Cheljun Park | Hometown: Gangwon Province | Major: Political Science & Diplomacy, Sogang University
Born in 1990 | Father - Soldier, Mother - Homemaker, Younger Brother - Will be discharged from the military service in 2021
I remember my father for being strict, but also as a warm military officer who takes good care of people without ever getting angry. I don't have many memories of him because he died when I was five years old. Before my father died, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung passed away, and I remember him crying and bowing with me every day at the statue of Kim Il-sung. I refused to bow because I didn't know why I had to say hello to the statue. But I remember my father forcing me to bow.
My father also took good care of the soldiers in the army so the soldiers kept coming to my house, and my mom took good care of my dad and soldiers. Was it because mom was too nice? After my father's death, my house quickly suffered from financial difficulties. Our situation has become so difficult that the only younger brother I had had to be left at his grandmother's house in North Hamgyong Province.
My mother farmed, but it wasn't enough. I was young, but I had to sell oil frogs, copper, and other things to help my family, and I tried to meet, talk, and persuade people to deal with everyday living of my family.
As a child, I was a good student who was gentle and quiet, but I was also active. When I went out and caught fish, I made porridge with it and played cards. My friends still appear in my dreams sometimes, and I really miss them all.
There is a reason why I became disenchanted with North Korean society, because I was poor. Because of my father's death, I was able to go to Mangyongdae Revolutionary Academy (ROTC) when I was in middle school as a child of the deceased, but I was disqualified from getting into the academy because I did not give the bribe money. Instead of me, the son of a rich family got to enrol with a bribe, and this is the time when I felt a lot of scepticism and disappointment in the reality of North Korean society.
I left North Korea after my aunt, who had already been to China, suggested when I went to Musan to visit my grandmother before joining the military at the age of 19. Watching news about South Korea in China, it opened my eyes to a new world and made me decide to go to South Korea, so I came over here with my grandmother and aunt.
Early life in South Korea was quite satisfying compared to the poor conditions in North Korea. However, as I opened my eyes to the new environment, I gradually felt that it was difficult living here. At first, I was unfamiliar with the culture here and suffered culture shock. In today’s South Korea, things are getting more tough than before. I think South Koreans are increasingly dissatisfied with the wide gap between reality and ideals.
I tried hard to study in Germany, but the results were not as good as I expected, so I feel like I only disappointed those around me who helped me. The burden in my mind increased, and I lost my self-esteem as I whipped myself too hard. The more I did, the more difficult I felt to produce good results.
However, as time went by, I experienced such diversity through life in Germany, and had a turning point as I grew beyond the difficult process thinking I should really live a life for myself. I should not follow somebody else’s expectations, but instead find what I want and I do well. This is how I came back to South Korea from Germany in December 2020 to try the silkworm cocoon farm that I used to do with my mother when I was young.
In the future, I aim to produce and distribute healthy food in organic agriculture. Once it is well recognized in Korea for its specialty, I plan to expand to overseas markets.
Cheljun’s Elbow Patch
As if to express his calm and noble nature, Cheljun’s elbow patch embodies Gogh's painting in blue, and the Baby’s Breath at the corner brings comfort to him. Cheljun, who loves writing poetry and hopes for a bright future, is like the sun, so the design includes the representations of sun, blue rivers, flowers, and drawings.
River (강 in Korean) symbolizes people who start a new life, particularly those who left their home country, North Korea, where they were born and raised. Now they are living a new life in South Korea or a third country. Therefore, our brand’s elbow patch always reflects the river.
- Favorite book: Van Gogh's Letter of Soul
- Favorite Flower: Baby’s Breath
- Favorite Color: Sky blue, Red, Green
- Hobbies: Collecting letters, Note taking
- Life Philosophy: Anything must be tried for at least three years.