By Tim Wee
March 24, 2014
Korea has been in the mainstream consciousness for some time now. Whether be it the latest exploitations of meme worthy North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or the irresistible sound of Girls’ Generation, we just can’t get enough of the kimchi fuelled nation! So much so, there is even a term coined called “Hallyu” to describe the Korean Wave phenomenon that’s sweeping the world!
Do you ‘heart’ the Korean Wave?
Photos sourced from korea.net and soompi.com
Ever since the late 1990s’, Korea (more specifically, South Korea) has transformed itself into an economical powerhouse as well as one of Asia’s "Pop" cultural hub as well. Backed by a generous government, the Korean touch is making its waves from the cutting edge technology to automobile!
Samsung, LG and Hyundai are but some of the acclaimed Korean superbrands!
Photos sourced from ibtimes.co.uk, techtainian.com and netcarshow.com
However, that is only one side of the Korean success story. Besides becoming the tech giant that she is, Korea is also now established as a major player in the cultural export industry. With a certain chic now attached to all of its music, films, television dramas and food, it is no wonder that major K-pop concerts sell out in mere minutes! Youngsters have no qualm about forking out silly money just to catch Korean idols like Big Bang, Girls’ Generation and PSY!
Girls’ Generation or Big Bang; the K-wave has something for everyone!
Photos sourced from billboard.com and wikipedia.org
But, the Korean revolution is not just limited to the young! Even the older generation like say your mum, the hardcore Hong Kong TVB dramas loyalist, have defected over as diehard fans of popular Korean dramas like Boys Over Flowers, The Princess’ Man and Jewel in the Palace! And, that’s not even including the universally loved Korean variety show Running Man!
Are you hooked to K-dramas? We can thank Boys Over Flowers and Running Man for that!
Photos sourced from dramafever.com
The K-fever doesn’t just end on the small screens! In the multi-million dollar movie industry, Korean movies and directors are rapidly gaining ground on their Western counterparts. In recent times, Korean blockbusters like The Host, Il Mare and Oldboy have been given the Hollywood remake treatment! At the same time, renowned Korean directors like Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho and Kim Ki-duk have now etched their name onto movie goers’ lips worldwide.
The K-wave now making a splash as far as Hollywood!
Photos sourced from grahamhumphreys.com and ropeofsilicon.com
Finally, as the old adage goes, Korea is also working her way into our heart through our stomach. With an array of tantalising traditional dishes, Korean barbecue and hotpot is now available everywhere from hawker centres to restaurants! In addition, the younger Korean culinary chefs have begun reimagining old favourites for their generation. Hybrid fusion creations like bulgogi taco and kimchi burger not only capture the imagination, but also the taste buds of modern youths!
Old school VS Modern Korean cuisine; which will you choose?
Photos sourced from yelp.com
So with Korea as a major cultural superpower, how invaluable is it to learn the language? We think of five everyday situations where a working knowledge of the Korean language will definitely be handy!
1. Listening to K-pop
Do you feel like you are missing out on something as you listen to Girls’ Generation’s latest track, Love & Girls? Sure there’s nothing wrong in just losing yourself in the visually stimulating music video, but think about the richness of the song that you are missing out on!
2. Watching K-dramas
Tired of pausing every few minutes just to read the subtitles on your favourite Korean drama? Don’t want to experience the horror of another horrible English dubbed K-drama ever again? Learn the language and put it to good use the next time you are watching Running Man!
3. Dining at a Korean restaurant
It is always embarrassing when it comes to pronouncing those bombastic Korean dish names when you are going Korean. Well, you can rest easy once you mastered the local tongue. There will be no more hushed tones when placing your order. Plus, you can also impress your date as you place your meal order in flawless Korean!
4. Talking Korean with Koreans
Koreans are but one of the many nationalities that make up our expat community. No doubt, you will have encountered many Koreans as exchange students in schools or as colleagues in the office. So, flex your linguistic muscle and break the ice by welcoming them in their native speak.
5. K-pop Karaoke
Much like the first point on the list, there is always something magical about singing a song in the language it was intended to. And sometimes, we want to share that magical feeling with friends and loved ones. So instead of sticking to the usual English or Mandopop tunes the next time you go for karaoke, surprise everyone with a Big Bang number! Or, confidently rap the verses of PSY’s Gentleman before having everyone join in at the chorus!
Embrace the K-wave now by signing up for our Korean Language Class!
Check it out here!
Fan the flames of your K-fever by heading down to SAFRA Toa Payoh’s Kkongdon Barbeque!
Feast on mouth watering Korean cuisine here!