Whose Light?

Recent travels have given me the opportunity to reflect on what we share in common. It also reiterated to me the importance of what we don’t and how that has real world consequences. Here are some observations on how World View either raises or ruins your nation.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
John 8:12

What if a culture won’t follow His way? Well, you can not only lack light spiritually but physically.

Exhibit A: A Tale of Two Koreas

In 1910, the Empire of Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula. World War II concluded with the surrender of the Empire of Japan in September 1945 and the peninsula was divided along the 38th parallel, with U.S. forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern half.

The North established a communist government, while the South established a right-wing government turning the 38th parallel into a political border. 25 June 1950 saw tensions across this border escalate into The Korean War between the Republic of Korea (South Korea, supported by the United Nations) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union). Since the war ended on 27 July 1953, the border between the Koreas has been enforced by a demilitarised zone.

Here is a recent satellite image of the Korean Peninsula at night…


North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive countries.
It is also one of its darkest with the capital Pyongyang near the western coast being one of the only places in the country with electricity.
The top of the image shows illuminations from cities in China. At the bottom right lies Kyushu and the southern islands of Japan.
The bright line running across the middle of the peninsula marks the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. South Korea lies beneath this with its capital Seoul a blaze of white just south of the border.

Night-time luminosity is thought to correlate with economic prosperity. By this measure, North Korea is practically penniless. Meanwhile South Korea is ranked as the world’s 12th-most developed country with average earnings making its citizens the wealthiest in Asia and 10th richest in the world.


A clue of how such a massive discrepancy can develop in so short a time can be had in considering the cult of personality surrounding North Korea’s ruling family, the Kim’s. This started soon after Kim Il-sung took power in 1948, and was greatly expanded after his death in 1994.


A recent example of this in action is the story that North Korean men must have a haircut like his grandson, Kim Jong-un. Whether this will be enforced is a matter for debate but the fact that enforcement is even possible shows you how warped things are there. 

A more overt sign is North Korea’s Songun or “Military-first” policy which prioritises its military over aspects of the state and society warping economic and resource-allocation. This policy has been cited as instrumental to creating conditions of ongoing famine which in a culture which makes man God, gives reports of atrocities credibility.

“Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.”
Psalm 146:3-7

It matters whose light and way you follow.

Image: PlantetObserver/Science Photo Library, The Independent

4 Responses to “ Whose Light? ”

  1. Michael Chong

    Thanks Kevin for the continuous posts. It’s amazing to see the contrast between nations when you put it like that.

    Just to let you know that I’m still reading every post haha 🙂

    • The contrast is quite stunning isn’t it?
      Since the problem is the human heart, the problem isn’t a uniquely North Korean one. Every generation risks degeneration. It’s the ever present threat for every culture. Let us do our part in promoting the good, where ever we are placed.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

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