The Korean Values Conveyed by the 2021 Induction Ceremony

On the picture above the MC’s of 2021 Induction Ceremony asked whether the 2021 K-Influencers and Honorary Reporters on the stage and joining online were ready to embark on this year’s journey.

Here in Indonesia, I wholeheartedly responded with: “Yes, I am!”

On May 20th, 2021, a week after I received the certificate for my appointment as 2021 Honorary Reporter, I attended the virtual induction ceremony held on Koreanet YouTube channel.

At the beginning of the ceremony the MC’s introduced the prominent people attending it, live.

There were the First Lady of Republic of Korea, Mrs. Kim Jung Sook, the Second Vice Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Mr. Kim Jeong Bae, and the Director of Korean Culture and Information Service, Mr. Park Jung Youl.

Apart from that, there were also K-Influencers/Honorary Reporters from various countries on the stage of the induction ceremony and many more joining online like myself.

Upon hearing the names and the roles of the distinguished guests for the induction ceremony, I felt deeply humbled. And the feeling lingered throughout the procession as I listened to the welcoming speeches and words of encouragement for this year’s K-Influencers and Honorary Reporters.  

The slogan of the ceremony was “Fill in Your Korea”. As the First Lady Mrs. Kim Jung Sook said herself:

“Fill in” means both filling and informing about something in a detailed manner. A single line of your article, a single photo you take, and a single scene from your video can and will deliver courage and hope to the world. As the messengers of hope, you will help the world to communicate and unite.”

When I heard the words “helping the world to communicate and unite”, I couldn’t agree more. The spreading of Korean culture and its elements is indeed unifying the world in a way that we wouldn’t imagine two decades ago.

Fandom in K-Pop, total support for certain K-Drama/K-Movie/actor/actress, broad interest to learn Korean language, and so on, have indeed brought people from all around the world, from all ways of life, to communicate and unite as one global community with love for everything from Korea.

As the induction ceremony welcomed me and thousand others into a new family with shared goals and aspirations, I couldn’t help to identify the distinctive values which are so Korean, the same values that I have perceived and absorbed from watching K-Drama over the years.

These are the Korean values I believed were conveyed by the 2021 Induction ceremony:

1.   Appreciation and Respect

When I first applied for the Honorary Reporter program, I didn’t quite grasp the importance of this role for introducing Korean culture throughout the world. I was aware that Honorary Reporter function works under the supervision and guidance of Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS). That KOCIS was an integral part of Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism was something I’d know later on.   

To have the Second Vice Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Director of KOCIS attending the induction ceremony was expected. However, to have the First Lady of Republic of Korea being present with all of us, giving us tender words of motivation and inspiration, was something which boosted up my moral as a new Honorary Reporter.

The Korean government sincerely appreciates and respects the appointed 3,432 Honorary Reporters from 105 countries and 1,224 K-influencers from 76 countries. The presence of high officials from the Korean government was the proof of the unwavering support for all of us.

I was immediately reminded of something I saw when I watched a K-Drama revolving around work life. There are hierarchy, roles, and functions existing in the office, and everybody respects that.

Seonbae (senior) puts the hoobae (junior) under his wing and guides him, and the hoobae entrusts himself to his seonbae to teach him how to navigate in the work environment.

Leaders in that environment, be it in the functions of team leader, assistant manager, manager, director, president, and so forth, are people whom everybody looks up to. Their words and actions are deemed important. Their presence is the symbol of company’s attention and is meant to be role model and moral support for the employees.

That is the first value I perceived upon seeing the presence of the First Lady, the Second Vice Minister, and the Director of KOCIS during the induction ceremony.  

2.   Orderliness

The first Korean people I was acquainted with were fellow research students I befriended during a research program held by Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. They came from Daegu and Seoul, they were very friendly people, and they were admiringly proud of their culture.

For the research program’s induction ceremony, they performed Koryo of taekwondo, as the three of them were black belt holders, while I performed one of Indonesia’s traditional dances. They introduced me to kimchi. And after one of them went back to Korea, she invited me to stay with her family in Daegu. That was also my first backpacking and solo traveling experience.

The Korean people I knew back then did few of the most challenging, complex, and fulfilling research. Personal and study wise, they were very neat and committed in upholding and maintaining orderliness.

I perceived the same value when I first visited South Korea in 2004 and when I returned several times after that. People are accustomed to order, be it on the street, in public space, in office, and other communal space. People are doing it for common good and welfare.

In the induction ceremony I observed the same orderliness. The MC’s presented the sequences of event systematically. They introduced the distinguished guests and other audience, followed by the opening speech from the First Lady, and statements from the Second Vice Minister and the Director of KOCIS.

They also introduced the Honorary Reporters and K-Influencers sharing their experience on the stage. Other Honorary Reporters and K-Influencers joining online were also asked to participate in a game. Everything ran very smoothly according to the arrangement, as expected.

Orderliness was the second Korean value I perceived.

3.   Inclusion

Having lived in Japan and Switzerland other than in Indonesia, I found Korean culture as one the most inclusive cultures I know.

It happily embraces people who are interested in the culture. Information regarding the cultural elements are abundant, regarding, for example, language, music, art, customs, food, etc. The K-Entertainment products such as drama, movie, variety show, music group, are introduced widely for the world to know, to be familiar with, and to love.

I myself am an avid fan of K-Drama. K-Dramas are admired for their unique premises and their ability to make their viewers have emotional engagement with the said dramas. Fans of K-Drama manifest their love and attachment to K-Dramas through discussions in various forum, sending gifts to their favorite actors, and even organizing charity events for the benefits of others.

In her welcoming speech, the First Lady Mrs. Kim Jung Sook asked the Honorary Reporters and K-Influencers, all of us to be involved in being the messengers of hope, helping the world to communicate and unite. The First Lady’s speech was a powerful demonstration to show the Korean value of inclusion. It was an open invitation for the people who love Korea to be included and to participate in spreading its beautiful culture.

The induction ceremony left me with a warm heart afterwards. I will start this year’s journey by filling myself with Korean values as conveyed by the 2021 K-Influencers and Honorary Reporters Induction Ceremony: : appreciation and respect, orderliness, and inclusion.

Fighting!

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