Cell Phone Fever Includes Charms And 'Cool' Rings

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Cell Phone Fever Includes Charms And 'Cool' Rings

In today's Korea, a cellular phone is no longer a means of communication for teenagers. Rather, it is a symbol of their lifestyles; not to have a cellular phone is unthinkable.

Youth seem to relate their identities to their cell phones, so it is no wonder that this piece of technology has become the measure of a person's degree of coolness. Everything related to cellular phones becomes a focus of attention and a topic of conversation.

Indeed, one of the hottest topics is always the latest model with the newest kind of ring sound. A recent domestic TV commercial directly pictures teenagers' fever for everything related to cellular phones: A teenage girl whose boyfriend is seriously injured cries, not because she is so sad for her boyfriend, but because she is upset at him for not acknowledging the latest ring of her cellular phone. But another aspect of tremendous interest to Korean teenagers is cell phone accessories.

In Seoul, there are speciality shops for accessories ranging from common items such as dolls and character-based goods to tiny new ornaments. One of the most popular lines of items is miniatures of ordinary daily goods, such as money and even bank books.

According to Kim Hee-chul, a shopkeeper at Myeongdong Migliore, one of the biggest fashion malls in Korea, the most popular miniatures these days are the 2 centimeter wide and 4.5 centimeter long 10,000 won and 100 dollar bills.

"Maybe people think they can earn more money if they have these miniatures attached to their cell phones," added Mr. Kim.

Also available are packs of cigarettes, 1.5 centimeters in width and 2.5 in length and bottles of all kinds of liquor, including beer, soju and whiskey. These tiny but realistic things are waiting to be hung on cellular phones even if the owners are too young to consume the real thing - or so we hope.

What is better, the price range is affordable. Although one might end up making a year's worth of installments to have the latest cellular phone, it takes only between 1,000 won and 2,000 won ($1.50), to have the latest trinket for it.

Take a look at your cellular phone: What kind of accessories do you have? To avoid being branded as one of the unfashionable (or worse, the old), maybe a 100 dollar bill miniature is just the thing you need.

by Chun Su-jin

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