Korean culture diffuses into Bhutan

Tenzin Wangchuk, Thimphu

With many young minds getting entwined to fast growing Western and Korean cultures, it has been a losing battle for the policy makers and the parents of Bhutan to revive and implant the old values in them. Culture invasion is one primary concern in Bhutan and remedy to curb this problem has long been unfound.
Ever since Bhutan opened up to the world outside, preserving our age-old culture and tradition had been a challenge. Many younger generations tuned to the western way of living and discarded our own sacred and unique culture.
But it was Korean culture that took our children by storm. “Koreans are uniquely beautiful and charming. Even their music and dramas are intriguingly interesting,” said a 16-year-old student, Tenzin Choden.
She has bulky collection of Korean drama and movies. She also wears everything that is Korean.
And like Tenzin Choden, a 18-year-old Karma Jamtsho is a huge follower of Korean stars. He has his hair-style trimmed like one of the Korean buzz-makers.
“I like Korean style because it is cool. From their music, songs, and movies and to way of living, I like Korean,” he said, adding that all his friends are the admirers of Korean culture.
When asked if he can wear his gho without anyone helping him, he shook his head. And he is not the only one who cannot wear gho properly.
“Almost all our young boys and girls cannot wear our national dresses properly. My son who has grown as tall as I am cannot read a single line of prayers but he can rap and go on running his mouth in this strange Korean language. He can wax his hairs and colour it in pink, blue and yellow or maybe other colours but he doesn’t know how to prostrate properly,” said a worried father, Sonam Gyeltshen.
He is of opinion that soon our culture will vanish if correct measures are not taken.
To cement this fact, he said that yesterday’s K-pop super concert at Changlingmathang is the proof. “There were thousands of music freaks congregated at the show and almost all were youth. Look at their dress-ups and look how they could sing these foreign songs. I am certian that even if Dalai Lama visits Bhutan, not many of our younger ones would turn-up to receive his blessings,” said Sonam Gyeltshen.
A teacher working in Paro, Deki, said she was surprised to find out that some of her students had left their question papers half complete and bunked to watch the live concert.
“My niece who studies in class 11 had skipped her exam paper and went to Thimphu. Ever since she came to know about the Korean concert at Thimphu, I have noticed that her attention was diverting from her mid-term exam to this show,” said Deki.
A mother, Kinley Yangzom, is also worried about her daughter’s character shift. “My daughter try to speak Dzongkhag is Korean accent and that makes me worry about our own language and culture. Although I try to discourage her from getting into Korean things, she hardly listens to me,” she said.
Meanwhile, as part of the celebrations of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and the Republic of Korea, a K-pop super concert was held yesterday at the Changlimithang stadium. Over 10,000 K-pop fans, especially youth, attended the show.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and Dynasty Co Ltd jointly organized the event.
A two-day Korean food festival and Korean film festival were also held in Thimphu a week ago as a part of the celebration.
Further, TCB has launched the Bhutan-Korea friendship offer to mark three decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In this offer package, all Korean nationals visiting Bhutan this year from June to August may choose not to pay the all-inclusive mandatory minimum daily tariff of USD 200 a person a night.
They will have to pay only the government royalty of USD 65 per person per night. Visitors can also avail a 30 percent discount fare on Drukair and Bhutan Airlines and up to 50 percent discount in hotels.
Visitors also have the flexibility on choice of services and they need not pay the surcharge of USD 40 a person per night and USD 30 each for two persons.
Diplomatic relations between Bhutan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) was established on September 24, 1987.

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