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What do Hong Kong students think of Korea?

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A drawing by Wong Hin Ching, the Korean Culture Center's drawing competition's grand prize awardee, shows various elements of the country, including Gyeongbok Palace, Korean grilled meat and K-pop. Courtesy of Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong (KCC)
A drawing by Wong Hin Ching, the Korean Culture Center's drawing competition's grand prize awardee, shows various elements of the country, including Gyeongbok Palace, Korean grilled meat and K-pop. Courtesy of Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong (KCC)

Green glass bottle makes frequent appearance in drawings by teens in city

By Kim Bo-eun

HONG KONG ― Korea's pickled cabbage side dish kimchi, the country's traditional attire hanbok and surprisingly ― the distilled liquor soju ― are some of the things Hong Kong teens widely associate with Korea, a recent event revealed.

These were visible elements in pictures drawn by middle and high school students in Hong Kong, in a drawing contest hosted by the Korean Cultural Center in the city.

Other elements in the drawings included characters from "Squid Game," as well as chimaek ― a Korean term referring to the pairing of fried chicken and beer.

A member of a Korean girl group exclaims
A member of a Korean girl group exclaims "Oppa," in this drawing by Leung Ching Ki. Courtesy of KCC

Korean TV shows have served as a key means of learning about the country for the students ― Korean dramas are aired on Hong Kong's TV channels.

"I have never been to Korea, but I learnt about the country through a travel show introducing Korea," Won Hing Ching, a 14-year-old student who won the grand prize in the competition, said. She said bibimbap, Korean grilled meat, and kimchi in her drawing were some of her favorite foods.

When asked about the green bottle, she said "Although I can't drink soju now, I saw Korean people drinking it in K-dramas, and my family members have it when we visit a Korean restaurant."

Cheung Ho Nam puts the logo of the popular Korean entertainment show
Cheung Ho Nam puts the logo of the popular Korean entertainment show "Running Man" in the corner of her picture. Courtesy of KCC

Fung Wing Tung Carol, 16, who was awarded for her drawing of the making of kimchi, said she was influenced by her mother.

"I learned about Korean culture because my mother loves to watch K-dramas, and I watch them with her most of the time," she said.

About her drawing, Fung said "I like kimchi a lot, and I also saw Korean celebrities making it in the Korean variety show 'Three Meals a Day.'"

The student said her friends introduced her to K-pop, and she is now a fan of the boy band "Seventeen."

Korean food such as tteokbokki and gimbap are seen next to a face appearing to show Korean artist Psy known for his 2012 hit
Korean food such as tteokbokki and gimbap are seen next to a face appearing to show Korean artist Psy known for his 2012 hit "Gangnam Style" in a drawing by Ma Oi In. Coutesy of KCC

Backed by a growing interest in Korea, some schools, such as Mu Kuang English School, have even begun including Korean language classes as a compulsory subject.

The school has introduced Korean classes in its curriculum, along with Japanese. The school has also signed an agreement with Poongmoon High School in Seoul for a student exchange program.

"We hope students can learn to speak each other country's language and understand its culture as part of preparations for the exchange program," Wong Sze Ki, the school's visual art teacher, said.

Students awarded for their drawings pose with KCC director Lee Young-ho after an award ceremony at the agency in Central, Hong Kong, Saturday. Courtesy of KCC
Students awarded for their drawings pose with KCC director Lee Young-ho after an award ceremony at the agency in Central, Hong Kong, Saturday. Courtesy of KCC

The contest was held for the first time this year for middle and high school students in Hong Kong. A total of 130 pieces were submitted, 27 of which were awarded Saturday.

"We decided to organize the contest because there were no contests hosted by the KCC for students here," KCC Director Lee Young-ho said.

"I was impressed to see that students were knowledgeable about Korea, but could also see that others lacked an accurate perception of the country. We hope that by continuing to host this contest, students in Hong Kong will develop a greater interest in Korea."

The award winning drawings are currently on display at the KCC in Central, Hong Kong. The exhibition hall is usually open to the public to present various works related to Korea. Local fans of K-pop groups have also presented their fandom in the hall.


Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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