“Flower-Embroidered Cushion”

The following happened on the Day of the Sun (April 15, President Kim Il Sung’s birthday) in 2003 when Kim Jong Il visited the Hamhung Plastic Commodities Factory for Honoured Disabled Soldiers.

He was greeted by the officials of the factory and said, “Today it is the Day of the Sun, the greatest national holiday, but I have come to the factory to see the honoured disabled soldiers.”

Then he made the rounds of the factory.

At the synthesizing shop he asked one of the officials what was the source of power for the factory. Learning that it was using an anthracite-fired boiler, he inquired about its capacity.

After a moment’s thought he advised that in his opinion the factory should not use the boiler because operating it would require much effort and the disabled soldiers had to work in squalid conditions.

He said, “This factory is run by honoured disabled soldiers, so it should introduce an electric-oil heater, not the anthracite-fired boiler, so that they can work in a more cultured environment.”

In fact, the management and employees of the factory did not think that the boiler caused them inconvenience.

They presumed that the equipment was quite good and so much effort was needed to produce steam. The problem was that inadequate supply of the coal would hinder production to some extent.

Kim Jong Il was more concerned about the disabled soldiers’ health and working conditions than production.

Later, he ensured that an electric boiler, which was easier to install and use than the oil heater, was sent to the factory.

That evening, back from the factory, he sat at the table for dinner. Though it was very late, he did not feel like eating anything as he was still worried about the disabled soldiers.

He had already instructed officials concerned, after leaving the factory, to send beef and chicken for the holiday, saying that he was sorry the disabled soldiers did not enjoy it because he was visiting their factory.

Seeing his face clouded with anxiety, the officials wondered why. They supposed that he was thinking of the man without an arm he had seen at the factory during the day.

At last he said silently to the officials that he was still anxious about the disabled soldiers, adding that they should send some more as they deserved to be seated on “flower-embroidered cushion.”

He suggested making a list of the gifts for them–colour TV, underwear, dinner sets, etc. Then he asked the officials if there was anything more they could send them.

“Overcoats, sir. But it is warm now and…,” trailed off one of them.

The General said that the disabled soldiers might not feel as warm as other people and, moreover, they would wear the overcoats the following winter. He added the article to the list and then supplemented it even four times.

The following day the gifts were sent to the factory.

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