Embracing the do-it-yourself attitude

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Embracing the do-it-yourself attitude


Caine is a 9-year-old boy who lives in Los Angeles. He built an arcade in his dad’s used auto parts shop out of cardboard boxes. The boy with a brilliant imagination set up different games and came up with his own system of calculating points for prizes, but he had one major problem: No customers would enter his arcade. One day, a young man stopped by and played some games in the arcade. He fell in love with Caine’s passion and started the “Caine’s Arcade” project. He planned a flash mob on Facebook - Caine’s father took him out on the day of the flash mob and when he returned, the boy was surprised by the large line of people in front of the arcade waiting to play his games.

Last week, a short film documenting the project was uploaded on YouTube, and the video went viral. It has gotten explosive media coverage nationwide. The scholarship fund to raise $100,000 towards a college education was successful. Kids around the country linked their own arcade games on Caine’s Facebook page.

From the news, I paid more attention to the surroundings of Caine than to the boy himself. Caine’s father is a typical working-class citizen. He supports his son’s original ideas with a smile and watches him quietly. The used auto parts store has all kinds of tools, offering the perfect space for Caine’s imagination. Any “do-it-yourself” fans would envy the setting.

In Korea, the do-it-yourself mindset is limited to interior decoration know-how among homemakers. But in Western culture, it includes wider fields, from fixing automobiles to building houses to making robots and rockets. A garage is an important space in American homes as it doubles as a workshop. Making something with your own hands is a part of the American pioneer spirit. With the Internet, this attitude seems to have made a comeback. Tools and infrastructure have developed drastically, and Americans are increasingly regretting mass consumption.

Tech shops are enjoying brisk business all over the U.S. Here, people can rent expensive equipment and software at affordable prices. Make, a DIY magazine, started the Maker Fair in 2006, and the public annual event became an international celebration. A friend who attended the event in New York last year said he was surprised that children could build original projects without learning. This is an environment that inspires innovation, and it would be wise to encourage this DIY attitude in Korea’s youth.

*The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Lee Na-ree
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