On January 28, 2000 Kim Jong Il visited a bearing factory.
Looking round the shop floor, he stopped at a workbench where a woman was deftly distributing metal balls between the outer and inner races. An official of the factory told him that she had worked hard at this job for over a decade since she was a girl.
Kim Jong Il praised the assembler’s dexterity and asked her how she could insert a fixed number of balls without seeing them.
The woman answered that she was a skilled worker.
The General said, “Perhaps you may insert one more ball when you are missing your boyfriend.”
All smiled at this joke.
The women flushed scarlet as she had been married a year before.
Reading her thoughts, he resumed, “Then you may put one more or one less when you are thinking of your husband or baby.”
There was a burst of laughter.
The officials of the factory, however, were lost in thought. In fact the woman had a new-born baby and her husband was working far away from home. Although the couple had long been separated since their marriage, the officials thought that it was inevitable as the country was in a difficult situation.
One of them hesitated for a while and told the General about her family.
The latter nodded and said that the woman would have been concerned about her family while working, adding that she was praiseworthy as she was deftly distributing the metal balls without making a mistake.
Later, he told officials that she was sprightly despite her mental agony and adopted measures to ensure that her husband would take another job near her factory and the family live happily together.