Friday Fun: “For the good of ladies”

1. This first item is from the DPRK publication Korea Today—an article hilariously titled “For the Good of Ladies“:

For those who do not wish to visit the DPRK’s new Naenara webpage, I post the text below.  The story perfectly demonstrates the fundamental problem with economic calculation in a socialist society (or the non-price political allocation of resources):

One summer day in 1979 the leader Kim Jong Il went to see the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital under construction. Looking up with great delight at the grand concrete skeleton of the building completed in a short span of time, he entered the central hall, when an official told him that they were going to lay only the ground, first and second floors with marble and the rest with scagliola because it would cost too much to lay all the floors with marble.

“What then do we use marble for? All the floors should be laid with marble,” said Kim Jong Il. After a while of deep thought, he proposed making a decorative floor of jewels, which are much better than marble. The officials were all amazed at his suggestion of using valuable natural jewels for the floor decoration.

Kim Jong Il reiterated his suggestion, saying they had better make a jewel floor by plastering the central hall, the main passage for all patients and visitors to the hospital, with a mixture of natural jewels.

This was how over 100 tons of natural jewels and colour stones were supplied to the project, and the floor of the central hall was studded with rubies, sapphires, topazes and other precious jewels, reminding one of a jewel carpet.

I have no idea how to build a hospital, but I am fairly confident that this was a poor suggestion.

UPDATE: here is the “jewel carpet”

2. The second item is some interesting video footage shot by a representative of the Czechoslovakian Embassy (1989/1990) and posted on YouTube.  Check them all out here.  Below area  few select videos:

Pyongyang Military Circus (YouTube)

Mangyongdae Funfair (YouTube)

Panmunjom 1 (YouTube)

Panmunjom 2 (YouTube)

Panmunjom Service Center (YouTube)

3. The third item is a new web page featuring selected pictures of Kim Jongil’s guidance tours.  Check out “Kim Jongil looking at things“.

4. The Fourth item is a discussion that is part art and part propaganda.  Is this Kim Jongun or not?

38 North and Leonid Petrov offer some information.

UPDATE: it is not.  The painting is of Kim Il-sung in Manchuria.

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