A fortune, with slings and arrows

21st September 2007 at 01:00
FANCY TEACHING behind the bamboo curtain of the last Stalinist state, where youngsters are given lessons in hurling catapult shots at images of President George W. Bush on national children's day?

A stint as an English teacher in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea could be just the thing. The British Council is looking for teachers to work in Pyongyang.

The few other foreign faces to be encountered will be mostly non-governmental organisations' staff full of stories of the republic's troubles. These include (if some Japanese newspapers are to be believed) the government's selling of human flesh to its own citizens in the 1990s as a means of alleviating famines that are estimated to have killed up to two million people.

Today's North Korea is a less harrowing place since massive international food aid gradually stemmed such starvation. And as a privileged Westerner earning 1,000 times more than the national wage, hunger should not be much on your mind.

However, any Dubya look-alikes should definitely keep out of the classrooms.

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