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161203intf
Upper-Intermediate Instant Lesson™

Memories ....

Pre-Reading Activities

A: What Do You Do?
Answer these questions in pairs.
1. You have been overseas on holiday. What gifts would you buy for other people before you return home?
2. What would you buy for yourself before you return home?
3. What is one of the best or worst holiday gifts you have received from other people? Why?
4. After visiting the places below as tourists, what things do you think people buy for themselves to take home?

  • From the United States?
  • From Russia?
  • From South Korea?
  • From North Korea?
  • From France?
  • From Australia?
  • From New Zealand?
  • From Egypt?

Reading Activities

A: Reading For The Main Idea
Read Part One of today's article and answer this question. Do this as quickly as possible.
What do people buy when they return home?

Part One:
Thanks for the memory cards: North Koreans return home from China
1. Sat Dec 3, (Reuters) - Tiny memory cards and fluffy teddy bears are among the most popular items for North Koreans shopping in Dandong, China's gateway city to its impoverished and isolated neighbor.

2. The teddy bears are often the souvenir of choice for young North Korean women returning home from contract work in Chinese restaurants and factories. Their remittances have become an increasing source of revenue for Pyongyang.

3. North Korean traders are the big buyers for the memory cards - and that could get them into trouble back home.

4. "We help them copy whatever they want onto microSD cards," said Yao, who would only give his surname, in his tiny store primarily selling cameras.

5. "They usually want South Korean TV dramas," he said, sliding open a display cabinet to reveal a stack of the tiny memory cards, each the size of a fingernail, that slot directly into DVD players and computers.

6. The flow of information in and out of North Korea is tightly controlled by authorities. Most North Koreans cannot access the internet or foreign media and share content secretly on USB sticks.

7. But tiny microSD cards are increasingly popular now because North Korea has been cracking down on USBs, Yao said.

8. "It's getting harder to bring USBs across the border, customs will check what's on them. But microSD cards are smaller, easier to slip through," he said. Apart from their small size – the cards can be woven into clothes or hidden between the pages of a book  – MicroSD cards can often be directly inserted into a “Notel”, a device popular in North Korea which can be powered by a car battery and plays DVDs and media from USB sticks and memory cards."MicroSD cards make it easier and safer for North Koreans to smuggle foreign digital media in from China," said Sokeel Park of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), an organization which works with defectors.

9. "Once inside, it gets copied onto multiple USB sticks and memory cards, making it difficult for the authorities to effectively block out foreign information that undermines their propaganda and ideologies,” Park said.

10. Foreign media "is becoming normalized and is even affecting fashion, dating behavior and teenage North Koreans' accents,” he added. (Continued.../)
Article © 2016 Thomson Reuters Lesson © 2017 www.english-to-go.com


B: Vocabulary Hunt
Use Part One of today's article to look for words or phrases.
1. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 1-3  that means very small.
2. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 1-3 that means very poor.
3. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 1-3 that means money sent as payments or gifts.
4. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 4- 6 that means for the most part.
5. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 4-6 that means make known or show something to others.
6. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 4-6 that means obtain or use.
7. Find a word or phrase in paragraphs 7-10 that means taking measures to stop or prevent illegal behavior.
8. F
ind a word or phrase in paragraphs 7-10 that means placed something inside something else.


C: Completing A Table Of Information
Use Part Two of today's article to complete this table of information.

Number of people from North Korea working overseas:  
Yearly total amount of wages sent back to North Korea:  
Amount of money earned by a worker per month:  
Amount of money earned by a worker per month that they can keep:  
Amount of money earned by a worker per month that is taken by North Korean government:  
Length of contract for a North Korean worker in China:  


Part Two:

TEDDY BEARS ALLOWED
(Continued.../) Across the street from the wholesale electronics market, it's the teddy bears in Qian Jiang's shop that are the main attraction.

"They didn't used to buy the soft toys. The young women would just come by in groups and look. But that changed a few years ago," said Qian, surrounded by plush animals in his booth at a shopping mall in Dandong popular among North Koreans.

"I guess they're allowed to bring back teddy bears now. It's probably the first soft toy they've ever had."

Estimates of North Korea's overseas workers vary greatly but a study by South Korea's state-run Korea Institute for National Unification put the number as high as 150,000, primarily in China and Russia. They send back most of their wages - as much as $900 million annually - through official North Korean channels.

But fewer North Korean workers have been coming to China in recent months, Reuters reported on Tuesday, a trend Qian has witnessed, saying he has been making fewer sales to North Korean overseas workers of late.

The workers earn around 2000 yuan ($295) each month, Qian said, but they only get to keep 400-500 yuan for themselves, with the rest going back to the government through official channels.

At the end of their three-year contracts in China, young women often use their pocket money to buy a soft toy – big teddy bears are the most popular - to bring back as a souvenir, Qian said.

"They don’t like the blonde-haired dolls because to them, that's an American doll – you know how they don't like Americans," he said. "They always ask for dolls with black hair but we don't stock any. We only stock blondes."
Article © 2016 Thomson Reuters Lesson © 2017 www.english-to-go.com

D: Comprehension
Answer these questions using Part Two of the article.
1. What do people like most in the store belonging to Qian Jiang?
2. How has the shopping customs of young females changed in the past few years? What could be the reason for this?
3. What has happened recently to the numbers of North Koreans working in China?


Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Discussion
Answer these questions in small groups:
1. '"We help them copy whatever they want onto microSD cards," ..."They usually want South Korean TV dramas," he said.'
Imagine that you know you are going to be stranded in a place where you can't get television or the Internet. You can take some shows with you to watch. Which shows would you want to watch if you were deciding which ones to copy? Why?
2. If you could only pick one show only, which one would you choose? Why?
3. What kind of soft toy do you like the most? Why?
4. '
Foreign media "is becoming normalized and is even affecting fashion, dating behavior and teenage North Koreans' accents...' 
To what extent do you think foreign media influences people in your country?



B: Brainstorming
Answer this question in pairs.
Imagine that you have been asked to choose television shows or movies that represent your culture or country. What shows would you choose? Why?

 


TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY

Reading Activities

A: Reading For The Main Idea - Answer
memory cards/micro SD cards and teddybears

B: Vocabulary Hunt - Answers
1. tiny, 2. impoverished, 3. remittances, 4. primarily, 5. reveal, 6. access, 7. cracking down, 8. inserted


Completing A Table Of Information - Answers
Number of people from North Korea working overseas:
150,000
Yearly total amount of wages sent back to North Korea: $900 million
Amount of money earned by a worker per month:
2000 yuan ($295)
Amount of money earned by a worker per month that they can keep: 400-500 yuan
Amount of money earned by a worker per month that is taken by North Korean government: 1500 - 1600 yuan
Length of contract for a North Korean worker in China:
3 years

D: Comprehension - Answers
1. teddy bears, 2. Women used to only come and look at the soft toys, now they buy them. Perhaps they are now allowed to take teddy bears back to North Korea. 3. It has dropped.

161203KOREAintf


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