01 Oct 강남스타일 (Gangnam style) – Oct 12
by Firman Rianto
Can I start this article with a question? Have you seen this music video that has been running as the #1 hit by Psy? http://bit.ly/OKCmBt
It may not look like it but there is a subtle message we can learn from this video where Psy teases Gangnam lifestyle.
Gangnam is a tiny Seoul neighbourhood that is the home of some of South Korea’s biggest brands, as
well as its $84 billion wealth, as of 2010. According to Adrian Hong, a Korean-American consultant, this is a neighbourhood that emphasises hard work and ambition, as well as materialism that can sometimes follow.
In the lyrics, Psy insists he likes women who drink coffee. Hong commented on this saying that in Korea there is a joke poking fun at women who eat 2,000-won (about $2) ramen for lunch and then spend 6,000 won on Starbucks coffee. They have a high inclination towards restraining on their needs so they can over-spend on noticeable luxuries. Not only in Korea, but also in Australia, people (including Christians) have been caught up in the spending in order to look wealthy. Psy in this video is trying to point out how silly that is. The whole video is about him thinking he’s a hotshot but then realising he’s just in a children’s playground, or thinking he’s playing polo but he’s merely on a merry-go-round.
By global standards, if these people can buy Starbucks coffee, they are easily in the top 10 percent of the worlds wealthy. Randy Alcorn stated in his book ‘Money, Possessions and Eternity’, “Statistically, if you have sufficient food, decent clothes, live in a house or apartment, and have a reasonably reliable means of transportation, you are among the top 15 percent of the world’s wealthy. If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5 percent of the world’s wealthy.”
There are seven spiritual gifts that Paul lists in Romans 12:6-8. They include prophesying, serving, teaching, showing mercy, and giving. The gift of giving is buried deepest in the Western church. It is the least one thought about and discussed.
I’d like to ask these same questions as Randy Alcorn inquired, “Suppose God wanted to fulfil his plan of world evangelisation and help an unprecedented number of suffering people. What gift would we expect him to distribute widely? The gift of giving. And what might we expect him to provide to those to whom he’s given that gift?—unprecedented wealth to meet all those needs and further his kingdom. Look around. Isn’t that exactly what God has done? The question is what are we doing with the wealth he’s entrusted to us to reach the lost and help the suffering?”
The battle against materialism is real and present for people in Gangnam, Sydney, and/or Jakarta. And it can only be won with generous giving and moderate lifestyle. Let us start winning the battle with tithing (Malachi 3:10) and grow in alignment with our dependence upon our generous Father.
If you like to read, I encourage you to read “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn. If you don’t like to read, (well done to have read this far), please read the Bible and “Money,Possessions, and
Eternity” by Randy Alcorn.