[imText1]The response of citizens to the “special provisions” bestowed to North Korean citizens in time for Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16th was reportedly lukewarm.
A North Korean source in Shinuiju said in a phone conversation on the 17th, “When looking at the goods provided this time around, the quality has gone up as a whole in contrast to the past. However, the citizens did not attach too much significance to the ‘Great General’s gift’ as in the past.”
The source relayed the public sentiment as “Goods more valuable than his gifts are all over the place in the jangmadang. A portion of the people has said, ‘Special provisions are not necessary. Just do not regulate the markets.'”
In Shinuiju, a bottle of luxury liquor, 2kg of tangerine, and two pheasants were provided to the party organization through the “special provision’ and a bottle of liquor and a modest amount of fruits such as apples and tangerines were given to regular organizations. The People’s Units received a bottle of liquor, a toothbrush, and a bar of soap and pre-school and elementary school students received five pieces of gum, two rice crackers, two packs of chips, and one pack of candy.
The source added, “Those receiving the ‘title of hero’ and the Secretaries in charge of the county parties were given boxes marked with the label ‘gift,’ but its contents are uncertain.”
Another source in Hoiryeong in a phone conversation on this day said, “A bottle of liquor, a bar of soap, and a bottle of toothpaste were provided through the February 16th holiday provision and the children received a pack of candy, two packs of chips, a pack of pea candy, two packs of rice crackers, and seven pieces of gum.”
He also expressed discontent, saying, “It is pitiful to have to wait in line in front of the stores through which provisions are handed out for a mere bottle of liquor and soap.”
In the Hyesan, Yangkang Province region, laborers working at state enterprises were given 3kg of Annam rice (wild rice) and a bottle of liquor and oil were given to average households.
North Korea, in time for Kim Jong Il’s birthday in 2007, provided around 10 food items and daily necessities, including liquor and beer, cider and rice tally, oil, chips, and gum, to civilians.
In 2007, 200g of chips, 200g of candy, 100g of rice snacks, and five pieces of gum were given to elementary school students. Due to the shortage in foreign currency, special provisions were not offered to average civilians.