Here's a few more interesting excerpts about the PTGs from around the web - these recently appeared during part of the March wave of internet interest that was sparked by Roger Ebert's Twitters.
Meet The Ladies Of The Pyongyang Traffic Bureau -
In what's becoming our favorite budding Internet sensation, we pay tribute to the North Korean ladies who substitute a hypnotic dance for working traffic lights at Pyongyang, North Korea's many intersections.
We got our first tip on this new fascination on Friday and it's since gone ballistic with even Roger Ebert getting in on the fun. It turns out there's even a forum dedicated to the "world-renowned trafficwomen of the DPRK." Traffic is sparse and unemployment rampant so there's something almost logical about these women and their professions, even if they could all be replaced with stop signs.
As for the uniforms? They were created by the "great leader" Kim Jong Il. So, you know, there's a lighter side to the maniac dictator.http://jalopnik.com/5482772/meet-the-ladies-of-the-pyongyang-traffic-bureau
Traffic control in Pyongyang -
North Korea may be a totalitarian hellhole run by a lunatic with an affinity for women's M.C. Hammer glasses, but we'll at least give Dear Leader this: his army of traffic-control maidens is a sight to behold. Stationed at intersections throughout Pyongyang, the uniformed women of the city's traffic police go about their mission with robotic precision. It comes off as a deadly serious affair - no smiling, no banter - as they point what little traffic there is in the direction it needs to go. And, really, it is serious business: After all, even though there may be traffic lights, there's little electricity available to power them.
As such, the burden of maintaining order on the roads falls on the shoulders of these often pretty, yet always stern-faced officials. As one oblivious Mini Cooper driver learns in one of the videos posted after the jump (how does one come to own a Mini in NoKo, anyway?), you can get the traffic girls to leave their posts, which are defined by circles drawn in the intersections, if you ignore their instructions. Only they won't do so until after they complete a formal, choreographed changing of the guard ceremony.
Other observations: in the summer, the blue uniform tops appear to be exchanged for white ones, and the traffic-control stations (at least some of them) are augmented with shaded platforms that presumably make the job somewhat more bearable. It's all bizarrely fascinating to watch, which you can do in several videos posted after the break.http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/28/video-traffic-control-in-pyongyang
North Korea: The traffic girls of Pyongyang -
There are plenty of traffic lights in Pyongyang, but no electricity to power them. Instead, the few cars that exist in Pyongyang must obey the commands of the “traffic girls” posted at various intersections. They stand underneath large umbrellas in the middle of these intersections, directing cars with military precision. According to the Korean Central News Agency, these platforms with umbrellas are a rather new addition to the intersections of Pyongyang, having been set up only weeks before I arrived in North Korea. They were provided, of course, by the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il.
The female traffic controllers are commanding the traffic with a bright face on the platform under the umbrella even in the hottest period of summer.
Passers-by stop walking for a while to see the new scene.
They say it can be seen only in the country led by Kim Jong Il.
The traffic controllers are moved by the warm affection shown for them by General Secretary Kim Jong Il who saw to it that the platforms with umbrellas are being set up this time after raincoats, rain boots, sunglasses, gloves and cosmetics as well as seasonal uniforms were provided to them.
Here are a few video clips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ8rFgffW7U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78yNueC_89k
In the background you can hear little kids yelling at us. I have no idea what they were saying. While we were taking photos of the traffic girl they would slowly sneak up behind us to get a better look at the U.S. Imperialists. When we turned around they ran away screaming their heads off.http://www.lindsayfincher.com/2009/10/north-korea-the-traffic-girls-of-pyongyang.htmlNorth Korea: The streets of Pyongyang, Part III (Traffic control edition)
More random shots, most of them of a random traffic girl who was directing “traffic” near a bookstore that we visited.http://www.lindsayfincher.com/2010/04/north-korea-the-streets-of-pyongyang-part-iii-traffic-control-edition.html
When You Can Run over a Pyongyang Traffic Girl With a Classic Havana Antique Car, the Workers Have Won -
In the capital of North Korea life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the traffic cops are beautiful.
But Ms. Ro Yong Mi, who enjoys being a girl in the People’s Security Bureau's Traffic Control Corps, has too much Juche to hog all the credit. In a testimonial, Ro reminds the outside world that its amply documented fetish for the traffic ladies of Pyongyang can't be sated by nature alone.
Maintaining the corps of "queens of the road" or "beauties of Pyongyang" requires cosmetic attention from the state, an intervention by Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il, and the most successful equipment redesign by a head of state since Bill Clinton told the owner of a Jersey City Hooters that he liked shorts cut up the side a little more.
Ro's telling of the story
is undated -- no doubt due to the spontaneity of the writing.
Courtesy of Roger Ebert
, whose eye for booty
see through all walls of oppression.http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/12/when-you-can-run-over-a-pyongy
====================================== Laughing Squid
The North Korean Traffic Girls of Pyongyang image via Pyongyang Traffic Girls
North Korean traffic girls, in their uniforms deigned by the Great Leader, with their unfailingly robotic movements and riveting focus, are becoming figures of cult status. Instead of traffic lights to control the stop and go flow of an intersection, women dressed in perfectly crisp and identical outfits stand alone in the middle of intersections in a small circle (or on a platform with an umbrella for shade). They are only allowed to turn counter-clockwise, directing traffic with forceful, halting movements. They have wonderful uniform variations for rain and winter. They’ve been the subject of photographic study since at least the 1970s, have the website Pyongyang Traffic Girls
dedicated to them (with Traffic Girl of the Month; here’s March), a growing catalog of user submitted YouTube videos
, and at least one Flickr photo pool
. Are they sexy? Strangely, yes. Are they efficient? Frightfully so. Do we have our Halloween costume now? Most certainly.http://laughingsquid.com/the-north-korean-traffic-girls-of-pyongyang/
This one is a litte dubious:edge.newledger
North Korean Female Traffic Cops Are Elegant Cyborgs
Of the possible oddities you would find if you, vile Westerner, were ever allowed safe passage around North Korea, the “traffic girl” probably ranks pretty low on the list of the most disconcerting. But they are some of the most robotic. The traffic girls, whose uniforms are unsurprisingly designed by Kim Jong Il himself, are only allowed to rotate counter-clockwise. Otherwise they’re shot. Or raped. Or raped and then shot. Whichever is the worst, because it’s North Korea and they’re crazy.http://edge.newledger.com/2010/03/01/north-korean-female-traffic-cops-are-elegant-cyborgs
The Life of a North Korean "Traffic Girl"
Wearing uniforms designed by Kim Jong Il, North Korea's traffic girls mechanically rotate counter-clockwise (the only way they're allowed to turn) at intersections throughout Pyongyang. There are no traffic lights in the communist capital, only young women selected for their beauty to direct cars — especially the ones who stop to stare. But you don't have to be on a street in the isolated country to check them out. There are countless videos on YouTube and even fan sites created for the women
. I guess being gawked at internationally is a vocational hazard.http://www.tressugar.com/Video-North-Korean-Traffic-Girls-7582124
==============================Nomad in Asia
North Korea’s Robot-Women Traffic Cops
In this short video, we see how traffic is directed in North Korea. Some might say that women are used because North Korea is so backward that it lacks traffic lights. However, another possibility is that North Korea is so much wealthier and more technologically advanced than other countries that it can employ life-like human analogues to do the job. Watch and decide: http://nomadinasia.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/north-koreas-robot-women-traffic-cops/.
A more complete list of pages here