Happy Sunday redux: fame’s red-hot glowSo I was back at the place that I declared in a previous column I never wanted to go to again ― the barbershop in Sinchon.
The gray-haired owner of the barbershop ― sorry, “men’s beauty salon” ― appeared before for his incredibly fine taste in selecting TV channels. When I was there last March, the gentleman was enjoying KBS2’s “Super TV Happy Sunday,” in which female celebrities in swimsuits were having fun in Guam under the fancy name, Dream Team. I was so unimpressed that I promised myself to never return to that barbershop.
But last weekend I went to Sinchon to do my Parent’s Day shopping. Some guy friends decided to tag along, but after only three hours of shopping, I realized they were beginning to straggle. Desperately clutching their shopping bags, they all wore Gimme-a-break-please looks. I felt a bit sorry for them, so decided to call it a day, to audible sighs of relief.
That’s when my style-conscious pals suddenly decided that they needed haircuts. It was my turn to flash the Gimme-a-break look, but to no avail. Outvoted, I went with them. Of course, they chose the same hair shop as last time.
This time, however, I was surprised and gladdened to find that it was not testosterone but estrogen that ruled the place. There was an elderly woman, apparently the wife of the owner, who had taken charge of the remote control.
That evening, just after 7, the shop happened to be empty, and the two female beauticians had their eyes fixed on the TV screen. What program did the women choose to watch when they were emancipated from the control of men? “Super TV Happy Sunday.” Again.
Fortunately, I did not have to watch the Dream Team in bikinis (that segment had apparently finished already). Now was the time for a fire-safety campaign.
Two comedians, Kim Guk-jin and Lee Hyeok-jae, emceed the segment. The first thing they did was to invite a fire protection expert to explain what to do if you ever catch fire. While the expert demonstrated her fire-safety techniques, the two hosts seemed more concerned with being wise guys. They asked her for the English translation of her fire safety drill.
“Stop, Drop and Roll,” she said proudly.
“Everyone should be able to understand English in this world of globalization,” Mr. Lee non-sequitured.
Standing beside the hosts were two stunt men in fire protection outfits, nodding enthusiastically. The stunt men soaked themselves in gasoline, then set themselves on fire. One stopped, dropped and rolled. The other stood and burned.
The hosts ceased swaggering about English and began to quiver in fear. The strategy evidently was to make people safety-conscious by scaring them to death.
Under the slogan “Safety Campaign ―Let’s Do It Together,” the hosts then went to people’s homes around Seoul, checking to see if a house had a fire extinguisher. It looked more like trespassing (there were few signs of knocking), but all is fair in the name of safety. If a home didn’t have a fire extinguisher, the hosts gave the family one.
The episode finally ended with everyone shouting the slogan “love and happiness,” with the English-savvy Mr. Lee adding “Liaison is really important. Listen and repeat, ‘Lovan happiness.’”
About the time the program ended, the beauticians were discussing how dangerous it would be to have a fire at the barbershop. And then I looked around and realized there was no fire extinguisher there ― a good excuse not to visit again.
by Chun Su-jin