Eternal President Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who devoted his natural disposition becoming of a great man, inexhaustible abilities and precious times to the sacred cause for achieving the freedom and happiness of the people, rejected any special favour or privilege throughout his life.
The International Friendship Exhibition House Tells
One day the President visited the International Friendship Exhibition House together with President Didier Ratsiraka of Madagascar.
The exhibition house, situated in the famous Mt Myohyang, houses gifts presented to the DPRK President by leaders and prominent figures of many countries and parties, organs and associations as a reflection of the international recognition of and praise for his ideology, leadership and exploits and of the world people’s trust in and attraction to his ennobling personality as a great man.
However, he did not think that the gifts were only for him. He said: All the gifts I have received are the country’s assets, not mine; so they should be kept in an exhibition house. He added that as the gifts were national treasures of historic significance, they should be preserved well.
During the guide’s explanation of the gifts, the Madagascan president was all ears, but Kim Il Sung was looking alone at the gifts on display on the other side. Those who saw him thought that he was doing so as he had seen them before. But they were misguided.
In fact, he felt awkward and uncomfortable to listen to the guide’s explanation that this or that gift had been presented by this or that person or organization of this or that country out of respect for him.
As he was a boundlessly humble man, he never mentioned about his exploits even in his momoires, in which he reviewed his life.
In April 1965 President Kim Il Sung paid a visit to Indonesia on the occasion of the tenth celebration of the First Asian-African Conference. According to the itinerary of the visit, he visited Bogor botanical garden with President Sukarno of the host country. The botanical garden was famous across the world because of many flowers reminiscent of an international flower exposition and its long history.
There he saw a very beautiful flower of the orchid family. He looked carefully at the leaves, smelled the fragrance of the flower, and expressed his heartfelt thanks to the director of the botanical garden for showing him such a rare and beautiful flower. The director explained that the plant had been bred by a horticultural specialist in his botanical garden, and that they brought it into bloom for the first time on the instructions of their president. There and then, President Sukarno suggested naming the flower after President Kim Il Sung.
Kim Il Sung gently declined the suggestion, saying that he had done nothing so special and that there was no need to name a flower after him. President Sukarno replied: “No, you have rendered enormous services to mankind, you deserve a high honour.” Back in Jakarta, Sukarno repeatedly brought the matter to the delegation from the DPRK.
On receiving a report about it, President Kim Il Sung said that if President Sukarno and the Indonesian people wished it so sincerely, he would accept the suggestion as a token of their esteem for the Korean people.
This is how a flower named after a great man came into the world.
In April 1994 Kim Il Sung met a journalist delegation from CNN International on their visit to the DPRK.
The delegation asked him, “Although you are the embodiment of this nation and its people, many people around the world would be very interested in learning more about you as a person.”
Kim Il Sung replied, “Many people around the world seem to be greatly interested in me, because I am one of the senior politicians. I am an ordinary man as other people are.”