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South Korea uses K-pop concert as compensation for scout jamboree failures

South Korea, Saemangeum 2023 World Scout Jamboree campsite

On Aug. 1, around 43,000 participants from 158 different countries gathered for the 12-day 25th World Scout Jamboree in Saemangeum, South Korea. The 12-day event gained international attention as South Korea’s lack of preparation came to light. 

During the first week of the jamboree, a heatwave and a downpour of heavy rain turned the campgrounds into mud. Near 400 cases of heat exhaustion were reported on the first night of the event. The following days showed no signs of improvement, as the temperature on the west coast of South Korea reached 35 degrees Celsius. Yet, downpours and heatwaves were not the only reported problems of the jamboree: A typhoon later forced the evacuation of the entire campsite.

“They were not prepared for the extreme weather,” Steve Nave, Asian studies teacher, said. “Had we had our normal weather pattern, maybe this event could have been successful, but it seems that the biggest problem was the extreme heat, and I don’t think that they were prepared for that.”

In response to the disorderly situation, the government began to take action. However, as the national and local governments scrambled to piece together a solution, the Jamboree event changed its route and turned into a sightseeing tour of museum visits, K-pop dance lessons, and traditional rice-cake-making lessons. 

“Although it could be appreciated that Korea intervened with such attempted efforts, I still believe that these efforts were too much delayed to make up for the mistakes,” Stella Eu (10) said. “If they were going to be good hosts, they should’ve done so earlier, instead of resorting to last-minute remedies. It only makes the country look more unprepared.”

South Korea’s official closing ceremony was a K-pop concert that was pieced together belatedly in an attempt to salvage the event. The concert, held at the Seoul Sangam World Cup Stadium, consisted of big names such as Itzy, NCT Dream, NewJeans, Ive, and Mamamoo.

“I think the K-pop event was an attempt to try and compensate for what the scouts experienced, but I do not think it fully measured up or repaid what the scouts felt,” Caleb Kim (10) said.

Furthermore, it was alleged that artists like IVE were forced, by the South Korean government, to participate. In the case of BTS, Congressman Sung requested that the Ministry of National Defence break the BTS members’ military contracts to allow them to perform at the closing ceremony. 

Although the attempt didn’t materialize, fans began criticizing the government for deploying K-pop stars to make up for its negligence in preparation for the Jamboree event. The South Korean government was also found to demand participation from local businesses and public officials, including workers at the Korean Development Bank who were drafted to set up the K-pop concert. 

The Jamboree debacle has put the country in a new light, worsening South Korea’s national image with government actions that raise question marks about the country’s safety standards and democratic principles.

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About the Contributor
Christie Hwang
Christie Hwang, Copy Editor
Christie is a sophomore copy editor for Tiger Times. In her leisure time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, binge-watching courtroom dramas, cooking, and baking. She also takes delight in conversations, so feel free to approach her in the hallways!

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