Kim Jong Un’s charm offensive takes him to selfies at Gardens by the Bay, and it’s unsettling

From left: Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, North Korean leader Kim Jong un, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. Photo: Vivian Balakrishnan / Facebook
From left: Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, North Korean leader Kim Jong un, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. Photo: Vivian Balakrishnan / Facebook

It’s the night before the historic meeting with US President Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is taking it easy by visiting Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay, appearing in selfies with local government officials.

Here is Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with Education Minister Ong Ye Kung taking what might be the first ever selfies with Chairman Kim. You know, the supreme leader of a country known for having the worst human rights record in the world. It’s not a good look.

But after the fact that Singapore officials just held a surprise birthday celebration for Trump — on record for boasting about grabbing female genitalia and being an icon of white nationalism — perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised after all.

After departing from his accommodations at The St. Regis around 9pm, the North Korean leader took in the sights of Singapore with a leisurely walk around the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay before heading out to the vicinity of Marina Bay Sands, the Jubilee Bridge, and the Esplanade.

In tow with Kim were his army of suited bodyguards, his sister Kim Yo Jong, and the aforementioned Singaporean ministers, according to Channel NewsAsia.

In this clip that captured his entrance into Marina Bay Sands, people are actually cheering for the man who, we might have to remind you, is as focused on nuclear armaments as his forefathers, ruthlessly executed senior officials with an anti-aircraft gun, and lives it up in “7-star” parties while millions of his people are starving. Among other things, like horrifyingly brutal prison camps and (allegedly) ordering the assassination of his half-brother last year.

Kim’s charm offensive seems to have been working effectively, even among millennials. SGAG — a local meme page for basic people — celebrated Kim’s selfie with Singaporean ministers. The same goes for online publication Mothership.

Sure, it may have been funny to photoshop Trump and Kim bromancing it up in various unlikely locations across Singapore. But the reality of it all right now is kind of unsettling, especially since people are fawning over a problematic figure. It’s reasonable if Singapore is footing the North Korean contingency’s hotel tab to make sure the summit is a success, and it’s fun to joke around with Kim and Trump’s impersonators, but we’ll be damned if we normalize the actual regime and the man at the head of it all.

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

What’s a hardware wallet and why do you need a secure one?