On January 28, 2000, during his visit to a bearing factory, Kim Jong Il was on the shop floor watching a girl assembler distributing metal balls.
After a long while, he said to her, “Let me have a try at the ball distribution.”
The officials, as well as the girl, were perplexed. He picked up the greasy balls immediately before being dissuaded from the attempt.
A preparatory process for assembling ball bearings, the job consisted in evenly distributing balls between the outer and inner races.
He fumbled with the races but could not put the balls rightly.
“It is not so easy,” he smiled.
He told an official to have a try, who ended up failing after repeated attempts. Other officials followed suit, all rolling up their sleeves, but the result was the same. One of them was struggling with a firm grasp on the races, bringing a good laugh.
Looking at the officials with a smile, Kim Jong Il said that it would not be so easy as it seemed.
He said to the girl, “Will you help me with it?”
The worker was hastily wiping her greasy hands. Kim Jong Il urged her on, noting that he would not mind them.
Now his hands mingled with hers. With deft fingers the worker distributed the balls in the blink of an eye.
Kim Jong Il exclaimed, “How skilful you are. The balls are magical.”
He continued to ask in a gentle voice, “Aren’t you tired after working at this job all day long?”
“No, I am not. I have already been accustomed to this job,” answered the girl.
Stroking her arms, Kim Jong Il said that it was not simply a matter of skill and however dexterous she might be, she must have great pains in her arms in the evening after a daylong work.
He said to the officials: As you see, our workers do not complain about hard jobs. They demand more work for them and uninterrupted power supply to their factory, saying that they would not mind lights going off in their houses. Our officials should be proud of having such workers and strive to better their living conditions.