For some of North Korea's elites, life isn't so bad.
As the world anxiously looks on amid rising tensions between US President Donald Trump and the nuclear-armed rogue state, some of North Korea's elite enjoy amusement parks, sporting activities, restaurants and entertainment.
According to North Korea expert Dr Leonid Petrov, visiting fellow at the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific, the North Korean economy under the brutal regime of Kim Jong-un was actually improving.
"Pyongyang is doing really well," he said. "It's turned from the black hole of northeast Asia to a city of lights, entertainment, restaurants, food, mobile phones, computerisation, cars - it's growing very fast."
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Dr Petrov said North Koreans were acutely aware of their lower living standards compared with other countries, but still only had a "vague idea about the economic realities of the 21st century".
"The education is similar to the Stalinist Soviet Union, based on a highly idealistic perception of Communism. It's changing slowly. North Korea's economy is growing, some segments of the population are more exposed to money and markets, devices and gadgets and communication, but only a small proportion.
"The economy is becoming more market-oriented - still government-run and centrally planned, but more and more market activities are appearing. But North Korea cannot reform itself and probably won't. The regime cannot afford the freedom of information, travel, conventions, so it's impossible."
North Korea, he said, would never get the same economic boost as China did when it was diplomatically recognised by the US in 1979, due to America's alliance with South Korea.
"No one is going to trade with the North Koreans until the Americans permit it to trade with the international community," he said. "It could happen if it hadn't been for South Korea, which claims sole legitimacy on the peninsula. It's like China and Taiwan, they are politically irreconcilable."
It's not quite the "Rich Kids of North Korea":