Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hangeul, take a Bau-Bau

Remember the people of Bau-Bau, Indonesia, who are experiencing the Hangeul alphabet for their cia-cia language * ? As expected, a delegation recently arrived in Seoul to meet with subzero temperatures, a warm welcome, and Santa King Sejong.

The warm welcome included the traditional picture behind a large banner - an embarrassing moment no one can bypass during "events" in Korea**. The banner splashed two versions of a message celebrating their arrival in Seoul, the city of Hangeul : one in Hangeul AND in Korean, the other in Bahasa Indonesia.

You would have expected at least one version in Hangeul AND in Cia-Cia but no. So this kind message can be read by people who understand Korean and Indonesian, but - theoretically - can't be read by the people of Bau-Bau. Organizers obviously missed the point, unless their point was this one : we want to spread Hangeul everywhere for people to see, and care less about people who use it. That's definitely not what the Hunminjeongeum Society had it mind, but this large banner definitely looked like a big Freudian slip.

Seoul Village 2009

* see "
Hangeul lands in Bau-Bau, Indonesia... to save the Cia !"

** I've been recently caught behind one as well, and was mercifully spared the usual shot with the lifted fist and the "paï-ting !" scream - this "fighting !" became popular after advertising campaigns during the 2002 World Cup.

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