No DNA test is needed to ID this inanitySo there he was. A flabby man with a grizzly beard and haggard face. You know who I’m talking about ― Saddam Hussein, the (former) Dear Leader of Iraq. Meanwhile, President Roh Moo-hyun dropped a bombshell, staking his post on the results of a bribery probe. But it was lousy timing. That Sunday night, Mr. Hussein conquered the TV screens. Surfing the channels, all overflowing with the breaking news of his capture, I could not believe this former tyrant’s meek, pathetic appearance.
Seeing was not believing at that moment. Would he end up being the real Hussein? What if he was an imposter? To give him the benefit of the doubt, I kept wondering ― until the results of a DNA test confirming that it was indeed him were announced. I had to wait on the report about our dear Mr. President a good 20 minutes. This whole hustle and bustle over the capture suddenly reminded me of “Truth Game” on SBS-TV.
“Truth Game” poses the question, “Guess who is the real one?” every Friday at 7 p.m., each time under a different theme. So far, questions have included “Who is the real Korean American?” “Who is the fake cook?” and, recently, “Who is the real elementary school student?”
If you ask me what good it does to find a real teenager, I don’t have a winning answer. But well, it’s just a TV show, not operation Iraqi Freedom.
The program has its own jurors, a group of aspiring or over-the-hill celebrities. Asking a few questions to verify who is real, jurors select a candidate before stepping over to the “Bell of the Truth” in one corner of the stage. After reciting the grandiose phrase, “Ring, oh bell of truth!” they learn the truth: If they guessed correctly, firecrackers erupt; if it’s the wrong answer, the punishment is to be turned round and round on the platform where the bell is located at quite a speed.
In the episode where the real grade school student was being sought, four 20-something women came onstage with the bona fide teeny bopper. Each had a nickname, like Thumb Princess, Flower Blossom, Sailor Moon, Tomboy and Mirror Princess. Of course, they wore gaudy costumes to go along with their names. Then came a barrage of questions from the jurors. Asked to sing her school’s anthem, Thumb Princess and Tomboy were pretty much caught. They sang the same tune, but different lyrics. Tomboy, however, acted oh-so-real, saying, “Sir, can I go to the bathroom?” in a babyish voice. The jurors also instructed the candidates to sing and dance. It was beyond my comprehension what benefit the jurors got from seeing some gal’s dance moves. Then again, they were all wearing miniskirts.
There was also the emcee, Yu Jae-seok, who said that “Ms. Flower Blossom 12 years ago starred in a children’s program, ‘It’s Our World!’ where I was the emcee.” Well, Mr. Yu went too far. Flower Blossom was not even around 12 years ago. The can of worms had been opened, but Mr. Yu made some cheap excuses, like “This is the catch, ladies and gentlemen, don’t get fooled, sit tight.” Despite such smoke-and-mirror tactics, which weren’t successful anyway, one juror, a comedian way past his prime whose name I can’t remember, was especially eager to learn the truth, constantly scribbling notes and asking questions. His choice was Tomboy, who turned out to be a 20-year-old coed. He even badgered other jurors to ring the Bell of the Truth, only to learn that he totally missed the mark.
Why this far-from-brainy program suddenly popped up in my head, I can’t quite say. But that was what came from watching Mr. Hussein’s ruffled gray beard for two hours straight.
by Chun Su-jin