Yeonmi Park: A Tireless Advocate for Those Who Cannot Speak

While many people have heard stories about the horrible manner in which North Korea treats its citizens, not many of us are aware of the specifics. This is not because people in other countries aren’t curious; it’s because North Koreans aren’t allowed to speak about the abysmal way in which they are treated by their government. In fact, many of them are quite unaware of the outside world. They’re not permitted to use the internet or read news about the Western world. Yeonmi Park is a young woman who is attempting to change that. At only 21 years of age, she has experienced the worst of North Korea—and lived to tell the story.

When her father was sent to prison for selling metals to China, suddenly Park’s family found themselves falling on hard times. They were so poor, in fact, that Park said she would eat grass because she was starving. When she had reached the age of 13, Yeonmi Park weighed only 60 pounds. Park’s mother knew that they had to leave the country—or starve to death. She made the decision to take Yeonmi over the border to China, which was an extremely dangerous proposition.

Once they arrived in China safely, however, the women realized that their horror would continue—in a different way. They became victims of human trafficking, and Yeonmi has spoken out at length about the injustice of a world in which human beings are sold. Instead of suffering in silence, Yeonmi has spoken openly about her experience. Several of her speeches have racked up many views on YouTube, and she has even been interviewed by “The Today Show” host Savannah Guthrie about her terrifying ordeal.

Park’s novel In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom was recently released, and in it she goes into great detail about how her upbringing affected her. Her stories of the real North Korea—a world in which people would celebrate the rare occasion whenever their electricity was turned on—are totally riveting. From a very early age, she and her friends were forced to use their imaginations to create toys and other entertainments, since such things were not readily available in such an impoverished country. She also chronicles the North Korean famine of the mid-1990s, when many families were forced to go hungry.

Also, Yeonmi has expressed the kind of mental terror with which the Kim regime has reigned over the country. As a small child, she was taught to believe that Kim Jong-Il, known as “Dear Leader”, could actually read her thoughts. She also grew up in an environment where neighbors would feel the need to tell the authorities about other neighbors who were not as patriotic as they could have been.

Yeonmi Park’s life—and her willingness to tell her story—provides all of us with a fascinating glimpse into a culture that is shrouded in mystery. Her bravery is an inspiration to the entire world, and a wake-up call.

Fersen Lambranho Puts Passion into GP Investments

There is a lot to be said for Fersen Lambranho and the strides that he has made with GP investments. He has used his skills to develop a company that pushes asset management success to new boundaries. I took a look at his company when I got ready to make some investments.

Fersen Lambranho

I knew a little about investments in Brazilian markets because I started looking into international investments. When I found out about GP Investments I discovered Fersen Lambranho at the same time. This is how I know about the strong commitments he made to the success of GP Investments as a managing director.

Fersen Lambranho has been in charge of managing billions of dollars from investors. I am impressed about what Fersen has been able to do. He certainly has been able to get investors to put trust in him. This allowed him to raise more equity as he moved from managing director to a leadership role.

Fersen Lambranho

I love the fact that he is such a versatile leader. He has gotten a degree in engineering, but yet he managed to become a leader in asset management. On top of all of that he is also a lover of art. This diverse technical, financial and creative art background has given him many different perspectives. This well-rounded personality gives him the ability to truly connect with many different investors.

In my line of work I have learned that it is just as important to be friendly and responsive to customers as it is to be proficient in doing your job. His approach to business has been refreshing to me because so many leaders are one dimensional. They know how to produce results on balance sheets, but they don’t know how to respond to customers. This makes their leadership role rather short lived. I believe that it takes someone like Fersen Lambranho to really push a company forward.

Fersen Lambranho

In Brazil there are a lot of companies to consider when it comes to international investments, but sometimes it takes an asset management company to really make things work. I am not a Brazilian native. I don’t know the things that are worth investing in so I look to firms like GP Investments to help me make those choices. Fersen Lambranho has established a company that gives people the ability to make better investment choices. For this I thank him for his magnificent leadership.

“Wife Bonus” Writer Exaggerated

Wednesday Martin, the writer who rocked the world last month with her article “Poor Little Rich Women” in the New York Times, about New York Upper East Side wives who receive “Wife Bonuses” from their husbands, exaggerated many facts listed in her book.

Martin presented her story as part of her anthropological study of Upper East Side culture, except her book is listed as a memoir. This difference is significant as memoirs are not put through the same rigorous fact-checking processes as social studies, and what Martin presented as fact is little more than personal anecdotes and wish fulfillment.

For example, Martin, whose first name is actually Wendy, not Wednesday, has a scene in which she has to interview with the co-op board to purchase Park Avenue apartment in her bedroom. In the scene, Martin was relegated to bed rest due to a difficult pregnancy, and could only conduct the interview in bed.

It’s a humorous scene, except it never happened. Martin bought the Park Avenue apartment in 2004, yet she gave birth to her first child in 2001 and her second in 2007.

This is disappointing for researchers and writers everywhere. There is enough factual inequality that needs to be discussed and written about. People like Martin damage the reputations of those who do want to study social interaction, and want to open up a conversation to address these issues.