When talking about Song Song Hui, manageress of the Pyongyang Glasses Shop, the story should start with that of her father.
Her father Song Tae Gwan was born in a mountain village in North Phyongan Province in August Juche 1 (1912). When he was 15, he started to engage in business with 40 apple trees he had inherited from his mother. The business, which had been prosperous, became impoverished gradually owing to the Japanese imperialists’ ruthless policy of plunder as they were occupying Korea militarily; this drove him to despair.
In August Juche 34 (1945), the country was liberated, and Kim Il Sung, leader of a new Korea, called upon all the people to build a prosperous and powerful country, those with strength dedicating their strength, those with knowledge contributing their knowledge and those with money donating their money.
The young businessman moved his business to Pyongyang, and set up a small pencil factory there, producing the first pencil of Korea, Samcholli, and rendering services to the education of the rising generation and the campaign against illiteracy. It is a well-known fact that the question of pencil production was discussed as an agenda item at the First Session of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea at that time.
In February Juche 35 (1946), Kim Il Sung visited the pencil factory, and highly appreciated Song for his patriotic deed. In March that year, he met the businessman again, and said that he hoped businessmen with national conscience and patriotic enthusiasm like him would do a lot of good things for the sake of their country and fellow people in the future.
During the fierce Fatherland Liberation War (June 1950-July 1953), Song’s business produced shoes, syringes and electric bulbs to make a contribution to meeting the wartime demands, and donated millions of won (Korean monetary unit) as funds for supporting the front several times. After the war, he took the lead in organizing a producers cooperative when the policy of transforming private traders on socialist lines was set forth.
From 1959 to January 1994, the last days of his life, he worked as the chairman of the Pyongyang Optical Glass Producers Cooperative. During the period, his cooperative produced millions of spectacles and various kinds of glass products needed for different sectors of the national economy and the interior decoration of monumental edifices. He worked as a Deputy to the Pyongyang Municipal People’s Assembly for dozens of years and thus became a socialist patriotic martyr.
Song Song Hui, the youngest of seven children of the family, grew up under the special care of her father. She often heard her father saying that there would be someone who would carry on his business. She knew that her father worked at the factory most of his time with workers through nights, and that he was very pleased when he had done something for the good of the country.
I will be an excellent patriot like him.
With this determination, Song Song Hui, when she was 30 years old, changed her occupation, and became a spectacle repairer. Three years later, she started to serve the people with spectacles produced by her father’s cooperative while engaging in repairing glasses.
In March 1993, the country saw to it that a spectacle shop was built in the Kaeson area in the capital city of Pyongyang.
Working as the manageress of the Pyongyang Glasses Shop, she laid a firm material and technical foundation for the shop and served the people with different spectacles. Not satisfied with waiting for customers at the shop, she and other employees went as far as local areas to serve the locals and took orders from individuals.
She has always disciplined herself, thinking: As a saying goes, if a man can be called worthy of a thousand ryang (an old Korean monetary unit), eyes are worthy of eight hundred ryang. If I fail to give the people bright eyesight, how can I say that I work for them?
Sometimes there were difficulties or she became exhausted. Each time, she thought of Kim Il Sung who put forward her father, who was only a private businessman, as a socialist patriot, and the trust and love of Chairman Kim Jong Il, who said that hers was a family of high patriotism through generations and solved all the problems arising in the operation of the shop. Taking it as the most precious wealth and asset, she would make a firm resolve to devote herself to serving the people.
She has unsparingly donated accumulated funds to the major construction sites of the country and to the modernization of factories, enterprises and cooperative farms.
As a meritorious person of socialist patriotism and a Deputy to the Pyongyang Municipal People’s Assembly, she has received many state commendations and attended major conferences of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the state.
At present, the shop has its branches at home and abroad.
Song Song Hui, 66, is now full of energy and continues the road of serving the people together with her son.