Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Be The Reds", But Not Too Red ?

I was maybe a bit too optimistic when I rolled out the "Red carpet for the World Cup" a couple of weeks ago : since then, the North Korean team has probably lost a few supporters in South Korea (and beyond), and Seoul Plaza might not turn out to be the most popular venue.

Following a clash with SK Telecom and other sponsors of downtown World Cup venues, The Red Devils, Korean national team's main supporter group* and a key ingredient to successful World Cup events, decided to focus on only one site : Samseong-dong in Gangnam-gu. Sponsors wanted to regulate the songs (both the timing and content), supporters freedom of speech and independence from sponsors. Ironically, several songs are associated with other sponsors, and the 2002 "Korea Team Fighting" slogan was at the beginning an ad for KTF, SKT's direct competitor. One of the outcomes of this clash could be the creation of a rival group of supporters.

Anyway, World Cup broadcasters SBS accepted the Red Devils' terms, to the risk of inviting more partisans of freedom of speech. And since the venue, in front of Bongeunsa, has become a converging point for demonstrations against LEE's conservative government, political recuperation seemed inevitable. As expected, candlestick vigil organizers instantly called for combo events, like 'come to our demo at 7 PM, enjoy the game at 8'... and shortly after that, Red Devils whistled them offside, like 'true supporters come for football, please don't mix this event with politics'.

I suggest a red card to all players : organizers, sponsors, supporters, broadcasters, and demonstrators.

Seoul Village 2010

* that's the South Korean national team. It always struck me as funny how this nickname for North Korean 'commies' in 1960s ROK propaganda became a symbol of 2000s ROK.

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