KOREA INTERNATIONAL YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S
“Crying Faces Are Not Photogenic”
On March 12, 1976, Kim Jong Il enjoyed the presentation of works by the first graduates of Pyongyang Acrobatics School.
While seeing the works one by one, he said that the graduates were more skilful than the professional acrobats.
An official suggested that he see other works on another occasion, saying that lunchtime was approaching.
Kim Jong Il said the young acrobats were performing stunts so skilfully that he was not aware of the time passing. He told them to go on.
Presently, three persons began to swing in the air, displaying beautiful and elegant movements.
Kim Jong Il saw that it was a new work and applauded before anybody else, saying that the three persons were moving like one and they looked like triplets.
This day, Kim Jong Il gave instructions on the development of the Juche-based acrobatics.
When he was about to leave the place, the students rushed to him, and asked him to do them a favor.
Smiling, he asked them what the favor could be.
“We want to pose for a photo with you as a memento of graduation.”
“Yes, let’s. We should have a photo taken on this happy and meaningful day. Please.”
So pleased, the students could not suppress the welling tears.
Kim Jong Il said, stroking their shoulders, “Well, stop crying and come on here. Crying faces are not photogenic.”
Soothing them, he said again, “First by a black and white film and then by a color film.”
Before leaving, he said that they should give an additional touching to their works and so they could stage a performance in front of President Kim Il Sung to show him the wonderful skills of the acrobats of a new generation.
Laughter in an Amusement Park
On October 2, 1977, Kim Jong Il visited the newly built TaeSongSan Amusement Park.
After looking at the park for a good while, he said with satisfaction that the park had been built so excellently that the people of Pyongyang, including children, would love it.
Then he looked round every amusement facility.
Presently, dusk began to settle, cold autumn wind blew at the ancient fort on Mt. TaeSong, and officials asked him several times to take leave.
Kim Jong Il said:
“How can we open the amusement facilities to our children without any hesitation when we have not seen them even once?
We may not come here often, so let’s look round all of them though we may be late.”
Then he asked what was the next amusement facility, and led the officials there.
The next one was Mad Mouse.
Kim Jong Il walked to it and was getting on it, when officials hurriedly approached him and said he must not try as it was already dark.
Kim Jong Il asked the officials if there was anyone who has tried the Mad Mouse.
No one could answer.
Still smiling, Kim Jong Il said: Our people will enjoy themselves on this facility, so I have to try it. So don’t worry. And it will not be dreadful when one rides it in the dark.
When the facility carrying Kim Jong Il arrived at the terminal, the officials, who were watching him with apprehension, rushed to him.
Getting off the facility, Kim Jong Il said: The elderly who would be here with their grandchildren would feel frightened to see the facility which dashes here and there in the air, saying to the grandchildren, “No, there might be an accident.” But if they knew that we had tried it, they would say, “Yes, please try.”
He then burst out laughing.
Officials around him, too, joined in the laughter.
Before Working Out the Budget
On February 24, 1980, Kim Jong Il visited the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital which was nearing completion.
After looking round the building, he said:
“Pyongyang Maternity Hospital looks excellent.
It was long ago the president Kim Il Sung said that a modern maternity hospital should be built in Pyongyang.
Sorry to say, the project was delayed until recently. So the Party decided to take charge of it.”
Before the onset of construction the officials concerned came up with a design of a building with 500 beds. They presumed that it was up to a world standard, as a maternity hospital in Europe noted for its size had approximately 450 beds.
500 beds-this seemed a considerable number for the officials.
However, Kim Jong Il advised that the hospital should have no less than 1 500 beds, 1 000 for mothers and 500 for babies.
The officials told him that to increase the number of beds they should add a corresponding number of incubators to the import list and it would exceed the foreign-exchange budget. They argued that the planned number would be sufficient for the babies, premature and immature, to be born at the hospital.
But Kim Jong Il insisted:
“No. We should buy more. We have not spared money for the good of children.
We should consider everything necessary in equipping the maternity hospital adequately, before working out the budget.”
The import list was revised immediately.
Later, measures were taken to import thousands of sophisticated equipment including the huge number of pricey incubators.
Among them was one as expensive as dozens of deluxe cars, which was likely to be switched on once or twice a year as it was used for diagnosing rare diseases.
Turning “100m Beauty” into “Real Beauty”
On August 13, 1981, Kim Jong Il visited the Ice Rink under construction, where workers were putting finishing touches on its interior.
Outside, he was beaming at the crown-shaped roof and the leaning pillars that resembled rocket launching pads. As he was walking into the building, his smile faded at the sight of the conical ceiling that was decorated with layers of galvanized iron strips.
The officials in his company stood perplexed, as this was a new, bold design, compared with iron lattice decorations at the indoor stadiums of foreign countries.
Kim Jong Il commented that it was not good to ornament both the outer walls and the conical ceiling with iron strips, suggesting that fluorescent lamps be hanged at the center of the ceiling in the form of sunbeams.
He went on: I am not happy with the entrance. It is wrong to coat the walls within and without in the same fashion. It seems that the walls were pebble-dashed as it is an easier way than levelling their surfaces after plastering. The officials have a wrong viewpoint. Figure skating is a luxury sport, so the skating rink should look like a theatre. You should ornament even a hall of the rink with extreme care. It is ludicrous to use iron strips and the same coating material for the purpose of decoration and make those walls look alike.
The officials were impressed by his incisive remarks about the details of the building and their shortcomings.
Pointing out that the inner walls and the tiled floor should be remade, he continued:
The Ice Rink looks like a “100m beauty.” This means that it looks good from afar but ugly from nearby.
As it stands now, the rink is not ready for inauguration. It is not a private facility but is for public service. We should build it with utmost care.
Soon followed the refashioning work.
Afterwards, during his next visit, Kim Jong Il remarked with satisfaction that the rink was immaculate in every aspect to be opened to the people.
The Root Never to Be Forgotten
On November 5, 1981, an official was at his office, when his phone rang. Kim Jong Il was on the phone.
The latter asked in a soft voice if he had called on Jang Chol Gu recently.
“Not these days,” replied the official.
Kim Jong Il was silent for a while.
At that time the old woman, an anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter, was looking after herself at home. There was no report that she got sick or was having trouble in living, so the official and his colleagues did not concern themselves about her.
The official was afraid if anything happened to the old veteran.
Kim Jong Il resumed in a worried tone that she was presently in sick bed and the fridge at her house was out of order.
“I am sorry that I am careless with my work. I didn’t know that she is ill,” confessed the official.
“I feel my heart breaking to hear that Mother Jang is ill. She was a cook for
She had thrown herself into the anti-Japanese guerrilla war leaving her suckling baby in the care of others. She had been a faithful cook for her commander. The present happy life of the Korean people was achieved by the sweat of the brow of Mother Jang and other veterans who belonged to the first generation of the Korean revolution under the leadership of the Great leader.
The official felt a pang of guilt.
Kim Jong Il urged him to go to Jang’s and inquire in detail about her treatment and living conditions, adding that he should report back to him and solve problems if any.
The official rushed directly to Jang’s.
The veteran consoled him that she was all right, saying that she only wished