SEOUL, July 17 (Korea Bizwire) – It’s no secret that South Korean media has had its share of stereotypical depictions of foreign cultures in the past. One of the more notable cases of cultural appropriation in recent years was of the generic rich Middle Eastern man, personified through the character “Mansour” on KBS 2TV’s “Gag Concert” in 2014, who was supposedly modeled after Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.’
Throughout the segment’s run, the character’s name was later changed to “Eoksour” amid criticism that it was racist. This time, MBC TV is launching a new comedy-drama series, named “Man Who Dies to Live,” centered around a Korean-born man, played by Choi Min-soo, who travels to a fictional Middle Eastern country, becomes wealthy, earns the title of “count,” and becomes a naturalized citizen named Said Fahd Ali.
“He’s a very unexpected character but has a lot of points what can be related to in today’s society,” Koh Dong-sun, the show’s director, said at a press conference on Monday at MBC TV’s headquarters in northwestern Seoul.
Though the series has yet to debut, the trailer and publicity material revealed so far hints that Choi will, for the most part of the show, portray a rich, self-centered and patriarchal Middle Eastern character.
“Man Who Dies to Live” premieres Wednesday on MBC TV.