Kim Jong-un’s guidance trip to the Mangyongdae Funfair

Wow. In the (approximately) seven years of KCNA reports I have perused on Kim Jong-il’s and Kim jong-un’s guidance trips I have never heard of either of the leaders adopting the tone Kim Jong-un deployed on this trip.

Pictured above (Google Earth): The Mangyongdae Funfair (Not to be confused with the Kaeson funfair or the Taesongsan Funfair). I have actually visited this funfair twice. See here and here.

According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lashed out at officials of an amusement park for neglecting to take proper care of the facility’s grounds and rides, the North’s state media said Wednesday in an apparent move to highlight the leader’s concern for his people.

North Korean media, including the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said Kim inspected the Mangyongdae Funfair in Pyongyang and scolded officials there after discovering flaws throughout the park.

It is the first time the North Korean media have reported a public censure by the new leader. Reports on similar activities by Kim’s father and late leader Kim Jong-il were also rare.

According to the news reports, Kim Jong-un noticed a damaged path in front of a Viking ride and called it “pathetic,” while also pointing out flaws in the park’s gardens and a roller coaster, the condition of paint on rides and the safety of a water park.

“Seeing the weeds grown in between pavement blocks in the compound of the funfair, he, with an irritated look, plucked them up one by one,” the KCNA said in an English-language dispatch monitored in Seoul. “He said in an excited tone that he has never thought that the funfair is under such a bad state and a proverb that the darkest place is under the candlestick fits the funfair.”

The KCNA reported Kim’s rebukes in detail, using strong expressions of disapproval.

“He scolded officials, saying why such things do not come in their sight and querying could the officials of the funfair work like this, had they had the attitude befitting master, affection for their work sites and conscience to serve the people,” it said. “Plucking up weeds can be done easily with hands as it is different from updating facilities, he added.”

Kim also instructed officials to draw a lesson from touring the site and take it as a warning of the need for a “proper spirit of serving the people,” the KCNA said.

Choe Ryong-hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the (North) Korean People’s Army (KPA), accompanied Kim on the trip and received the task of “sprucing up the funfair as required by the new century by dispatching strong construction forces of the KPA.”

Analysts in Seoul viewed the North Korean media’s unusual approach as an attempt by the leadership to transform Kim’s image. The new leader, believed to be in his late 20s, has thus far been portrayed as a friendly and gentle character with a striking resemblance to his grandfather and founding leader Kim Il-sung. Now, the aim is apparently to depict him as a leader who deals sternly with his aides in order to serve the public, the analysts said.

“It’s an attempt by Kim Jong-un to tighten discipline among ranking officials,” said Jang Yong-seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University. “The fact that it was broadcast shows that the aim is to instill an awareness among ranking officials across North Korea that Kim Jong-un is a benevolent leader but also strict when it comes to principles.”

Jang also said the report could serve other purposes, such as proving Kim’s ability to look after detailed aspects of policy, or blaming government officials for the people’s frustrations.

Below I have posted the original KCNA report of the event:

Kim Jong Un Tours Mangyongdae Funfair

Pyongyang, May 9 (KCNA) — Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, toured the Mangyongdae Funfair.

The Mangyongdae Funfair is a cultural recreation ground for the people and an entertainment and educational center built by the great loving care and benevolence by President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il who were always considerate of providing the Korean people with more affluent and highly civilized life.

Covering 70 hectares, the funfair has the first-phase funfair built in Kalmaeji Field and the second-phase one and a wading pool built on an expansion basis in Songsan Field.

The funfair has made positive contribution to the entertainment of people and school youth and children for decades.

He looked round various places of the funfair to acquaint himself in detail with its management and operation.

In front of the swingboat in the second-phase funfair, he, pointing at the seriously broken pavement in the compound of the funfair, asked officials when the road was last re-paved. It is regretful that the road has not been managed well, he said.

Putting his finger on the faulty arrangement of the bases of Oriental arborvitae and Sabina Chinensis, he said it would be good to have gravel stones planted in various shapes around the trees.

Seeing the weeds grown in between pavement blocks in the compound of the funfair, he, with an irritated look, plucked them up one by one. He said in an excited tone that he has never thought that the funfair is under such a bad state and a proverb that the darkest place is under the candlestick fits the funfair. He scolded officials, saying why such things do not come in their sight and querying could the officials of the funfair work like this, had they had the attitude befitting master, affection for their work sites and conscience to serve the people. Plucking up weeds can be done easily with hands as it is different from updating facilities, he added.

Saying that the amusement facilities have been put into operation with the paint scraped off, he noted that the officials and care-takers of the funfair have below-zero spirit of serving the people. This is not just a business issue but an issue concerning ideological viewpoint, he said in a serious tone.

He dropped in at the fountain pool where he stressed the need to tidy up the place even though it may not go operational for this or that reason.

Officials should draw a serious lesson from the tour of Mangyongdae Funfair, he said, adding that this occasion should be taken to issue a serious warning to the officials so that they can have proper spirit of serving the people.

He called for sprucing up the Mangyongdae Funfair as required by the Songun era. This process should be made an occasion of removing outdated ideological point of view from the heads of officials and ending their old work-style, he added.

He set forth the tasks for sprucing up the funfair.

He gave Choe Ryong Hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, the task for sprucing up the funfair as required by the new century by dispatching strong construction forces of the KPA.

The officials of the relevant fields including the Pyongyang City Committee of the WPK, ministries and national institutions should fulfill their duties and responsibilities in sprucing up the funfair to implement the WPK’s intention of serving people in practice.

He was accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae and Ma Won Chun, vice- department director of the WPK Central Committee.

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