The London Korean Links Awards 2008

Here are the winners and losers of the third annual LKL Awards. Again, a personal and unscientific selection.

Cultural event of the year (UK)

There was a lot of competition for this particular award this year, but the winner is the Dano Festival in Trafalgar Square. The performance of Noridan was almost enough on its own to secure the title, but with the Yoon Band as well, plus shamanistic dance from Yi Chuljin and plenty of fun stalls and food tents, there was something for everyone. And the weather couldn’t have been better.
Trafalgar Square

Cultural event of the year (Korea)

It seems like a generation ago, but let’s not forget that February saw the historic performance of the NYPO in Pyongyang.

Photos of the year

There have been plenty of events this year which brought out the best in photojournalists. Most recently, the embarrassing photos from the National Assembly building of fire extinguishers and sledgehammers; earlier in the year there was the Olympics, and pretty much throughout the year the interminable street demonstrations. And before all that, another event which seems like a generation ago. February brought the terrible sight of Namdaemun burning down. There are thousands of photos out there, but here’s one from pwalks’s flickr account.

Namdaemun burns

Film of the Year

Is there a standout film of 2008? There’s no obvious candidate. Yes, there’s the big budget Manchurian western The Good the Bad and the Weird; plus The Chaser is a stylish thriller. But there’s no film to rival last year’s Secret Sunshine or 2006’s The Host. So instead, I’d like to highlight the work of the Korean Film Archive in restoring some of the classics from the past. 2007 saw a Shin Sang-ok box set, and this year a Kim Ki-young box followed, along with the standalone releases of Mr Park and Petty Middle Manager.

Albums of the year

Philip had a clear favourite: Nah Youn Sun’s Voyage, while Saharial chose Epik High’s Lovescream, with albums from former Shinhwa members close behind. Both Mark and Anna had I&I Djangdan’s Culture Tree and EE’s Curiosity Kills. Read all the other recommendations here.

Nah Youn Sun Voyage

Book of the Year

Meeting Mister Kim. If you haven’t already bought lots of copies of this entertaining book by Jennifer Barclay, shame on you. Awarded 5 stars by LKL, and, to show we’re not biased in favour of authors who also happen also to contribute to LKL, also awarded 5 stars by every single reviewer at Amazon.co.uk1, this is a strong candidate for book of the year. A light-hearted travel book which gives some interesting personal insights into some of the less traveled parts of Korea. From Summersdale, 320pp. Click on the link for a video interview with the author.

Review the complete list here.

Unexpected events of the year

The candle demonstrations demonstrated the mobilising power of the internet, and provided endless fascinating topics for discussion and analysis: Who was behind the demonstrations? Was it the police or the demonstrators who were more violent? How culpable were the media in their presentation (and misrepresentation) of mad cow science? How can presidential popularity rankings plummet from overwhelming to nonexistent in such a short time? What’s all the fuss about when no-one’s forcing you to eat the stuff? “Korean Protests Baffle Belgians” said a Chosun Ilbo headline of a demonstration in Brussels in 2006. 2008’s demonstrations baffled the whole world.

Expected non-events of the year

(see 2006 LKL awards)

  • Any discernible progress in 6-party talks.
  • Any discernible progress in ratifying the KorUS Free Trade Agreement

A happy new year to you all.

Links:

  1. Apart from one sensitive but acid-tongued gyopo []

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