Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Kimchi Warrior; 2 Scoops of Public Diplomacy

The Kimchi Warrior; 2 Scoops of Public Diplomacy

As I mentioned a while back, I sent my article on Korean Tacos and Kimchi Diplomacy to the Korean Consulate and they responded with an invitation to the screening of the Kimchi Warrior. On wednesday, I met my classmates Renee and Candace at the massive Korean Cultural Center for the grand premiere of the Kimchi Warrior.

The reception began with a tasting of some milky rice wine whose name I since forgot but really liked. It reminded me of a sweet version of pulque. The screening got underway to an audience of more than 100 people. The director came and spoke about his influence from Popeye, and how in many ways the Kimchi Warrior was akin to a Korean Popeye. Brilliant adoption of a Western symbol to an Eastern Context!

We watched the 5 part short series our kimchi hero battling other maladies such as Swine Flu, Mad Cow Disease and Avian Flu. The Kimchi Warrior battled the monsters with radish nunchucks and a kimchi gatling gun.

My favorite episode was when the Kimchi Warrior came to the aid of the Curry Warrior to fight the plague of Malaria. They danced Bollywood on victory. In one episode, there was even a cameo from Prez Obama, who planned to incorporate kimchi into the healthcare reform.

The series was a cute and unorthodox version of cultural diplomacy. It had a real cult classic feel, and I enjoyed it. It is a smart and unorthodox way of promoting Korea and symbols of Korea to different audiences through mass media entertainment. Meanwhile, I liked the adoption of notions like Popeye and the use of villains combed from the headlines. It also left me brimming with all sorts of Kimchi Diplomacy ideas that I will unleash shortly.

Keeping with my tales of a hunger-blatherer, a little on Ice Cream Diplomacy. In my paper about Qatar's niche diplomacy through conflict resolution I mentioned that the tiny gulf nation's efforts in Lebanon to bring the political crisis to a close brought them two scoops of public diplomacy in that an ice cream shop in downtown Beirut started serving the Doha Agreement Cone.

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