You know the Squid Game Netflix series has hit big time and is a major influence when even those in Singapore who should not be watching it in the first place are playing the violent version of a traditional Korean children's game featured on the show.
That was exactly what happened recently at a playground located at Block 406 Sembawang Drive.
Kids play Red Light, Green Light at playground
A TikTok video uploaded on Oct. 9 showed children, who look like they are aged nine years old and below, playing Red Light, Green Light -- a game featured in the first episode of Squid Game.
The video showed four children at the HDB estate playground.
What they did
A boy, seen standing by a wall, could be heard shouting: “Are you ready?”
Three other children responded by shouting: “Yes.”
The boy, then sang, by shouting in near perfect Korean, “mugunghwa kkoci pieot seumnida”, while staring at the wall.
The other three children then ran towards the wall, but froze in their tracks whenever the boy by the wall turned to face them.
Each time the boy turned back to face the wall, the other kids made a run for it, with the aim of reaching the wall, which is the finish line.
If those running were caught moving when the boy by the wall turned around, they will be eliminated.
Shot mates with finger gun
The boy by the wall, also known as the spotter, could be heard shouting "Bang", while pointing his finger gun at the other two kids who were caught moving.
They then proceeded to pretend to fall to the ground as if they had been shot.
The other adults at the playground did not react to the game being played.
How game is played in Squid Game
In the Netflix show, a giant animatronic killer doll sings the eerie line “mugunghwa kkoci pieot seumnida” (무궁화 꽃 이 피었 습니다) over and over again.
According to a Korean speaker, the line translates to "the Mugunghwa flower has blossomed", which is the name of the Korean game.
Mugunghwa, or the Rose of Sharon, is Korea's national flower, which only blossoms in the morning.
In Netflix's American context, the game got translated to "Red Light, Green Light", which is a game with a similar concept.
But there are differences.
The South Korean variation of tag played in the 1970s and 80s was supposed to have the singing part increase in tempo as the game progressed along.
“Red Light, Green Light” is similar in its rules but the actual game name is “무궁화 꽃 이 피었 습니다”, roughly translated as “the mugunghwa flower is blooming”. (The mugunghwa flower (Hibiscus syriacus) is the national flower of Korea and features in a lot of folk tradition)— Jeeyon Shim 심지연 (@jeeyonshim) September 27, 2021
In the American Red Light, Green Light game, variations in singing tempo is not a function of the game.
Hence, the Korean version of the game should become more challenging as it progresses along, as the tempo of the singing can get faster and more unpredictable, tripping up the runners.
The spotter, who is the person who does the singing, can create variations at will.
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Top photo via rossoffthewall TikTok & Squid Game