What does the life of an old aged over one hundred have to tell? We can obtain the answer from Hwang Chang Bong, a 104-years old woman living in Neighbourhood Unit 49, Kaesondong, Moranbong District, Pyongyang.
Still with Good Eyes
Born in 1915 Hwang is still an active woman. She has good analytical judgment of matters and phenomena, and a good memory. When she was over 90, she felt inconvenience in moving her body because of senility, but she got free from it after taking for a long time fermented vinegar based on fruit. Whenever the doctor in charge of her comes to see her once a week, she says, “OK, I’m very well. If you have the time to come to see me, you had better go and see other people.” Enjoying Happiness in Advanced Age On a fine day she has a walk on Moran Hill near her home. Some time ago she went to the Munsu Water Park together with her grandchildren.
She is able to read newspapers and thread a needle without wearing glasses, and does kitchen work, cooking rice and cleaning greens. Once her family was invited to show up on TV, and she was glad to see scores of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, calling their names to the amazement of the audience. It is said that the audience asked if it was really the old woman who had said it. As the elder in the family of four generations she phones her children to see if they are well or advise them to do their work well. She has no unbalanced diet, and is especially fond of soybean foods such as bean paste and bean curd.
Thirty-two College Diplomas
Hwang was born in Kimpho, Kyonggi Province. Before liberation of the country from the Japanese imperialists’ military occupation on August 15, 1945 she moved to Wonsan, Kangwon Province with which she was unfamiliar in search of her husband who was a worker at the Wonsan wharf. Now she has over 50 descendents. Though she learned her mother tongue through a campaign against illiteracy only after liberation, 32 descendents of hers except minors are college graduates. Her children over the age of pensioner are still working well in their workplaces.
Her eldest daughter, 72, who is a researcher, made success in research significant in agricultural production, and almost lives on the spot for its better development. The second daughter, 69, has been working as a teacher of the Pyongyang Teachers Training College for 47 years since her maidenhood. The third daughter, 62, is working as general manager of a garment factory for over 20 years. What encourages the daughters to be engrossed in their work is their mother’s request: “Man can live a worthy life only when he does his work. It is a tradition of my family to work for the country to the death”— this is what Hwang used to say to her children (She also worked with the women’s union until she was over 70.).
She lost her mother when she was three, and grew up under the care of her widowed father, and was forced into child labour as she was deprived of her country. Only after Korea’s liberation could she live without worry in the new country, bringing up fi ve children. They got college education free of charge. Among them are a hero, a renowned scientist and a doctor.
When celebrating her 100th birthday, she said, “The country is the embrace of mother who gave me the life, hope and presentable children, and the whole of my life.” Every day she sees off her children going to work saying, “You should do your jobs well to become persons of use for the country.”