Expo 2020

‘Squid Game’ world takeover continues at Expo 2020 Dubai

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Fans of Netflix-created megahit ‘Squid Game’ can now get a taste of the South Korean survival drama at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Features of Squid Game, which has been watched by 142 million households since its September 17 debut, helping Netflix add 4.38 million new subscribers, is part of a host of a host of Korean activities being held at the country’s dedicated pavilion.

Fans of Netflix-created megahit ‘Squid Game’ can now get a taste of the South Korean survival drama at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Supplied: Twitter)
Fans of Netflix-created megahit ‘Squid Game’ can now get a taste of the South Korean survival drama at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Supplied: Twitter)

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Squid Game is officially the most popular TV show in its initial debut that Netflix has ever released, according to the company.

In the show, 456 debt-saddled contestants are mysteriously brought together on an island off the South Korean peninsula to compete in children’s games for a huge cash prize, with literally life-and-death consequences.

Visitors at the South Korea pavilion will be able to play the traditional children’s games featured in the series until November 14 – but without the deadly “elimination.”

The South Korea pavilion. (Supplied: Expo 2020 Dubai)
The South Korea pavilion. (Supplied: Expo 2020 Dubai)

Staff at the pavilion are dressed in the iconic guards’ suits and will host their very own “Squid Game.”

The Dalgona Game Event invites guests to prise out a clean, unbroken shape from a dalgona – a popular candy found on the Korean streets. The winner takes it all: well, a packet of Korean instant noodles.

From Korean food to the increasing popularity of its entertainment industry – with K-pop stars, Netflix smash hits and Oscar-winning films aplenty – the Republic of Korea’s cultural exports are making the whole world sit up and take notice.

It’s not just Squid Game that is spreading awareness about the country’s culture.

Korean culture awareness

Since the drama was released in mid-September, stocks in the nation’s lively entertainment sector, spanning K-pop bands to cinema, have boomed. The cult phenomenon was preceded by the headline-grabbing success of 2019 comedy thriller Parasite, which scored six Academy Awards for its disturbing yet compelling dissection of the divide between rich and poor.

When it comes to tackling tough subject matter, K-pop’s most popular band BTS doesn’t shy away, either.

The band’s popular members reportedly raked in $50 million in 2020, putting them among the top 50 celebrity earners in the world, according to Forbes. Their music doesn’t get stuck on love, but instead delves into issues such as bullying, elitism and mental health. Their global appeal recently resulted in a collaboration with Coldplay on single My Universe, an anthem that mirrors Expo’s aim to bring worlds together.

With 34 million followers on social media, Stray Kids – the eight-member boy group who are the official ambassadors of Expo 2020’s Republic of Korea Pavilion, are another popular K-pop draw.

Fans should mark their calendars for January 16, 2022, when the tenacious octet will perform to mark the Republic of Korea’s National Day at Expo 2020.

Korean food at Expo 2020

Korean food is also one of the hot trends on plates in 2021. The number of visitors frequenting the restaurant at the Republic of Korea Pavilion – simply, but aptly, called K-Food – are definitely testament to this. The menu includes national delicacies such as kimchi, KBBQ (Korean barbecue), fried mandoo (dumplings), combination pancakes, hot pots and jjigae (Korean stew).

This week, organizers said almost 1.5million visits to Expo 2020 Dubai have been recorded in first three weeks since the world’s largest cultural gathering opened its doors.

Running until March 31, 2022, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

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