Thursday, April 10, 2008

Meetings and Forums and Fairs -- Oh My

I just realized how May is shaping up to be a rather busy season for official events in Seoul (at least for event related to the kind of work I do).

In early May, we have the SEOUL DIGITAL FORUM, which always attracts a lot of big names. This year, Sumner Redstone is going to be speaking, along with a host of other important people. It is an odd event, but there are usually 2-3 forums each year that I find useful to attend.

The follow week is going to be a big one for books in Korea. May 14-17 is this year's Seoul International Book Fair. But even bigger than that is May 12-15, when Korea's plays host to this year's annual congress for the International Publishers Association.

Before the Internet age and Starcraft descended upon us, Koreans were known as voracious readers. Today... not so much. But it looks like it could be an interesting event, at least as far as these stuffy industry events go.

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Funny story from the Seoul Digital Forum of two or three years ago. I attended the big opening dinner thing and ended up sitting at a table right beside the head table. At the head table was one of the major speakers, Lee Soo-man, the founder and head of SM Entertainment, of course. Sitting with Lee was Boa, the singing star (I think she might have performed a song or two).

As you would expect with this kind of event, the hall was filled with dark suited officials... people rather proud of themselves for being so important and influential, most of whom were in their 40s and 50s. Not exactly SM Entertainment's prime demographic, right?

Well, age and dignity be damned, because the important, dark-suited bigwigs were falling all over themselves to get autographs from Boa. In the middle of some important speech by some important dude, these people would half-crouch (as if hiding, but not really), weave their way through the maze of circular tables, and make their way to Boa's table, where they would put some ratty piece of paper in front of Boa to be signed. Quite humorous.

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