The players: Susubori crew, 'been-there-done-that' foreigners, naive 'wow-Korea's-so-unique' foreigners, and the Evil and Most Malevolent Bastards Who Think Nothing of Substance, aka, the PR Wanks, aka, the Showboaters, aka, The Guys Who Would Rather Film Us Than Teach Us Anything About Their Mysteriously Inscrutable Culture Which Is World Famous. Whew.
|Entries from 32 exhibitors, from which 8 semi-finalists were selected.|
Here's the short version. The full account comes after the break. We're sweating away at COEX, in an exhibition hall, onstage, in front of massive rows of cameras recording proof of foreigners happily engaged in traditional Korean culture. What you won't see is that the end result of this is: no education regarding traditional culture; an unusable traditional product that would have been disposed of by the very people who made it (well, foreigners anyway, the jury's still out on whether non-Koreans in Korea are really people, given that we certainly aren't treated as such, but more on that later); and, finally, an overwhelming sense that we'd all been lent out to an end which didn't actually serve the purpose of our visit and which in truth defeated the very intent behind visiting this expo.
To wit: frequently in Korea, there are these "cultural learnings for make great benefit glorious nation of Korea" type of events. At said events, foreigners get singled out to perform something they do not understand and look silly doing so. After said performances, Koreans in attendance feel something like, "Oh, that validates my culture and its uniqueness! They try and it's cute, but they're so bad at it!"
Be forewarned: I do get negative. But only because I care. And things turn out well, and suggestions, positive ones, are made.