Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the first BND in Korea. BND stands for Buy Nothing Day. In the USA this is the day after thanksgiving, and in other countries it is the day after that.
BND started in the USA in 1992. I first learned of it in Aotearoa – New Zealand in about 1997. It was apparently first celebrated here in South Korea in 1999, but I can find no evidence online of any ongoing support.
I particularly like this banned ‘anti-commercial’ from 2007, and hasten to restate that I see very, very little difference between what I know of mainstream ‘north American’ culture and that of mainstream Pakeha (whitie) culture in Aotearoa – New Zealand.
One of the things I love about Korea is the delightful paradox of this society providing such a ‘successful’ ‘developed’ example of a culture of consumerism, and yet often I also find surprising examples of what seems to be freedom and generosity, or in Konglish [Korean-English informal neologisms] we say ‘Service’ (pronounced ‘Serbiss’).
One very common nation-wide example is the abundance of free computer access available everywhere from the hair-dressers to the average coffee shop, the latter of which tends to provide at least one desk-top for use as well as unlimited free wireless access, all without commenting or complaining, even if you plug into their power sockets and sit around nursing a single drink.
Another recent, local example here in Gwangju is the free film festival screening of award winning international feature-length movies, like the one I saw last night.
Thinking about the movie again today I remembered that when it finished, the reaction of the audience was audience. I was watching the film with two Koreans and one other expat from Canada. As the last scene finished and the credits started, a song played by the Topp Twins began too. The other expat and I sat up and prepared to leave, but then we sat back again realising that no-one else in the audience was moving yet.
The final song in the soundtrack sounded like a fairly standard country number and nothing very out of the ordinary to my ears, but then I noticed that there were subtitles at the bottom of the screen. The translator had translated the entire set of lyrics to the final song covering the credits listings. I thought that was a very nice and attentive touch. I also have no idea what that last song was about. I’ll have to ask a Korean who saw the movie!