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.
[Source: Roger Ebert via Twitter | Image: BryanH - C.C. 2.0]