‘Non-Summit’ panelists share thoughts on Korea

Four panelists from the hit JTBC show “Non-Summit Meeting” were honored Tuesday for their work in bridging cultural understanding between Koreans and non-Koreans. 

At the CICI 2016 gala evening, hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute, Tyler Rasch (U.S.), Alberto Mondi (Italy), Guillaume Patry (Canada) and Zhang Yuan (China) shared their thoughts on Korea while accepting the Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award.

Guillaume Patry (Yonhap)

Patry, who is a former professional gamer, noted that Korea was showing agility in shifting from traditional online PC games to developing mobile games. “A lot of students play mobile games here, and they have very high standards,” he said. “So there a lot of good games coming out. Unfortunately, mobile phones that are advanced enough to support those games are not as ubiquitous abroad, so a lot of people overseas have not been able to play them. I think that Korean mobile games will become much more popular starting in 2016.”

Zhang Yuan (Yonhap)

Asked to name one thing that he felt Korea could improve upon, Zhang noted that he had only been living in Korea for about five years and that he did not feel he “had the right” to criticize. After some hesitation, he said, “I used to go to work every day on the subway, and every day I thought the same thing: Koreans all have the same expression on their faces.” 

“Korea has great food, excellent service, and a lot of fun things to do — but Koreans don’t smile very much,” he said. “Laughing until your eyes water and your stomach hurts for just five minutes a day is good for your health and good for your mood. I think that’s one way to lead a happier life.”

Alberto Mondi (Yonhap)

Mondi said that he often recommends his non-Korean friends visit rural areas in Korea. “I love the Korean countryside,” he said, noting that Korea offers everything that travelers look for — “clean air, safety, and sports. Healthy living is the trend these days.” Saying that he has “gone cycling, run marathons, gone paragliding, gone scuba diving” in Korea, he said that Korea was the optimal place for outdoor activities like these because of the beautiful scenery and clean air. “As a plus,” he added, “you can have some great food after you’re done.”

Tyler Rasch (Yonhap)

Rasch, who became famous for his excellent Korean language proficiency and knowledge of Korean vocabulary, said that his favorite sajaseongeo (Korean idioms made up of four Chinese characters) was “yeok-ji-sa-ji.” a rough equivalent of “walking in the other person‘s shoes.” “I think that seeing things from the other person’s perspective is important for mutual understanding, and I think ‘Non-Summit Meeting’ allowed us to achieve that with our viewers,” he said. 

CICI 2016 was held on Tuesday, hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute at the InterContinental Hotel Seoul Coex. Other honorees of the night included the “creativity of hallyu,” represented by singer Psy, and classical violinist Clara Jumi Kang.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)