culture

Lee Eun-Seok woke up in the middle of the debris and looked for survivors but it was no use. Seoul had already turned into a huge hive, infested by giant hornets.

So goes the story in Hive, one of the “webtoons” that have become hugely popular in South Korea and which are poised to become the country’s next booming export, according to some bullish forecasts. Read more

Fears that Brazil’s infrastructure would be overwhelmed have so far proven overblown. There have been some flight cancellations, poor communications at some games and other problems, but the FT’s Brazil bureau chief Joseph Leahy reports that generally things have gone smoothly

T S Eliot encapsulates existential despair in his landmark modernist poem The Waste Land with the phrase “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

Eliot’s bleak imagery is apparently not dark enough for Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group chairman, published poet, and Eliot fan Huang Nubo (pictured) – at least when it comes to describing the anguished feelings of Chinese entrepreneurs. Read more

By John Howkins

The big entertainment news in China this year has been the rise in cinema box office to around $3.6bn, ranking second only to the US. According to Bank of America’s Jessica Reif Cohen, the annual growth rate for the past five years has been a staggering 47 per cent. There were more features filmed in Beijing this year than in Hollywood – though that is partly because US producers are leaving LA to seek cheaper locations. Read more

Russian collectors are a growing force on the booming global art market, where prices for trophy works are beating all-time records. But it is Russian art that will take centre stage next week as leading auction houses in London offer an eclectic range of important works from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Russian art is not yet fully appreciated by international connoisseurs. But rich Russians can’t get enough of it. They’re prepared to fork out huge sums for a slice of their national heritage. Read more

The surging popularity of the Japanese language and culture among young Indonesians, as reported in the FT, is good news for large Japanese companies such as Toyota, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Uniqlo, which are increasing their investments in southeast Asia’s largest economy.

It is also creating opportunities for small entrepreneurs like Vivian Wijaya, who runs Dr Vee Mangaka Club, a manga drawing school. Read more

Unlike many mainland Chinese shoppers, Hu Yunfeng, a 36-year-old man, took the overnight train from Beijing to Hong Kong not for Rolex watches or Louis Vuitton bags, but for books.

Hu is one of several hundred thousand mainland Chinese expected to make the journey to Hong Kong’s annual book fair, held this year from July 17 to 23. It is the biggest event in the Hong Kong summer and the world’s largest book fair in terms of visitors – more than a million people are expected in total. Read more

“I thought that if one wanted to be a writer, one has to go to Paris. Instead, what I discovered there, was Latin America,” said Nobel Prize laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa (pictured below), at the eighth edition of the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia – a spin-off from the UK’s largest literary gathering that turns 25 in 2013.

Now, it seems Latin America has a lot to show to the world when it comes to culture. Read more

By Shaomin Li and Seung Ho Park of the Skolkovo Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Moscow

If you suggest that Egypt, Morocco, and Bangladesh could be the next bright spots for high economic growth, you might get some sceptical reactions.

But this is outcome of our recent study on productivity. We found that culture influences productivity – and that productivity flourishes among people that rate long-term financial planning, entrepreneurial risk-taking, and family values, and who, controversially, prefer political stability to political freedom. On this basis, Egypt, Morocco and Bangladesh will all do well. Read more

Forget IQ. And while you’re at it: forget EQ as well. If you’re looking for an executive to lead your emerging market operations in 2013 and beyond, it’s all about CQ – the cultural quotient. Or so says Kevin Kelly, CEO of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. He spoke to beyondbrics before heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where the issue of how to capitalise on the relative strength of emerging markets over developed ones will be a major theme. Read more

By Neil Munshi and Kunal Nathwani

The first firecrackers heralded the arrival of India’s roughly two-months long festive season early this month but Wednesday, the first day of Ganesh Chaturti – a 10-day festival celebrating the elephant-headed god Ganesha, or Ganpati – marked its true beginning. Read more

Scratch any netizen in China and you will find a patriot with an inferiority complex. The chip on China’s shoulder is never hard to find but one recent tale from Shanghai demonstrates the speed at which offence is taken in China – and the ever-present danger of stirring up old anger at China’s colonial humiliation. Read more