Kubong Pass is a pass in the high, rugged mountains between Songgan County and Kanggye.
On August 31, 2000 Kim Jong Il met an old road worker and her family on the pass.
Some wearing a broad smile and others shedding tears of gratitude, the whole family recited poems and sang songs in front of him.
The General praised that they were better than a chorus and said:
You say that there are ten members in your family workteam. It is not easy to spend a lifetime in such an out-of-the-way region. Since there are a lot of patriots like you who put the interests of the country before their own, our Party is powerful and our country is prosperous. Your spiritual world is noble and beautiful, indeed.
Then he commended the family members for devoting their all to the country and people and encouraged them to keep their occupation generation after generation.
They vowed that they would do as he said, adding that it was their earnest wish that he should not walk on rough roads any more.
The General thanked them and said:
…I will go anywhere in the country if I can travel on such a road. This road is really excellent. I highly commend you for your patriotic devotion.
The old woman held his hand in hers and said in a tearful voice, “You had a hard time of it leading the Arduous March and forced march. I wish that from now on you take meals and have a sleep on time.”
The General thanked her again, saying that when all the people were well off, he could live in comfort and encouraging her family members to do more for the benefit of the country and people.
An unexpected thing happened when he was posing for a photograph with them.
After adjusting the focus, the cameraman could not press the shutter release since the third daughter of the old woman, standing beside the General with a sleeping baby in her arms, was shaking the baby to wake it up.
Thinking that a smiling baby rather than a sleeping one would make a better picture, he waited, winking at the mother.
But the baby was wrapped in a sweet sleep, refusing to wake even when the mother impatiently pinched its cheek.
The General watched them with a gentle smile and dissuaded the mother.
He said, “When grown up, your child will see the photograph and regret having fallen into a deep sleep.”
This gave rise to a burst of laughter, and the cameraman pressed the shutter release.
People called the baby Hu Hoe (Regret–Tr.) from then on.