Singapore – Ever since the broadcast of Winter Sonata on local television, the Korean culture has slowly found its way into the heart of local ajummas (aunties) and built up an undisputable reputation for having the best soap operas onscreen. Easily using up a box of tissues while watching Stairways to Heaven, Korean scriptwriters finally bridged the gap where soap operas like ‘Days of Our Lives’ had not. Their talented scriptwriters have a wonderful way to reaching to the depths of your heart, and pulling at your heartstrings so hard that days after the drama has ended, you will tear at the mere thought of those heartbreaking scenes of separation.
Today, eight years of establishing a pool of rock solid, romantic drama and tragedy followers, Korean TV has slowly built another group of followers – those of the Hallyu Star wave. The well-known, K-pop, their music, has well found its way into our minds.
On most iPods, iPhones (or likely even Samsungs and LGs) today, you’ll find at least one, two, or 10 korean songs. Today, you’ll easily find handsome Korean young boys and sweet young Korean ladies on the screen lock of a locked iPhone. You’ll see your friends attempting the songs in broken Korean, trying to follow the tunes of their favourite idols – Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, Super Junior, Miss A, Shinee and probably hundreds of other K-pop idols we couldn’t even list enough.
Constantly growing deeper into the roots of our younger generation, most know more than a thing or two about K-pop, whether or not they’ve professed to be fans. Don’t believe me? Just ask any of your friends if they know who Super Junior is. While they may not know the names of all their members, but trust me, they know.
The point I’m making is this. The young Singapore today has been Koreanised*.
Positive or not, you ask? There’s just no correct answer to that. But it is true that the Korean culture have started to integrate with our culture too. Let me show you that in five simple aspects.
* Koreanised: This word only exists in the writer’s mental dictionary. Definition – The influenced result of Korea’s entertainment culture through their awesome dramas, music, and handsome/pretty looking idols.
Overrun with traditional Korean restaurants and BBQ houses along popular streets, Korean food has taken up an irreplaceable position in our hearts. Singaporeans love food. They’ll travel miles for the best fried kway teow (a popular noodle dish) or the best fried carrot cakes (Asian style).
Korean restaurants are very popular in this country. People would pay to have authentic Korean cuisine. An ala carte bibimbap could cost up to S$12 and people would still gladly pay for it. These Korean restaurants blast K-pop and have movie posters as wallpapers.
No money to eat at a Korean restaurant? We have Korean food at almost every food court and even inexpensive neighbourhood food markets too. A dish-like grilled mackerel or bulgogi set meal can cost up to S$8. Yet, it is still the favourite of most people who order at such places.
However, nothing beats the traditional Korean restaurants for their food quality. Some of the best Korean restaurants are like the Sampo Restaurant and 2D1N Soju Bang in Tanjong Pagar.
Clubbing. Nightlife. Nuff’ said.
Not-to-be-missed parties like the Klub parties held by Colored Rhythms also fills the nightlife with more vigour for the young party goers who dance to a string of Korean tunes on the dance floor.
Colored Rhythms holds such parties often, and event nights are filled with fun and people party rocking to hip tunes. The last Klub party was held in June 2012, where they invited DJ Funky T who spun to a crazy dose of Korean pop that night.
Well, don’t be sad if you missed it. Just check out Colored Rhythm’s facebook page for more updates on the next party date!
Do you know that today, Singapore has their very own K-pop stars too? They are Tasha and Ferlyn, two girls who found stardom with their newly formed group: Skarf. Here’s their new music video.
Could you tell who’s who? No, in fact, you can’t clearly tell who’s Korean and who’s Singaporean. Let me tell you. The Singaporean girls are the ones in blonde and black hair. Singing fluently in Korean, you’ll hardly even know they’re Singaporean if I hadn’t mentioned it right?
That’s not all. Singaporeans are coming up with more and more talent shows. Most who participate in such talent shows now dance to K-pop or attempt a song number in Korean!
But brava, I say, brava! It really takes much courage singing in a language you cannot really understand. At least, I wouldn’t have the courage to do so even though I secretly think about doing so. My bathroom walls understand.
How about some locally made, PSY‘s Gangnam Style parody or making it our very own Singaporean Style?
More and more schools in Singapore are opening up to teach Korean. Widespread, Korean language courses are even readily available in local community centres for people who can’t afford to pay too much to hire a Korean tutor.
For those who can, it is definitely a feat to be doing something like this – participating in a Korean Recital Competition. In a public mall!
For someone who’s currently studying the Korean language, I can’t help but feel envious for their ability to speak like that.
Korean lifestyle items are everywhere. From groceries to notebooks to clothes. From mobile devices to laptops, they are everywhere!
Ever thought you would be carrying a phablet (phone + tablet)? When Galaxy Note first launched, I remember telling my friend that the phone is quite ugly because it isn’t as sleek and compact as the iPhone. A phone that covers half your face when you try to listen to the call? Come on! Pffft!
Or so I thought. And gladly, I’m not the only one.
And now, my best friend is my Samsung Galaxy Note. I love it! I use it for a lot of things – mainly to take notes. And I proudly claim my biasness towards the Note. Good ol’ days that used to be just iPhone who dominated the market. Now, Samsung’s taking more than just part of that pie.
How about Korean supermarts? We have those in Singapore too. They are conveniently located at popular malls. Walking around, I notice people drinking from Korean corn tea bottles. It is hard not to feel that its culture has seeped into ours and integrating it into a little of their own. Even if it is done unknowingly.
But with the five little aspects above, it pretty much sums up my thoughts about Singapore being Koreanised. Personally, my thoughts on Koreanisation – I do like this integration. To me, it’s positive. But only in proper doses. After all, nothing is good when in excess. I learnt that from the svelte figures of Korean actresses.
I wonder how it’ll be like five years from now. It is hard to tell if by that time, the Korean culture would have reached another godly level of entertainment – after all, it took them just eight years (or slightly more) to become Asia’s Hollywood. Who knows, we might see a mini DongDaeMun within this little red dot.
Well… I sure hope so.
Disclaimer: The review above carries purely the opinion of the writer. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Hellokpop.