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The ‘Squid Game’

The popular Korean series ‘Squid Game’ depicts a dystopian world about a group of debt-ridden contestants competing to win a grand prize of $38.5 million. The games are based on traditional children’s games, some of which are unique to Korea, while others, such as “Red Light, Green Light,” are well-known globally. However, unlike other children’s games, those in ‘Squid Game’ carry terrible repercussions if you fail. That’s because the alternative to winning is dying. As participants battle their way through the competition, the Game provides a twisted, unsettling glimpse into human nature—the extent individuals will go for money when they are desperate, if decency and compassion can emerge from such turmoil, and whether life, even when reduced to playground games, is worth living.

It exposes the failings of current social order more poignantly because it presents the inevitable consequences of our failings. The prose is direct and unembellished; the message is gut-wrenching if you pay enough attention to note it unless your moral compass is disconnected and it’s not difficult to look at the story through a political lens though it’s not as clear, but the story obviously intended to describe a society based on Capitalism, unchecked Capitalism, and humanity. Things are unfair. The games are rigged for maximum carnage, and it is even more disgusting when it allowed people to buy the lives of others. Some might argue it is a metaphor for life itself. Every choice you make has consequences, even when those choices are unfairly pushed upon you.

When writer and director Hwang Dong-hyuk set out to create the dark and bizarre thriller Squid Game, he didn’t look too far from reality for inspiration. “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life,” he told Variety. The result was the premise of his now top-ranking Netflix series: a twisted underground program where people with staggering debt are recruited (and volunteer) to play simple games at life-or-death stakes for the chance at a ridiculous amount of money.

The VIP freaks who revel in all the carnage of the games are bored, rich men who view the contestants as nothing other than playthings. They dehumanize them and place wagers on who will survive each level. Additionally, they also encourage the Frontman to change the game at will to make things more “exciting” for them. They all appear to be entitled, wealthy, and for the most part, white Westerners. But that’s a pretty broad credo.

It is more than just a survival of the fittest exploitative game; it is a sharply pointed commentary on greed. Things are unfair. It could be about an overreaching Government controlling the populace, sacrificing the virtuous to a hedonistic elite? Or how a society controlled by the 1% inevitably enslaving the 99% and forcibly controlling all resources and removing the common man from having a voice? The circle represents workers, the triangle represents soldiers, and the square represents managers. In Squid Game, workers, soldiers and managers only carry out their given tasks and nothing else. It’s irresistible because the characters are so real, their stories so powerful, and the plot is so elegantly executed.

We do, however, as a society, relish violence and competition in which one challenger decimates the opponent as part of our regular diet of entertainment. We may allow the elite 1% to manipulate a system in which the ranks of those in poverty grows and grows. We may take the machinations of power for granted and expect little in the way of principles from our leaders. It shows us the awful truth: too bad we appear immune to ‘The Squid Games’ implications, obvious as they are.

 

Sjorne Shen

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

8 Responses to “The ‘Squid Game’”

  • xoxo:

    Here,we can call it the *Giant sotong game*?
    Here not just empowering of ownselve$ but sotongs blur blur accept everything,even can believe *CPF NOT MY MONEY*???
    Flood is ponding.
    PAP SCHOLARS ARE THEIR ANGELS?
    Just becos they wear white?

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  • illiterate pap voters:

    people say we are wrong.

    they say what pap meant was, only those from RI are illiterate.

    hahaha.

    so ffffing stupid.

    this is not pap meant at all since all schools, according to pap, are good schools, and only illiterates are from lousy schools.

    when pap said, RI is lousy school and producing illiterate, pap at the same breath is saying, the one from ACS who said it is the same and the one from Monk San school who responded is the same and the one who took part and denied from Tanjong Katong is sama sama.

    in other words, the unspoken is, as long as you voted pap, you are sama sama, that is, illiterate from a lousy school. 61% is what pap meant.

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  • removal of disagreeable elemen:

    aiyoh. can be interpreted also as the the legalization of an illegal removal of disagreeable elements ???

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  • Unchecked Capitalism .....:

    …. and the Pappies have ever for so long plotted to morph Singkies into blur $otongs overseen by the decidedly delegated Mdm. Presidente de Milo and an attorney general calibrated to the Emperor’s incorporated design$.

    And what’s the difference between your “$” & the Pappy’s designer “$” oh $otong?

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    It is a movie where the stakes depend on the box office…
    In reality the stakes are human lives…removing them from the wombs of the less priviledged in order to faciltate the self proclaimed Elites n Aristocraps

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  • Shenkoji Buchikonya:

    Singaporeans also played this ‘Sotong Game’ where the prize is $5.6 millions. The only risk they take is queuing back to back and hope no one around is asymptomatic. hahaha……

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  • Harder Truths:

    Living and dying in $G is already a game someone should invent for us to play. Those playing will find out that no matter what you do, you will fail unless you are an MP or FT.

    The only option to succeed is when you get to kiss the leeder’s a$$e. Then you can become an elite and make everyone citizen suffer. I really hope someone can make this fantastic game.

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  • It's in these Papilees...:

    A Greek aristocrat and an Indian brahmin are having tea together, trying to one-up each other on their historical achievements.

    The Greek says, “We have the Parthenon!”

    The Indian replies, “Well… we have the Taj Mahal.”

    The Greek says, “And we gave birth to advanced mathematics!”

    The Indian replies, “But we invented the number zero!”

    The Greek replies “But we invented your democracy!”

    The Indian says “And we invented your caste aristocracy!”

    After more arguing back and forth between them, the Greek finishes with what he thinks is a winner -
    with a flourish of confidence he exclaims, “Ah ha! … we reinvented sex!”

    Calmly, the Indian replies, “That may be true…but our deities done it before your gods did – it’s cast in stone!”

    Now, their Pappy friend happened to chance upon the two men around then and he caught ear of their exchanges. He said, “Guys, it all depends on which school you came from; otherwise one lousy opinion is as qualified as the other!”

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