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Language & Culture How Squid Game Resonated to Me

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작성자 Dana Picazo
댓글 0 Comments 조회 4,885 Views 작성일 21-11-08 08:18


The Korean entertainment industry continues to make waves as TV series Squid Game debuted in Netflix last September. It gained the attention of many viewers not only in Korea, but around the world. It has been the talk of the town for many and until as of writing Squid Game remains top of the Netflix charts globally. According to Netflix, Squid Game is now the most watched series in the platform.
The series was praised for a lot of reasons. Its shocking and nerve-racking plot glued audiences to their seats. But most interestingly, it was able to somehow create a cultural connection because the themes, symbols and stories it portrayed. An example would be the games that became the most important elements in the plot. These games introduced us to Korean culture, but it also resonated our own. As I watched the series, I couldn’t help but think of the childhood games that I played back home in the Philippines. I was fascinating how similar they were to the ones played in Squid Game. They definitely cut across cultures. Here are a few of them:
1. Filipino Version of Ddakji is Pogs
Instead of colored folded paper tiles, many Filipino kids grew up collecting round milk caps or what we call “pogs”. I remember having a collection of these pogs because they had very fun and colorful designs in them. Even McDonald’s in the Philippines offered these as Happy Meal collectibles. The game basically has the same concept as the one in the series. However, we usually play it by stacking the pogs first ,then one player hits the stack to scatter the pogs. Then, the player who flips the most scattered pogs wins.
2. The Filipino version of Red Light, Green Light is Pepsi, 7-Up
In Squid Game, when this game was played, we hear the song “무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다” which translates to Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) has bloomed. In the Philippines, the doll or the “it” says Pepsi and players behind begin to move to get closer. Then, as soon as the “it” shouts 7-Up, players should stop moving. When a player successfully tags the “it”, everyone scrambles back to their base to avoid becoming the next “it”.
3. The Filipino version of Squid Game is Patintero
. This is played by drawing rectangular grid lines that forms squares (usually 6) on the ground. Two teams compete - passing team and tagging team. Goal of the passing team is to go through all the squares to reach their base without getting caught by the taggers. The taggers are positioned along the lines and can’t get into the squares. This is a very competitive and fun game which many Filipino kids play at school or in their neighborhood.
I’m sure many of you can relate to these games as well! What were the games in your country that were similar to these?

Bonus tip! If you want to have a glimpse of how it feels like to be in the Squid Games, a life size version of the giant doll is displayed at Olympic Park in Seoul until November 21.

Until next time!


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