His Old Canvas Shoes

One summer day in 1965, on an inspection of Changsong County, Kim Il Sung summoned the officials of the Sinuiju Footwear Factory to discuss the supply of shoes for the people.

After stressing the need to produce attractive and durable shoes in large quantities, he showed his own canvas shoes to the officials, saying, “Sinuiju brand, aren’t they? They are well made. Comfortable and durable, indeed.”

The officials looked wide-eyed at the shoes, unable to remember when they had turned them out. The shoes were discoloured from many washings, the rubber at the toes was crumpled, and they had repaired insoles.

“I bought them about five years ago, but I keep them because they have not worn out,” said the leader.

The officials felt guilty of their lack of sense of economization. As they were working at a footwear factory, they would frequently change their shoes, slightly faded or worn out, for new ones.

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