Everything Is Fine In North Korea

“Brilliant Guidance: For the People,” the Democratic People’s Re­pub­lic of Korea, No. 405, De­cem­ber 1989. [The Democratic People’s Re­pub­lic of Korea—published in English—is (was?) es­sen­tially North Korean propaganda.]

At Dawn

Vis­i­tors to Hamhung, an in­dus­trial city, will be at­tracted by a mag­nif­i­cent build­ing with a unique style. It is the Hamhung Grand Theatre. It was built thanks to the deep care of dear Comrade Kim Jong Il who spares nothing to provide ad­e­quate con­di­tions for the cul­tural life of workers.

One day at the end of No­vem­ber 1979, Comrade Kim Jong Il visited Hamhung to give per­sonal guid­ance in South Ham­gy­ong Province.

It was far after three o’clock in the early morning when he arrived in the station. It was still dark but he drove to a con­struc­tion site to give his direction. Al­though of­fi­cials who ac­com­pa­nied him begged him to rest even for a few moments, he con­tin­ued to inspect the build­ing under construction. Day began to break. Of­fi­cials now thought he would leave for his lodging.

But he asked if they could show him the design of the Hamhung Grand Theatre. Ap­par­ently he had been in­ter­ested in its construction. He said that he would like to begin the day by study­ing the design. When a provin­cial offical begged him to have a rest and post­pone his ex­am­i­na­tion of design to next time he said, “I am very happy when you ask me to study designs of the build­ing for the people.” He smiled and urged of­fi­cials to start.

He was shown into a meeting hall where the designs were prepared. Comrade Kim Jong Il looked into blueprints. There were two types of design about the facade of the theatre: One was drawn in a rec­tan­gu­lar shape, while the other was in a round shape. After study­ing each of them, Comrade Kim Jong Il se­lected the second one. It dis­played a new con­cep­tion and more at­trac­tive appearance, al­though it was certain that con­struc­tion would be ex­pen­sive and build­ing op­er­a­tions would be complicated.

He ob­served that the stage of the theatre must be wide enough to show per­for­mances of circus and art troupes from the capital. It would be larger than the Py­ongyang Grand Theatre, but its design would be welcomed. There is a large pop­u­la­tion of workers in Hamhung.

Comrade Kim Jong Il added that our working people would use the theatre and that there­fore it ought to be built ex­cel­lently and on a large scale.

The eastern sky was red­den­ing at dawn. Comrade Kim Jong Il drew up the curtain and looked out at the rising sun. He re­marked that it would be nec­es­sary to build a park around the theatre. At the end of work, the workers along with their family members could come there to enjoy per­for­mances or recre­ation and ease their fatigue.

Soon the of­fi­cials began to carry out his instructions.

On the Train

The fol­low­ing year, in 1980, the his­toric Sixth Con­gress of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held. All people worked hard to greet the con­gress with the achievements. In South Ham­gy­ong Province, the con­struc­tion of va­ri­eties of buildings, in­clud­ing cold storage factory, was being undertaken. But the build­ing of the theatre was neglected.

One day Comrade Kim Jong Il, who had given per­sonal guid­ance in a north­ern province, was re­turn­ing home. When his train entered South Ham­gy­ong Province, an of­fi­cial of the province boarded the train to send him off.

Comrade Kim Jong Il who had been study­ing a pile of doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted to his examination, wel­comed the of­fi­cial and put aside papers. He asked about the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the people’s living con­di­tions in the province. When their topic came to the con­struc­tion of the theatre, the of­fi­cial felt ex­tremely guilty.

Two days previously, a senior of­fi­cial of the province was tele­phoned far late at night by Comrade Kim Jong Il. He was asked what progress was made in the theatre construction. Unprepared, he hesitated. After a while he an­swered that no progress was made because they had been so busy with con­struc­tion of pro­duc­tion projects.

Comrade Kim Jong Il was silent before re­mark­ing that the im­por­tance of pro­duc­tion pro­jects could never be an excuse for the delay. He urged the of­fi­cial to ac­cel­er­ate con­struc­tion of both pro­duc­tion pro­jects and theatre.

He sensed how the of­fi­cial on the other side was feeling and kindly talked to him.

“We must know clearly why we are build­ing factory or theatre. It is only for the benefit of the working people that we are working to develop economy and in­crease production. There­fore we must equally be con­cerned about in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion and im­prov­ing the cul­tured life of the working people.”

He added, “You may use money and sup­plies pref­er­en­tially for the con­struc­tion of large fac­to­ries in order to com­plete them before the opening of the Party Congress. But you must not delay con­struc­tion of the theatre of use the sup­plies for its build­ing in another project.” He ob­served that he would support them and they must spare nothing for the benefit of the working people. The of­fi­cial was deeply moved by the no­bil­ity of mind.

Later on Comrade Kim Jong Il showed deep concern for the con­struc­tion of theatre. When he learned that they met a problem in transport, he ensured that dozens of lorries were sent to the con­struc­tion site. When steel prod­ucts were in short supply he made sure that they were sent promptly. Even equip­ment for light­ing and acoustics se­lected by him were sent.

In the Hamhung Grand Theatre, art troupes of the province and from the capital are giving fre­quent per­for­mances to en­ter­tain the people in Hamhung area.

Article: Kang Tae On

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