol of the party regime and the esteem it was held in by the international community – a slight embellishment.
Unfortunately, Kimilsungia is not suited to the temperate climate of the Korean peninsula and its cultivation required careful tending in greenhouses. For a decade it was not widely grown. But in 1975 North Korean botanists succeeded in getting the orchid to bloom in April, in time for Kim’s birthday celebrations, and its popularity took off. A greenhouse was constructed in Pyongyang exclusively for its cultivation, and several others appeared throughout the country. So while Siebold’s Magnolia is the official floral emblem of the DPRK (the magnolia tree representing strength and its flowers beauty), Kimilsungia was dubbed the “loyalty flower”, and its cultivation a civic duty.
So popular, the North Korean people holds Kimilsungia Festival every year, to commemorate their dearest leader and to honor the national flower.