By Pang Ha Su (pictured, right), resident of neighbourhood unit No. 108, Puksong-dong No. 1, Phyongchon District, Pyongyang
Whenever I see the slogan “One for all and all for one!” memories of the world-startling events in the early 1960s come flooding back.
In November 1960 when I was eight years old I got third-degree burns over 48 percent of my body and was driven to the then Hungnam fertilizer factory hospital in a coma. At that time my life hung in the balance.
The flesh almost fell off the upper half of my body to reveal the walls of the chest and I suffered a high fever, so my life was maintained singly with help of medicines.
My parents felt hopeless, only shedding tears of despair.
The medical team of the hospital, however, did not give up hope.
Surgeons including surgery department chief Kang Ha Jong conducted dozens of rounds of skin graft tests to get a scientific guarantee and performed a dermatohomoplasty with confidence. For the operation they decided to donate their skins. And 17 students from Hamhung College of Medical Sciences, who were undergoing practical training at the hospital joined them in donation.
On the morning of the first-day operation, the corridor in front of the operating theatre was crowded with voluntary donators including doctors, nurses, college students and even inpatients.
This was how I was restored to health miraculously.
This news was published by newspapers.
President Kim Il Sung highly appreciated the laudable deeds of the medical workers of the factory hospital and the interns from the medical college, dispatched excellent doctors to the hospital and sent me precious medicines and even gifts.
Over 10,000 letters of encouragement came to me from across the country and medicines and foodstuffs flooded into the hospital for me.
On May 7 1961, I had the honour of presenting a bouquet to President Kim Il Sung at the mass rally held in celebration of the inauguration of the then February 8 Vinalon Factory. The President with a broad smile on his face lifted me up on the table on the platform. That day he called me “son of the Workers’ Party” and “son of communists”.
Over half a century has passed since then, but beneficent policies are uninterruptedly pursued in our socialist system that values human beings the most and the collectivist spirit of the Chollima era is being carried on still today.
Commendable deeds are performed everywhere in our society. A father rescued a drowning child of other parents before his own, young women tie the knot with disabled soldiers and many people adopt orphaned children and support elderly persons who have no children to rely on.