GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No.279

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
[Weekely Newsletter] No.279 May 2009
[“Good Friends” desires to help the North Korean people through humanistic point of view, and publishes “North Korea Today” describing the way the North Korean people live as real as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]
[Hot Topics]
An Elderly Resident Unable to Make Living after Small Plot Farm Confiscated Commits Suicide
More Powers to Forest Inspectors Due To Dissolution of Forest Utilization Teams
Numerous Places in Kangwon Province Damaged by Wildfires Caused by Small Plot Farms Preparation

[Food]
Five Spoons of Corn Meal is All They Get for Soldiers of the 3rd Corps in Kangsuh County
Mere 400g of Daily Ration at a Military Base in Chulwon County

[Economy]
Attendance Rate of the Steel Workplace at the Gimchaek Steel Mill is Not Even One-Third
Farms in the South Hamgyong Province Sell Vegetables to Public Enterprises To Increase Their Revenues

[Politics]
[150 Day Battle] No more Transfers ordered by the Department of Labor
[150 Day Battle] Officials Dispatched to Production Sites
[150 Day Battle] “Secure Food for 15 days Regardless of Hardship”
[150 Day Battle] Plenary Meeting of Provincial Party Member in North Hamgyong Province, “Every Source Must Be Mobilized to Produce Food”
[150 Day Battle] “Fulfilling One’s Duty as a Member of the North Korean Workers’ Party with New Revolutionary High Tide”

[Society]
Hospitals in Wonsan Crowded with Patients in May
Home Visiting Nurses are Popular

[Women/Children/Education]
Pyonggang County, 1/3 of Farm Youth Groups Ran away from the Farm Last Year
Wonsan Kkotjebi Children Assigned to Farms of Pyonggang County also Disappeared

[Accidents]
Chungjin, Drug Dealers Arrested on Murder Charge

[Commentary]
Ban on Business and Small Patch Farming, Why Repeating Bad Policies

[Investigative Report]
[Correspondence from Pyongyang]
Day of First Primary Party General Meeting for Newly-Appointed General Manager

_________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
An Elderly Resident Unable to Make Living after Small Plot Farm Confiscated Commits Suicide
Suicides are rising for a number of residents who could not make living. These residents could not continue small plot farming after existing Forest Utilization Teams have been dissolved throughout the nation. These mostly elderly residents have no other means of making living other than farming. Ahn Bok-hwa (62) has tried everything he could think of to get his small plot farm. He poured his tender loving care on the plot several years, but it was confiscated. He filed complaints as well as entreated officials in charge for its return, all to no avail. In the meantime, he missed the planting season, could not eat for about a week and died. Those neighbors having watched him nearby said he could not eat or drink because of anger toward unfairness. Kim Mal-rye (pseudonym, 60s), one of his long-time friends said, “His last words are still ringing in my ears. His cries made us all so sad and tearful. Our children joined him in crying. His last words were, ‘Party does not care about anything, even people dying. Party deserves all the blames.’” There is also an elderly couple in Giljoo County, North Hamgyong Province, who committed suicides by drinking caustic alkaline liquid. This couple spent most of their time on the hill tending a small plot farm, and it was confiscated. Just before they killed themselves, they said to their neighbors, “We lost means of living. We do not have any other way left.” Local police tried to take care of dead couple in silence, but words spread already throughout Giljoo County. Suicides occurred also in City of Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province. In the afternoon of last May 6, Lee Sung-sil (68) of Gyerangli Second Unit was found dead hung on a tree beside the small plot farm he tended. According his neighbors, he lamented that he lost means of making living when he got his plot confiscated. As the words about suicides of elderly people spread, public opinions toward the Party are getting worse.

More Powers to Forest Inspectors Due To Dissolution of Forest Utilization Teams
On one hand, this year’s Forest Reclamation Projects generated numerous residents with grief to have their small plot farms confiscated. On the other hand, they helped to improve living conditions of some people. These are the Forest Inspectors. It is because many residents who lost the small plot farms pay bribes to the inspectors as a means of attempting to get the small plots back. Those who try to cultivate new plots on the hill promise the Inspectors half of the crop in the fall. Residents resent that what confiscation of all those small plot farms has done is beneficial to the Inspectors. Cho Jung-suk (30s) of Giljoo, North Hamgyong Province said, “My mother and I poured in all our efforts in a small plot and now it can produce some. But it has been confiscated. As an attempt to have a part of it, I visited the Inspector. I threw my pride away and humiliated myself as well as paid a bribe to the Inspector. I believe I did well persuading him. I say this not as a brag. I got part of the plots returned to me. However, others who lost the plots have lost their means of making living. Production from the small plots will be reduced and next year the prices of grain will be higher.” He predicted that hardship from food shortage will continue.

Numerous Places in Kangwon Province Damaged by Wildfires Caused by Small Plot Farms Preparation
As of May, numerous places in Kangwon Province are suffering from wildfires.
All the workers of government organizations and various enterprises are having hard time attempting to put out continuing wildfires. Jung Pil-gyu (50s) says, “As soon as a fire on one side is put out, the other fire starts on the other side. The resident who lost a small plot farm tries to prepare another plot by burning grass on the hill, and often that starts a wildfire.” Koh Seung-duk (40s) of Anbyun County also attributed the causes of wildfires to confiscation of small plot farms by authorities. According to Koh, quite often, those residents who got their plots confiscated set their own plots on fire out of resentment. Koh said, “When the planting season passes, these people, so frustrated out of anger, set the plots on fire.” Sometime ago, there was a wildfire in our district, and the policeman came out to check it. He said that the fire was set by someone. They could not find the culprit yet, but everyone said it was caused by the one who used to own it.

[Food]
Five Spoons of Corn Meal is All They Get for Soldiers of the 3rd Corps in Kangsuh County
The 3rd Corps stationed at Daebori Kangsuh County, South Pyungan Province are suffering food shortage. All they get is only 300-400g of whole corn each day. Lower rank soldiers said, “Higher ranked people are taking all the food so we never received the full 700g of daily food ration. When they eat corn meal, they start to scratch the bottom of their aluminum bowl after 5 spoons. Due to the circumstances, there are situations where a company has over 60 people suffering from malnutrition out of 90 team members.

Mere 400g of Daily Ration at a Military Base in Chulwon County
There are 3 infantry battalions under the command of the 10th regiment 5th division 5th Corp at Chulwon County, Kangwon Province. As of now, the daily ration in this military base is mere 400g of corn rice per day. They are also out of the only side dish, salt radish. So, they are given small amount of salt only. Each unit prepares their own food and picks wild racambole, mother’s- heart and other herbs in the neighboring field. Because there are many enlisted soldiers suffering from malnutrition, there are increasing number of soldiers intentionally get into an accident to avoid military service. Last end of April, Kim Kang-suk (20s, alias) from 2nd battalion suffered from malnutrition and broke his finger on purpose. He was placed under the military medical treatment and returned home at the beginning of May after receiving discharge evaluation. His fellow soldiers who spent last 6 years with him like a family seemed jealous.

[Economy]
Attendance Rate of the Steel Workplace at the Gimchaek Steel Mill is Not Even One-Third
Since May, the number of employees who come to work at the Gimchaek Steel Mill in Chungjin of the North Hamgyong Province has been only 30. Taking into consideration that there are 110 workers at the workplace, the attendance rate is not even one-third. Low-rank Party workers and unit managers make up the majority of those who come to work. Workers say that they have repeatedly told, “Following the policy from this New Year’s Combined Editorial, workers should work devotedly instead of procrastinating.” Nothing seems to be working in encouraging them to work. The attendance rates decreased because there were no food distributions at the start of the year. When workers were asked to come to work, they said they can’t go to work because there is nothing to eat at home.
In March and April, the salary of workers was only 980 NK won, making it difficult for workers to even buy 1 kilogram of rice. During the first ten days of May, the Chungjin Soonam Market sold 1 kg of rice for 2,300 NK won. On April 15, barely 500 grams of flour was distributed and workers had to pay 930 NK won for working clothes. Han Suk-hyun (40s), a worker at the steel mill, said, “The high rate of absenteeism is not just at our workplace. The farm workers didn’t go to work last year, but this year absenteeism is increasing in many public enterprises and factories.”

Farms in the South Hamgyong Province Sell Vegetables to Public Enterprises To Increase Their Revenues
Farms in each city and county of the South Hamgyong Province are separately growing vegetables to sell to agencies and public enterprises in order to increase their revenues. A special vegetable work unit was formed to farm crops such as spinach, cabbage, crown daisy, red radish, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, and many others vegetables. Although farms should get the supervision from the Vegetable Management Office from each city and county, they are working hard to increase their profits. A worker at a collective farm in Hamjoo County says, “We had a hard time last year due to food shortage. So, this year we are trying every method to prevent it.” According to him, barley, wheat, potatoes, and other crops, which can be consumed as food, have been already sowed in preparation for the summer harvest. He also said, “The corn will be planted in the fields, the rice in the paddy fields, and random crops will be sowed in the rest of the area. The only concern is the lack of fertilizer.”

[Politics]
[150 Day Battle] No more Transfers ordered by the Department of Labor
A detailed instruction on how the manpower should be distributed during 150 Day Battle was given to People’s Assembly in all the cities and counties in North Hamgyong Province by the Provincial Department of Labor. The major theme is that ‘no more personnel transfer’ is allowed during 150 Day Battle. Until now retirees and labors with social benefit, in other words those who cannot work due to illness and accident could be transferred from active post to different factories and Public Enterprises by the Department of Labor. With clear banning of personnel transfers, it was also instructed that all the labors could resume the original tasks only with orders from the Department of Labor after 150 Day Combat is over. Only exceptions are the assignments under the national construction project that require work outside their original posts. In the mean time, the 2nd Division, which issues the proof of official trip by of People’s Assembly, stopped the issuance as well.

[150 Day Battle] Officials Dispatched to Production Sites
Last May 7, a full-scale combat began with the beginning of the indignation meeting. During this combat period, officials from the Central Party and the local parties are sent to production sites. The main purpose of such a dispatch is to normalize productions at the sites. They have to give up their position if they fail to normalize the production level. After all, they will fall into the level of their assigned laborer. The party is asking for great determination and will power and “requesting all laborers to give their full attention to the production site”
There are more lecture meetings for officials held than usual. They reiterate the main purpose of these lecture meetings is to concentrate on farming- “The main goal for the 150 Day Battle is to guarantee food during times of worldwide food shortage by concentrating on farming.”

[150 Day Battle] “Secure Food for 15 days Regardless of Hardship”
The Central Party passed down a policy to Local Parties in order to produce fruits during the 150 Day Battle. Officers in the city and the county were told to secure food for at least 15 days during this Battle no matter how difficult the food situation was. The Party’s instruction was that “the food problem must be resolved firsthand so that the people may stand up to build a powerful nation during the Campaign”. The food problem must be resolved for every laborer to work well in the Campaign to support farming. Therefore, the workers were repeatedly demanded to work their hardest in order to provide food for at least 15 days during the Battle.

[150 Day Battle] Plenary Meeting of Provincial Party Member in North Hamgyong Province, “Every Source Must Be Mobilized to Produce Food”
On May 7th at 2:00 P.M., the Provincial Party in North Hamgyong Province held a plenary meeting of Provincial Party members in Chungjin. The meeting emphasized the need to go the full throttle in farming and it was said, “The building of a Strong and Prosperous Nation will be advanced by the success of this 150-Day-Battle. The road to a powerful nation may fall behind in 10 years if the result is not good during the Battle. The food situation is the most important issue this year. By resolving the food problem this year, there will be no obstacles in the building of a powerful nation. Every resource must be absolutely mobilized to produce food.” It was also said, “Resolving the food problem this year by strongly supporting the rural communities with laborers is the most imminent and important task than it has been at any other time. Since the fertilizers cannot be applied sufficiently this year, Heukbosan (A fertilizer made by North Korea. It contains an ingredient used to restore the soil) must be produced to the fullest extent possible and must be applied to corn fields. This year, the labor control and maintenance of farm members must be done as much as possible so that no one is left out from participating in the Campaign.”
In addition, the Secretaries of the City Parties, County Parties as well as the members of the Primary Party who were present were asked to do the following; “Enlighten the laborers well through political undertaking. A well-organized battle command system must be established. The responsible Secretaries of the City Parties and County Parties must organize a powerful leadership to encourage the Competence Front so that the underachieving factories or farms may meet the goal of the Campaign. The Secretaries should be dispatched so that they can conduct the Campaign in the field in cooperation with other responsible personnel.” Finally, it was repeatedly urged that, “the workers of the Party government must show their abilities and contribute to the socialist economic development.”

[150 Day Battle] “Fulfilling One’s Duty as a Member of the North Korean Workers’ Party with New Revolutionary High Tide”
The Central Party’s Organization and Guidance Department held a seminar for the 150-Day-Battle for its officials. The seminar was titled “Fulfilling One’s Duty as a Member of the North Korean Workers’ Party with New Revolutionary High Tide”. Set forth below is the summary of the seminar:
“Let us have faith in victory and boldly proceed forward in order to seize the fortress to become an economic powerhouse. We have already seized the fortress to become a powerhouse for political thoughts as well as military influence. There is an enormous potential for our economy. The basic goal of the Battle for the economic front is to elevate the quality of food, people’s goods, and create a self-sufficient national economy at a world class level.
The specific task, which needs to be performed, is to raise the revolutionary fire in the defense industry, with specific concentration on the four sections of the people’s economy. The production of these four sections, which include the steel industry, modernizing the metal industry, electric energy issues, coal production and the capacity of rail freights must be increased substantially.
In order to increase farm production, mechanical chemistry, forestry, and the fisheries must increase production as well so that they could progress along with the other four sections. The food problem must be resolved and the light industry must be developed so that the people will be practically benefited. The capital construction must proceed with such a power that every part of the nation will be turned into a socialist fairyland filled with smiles of happiness. A new revolutionary high tide must be raised in the areas of science, health, culture, art, publishing and journalism.
The way to open the gate of a powerful nation is to reinforce the People’s Army, and to learn according to the revolutionary military spirit. The members of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) must be valiant death-defying corps in today’s battle, ardent believers, and skillful advanced guards. In order to do that, every official and Party member must become an advanced fighter able to risk death. Their lives must embrace the General’s creed to build a powerful nation by any means. They must support the General with their actions and abilities.
Second, they must become vanguard fighters who open the road of battle in front of the new high tide. They must have keen awareness and perspective that they are the masters of the revolution as well as masters of themselves. The flag of self-viability must be raised higher.
Third, they must become political activists who set fire to the spirit of the people. It must be remembered that to educate the people is a duty pursuant to the provision of the Party. They must ardently lead the minds of the people and invoke and encourage the spirit of the people.
Fourth, they must be ferocious beasts with shrewd eyes in today’s intensive class conflict. The ideological and cultural invasion of the imperialists and their psychological conspiracy must be crushed. They must fiercely fight the battle against every unique and unwholesome ideology.
Fifth, the officials and the workers of the Party must be the commanding experts of the high tide who keep pace with the General’s march and who work like the General. They must promote the responsibility of the administrative business officials. They must possess good abilities. They must keep the integrity of their business and life, and must work for the people wholeheartedly.

[Society]
Hospitals in Wonsan Crowded with Patients in May
Just a few days after the 150 Day Battle started, hospitals in Wonsan are crowded with different types of patients. Most patients are there for malnutrition problems. Everyday, dozens of people come to get an Injection. When asked why there are so many patients, doctors say, “It is the reaction of fragile body (during the 150 Day Battle) which cannot handle the labor intensity.” A doctor working in Wonsan hospital explained, “Since ancient times May is the time during the year when various diseases break out in the biggest numbers. This is because of seasonal changes. Some people call it “Black May” because most of the plague breaks out in May since ancient times. Moreover, under the current situation in our country too many people suffer from malnutrition, which weakens the immune system, and this can be the cause of death.”
A doctor working at hospital in Munchun City also cited seasonal change as the cause. He said, “Those who didn’t eat well fall ill with disease. If they don’t get the treatment, or do not have money to buy medicine, they will die unless treated. So many died in this way last year. Lack of food in the spring causes a lot of people die even those who can recover.” He added, “The largest number of people died in the spring during the Arduous March as well, and then during late autumn to winter. It is important to take care of health when the season changes. This time of year in May is the time even very healthy people can fall ill. So, people should take precautions.” In response to this people say, “People die because there is nothing to eat, not because of season change. Even weak people are driven to the (150 Day) Combat. That’s why they fall sick with disease because they cannot bear it.”

Home Visiting Nurses are Popular
In the midst of increasing patients in rural clinics everywhere, nurses as well as doctors are busy. Nurses make money by visiting houses in person, giving injection and selling medicine. Sometimes they get meals at the house they visit. They charge 500-1000 NK Won for a single intra-muscular injection, and 500 NK Won for a bottle of glucose. These prices are 2-300 NK Won more expensive than market value. Nevertheless, people say that is better than getting an injection at the hospital after waiting for 1-2 hours. That’s because there is no hassle of waiting if you have a nurse visit your house. For those who cannot afford it have no choice but to go to the hospital. They feel that getting injection at the hospital after waiting a few hours is worthwhile if you want to save money. On the other hand, nurses visiting the houses of officials or rich people make as much as 5,000 NK Won in some cases. That is sort of charge for the home visiting service.
Meanwhile, Onsung County in North Hamgyong Province is providing the care for eye disease with the care of the Central Party. Inoculation against typhoid and cholera has also started. Doctor are visiting the house of the head of neighborhood unit and giving preventive injections.

[Women/Children/Education]
Pyonggang County, 1/3 of Farm Youth Groups Ran away from the Farm Last Year
Pyonggang County of Kangwon Province achieved a good grade at the 3 Big Revolutions assessments because they well organized Youth Groups to work at the farms. In March 2007, the Province secretary of labor organizations in Kangwon Province assured that he would make Kkotjebi children into farm workers in his charge. It seemed like a situation that too much is as bad as too little because the project of Kkotjebi Youth Groups started to become unstable before long. Those young children were forced to work from 8 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon and driven to continue to work after lunch from 2 to 8, so these little children could not endure this exhausting job. When the season of the spring food shortage began at the end of June, the number of disappeared children has critically increased. This situation was continued and over one third of Kkotjebi workers ran away from their farms. In a working unit, 30 children out of 100 disappeared. In this context, the award for achieving the 3 Big Revolutions was cancelled. The secretary of County Labor Organization, the chief of the Management Committee of the farm, and the secretary of the Party at the farm got fired because they did not appropriately manage the workers of Youth Work Units.

Wonsan Kkotjebi Children Assigned to Farms of Pyonggang County also Disappeared
Wonsan City in Kangwon Province sent Kkotjebi children to the farms because no middle school students volunteered this March. When other districts sent Kkotjebi children, this city promised that they would send middle school graduates to the farm to reduce the General’s (Kim Jong-il) concerns and worries. The Province Party praised Wonsan city about this plan. In fact, they used to select only middle school graduates who did not have parents. However, there was no orphan student in this year. With serious worries, the City Party sent upper authorities a fake letter that visitors to historic sites in Chulryong Hill of Hoeryong County would volunteer for the Farm Youth Union of Pyonggang County to assist the General’s Military-First leadership. However, there was not a single volunteer from this year’s graduates in March. So, they urgently recruited 120 students from Kkotjebi Welfare Institutions and graduates from rural schools. They gave recruited workers a farewell party last April 18 and sent them to Pyonggang County, but 40 out of 120 students already ran away from the farms within a week. Wonsan City has mobilized the teachers who were in charge of disappeared students, and urged them to locate the runaway students and bring the students back to them.

[Accidents]
Chungjin, Drug Dealers Arrested on Murder Charge
Last May 6, next to guard post of Kwanhae-dong 41-ban, Shinam district of Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province, a woman was found after being killed. Upon investigation she turned out to be 28 years old woman was a former music teacher of Primary school. Her family members said before dying, she went out to buy drug with 3,000,000 NK won but she didn’t come back so they waited, pining for her return. Acting on the information provided by the family the police arrested five drug dealers as murder suspect. The Shinam district police searched their house and confiscated 4kg of drug and drug manufacturing devices, and the cash of about 80 million NK won and $2,200 US dollars. The criminal investigation section and inspector section of Shinam district police station received a compliment from the higher up because they produced satisfactory results without much effort. However, they could not determine who actually committed the murder.

[Commentary]
Ban on Business and Small Patch Farming, Why Repeating Bad Policies
“We would die without small patch field.”
That is the immediate reaction from North Korean people in response to confiscation of personal small patch field. We can feel the urgency of people’s feeling with these words. It was during the Arduous March during the 1990s when small patch farming spread out nationwide. That was because people desperately clung to small patch farming, as they were being starved to death and felt that the only way to survive is doing small patch farming with their own hand. Since then people desperately worked on small patch farming so that they could survive. Rough terrain in the mountain with over 60 degrees of slope was not an issue in front of their determination to survive. This is why bare mountains spread throughout the country and big flooding is recurring every year. It is not an overstatement to say that ‘small patch farming’ along with ‘doing business’ is the only means of survival.
In May of 2007, wild fire in the mountain broke out consecutively in Hoeryung and Changpyong, North Hamgyong Province. That was an act of arson committed by those who lost their small patch fields. One of these who got caught shouted, “If you don’t allow me to do small patch farming, I would not allow you to plant trees either.” Sensing the complaints among people the Central Party initiated ideological lectures and announced, “This year, we will release the food distribution unconditionally. Therefore, small patch farming is no longer necessary. Do not continue the absurd behavior that will harm yourself and your family.”
The policy banning small patch farming was issued in 2008 as well. However, the policy had to be on hold due to severe food shortage comparable to Arduous March. In 2009, the authorities started recalling small patch farms as they announced. The phenomenon of ‘death’ is occurring immediately because the elderly people who know nothing other than small patch farming are committing suicide. The authorities are afraid of rumors spreading about the suicides. So, they are handling them quietly because they are aware of people’s sentiments.
Even then, the authorities are currently executing ‘150-day battle’ (work as if in battle). There have been several battle style business practices such as 70-day combat, 120-day combat during the 1970s and 1980s. Those battle business practices were to encourage mass movement. However, the current battle is different in nature. It is being executed aimlessly without clear economic indices. The rules are very stiff as well. Previously, there was no such rule saying you have to report to work by certain time. Everything was done voluntarily. The current situation of ‘forced mobilization’ clearly shows the level of non-compliance on the part of people. It appears that the gap between the people and the Party is widening just like that.
People speak out without hesitation. Again, only the weakest will be sacrificed and the policy is going to wither away. Not being able to abolish general market is for the same reason. The question is whether implementation of this policy is feasible when the majority of people make living out of small patch farming and business with the exception of a small number of privileged class in Pyongyang, officials, military personnel, and munitions factory workers. The Central Party must be aware of the problems. Then, what is the reason for repeating the same bad policy over and over again? We can find the answers in people’s distrust of the Central Party, unilateral control-centered policies issued by the Party, and the ever-increasing level of distrust of the Party because of the policies. In short, bad policies can only be repeated as they attempt to recover societal control in the old way although the situation has changed and the Party has lost its control completely.
The authorities must listen to people’s voice coming from the bottom of the society. People act voluntarily only when the state accepts people’s demands and interests and when they develop the feeling of ownership of the society by themselves. Creative ideas are required at this point on. Things should not be banned simply because people’s means of sustenance goes against ‘our own version of socialism.” Efforts should be made to think in mid-to-long terms perspectives and come up with ways to accommodate people’s needs with their ‘voluntary’ cooperation. Attempts of placing tight control on people’s means of sustenance will inevitably translate into political burden on the part of North Korean authorities. North Korean authorities should stop the mistake of repeating the bad policies, and must be able to shake hands with people with policies that save people.

[Investigative Report]
[Correspondence from Pyongyang]
Day of First Primary Party General Meeting for Newly-Appointed General Manager
Last March 29, it was after nine in the evening and I did not dare to leave the office for home. I was planning to stay overnight at the office. I kept reviewing and revising the 47-page draft of the first quarter primary party life summary and self-criticism report. I was wondering how the ordinary party members would attack me in tomorrow’s primary party general meeting. As a newly-appointed general manager, I did not have sufficient time to communicate with the ordinary party members I managed. It was hard to predict what would come out from my self-criticism. I tried to console myself by thinking, “Everything will be alright. This report for the general meeting has been made with helps from deputy secretary and chief engineer. Even if ordinary party members attack me, primary party will assist me.” Morning of March 30 dawned. Through the windows, I could see the buildings of Han Duk-soo Light Industry University across the street. It was only 6:30 in the morning, and employees of the university and the students were already visible. Opposite to these buildings on the Youth Street were no signs of people moving. Lights were coming through the windows at the cosmetics research center across the alley. What were they doing all night? It must have been month-end dash, I wondered.
I heard a knock at the door. My daughter brought breakfast for me. “Daddy, you must have stayed all night. Mom had I bring this special food. Treat yourself and get strong.” And she looked through the window and said, “There are earlier students than I am. I have to go” She disappeared with smiles on her face.
Even if it was a specially prepared breakfast, I did not have any appetite. I went to the Primary Party Secretary because I have to show him my drafts. Finally at nine in the morning, the general meeting started. The Primary party secretary went up to the podium and opened the meeting.
“There are xx registered party members, with exceptions of yy members because of out-of-town trips and sickness. Attendance at this meeting is by more than 90% of membership. Quorum of the meeting is established. Are there any questions on the agenda of the meeting on the first quarter party life by its members? Please raise your hands if you all agree.”
No questions. No oppositions. Agreed 100%.
“Then we will start the primary party general meeting. For a successful proceedings of this meeting, we have Comrade Propaganda Secretary from the superior party present at this meeting for proper guidance. Seated at the podium will be I, Comrade Kim Chang-ho (pseudonym) and Comrade Deputy Secretary, Please raise your hands if you agree.”
No questions. No oppositions. Agreed 100%.
Comrade Propaganda Secretary from the superior party for guidance read Ten Principles of Unity in System of Party Ideology. Reports by primary secretary on the first quarter party life followed. The report lasted about forty minutes, seriously concentrating on unsuccessful accomplishment of production plans. He pointed out, “Factory could not accomplish the first quarter production plan because the newly appointed general manager lacked in loyalty to Our Beloved Leader and attitude toward carrying out tasks assigned to us with our utmost efforts.” Then I followed with my self-criticism.
“I will be responsible, as general manager, for all the unsuccessful accomplishment in the production plan in the first quarter. Main causes of missed production are lack of preparation in the areas of supporting production materials, maintenance of facilities and employees’ support tasks. These failures are caused by my bureaucratic style and old traditional methods. During the second quarter, such a style will be eliminated and ‘No matter what, trusts and faith by Our Beloved Leader will be rewarded with accomplishments in production plans.’”
I also added strong criticisms against superior organizations. Other ordinary party members also made brief criticisms. Finally, before primary party secretary made any conclusions, guiding propaganda secretary made an important statement.
“Comrade General Manager, you should remind of yourself on several things. Our Beloved Leader placed faith on you and assigned this factory to you. You forgot about this faith and failed in accomplishing the production plan. You should ask yourself, ‘How could this happen? Didn’t I make him worry? Do I realize what responsibility means?‘ You said you would recover deficit in the next quarter, and I believe you. All the party members will watch you. If the deficit is not corrected by the end of the first half of the year, other measures will be taken. Comrade General Manager, please remember it.”
Primary party secretary said guiding propaganda secretary’s conclusions will be primary party’s conclusions, and concluded the meeting.
Only then I could wipe out my hands, wet with perspiration and breathed a sigh of relief.

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