On January 17 an apartment block in Tongsong-dong, Central District, Pyongyang, was unusually thronged with people, who came to congratulate Hyon Pong Hak on her centenarian birthday.
Her family members and relatives, neighbours, and even officials from the administrative bodies gave hearty congratulations to her.
Acknowledging their warm greetings, the granny became absorbed in memory of her past.
Born into a poor peasant’s family in Orang County of North Hamgyong Province, she was subjected to maltreatment and contempt as a member of the ruined nation under the colonial rule of Japanese imperialists. Only after Korea was liberated on August 15, 1945, she could enjoy a genuine life worthy of a human being.
Thanks to the State measure, she learned the Korean alphabet for the first time at an adult school, carrying her child on her back, and became the master of land.
Bearing in mind the benevolence of the country, she did farming with great diligence and donated rice to the country out of great patriotism.
Her husband studied medicine at a university and became a doctor.
And her seven children studied to their heart’s content, free from worries about school fees, including textbooks and uniforms. All of them graduated from universities and became teachers and doctors, and their sons and daughters are also university graduates.
According to the doctor in charge of her health, Hyon has a mental state as healthy as that of those in their sixties.
She is particularly fond of kimchi, traditional food of Korea, does simple kitchen work, and is still good at sewing and knitting. She also plays traditional folk games with her descendants.