North Korean traffic ladies are my favorite thing ever

The DPRK doesn’t have much money.  Or electricity. In our hotel, the Yanggakdo, the upper floors had no electricity (save for the one with a handful of Americans/Europeans staying on it).  The Koreans would get on and off the elevator, into a floor of darkness.  Shops with customers were pitch dark. The skyline at night was pitch black.

So of course they’d save $ by skimming on traffic lights. Here’s their wonderful solution:

I love the way she moves so rigidly. They all move exactly like this. It’s like an optimistic version of Modern Times, or the robot Maria in Metropolis. Absolutely wonderful.

Modern Ruins /

6 Responses to North Korean traffic ladies are my favorite thing ever

  1. gmkeros says:

    not really that absurd. it was rather common in many places until, I think, about the 70s. with the same robotic mannerisms. what is interesting of course is that this place never got rid of them. on the other hand: the whole nation seems to be stuck even deeper in communist 50s than any other nation of that sort. Look at the busses they have in that picture. it would be awesome if it wasn't so ridiculous.

  2. Dean Pickles says:

    A friend just got back from Iraq & Iran, and reported seeing the exact same traffic guards there. Fascinating! And, yeah, the buses were indeed remarkable. Sardine-packed, run-down, lurching along. But, on the wide empty roads, the only means of transit. Crazy.

  3. B says:

    @gmkeros –> there are some of these buses in Russia …
    @Dean Pickles —- > What would u expect of a country after being under seig for about 10 years …. ????

  4. Mark says:

    I love this! Traffic lights in the long run would be cheaper (which is why most of the “developed” world use them) This old technic of directing traffic in our eyes, also allows at least 2-3 people to have employment, that would otherwise be replaced with a robot brain. I think that can’t be too bad of a thing when you look at it in that way.I think people would be less likely to disobey a person than a glowing red light also! Another example & quite common in the developing world is train level crossing with 2 guards stationed at a time, to operate, monitor & control them, 24 hours a day. Its quite sad & I wish the western world actually had more examples like these left.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      I guess you can see this anywhere that human labor is still cheaper than computers… I guess we’d need to get rid of minimum salary for the US? ;P

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