subdued

“That small family ceremony was the only time politics entered our house. When my father came home from work, and the table was laid with rice, soup, kimchi and pickles, which we ate with every meal, my mother waited for me to say: ‘Thank you, Respected Father Leader Kim Il-sung, for our food’ before we picked up our chopsticks. But over dinner my parents chatted only of personal matters, or family. There was usually plenty of innocuous family news from Hyesan to talk about. Serious topics were never discussed. I learned to avoid them in the way children acquire a sense for the dangers of the road. This was for my own protection, and we were no different from other families in that respect. Since there was no aspect of life, public or private, that fell outside the authority of the Party, almost every topic of conversation was potentially political, and potentially dangerous. My parent would not risk an incautious remark that might be repeated innocently by me, or misunderstood.”

Hyeonseo Lee – The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story, 157