On November 19th 2011 I was invited to go to the Unification Concert sponsored by the Ministry of Unification and hosted by the radio station SBS Power FM’s corner called Love Game with actress So Hyun Park. A good friend of mine, who happens to be a domestic correspondent for MOU, called me a few weeks earlier and bribed me into going to this concert by telling me that a lot of famous singers would be there and who could say no to that? And besides, it was for a good cause: unification!
The concert was actually lots of fun. It wasn’t one those concerts where people jump up and down and have mosh pits and body surfing, which was perfect because after work I really didn’t have the energy to go body surfing. It was a mellow concert with lots of my favorite songs sung by some of Korea’s most talented singers. The lineup included Davichi, Son HoYoung, Mighty Mouth, Can, Secret, 4Men, Seo Young Eun, 45RPM, Kim Jo Han, Boyfriend, and Wondergirls.
Of course the music was good but it was also interesting to see how they tied in the theme of unification into the program. Some of the singers like Mighty Mouth even wore red and blue outfits to resemble the two countries and almost all of the singers were asked the question, “What is the first thing that you would want to do when unification comes?” Some of the answers given were to introduce RnB to North Korea’s culture, to hold a joint concert with North Korean singers, and to eat real Pyongyang nengmyun (a Korean cold noodle dish).
But I think the most interesting part was that they repeatedly mentioned that it was important for the younger generations to be aware of this issue and have an interest in achieving unification. The hostess Park So Hyun pointed out that many of the younger audiences in attendance probably don’t have a very clear idea about unification but that this is why events like this concert is that much more important so that they get a chance to be exposed to the topic. Personally, I hope that the middle school and high school students that were there that night got more out of the concert than zoomed in pictures of Wondergirls and Boyfriend (a boy band that I did not even know existed before this day). I hope that they heard the message of unification. But to be honest, I can’t be so sure they heard it through all their screaming for their favorite singer. I know I said the concert was a mellow one but seriously, when are teenagers ever mellow?
Besides the constant screaming of the teenagers sitting next to me, I really did enjoy the concert. I think I was able to enjoy it even more because it brought back memories of the concert we went to this past summer for the March for Peace and Unification 2011. I couldn’t stop thinking about my team members and how much fun we had together at the concert. I’m definitely going to have to put together a reunion very soon.
Just like at the concert for the March, I felt at this concert the same appreciation for the media broadcasting unification-related shows that’s also fun and not just serious and well… boring. Yes, unification is a serious matter and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it’s also hard to reach younger generations from a serious viewpoint. We need more fun programs that will get the attention of the younger generations; we need to hold events that they can relate to. Quite frankly, it’s a shame how little South Korean teenagers today know about unification, let alone care about it. There is a huge need to reach out to this age group and educate them about North Korea and the need for unification. After all, they will be the ones most affected by unification.