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‘Culture should be fun’: new Minister Choe

Choe Kwang-sik, who took office as new culture minister on Tuesday, said the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports’ policies should be based on the idea that people should play and have fun.

“Some people ask me how I will manage all different fields of culture, sports and tourism and it is true that almost no one will do the job perfectly. But I have a simple answer,” Choe told reporters at a press conference, immediately after an inaugural ceremony with culture ministry officials. 
Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik speaks at a press conference at the ministry in Seoul on Tuesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik speaks at a press conference at the ministry in Seoul on Tuesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

“Just as Dutch Huizinga wrote in a book about ‘Homo Ludens,’ humans should play and have fun. We tend to degrade the word ‘enjoy’ but we should really enjoy what we do,” he said.

Choe, 58, was nominated by President Lee Myung-bak last month. He was head of the Korea Heritage Administration since February. Previously, he served as the director of the National Museum of Korea for three years.

As an expert in ancient Korean history, Choe said he will focus cultural policies on refitting Korea’s traditional culture and arts to create modern and global cultural content.

“When Korea held a welcoming reception for the G20 Seoul Summit at the National Museum of Korea last year, I tried to show not only Korea’s history and culture but post-modern aspects,” said Choe, who was then the museum director.

Choe also said that he will collaborate with North Korean officials to boost inter-Korean cultural exchanges to promote the cultural heritage of the Korean Peninsula.

“I will seek collaboration with the North to register ‘arirang’ on the UNESCO’s world intangible heritage list,” he said.

He also vowed to seek ways to promote local cultural festivals selectively to improve the quality of such festivals.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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