One of two accounts of the recent Anglo-Korean Society evening at the KCC – this one by Matthew Jackson
The forces of the AKS, KTO and KCC were combined to good effect at the Cultural Evening on Thursday, 10 April. Walking around the packed Cultural Centre, it felt as though things have changed a lot in the last two years, and there is a chance that Korea may become known in this country for more than its history in the past fifty years.
The core of the evening was a series of talks and performances in the multi-purpose hall. Sir Stephen Brown, the AKS chairman, opened proceedings with a brief speech, introducing high profile attendants, which included a senior Hyundai executive. He also announced that AKS has now acquired three corporate sponsors, mentioning Diageo (who I believe do a brisk trade with the Koreans in Scotch whisky).
The presentation by the KTO representative examined Korea-UK tourism, which is increasing in both directions. There then followed an overview of Korean tourist attractions, both ancient and modern, and he revealed that a third airline, Finnair, will offer flights from the Manchester to Seoul from June onwards. The Asiana representative followed this with a rundown on what the airline is doing at the moment, but I went for a glass of water at this point, and only managed to catch the last part about the flat-bed seats.
I was in time to see the whole of the Kayageum and guitar recital by Jung Ji-eun (above) and Jeon Sung-min, which included traditional and contemporary pieces – ‘Let it Be’ caught me by surprise – as well as an original composition. It was interesting to hear to two instruments together, although my favourite was the solo Kayageum piece which opened the programme. I was familiar with the sound of the Kayageum, but I had never seen it played before. It looks pretty difficult.
Finally came the Taekwondo demonstration by a group of children from New Malden. This was more impressive than I originally envisaged, haunted by images of lack-lustre judo exhibitions from my school days consisting largely of forward-rolls.
Accompanied by a rousing soundtrack, the demonstration encompassed board breaking, two intervals of meditation, and what appeared to be a kind of martial arts themed dance routine.
After a somewhat chaotic raffle, the buffet was opened, and the evening was allowed to reach a natural close at around 10.30pm. I was impressed to see all the staff of the centre, including the director, pitching in to carry the tables used for the buffet down to the lecture rooms.
Although the AKS cultural evening is now over until next year, I am pretty sure that the KCC team has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. Thank you to Sylvia Park and all concerned for another sparkling event!
Thanks to Lee Hyung-wook, editor of The East, for the photos