UPDATE : 2017.9.15 금 01:43

[Vol. 74] Change of thinking might change society

Fresh ideas lead to citizens' participation 이대명 기자l승인2015.10.23l수정2015.10.23 13:19

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  Forty people and 3 days were what were needed to clean up streets after the festival of Infinite Challenge, which is one of the most popular programs in Korea. It was a sad chance to see our ugly status through huge piles of trash left behind the festival. In fact, many people blamed the fans and producers of Infinite Challenge for lacking civic awareness. This is, however, not a sole situation where we can see our ugly truth. What on earth have we missed in terms of civic awareness? Perhaps, there would be a number of reasons; such as, insufficient education or the fact that the economy has rapidly developed without moral growth. Though, this time you might want to know about a little bit of a different reason and followed by a solution rather than those sorts of typical, heavy topics. Sometimes, the answers would come from unexpected areas. In this case, it might be the power of an idea which leads to participation.

The vote with garbage

  Holland is one of the great examples of what we are talking about. When it comes to festivals, normally a pile of trash is an associated irritating nuisance. Yet, Holland gets through this situation by coming up with a quite fresh idea. They put two big garbage bins in the center of the stadium. Then, they ask audience to throw away garbage into either in which they prefer. For example, one garbage bin says that it would be better for Elvis Presley to be back. The other one says it would be better for Michael Jackson to be back. So, according to their preferences, they throw garbage away into the one they want to vote on. It might sound like a very simple idea, but the effect of this is surprisingly impressing. Some people even were trying to find garbage around the festival stadium to win this kind of competition.

QR code in bandage

  Brazil also shows a good example. Concerned about low participation in blood donation, organizers thought of putting QR codes on bandages. When blood donors try to access their QR code by smart phone, the message of appreciation from the people who are going to receive blood donation comes up. For example, “Thanks very much. I don’t know who you are, but you saved my daughter’s life. My daughter has been hospitalized for 5 months and she really needed a lot of blood.” 
  Thanks to the power of QR codes in bandages, there was an increase of 800 people for blood donations in just 7 days and 23% of people increased in 3 months.

Polar bears on tissue

  Throughout the world, as increasing interest of global warming in the last several decades has developed, an idea of making a healthy earth has been put into many life-products. Especially, a figure of a polar bear is used with tissues in order to save the amount of tissue used. Basically, the idea is that the more you use the tissue, the less space the polar bear can stand on. Through this, people can practically be aware of the critical danger of global warming, so that people are unwittingly, but pretty strongly encouraged to use the least amount of the toilet paper. 

Power of ideas leads people to take action 

  What we have seen through this article is that there is a shift of thought, in other words, the power of ideas can make people be willing to take action and actually participate in many projects, such as protecting the environment, helping other people, and dealing with social issues. Of course, fresh ideas and change of viewpoint could not be the sole solution of low civic awareness. Nevertheless, it truly seems that due to the power of ideas, many people actually take part in meaningful projects. Then, while they are taking action, they could see and realize the value of their action, which possibly will lead the world into a little bit of a progressed level.
  As the saying goes, "A thousand hearings are not worth one seeing." Maybe, then, that saying would be quite related to the problem of our situation. Without taking action and participation, we might have learned and developed our civic awareness through only books. By taking action for and by ourselves, we could get to know the real taste of mature action. Once we start to realize the value of our action, it is going to be more natural to do something good for our society, simply because what we do makes ourselves feel so rewarded and happy. Maybe, at the moment, we Koreans, need those things which encourage us to move and take action: power of ideas and shift of thought!


이대명 기자  borawww3@naver.com
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