North Korean men ordered to wear hair like Kim Jong Un's

Kim Jong-Un and his female admirers.
PHOTO: Reuters

News slipping out of the world's most secretive state seem to get weirder and weirder by the day.

And the latest bizarre rumour has it that communist North Korea had been cracking down on men with 'long' hair, and commanding them to adopt iron-fisted leader Kim Jong-Un's cropped hairstyle.

It is neatly mowed on the sides and back, and what is left on top of his head is swept backwards with pointy angles.

The North calls it the "ambitious look", according to The Chosun Ilbo newspaper in South Korea. And barber shops in the North were flooded with men complying with the order, a source told the daily. It also reported that university student monitors were snipping off the hair of offenders.

The look recalls the hairdo of Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and that of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong somewhat, except that his hair was not shaven at the sides as seen in photos of him in his advanced years.

Apparently, young North Korean women were not exempt from haircut orders too. They were told to keep their hair bobbed like Kim's wife, Ri Sol-Ju, who was often seen accompanying the leader at events in official photos released to the media.

The daily said only female performers were allowed to keep their locks long.

Kim's strange hairstyle, behaviour and other antics had been lampooned by critics in recent years, ever since he took over the reins from his father, Kim Jong Il who died in December 2011.

Some enterprising ones were quick to monetise the mockery, by introducing merchandise that poke fun at the young leader. The most famous was the controversial satire movie, The Interview, which features an assassination plot on him.

And now, Kim is made to sing as a desktop speaker system. Inspired by the classical porcelain busts, performance artist Petro Wodkins designed the limited edition Sound of Power bust speaker, which sees half of the 'head' sliced off at a slant, exposing the speaker.

Sound of Power described it as a "stunning bust depicting Kim" with well balanced sound and a smooth, yet distinct base.

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Wodkins, who depicted Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the first model in the series, named his second speaker 'Kim Sunshine'. If you're an audiophile or Kim admirer, you might just grab it. Only 98 pieces are available at €1,111 (S$2,362) since the launch on Thursday.

Two busts, the first one (No.1) which was made and the last (No.100) were put up for auction, with a starting bid at €2,111 pounds (S$4,490).

Will Kim worth more than Putin? Two speakers of the Russian leader named St. Vladimir fetched €6,500 (S$13,824) and €4,200 (S$8,923) in auctions.

chenj@sph.com.sg

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