Useong Park | Hometown: Hoeryong, North Hamgyeong | Major: Film & Digital Media, Dongguk University
Growing up, I loved watching movies. I used to copy the scenes in the movie and dream of becoming a movie director. As a result, it was not a surprise I started studying film and digital media since I came over to South Korea, and I have been constantly working on video-related projects even after graduation.
There were so many stones where I was born and raised, and I got the nickname ‘stone head, ’from my friends comparing how terrible I was at school. In addition to this, I also had nicknames for my mischievous behaviors and my height since I was always tall when I was young.
I spent my childhood similar to others in North Korea, but my father defected to South Korea when I was in high school. Because my dad suddenly disappeared, the security department, the police, and even the residents of the neighborhood began to monitor our family. They visited home several times a day and kept asking about my father's whereabouts. We were monitored for almost a year, and they even threatened us asking, "you really don't know where he went?" or saying, "If you don't tell us right away, you'll be arrested."
At this point, I graduated from high school, and what this meant was I had to join the army. But I didn't want to go. This is because I often witnessed how those in the military suffered from malnutrition or other incurable diseases because they were hungry, and some of them ended up with disabilities because they were assaulted in the military. This is why I ran away to my mother's house to avoid joining the army.
About a year later, my father in South Korea contacted me and asked me to come to South Korea. I wanted to go because this meant I didn't have to go to the army or be monitored by people. But I couldn't leave my mom behind, so I told my dad to let me go with her, and he accepted to do so.
During the defection, I had to cross the Macon River between Laos and Thailand, and I was very scared because I heard a lot about crocodiles living there. Those who defected from North Korea have heard this story at least once.
My life seems to have changed 180 degrees since I came to South Korea in 2008. But frankly, I am still adjusting to the society. It's because my surroundings have changed a lot. As society, law, and culture change, I thinkI have changed as well. Looking back, there were so many new things when I first arrived in South Korea, one of which is that people value animals very much.
Recently, I met up with my friends for the first time in a while, and everyone asked me what made me change this much. They said that my face is still Park Useong, but it seems like something about me has become more ‘capitalistic,’ and that I look like a completely different person. But at the end of the day, I'm still adjusting.
My life here now in South Korea is with great satisfaction. It is because I can watch the movies as much as I want. I often watch old movies these days and I love it. Netflix also has a hobby of collecting movies by category on Netflix also has become my hobby. I love recommending movies to people around me.
I am currently working as a creator who produces video content. From now on, I want to be a director who makes movies people like. In fact, in the past, I produced a documentary, "Crocodiles Live in the Mekong River," and fortunately, many people watched it. I am also a reporter for the TV program, My Home at 6 o’clock, and I hope that the day will come when I introduce my hometown in North Korea, to My Home at 6 o’clock when we are reunified.
- Hobby: Watching movies
- Favorite color: Bright colors such as red and orange
- Current Interests: Soccer
- What I Want to Do: Telling North Korea's Hometowns as a Reporter
- Future Career: Becoming a Movie director