It was an article about the wonders that one might find if one were to visit Section 1 of the Rungna People’s Recreation Ground, which seemed to include mostly funhouse mirrors. “In one mirror,” reports the Times, “different parts of the body were reflected in various changed forms. For example, the upper part showed a round face, with the middle part revealing the whole fat and flat body and the lower part very long legs.”
We’ve seen it all
At Audere Magazine, we’ve seen it all. We’re not really excited about funhouse mirrors anymore, those novelties that make your head look big and your body look small, but maybe in Pyongyang, the chic, voguish set are just deprived enough to find it hilarious, and to render it newsworthy.
To wit: “I came here to have a hearty laugh in the New Year, and I laughed so much as I saw my friend changing into various looks and shapes and animation that I even shed tears,” said Jong Sin Ae, a student at Pyongyang College of Foodstuff and Consumer Goods Industries.
Ah! those Pyongyang yokels! We have things better here in the heart of capitalism! You know, maybe you wanted to go to the College of Foodstuff and Consumer Goods Industries, but you had to settle for Yale! Where you spent so much time reading Descartes that you didn’t learn the first thing about the foodstuff industry.
But is it possible that there is more to the “hall of laughter” than one might realize at first glance, something that might amaze even you? Even the jaded editorial staff of Audere Magazine?
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The Marvels of the Rungna People’s Recreation Ground
We began to wonder, upon learning that the amusement contained 475 mirrors (a lot of mirrors, admittedly) and that “the electronic mirror recognizes man with camera and changes images of the face and the whole or half of the body into dozens of kinds of shapes every seven seconds in real time by composing them with the help of a computer program.” American halls of mirrors are not run by computer programs, you know. They’re just crappy, warped mirrors; not like the cool funhouse mirrors that Chairman Kim has bequeathed to the lucky North Korean citizens.
But it gets better!
“At every turn of the nearly 300-metre-long course,” the Pyongyang Times reports, “different kinds of gadgets are set up and a new VR technology has been introduced to enable people to see imaginary worlds with their own eyes, thereby further amplifying the special effect of the maze …. In the mirror house there are places which remind people of a vast stretch of tableland dotted with flowers and trees, others that look as if a wooden bridge spans over a craggy cliff, and still others which make viewers feel they are below the surface of water where fishes swim around and which remind them of fruitful autumn covered with fallen leaves.”
This sounds head and shoulders above anything we have in America, actually.
“The gracefulness, tranquility and strain I feel in this place are very impressive,” said Hwang Song Hyok, a worker at the Pyongyang Condiments Factory.
When we finally get to Pyongyang, we’re checking out the Rungna People’s Recreation Ground.
We’ll report back. More to come.
Content by Audere Magazine. Image from a North Korean propaganda news agency.