Waitressing Abroad a Dream Job for N.Korean Women

A beautiful waitress at a North Korean restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia has gained near-celebrity status in South Korea after a picture in which she resembles popular actress Kim Tae-hee was posted on the Internet.

Waitressing abroad is seen as a dream job among North Korean women and only those from good family backgrounds are selected, Open Radio for North Korea reported on Sunday. "The waitress probably comes from a privileged background," said a North Korean defector who used to work as a performer in the North. "Only women from good family backgrounds are given the chance to work abroad."

The North Korean woman in this video clip, who works at a North Korean restaurant in Cambodia, has become a celebrity in South Korea due to her resemblance to actress Kim Tae-hee. The North Korean woman in this video clip, who works at a North Korean restaurant in Cambodia, has become a celebrity in South Korea due to her resemblance to actress Kim Tae-hee.

"Waitressing is not a commonly favored in South Korea, but in the North it is a great privilege to be able to work abroad, and working in restaurants in other countries pays a lot more than jobs in the North," she told the radio station. "The fact that a person has worked abroad proves that the individual is a trusted member of society and ensures a good marriage."

Women are judged on four criteria to be selected: family background, appearance, ability to dance and play a musical instrument and university degree. ORNK said most of the women working as waitresses in restaurants overseas are graduates of Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce and come from the ruling class. They usually take music and dance lessons before going to university. The radio station said some of the waitresses are spies.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 26, 2010 10:12 KST