Story by Selina Dang:
How were you introduced to Korea/Korean Culture?
I’m not too sure I can exactly pinpoint when it was that I was first exposed to Korea, but my earliest memory was when I was around 13/14 years old and hearing my very first Korean song. I was captivated by the unique melody (it had a traditional feel and was unlike anything I had heard of) and the emotional voice of the vocalist, however I did not know the name of the song nor the artist. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I found out the song was called ‘I Believe’ by Lee Soo Young, till this day Lee Soo Young remains one of my favourite Korean singers.
However it wasn’t really until I had seen a certain music video that I really started to seek out more Korean music. At that time this particular music video went ‘viral’ among Fast East Asians, and to many that were around my age and in my generation, it was probably what started our foray into Kpop. That particular music video was ‘Because I’m a Girl’ by Korean Female Trio KISS. The music video was a drama compacted into an extended 8 minute video, the video told a story and had us crying our eyes out (which I have no shame in admitting).
Around this time Korean Drama Autumn in My Heart started making waves throughout Asia and that become the hook that got me into K-dramas. It was through dramas that I was exposed to the History that inter-links Chinese and Korean Culture and I began to find more similarities that really spark my interest and it was from there on out that I have become so entwined with Korean Pop Culture.
2. What do you like about it?
It’s actually hard to explain why I like Korean Culture as much as I do because it’s simple…. I just do. My interest has evolved over time and what started with just getting into Korean music and dramas evolved into wanting to know more about the people, the country, the language and their way of life. In fact I now listen to very little Kpop as my taste in music has become more defined, preferring Korean ballads and indie over main stream pop. However I am still a big fan of Korean dramas, recent ones may not be as good as they once were (though you do get the rare gem every now and then) but I still enjoy watching and dissecting them nevertheless. I also like that I can relate to Korean Culture to a certain extent as there are similarities with Chinese Cultures, such as Lunar Near Year and Mid-Autumn Festival/Chuseok are celebrated in both Cultures, I like learning how similar and different the two Cultures are.
3. What do you like the most?
The people, I visited South Korea in May 2015 for the first time and that really cemented my infatuation with Korean Culture. Most of the people I had met were really nice, friendly and willing to a complete foreigner, even the older generation. For a Country so advanced in technology, it was so nice to traditions being held on to.
One might expect Seoul, the capital city to resemble how far advanced their technology is but walking through the streets of the city you can feel the history, culture and story with brick you pass.
I am the type of person that likes a good story with the history to go along with it so it’s probably no surprise for those who know me to hear that I have fallen for South Korea, a Country with so many stories yet to be told.
‘Inspired by KOREA series’ is an ongoing collection of posts by YOU! Since we are a community of Korea lovers, we want to share your passion and how you are inspired by Korea! Submit your story of how you found out about Korean culture and what draws you to Korea to [email protected]!