Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Red Festa 2008 in Gwangju, South Korea

Thet Din's Refection on Red Festa 2008


- Red Festa Festival

Red Festa is a May 18 Festival for the Youth, and it is an event in which the young reenact scenes of the May 18 Democratic Uprising by using red and exercising their creativity, hosted by Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival.

Red Festa is a big event in Gwangju City, South Korea for this year. It is within the auspices of the Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival and Education and Research Team and the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The colors and objective of the event would like to show about the modern democracy in South Korea, especially for the May 18 Democratic Uprising that had occurred on 18-25 May 2008 in Gwangju.

Red Festa started in 2005, this program educates youth and students in South Korea on Human Rights, Peace and Democracy, particularly youth in Gwangju City. The event for this year was celebrated on 24 May 2008 at Geumnam-ro, Gwangju (downtown road of Gwangju City) and it was a public event. Everyone could join in the event. The ideas were together by the youth and staff to decorate the place and easily understood by people. All participants can join and walk around from 2pm to 10pm on the Geumanam-ro Street, the street is closed for all vehicular activities. The title for this year’s celebration is “Emotion of the May 18 Democratic Uprising (Koum Soung)”

-Red Festa Conception

The Event was established whose main group targets are the youth and new generation for commemorating The May 18 Democratic Uprising, which is very important in the modern history of South Korea. A tragedy that is deep in the heart of Gwangju citizens. It was a dictatorship regime against with human rights and democracy, which had killed so many people. They had killed and did violence to the victims without thinking of gender or age, especially to the students. It is therefore important that the young generation should know and keep the memory of this history.

May 18, is usually the time to commemorate the anniversary of the 1984 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, for all the heroes who died and became victims who suffered the loss of their family member. Frequently, it is a general ceremony with formal occasion to respect and thank the dead for every thing they had done to sacrifice their life for Korea. Particularly to keep the memory of democratic uprising, so most of the people have to show their feelings of grief. It is also a way to getting the attention of the youth and young generation. The May 18 Memorial Foundation and The Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival view the importance of engaging all age and gender in the society. The Foundation had prepare a plan for youth understanding of may 18 historical value. And also more activists were engaged to improve The May 18 Democratic Uprising celebration. The youth will replace the old generation, so they should understand with consciousness the May 18, they will play the key role for society and protect human rights with peace and democracy in the future. This project was created by the Foundation for the youth and public and has wonder result.

- General Information on Red Festa 2008

The program is important program of the May 18 Memorial Foundation that focues on youth. This program was held on May 24, 2008 at Kumman Street, Gwangju City, South Korea (in front of the provincial hall) from 2.00pm to 10pm. It was a free public events for all participants have chance to learn with fun about The May 18 Democratic Uprising. The targets are the young generations and youth. Particularly, participants devised their own impression on the uprising “How they feel about Gwangju citizens endeavored to bring genuine democracy and human rights under Junta military leadership” through arts, music, and other creation mean, all of there are effective and useful ways to educate the young generation understanding the violations done to citizens during the military dictatorship.

-“Owol Ma Dang” Project on Red Festa 2008

Red Festa is rich of youth involvement both physical and mental participation. The Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival and Education and Research Team of the May 18 Memorial Foundation thought a lot of the deeply for impact and result of the program to the youth. Especially they use some strategic to get youth interest to The May 18 Democratic Uprising, Through listening to talks and other and giving them chance to reading, implement and be more responsible.

On the Red Festa day, most of youth had come up with their own various activities supported by different organizations. On that day not only the Education and Research Team (the May 18 Memorial Foundation) was involved but also other organizations.

The Education and Research team was responsible for the program called “Owol Ma Dang” it means “the May traditional Square” the conduct of small programs variety for the Red Festa.

First, a program call “Pi Chu Da” mean “Reflection” it had some mirrors with letter and flowers, white boxes and two monitors play a movie on the May 18, all participants could see and appreciate Gwangju citizens in 1980. Out side of the booth we had put some big papers for participants to draw.

Second, the program call “Man Na Da” it means “Meet” this program was made for participants could ask some questions or talk about May 18 and get answers from the specialist in the person of, Mr. Chanho Kim.

Third, “Chad da” it means “Find” this program is a chance for participants to become a new caster, it was a big program for Owol Ma Dang project. The modern technology and facility were prepared life a small studio, cameras, speakers, monitors and other materials were provided.

Fourth, “Buruda” it means “Sing” this program had two volunteers to teach participants of the Songs of May and other songs relevant.

Fifth, “Gri Da” mean “Draw” it was apart of “Pi Chu Da” but out side, participants drew picture in columns that has reference to May 18.

Sixth, it was a fantastic view to make red papers into airplane. Furthermore, participants could write a message to the heroes of the May 18, it was a program called “Na Li Da” or “Fly”.

Seventh, “Gada” program it means “Go” Participants walk to the provincial hall with a volunteer as guide, they were showed around and told about the history of the May 18 Democratic Uprising, especially what happened on 25 May. Every hour, tour is provided participants have a red umbrella to be recognized.

Eighth, “Jik Da means Take” the program had gives a chance for the participants to have their picture taken with the May 18 background. After 30 minutes they can get their picture printed.
And the last program call “Iid Da” it means “Read” we prepared some books, chairs, table and soft drink. They also get extra hot news issues in South Korea especially Mad Cow.

All of the 9 elements of the programs refer to the Emotion of the May 18. It shows both our physical and mental, facilities are relevant to show sympathy for Gwanju citizens, it is an important event to remind Gwangju citizens about patriotism and the struggles that brought democracy back in South Korea.

-Main Target

It was an amazing event for all people to enjoy and participate. The targets of the event are the youth and young generation in Gwangju, also, in Korea. Youths were the main are actors of the May 18 Uprising, so youth are getting the attention of political leaders, because they are the main pillar of the nation.

2-My Involvement

I had given assistance for all programs of Education and Research Team for the Red Festa. Although I was assigned in Pi Chu Da program, I participated to all of the work. I assisted in other programs and helped made some materials. For the Pi Chu Da Team I gave my ideas and discussed to the decorations to make it attractive to make it to participants’. During those times I had a chance to observe to Korean youth Team work.

We spend long time discussing on how we should make participant understand what we are doing. (Otherwise I had made a sign in English for foreign visitors in Pi Chu Da program aware with a part of May 18). After our discussion plan for decoration and meaning, I helped implement the plan to become a reality with Korea youth volunteers. We decided to get 2 big boxes to represent as monument of victims and the other 30 boxes stick poem and narrated story relevant to the May 18 Democratic Uprising for participants to understand to struggles and how to claim back their rights. Beside the monument boxes we had 4 meter length and 2 meter width for flower sticker. Last year Pi Chu Da had prepared some real flowers for monument, but a flower shops owner’s feet had that it is close to their place, they had thought that was a bad luck of their business. So this year we made use of flower sticker on the mirrors which is representative to fresh flower for all victims.

Anyway we had used two monitors to play documentary film about May 18, all participants could see and had feeling to appreciate Gwangju citizens in 1980.

Here is a message I had made for Pi Chu Da program, the title call Reflection of the May Flower,

“During the May 18 Democratic Uprising many Gwangju citizens were killed and assaulted by soldiers. People were arrested and suspected without due process. The victims of this martial law force’s brutality numbered 4,369 all told: 154 killed, 74 missing, 4,141 wounded (including those who died because of their injuries) and placed under arrest, but some people believe the number of victims would be more than this.

The mirror’s function is to reflect, it can show us how we look. But the mirror here is not only to see our appearance but it also shows us more than what we know. How deep is your imagination? What keeps you here in Gwangju, the place of freedom and democracy where blood of Gwangju citizens flowed? The May 18 Gwangju Democratic uprising was the catalyst for South Korea’s democratization for all of us and the young generation

I see some flowers on the mirrors, which looks very beautiful. So it should be given to victims and missing Gwangju citizens, who died for our nation, so we should give honor and respect and keep talking about it and keep it tradition alive for the generation to come. Please give the flower and bow to our heroes”,

At the end of the events I helped clear all items with the Education and Research Team. I joined and helped from the beginning until the end of the Pi Chu Da program, and also other programs of “Owol Ma Dang” project of Education Team of the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

3-My Observations on Red Festa

Budget, it just for 10 hours to enjoy and so much money was spent, South Korea is a developed country and has good economy, so they have capacity to support festivals and ceremonies like Red Festa.

Teamwork and cooperation among the May 18 Memorial Foundation and other organizations, it was not easy like we saw. Red Festa was an opportunity for all organizations to work together. It is also a chance for youth and volunteers, to have an opportunity to learn how to work with other people in society.
Youth empowerment, the Education and Research Team had done this through Red Festa. Students that volunteers of the May 18 Memorial Foundation have freedom to make their own decisions on what they want to do and with the Education team’s assistance.

Participants, by the time that I had joined the full day of Red Fasta, I believe that most of the participants were enjoying in the project so much. Our program added one and half hour more because of a lot of participants should up than our expectation.

Participation of participants, they were very active in singing, drawing, asking, playing, reading……..all of these were relevant to the strategy of Seeing, Listening and Working.

Good memory, it not just fun for participants but also they understand and learn how to do, exhibition work. This will make them understand and remember 18 Democratic Uprising.

Government cooperation, Youth Committee of the May 18 Festival had made good relationship with government for the good location of the event, it was a great job for NGOs and government to work together to improve citizens understanding about the May 18 and other issues.

Red Festa was a successful idea of improving youth in society and provides chance of learning between people with people, organization with organization and also between people with organization. It is a good strategy to get attention from the youth to commemorate the May event. It teaches the hearts and mind of young generation.

The Festival excites the minds of both the youth and Gwangju citizens, so I hope every year the Youth Committee of the May Festival, the May 18 Memorial Foundation, the Government and other organizations will always contribute and involve in this significant event.

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