Saudi festival lines up comedy show extravaganza

Artists perform at one of the events held as part of the ongoing Jeddah Season activities. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 12 June 2019
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Saudi festival lines up comedy show extravaganza

  • Events to boost tourism, entertainment initiatives

JEDDAH: Visitors to a Saudi festival will be crying tears of laughter after organizers lined up a side-splitting program of comedy events.

The Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced a series of shows and acts as part of the ongoing Jeddah Season of activities.

Egyptian comic and actor Mohammed Henedi will kick off a series of comedy events when he stars in a play titled “Three Days on the Coast” being staged at Obhor Bay from June 26 to 29. Another Egyptian funnyman, Ashraf Abdel Baqi, will perform in the “It’s All Wrong” production from July 10 to 13.

The laughs will continue to flow through July 18 at Al-Shallal Theme Park with the Saudi Comedy Club putting on a range of presentations featuring local, Arab and international comedians. These include a stand-up challenge, a “Saudi Cinderella” show, international comedy acts, musical nights, and performances by comics Talal Al-Sheiki, Mohammed Sultan, Abdulrahman Al-Somali, and Abdulkhaleq bin Rafea.

Meanwhile, the Laugh Factory, America’s top chain of comedy clubs, will be running shows organized by XJed at the Jeddah Waterfront from June 23 to July 18.

Further details about the events can be found on the Enjoy Saudi phone app, by visiting Twitter and Instagram @Enjoy_saudi, or by going to the official festival website at https://www.saudiseasons.sa and via Twitter @JED_SEASON.

In line with one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan, the GEA aims to organize, develop, and lead the Saudi entertainment sector in providing experiences to suit all tastes, while encouraging and supporting private sector entertainment initiatives.

The authority also works with small- and medium-sized enterprises and foreign investors in the development of the country’s entertainment sector.

The Jeddah Season festival, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, forms part of a major drive to boost tourism in the Kingdom. And in a bid to speed up the application process for visitor passes, anyone purchasing an event ticket online will be issued with an e-visa within three minutes. 

The entertainment program aims to highlight the city as a top visitor destination while at the same time encouraging partnerships with local businesses. Organizers also hope to generate up to 20,000 job and volunteering opportunities for young Saudis throughout the course of the festivities.


Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

Updated 1 min 43 sec ago
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Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

  • Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia

JEDDAH: Korean music and TV, better known as K-pop and K-drama, have relished a momentous rise in popularity all over the world.

As Korean soap operas and pop groups have captivated audiences, Korean has become an appealing language to learn. Now, Saudis are joining the growing crowd of enthusiasts.

There are a variety of reasons why Saudis want to learn Korean: To enjoy watching their favorite shows in the original language, to visit and experience the culture of Korea first-hand, or even to move to South Korea. 

“Most of my students loved K-pop and Korean dramas, and they wanted to expand their knowledge by learning the language,” Myung Hee Park from the Korean International School in Jeddah told Arab News.

“Sometimes they learned the language because they wanted to understand the shows without having to read the English subtitles.”

People from all over Saudi Arabia are traveling to Korea to attend concerts and watch their favorite artists perform.

“Lots of the people who come to learn from me have an experience of visiting Korea and enjoying concerts by artists such as BTS, Monsta X or SM Town,” Myung said.

Saudi appreciation of Korea does not stop at entertainment. “Some of my students wanted to study at Korean universities too,” Myung said.

Last November, 51 people took part in the first Ambassador’s Cup Korean Speech competition, held at the official residence of the South Korean ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Jo Byung-wook. The competition was organized to promote the country’s culture, language and heritage.

“The growing interest in learning the Korean language in Saudi Arabia shows the strength of our bilateral relations,” said the ambassador.

“Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia, the US and even the Middle East.”

Myung said: “There are many (cultural) similarities between the two countries, and I think that’s one of the reasons why Saudis have fallen in love with Korean culture so easily.”

She said Prince Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud “is an amazing student. Even when he comes back from long business trips, he resumes his lessons the very next day. I can see joy in the eyes of the people I’m teaching, and it makes my profession very rewarding.”

English teacher Amira Mohammad Al-Khateeb, who has been learning Korean, said: “It’s one of the languages that I’ve always wanted to learn. I’ve been watching Korean dramas for years, and at some point I sat myself down and said, ‘Amira you must learn the language now.’ I was delighted to find the school in Jeddah.”

She added: “After I learn the language, I intend to go to Korea and become a teacher there. I don’t just want to speak Korean for fun, I want to become a part of Korean culture.”