LKL 2012 Quiz of the Year — the answers

The answers to LKL’s 2012 Quiz of the Year. How many did you get?

1 The Watermelon Economy

Watermelon feast

It was Lee Seung-han, the boss of Tesco in Korea, who accused Lee Myung-bak of running a watermelon economy: on the outside, lots of rhetoric about “green” growth, but actually red on the inside. “Not even communist countries followed these kind of policies,” he is reported to have said. This is in response to government policies to restrict new large supermarkets opening within a kilometre of existing mom-and-pop stores.

2 Celebrity Rain Forest

Seo Tai-ji

In a bid to better conserve the area of Guapi Assu, a tropical rainforest along the Atlantic Ocean located 70 km away from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, around five hectares of the forest was to be officially named “Seo Tai-ji Forest” on 21 March 2012. This marks the fruition of a project by the singer’s fans, who began collecting donations two years ago in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his musical debut, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

3 Top Royal Thinker

Well, if any member of the Korean ruling dynasty is considered eminent enough to be one of the “Fifty Key Thinkers on Language and Linguistics” it has to be the man who gave the nation its alphabet.

King Sejong teh Great

According to the publisher, Fifty Key Thinkers on Language and Linguistics explores how fifty of the most influential figures in the field have asked and have responded to classic questions about language. Each entry includes a discussion of the person’s life, work and ideas as well as the historical context and an analysis of his or her lasting contributions. The Chosun Ilbo picked up the story in January 2012, and noted that King Sejong the Great was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Plato, Aristotle and Wittgenstein in the volume.

4 The Mathematical Olympian

Calculate the angle according to the number of rotations when a figure skater performs an axel jump.

is the question in an American maths textbook, according to the Chosun Ilbo. I’m not sure I understand the question, but a picture of Kim Yuna provides some visual interest.

Kim Yuna

5 Norwegian pop music, Pyongyang style

This North Korean accordion cover version of A-ha’s “Take on Me” was uploaded to YouTube on 1 February 2012, and has received more than 2 million views:

Part of multi-genre project THE PROMISED LAND by director and artist MORTEN TRAAVIK, which opened at the international arts and culture festival Barents Spektakel in Kirkenes, Norway February 8-12, 2012 (Juche 101). For more info, visit and

6 We only have 7,000 Won

It was newbie boy band Block B who almost caused a diplomatic incident when they bantered about the devastating floods in Thailand in 2011 in an interview which was uploaded to YouTube in Janary 2012.

Block B

“We believe that Thai people must be suffering a lot from the disaster. We hope that our donation money could heal their pain. What we can help is only by donating money. And, how much do we have again? W7,000.”

(Story: Chosun Ilbo, Image: Seoulbeats)

7 Novelty Toys

This year, KARA was the first Korean girl band to have official barbie dolls made of themselves. You could buy them separately or as a group.

Kara dolls

It was Twitter user @PrivacyNoMore who spotted the PSY novelty toys in Taiwan:

PSY grabber

8 Men offended by pop song

Baek Ji-young

It was Baek Ji-young‘s song “Good Boy” which was said to “berate men”, and young male rights group Man of Korea requested an injunction on the sale.

“The song contains lyrics that portray a relationship in which a female is older and suggests that her boyfriend is as stupid as a dog and needs to be tamed,” the organization said on its official Web site.

according to the Joongang Ilbo

9 The most-followed Korean woman

According to her management company JYP Entertainment it was Miss A’s Suzy who became the first Korean woman to have one million Twitter followers (reported in the Chosun Ilbo)

Suzy of Miss A

(Photo: Dramafever)

10 Coffee for All

Seo Tai-ji

And for the second time in this quiz, the answer is Seo Tai-ji. According to the Chosun Ilbo:

Seo, who has become a phenomenon in the music scene since he debuted in 1991, said in a magazine interview back in 1995 that if he could reunite with his fans two decades later he would like to treat them to a free coffee.

Seo honoured that promise in December, offering free coffee to his longtime fans at a handful of pop-up cafes in major cities nationwide.

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