There was a very familiar face in the crowd at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Kim Jong Un. Was he really there? Daniel Ratanapintha investigates.
The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games has been dubbed as a groundbreaking event to break down barriers between DPR Korea and Korea Republic. We speak with Kim Jong Un impersonator, Howard, who this week reminded us that through the common bond of humor, much like sports, we can see we’re all cut from the same cloth.
For the most part, these games have shown how far relations between the people of DPR Korea & Korea Republic have come; especially considering the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul that saw strong political tension during the games. Therefore the significance of the two Korean athletes marching under one unification flag during the opening ceremony speaks volumes to the progress made thus far, despite ongoing political issues.
Rather it was the remarkably well choreographed displays of support from the “army of beauties” that has caught the imagination of the world. As social media went wild, many took issue questioning the legitimacy of their support, given how they’re under a 24-hour watch just like the DPR Korea athletes.
So what’s better than 239 hand-picked North Korean ladies cheering for their nation?
It has to be the moment when all 239 of them were left flabbergasted by the sight of their supreme leader appearing before them.
That man of course, simply known as Howard, is a Chinese-Australian impersonator who has been playing the role of DPR Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the last five years.
Howard who doesn’t speak Korean is actually from Melbourne and was already ejected from the games after teaming up with a Donald Trump impersonator before he was stopped in his tracks for a second time when he tried to approach the 239-strong cheerleading squad.
At the united Korea vs Japan womens’ hockey game, an apparent Kim Jong-un impersonator starts dancing in front of North Korean cheerleaders. Apparent employees of the DPRK push him aside. He’s now sitting nearby giving interviews (in English) pic.twitter.com/PeVJYtri5Y
— Vincent Bevins (@Vinncent) February 14, 2018
‘Kim’, approached the cheerleaders and was met with giggles from the women mostly in their 20’s, several of whom were somewhat bewildered, but most saw the funny side of their ‘Dear Leader’ giving encouragement during a game of hockey. Unfortunately he was quickly apprehended by the minders of the group and forced back to his seat.
Reporter: After you were stopped alongside Donald Trump initially, were the security surprised to see you again?
Howard: First of all the guards from the stadium on the opening simply took us back to our seats and it was different guards who detained me at the hockey arena. Some of them actually did find it amusing.
Reporter: Do you feel comedy can be one of the best ways to address politics with this expression of free speech?
Howard: Yes Satire is the most feared weapon against any dictatorships, or any politician. That’s why Australia has such a healthy democracy because the politicians are constantly in fear of their consistency and not the other way around.
Reporter: What was going through your mind as you approached the North Korean cheerleaders?
Howard: They were very cute and that I really would like to root all of them. Some of them were surprised, shocked and some giggled or laughed with their hands over their mouths.
Reporter: I saw you were quickly taken away by their ‘political minders’, what happened when the South Korean police arrived?
Howard: They quietly disappeared back into the arena.