Last weekend, along with a group of about 10 other Irish people (including the Irish Ambassador to Korea and her family), I had the chance to represent Ireland in the audience of a Korean Quiz show. Random, I KNOW!!
The TV show was called ‘Quiz on Korea’ and involves 30 individuals from 30 different countries around the world who are all flown to Korea to participate in a week long cultural exchange which culminates in a quiz show where contestants are tested on their knowledge of all things Korean. KBS studios wanted at least 10 people from each different country to cheer on the various contestants and thus myself and 9 other Irish people were asked to come along for the filming of the show to support Irish contestant Alana O’ Brien.
I had NO idea what to expect on arrival, but my expectations were no were near what greeted me on entering the huge filming studio. There were hundreds of people sitting in rows with their fellow country men and women all waves their countries flags and all wearing their countries colors. It was pretty funny to walk into the room, all 10 of us wearing matching gree t-shirts, marching down step after step until we found the row of seats with the Irish flags.
In front of us were 2 rows of Belgian supporters brandishing red, black and yellow flags and football jerseys. In front of them were 2 rows of Egyptians and 2 rows of Cambodian supporters! The room was a rainbow of color with all the various supporters waving their flags and cheering on their home country. Behind us was a row of young Korean children who had been invited to support America, and everytime the American contestant did well they chanted “Meguk, Meguk, Meguk” whcih means America in Korean. They were truly adorable!
After about 20 minutes of waiting 3 Korean presenters and all the contestants came out on stage, which is the point when Myself and all the other Irish supporters could not withold our laughter at the absurdity, and verging on racist, outfits which the contestants had been asked to wear. It was almost cartoon like.The Rwandan was in traditional African dress, with a Rwandan Soccer jersey underneath, and was even walking with a beautiflly carved traditional walking stick, the Canadian looked like an Ice Hockey player while the Kiwi contestant was in an all blacks jersey and holding a rugby ball. How original!
The poor Irish girl was wearing something that half resembled a traditional Irish dancing dress and half resembled a female leprechaun! It was pretty hilarious to say the least. The poor American was dressed like the cowboy from the movie Toy story while the Belgian was wearing his countries colors and wearing a black beret. I wouldn’t be surprised if was also carrying a baguette!
Crazy costumes aside, the quiz was pretty straightforward, with pretty easy questions been asked on Korea to start with, getting progressively more difficult as the quiz went on. The New Zealand contestant was the overall winner, narowly beating a 15 year old bot from venuzuela who I was personally cheering on! He was only 15!!
The real highlight of the night, however, was not the quiz itself but the surprise K-Pop acts which bopped around the stage during the interval. Having never previously seen live K-POP I was both pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and in shock at how crazy the Korean supporters would act each time a new act appeared on stage. I didn’t know it was even possible to scream that loud…I think the kids behind me singing along to Crayon Pop and the grown men going weak at the knees shouting their support for KARA and B.A.P entertained me more than the K-POP acts themselves!
It was a really great night out, and will certainly be a Saturday nigth that I won’t be fogetting for quite some time!