[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Too many freeloadersI enjoyed reading your article “Culture in Korea Comes at Huge Cost” (July 23). I agree that cultural performances, especially those involving foreign performers, are too costly in Korea, presenting a major obstacle to the “democratization of high culture.” As to why they are so expensive, I think that your analysis could be ignoring one important causal factor ― generous distribution of free tickets to VIPs. I will explain this in terms of my own experience.
Last year, my wife and I went to the Sangam World Cup Stadium to watch an MBC-sponsored concert featuring Zubin Mehta and paid about 150,000 won each for second-class tickets. I thought that this was rather expensive but also that those who care for culture should be ready to pay for it.
At the stadium, however, I ran into a couple of my friends, including one professor and a government official, who said that they were there as “guests.” My feeling since then has been that many seats are given out to VIPs free of charge and that the rest of the audience subsidize those VIPs’ consumption of culture.
This is just a suspicion. Could you investigate how many free tickets are given out when there are “expensive” cultural events? In any case, since then, my policy has been not go to watch “high” cultural performances. [By the way, the concert was just plain terrible.]
by Young Soo-gil