A South Korean political expert who became a global superstar after his serious BBC interview was cracked by his curious kids and a stressed-out woman has made headlines again today – to reveal that his son and daughter ‘ climb the walls’ during their coronavirus isolation.
Professor Robert Kelly’s appearance on BBC News via a video link in March 2017 immediately became a sensation after his daughter Marion, then four, burst into her father’s office and saw the world with her little brother James on his walker.
Their imperturbable father, who presented his expert insights on South Korean politics to BBC News, managed to ignore the chaos behind him when his wife Jung-a Kim stormed into the room to remove their excited children – but not before the pair became a hit with the audience.
Now Professor Kelly, 47, has reappeared on BBC World News – this time with his wife and children invited to sit next to him – revealing what life is like in Busan, South Korea during a coronavirus lock.
Professor Kelly has reappeared on BBC World News – this time with his wife and children invited to sit next to him (children Marion and James and wife Jung-a Kim pictured) – as he reveals what life is like in Busan, South Korea during coronavirus lock
Speaking about working from home with his young children, Professor Kelly said, “It’s difficult for us. As you can see, it is very difficult.
Employers who have employees with children of this age; they fight all the time, they have nothing to do, they climb the walls, it is really very difficult.
“That’s why I’m glad they soften the rules a little so that we can at least bring them out so they can use a little energy – but three weeks ago it was very difficult because we had nowhere to go.
“There are only so many games you can play and puzzles to do before they run around.”
Professor Kelly’s struggles with the children are visible in today’s interview, as Marion and James fidget as their parents answer questions about life in South Korea as the coronavirus spreads across the country.
But the parents remain calm while asking questions about living in a closed house with their children.
Professor Kelly’s wife, Jung-a Kim, said, “It is very difficult to stay at home for a long time.
“We try to go outside to see the flowers and the trees and they can scream and scream.”
Professor Robert Kelly’s appearance on BBC News via video link in March 2017 immediately became a sensation after his daughter Marion, then four, burst into her father’s office for the world to see, with her little brother James on his walker
Professor Kelly’s fame in 2017 came after being questioned about South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye, who was driven out by power, was eclipsed by four-year-old Marion, who performed a comic dance in the background.
South Korea has pushed for its citizens to be tested during the outbreak and has also used cell phone data that people can use to determine if they have come in contact with someone infected with the new coronavirus
The country is seen as a kind of success story in its efforts to control the spread of the virus.
Professor Kelly said, “I think South Koreans have handled it very well. I think self-compliance has been quite high. You don’t see the kind of things you see in the US with crowded beaches and people who refuse to stay off the metro and stuff like that.
“The South Koreans have responded very well and that is why the curve has leveled off.”
When the interview ended, the BBC newsreader told Professor Kelly that he was happy that ‘Marion and James have lost none of their mischief’.
Professor Kelly’s fame in 2017 came after being questioned about South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye, who was driven out of power, was overshadowed by four-year-old Marion performing a comedy dance in the background.
She was followed by little brother James, just nine months old, who burst into the study in a fast-moving baby walker. Moments later, a stressed Jung-a slipped into the room and grabbed the children from the shot.
President Kelly spoke shortly after the blunder – sitting next to his wife and two children – while Marion sucked a lollipop and James chewed a rusk, eager to defend his wife against mean comments
He said he was so scared after the ‘disaster’ that he apologized to the BBC and thought his interviewing career was over.
President Kelly spoke shortly after the blunder – sitting next to his wife and two children – while Marion sucked a lollipop and James chewed a rusk. He was eager to defend his wife against mean comments.
He said, “It is very clear in the video that she is frantically trying to save the professionalism of the interview.
“When Marian speaks to our daughter in the clip, she says in Korean” Why Mom “because she was surprised because we don’t usually treat children like you saw in the clip.”
Prof Kelly admitted he was mortified at the time, but afterwards he could see the funny side.
He said his feelings about the incident had changed from “surprise and shame” to “amusement” and finally “love and affection.”
“It was terribly cute. I saw the video like everyone else and it is really funny, “said Prof. Kelly.
He said the response to social media was astonishing – and especially positive – and he was forced to turn off Twitter and Facebook alerts and put his phone in airplane mode.
Speaking on Twitter in 2018, a year after the clip went viral, Professor Kelly told his followers that he hates talking about the video too often for fear of the kids’ ‘overexposure’, but he wanted to mark the interview’s one-year anniversary.
He revealed that achieving worldwide fame through his children had brought them closer together as a family.
Professor Kelly said, “It made us happier. We laugh about it. It helps me empathize more with parents. We love our children very much, but I suppose it has strengthened our relationship with them. ‘