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article imageKoreans snub smartphones in 'Relax Your Brain' contest

By Lucky Malicay     May 23, 2016 in Lifestyle
Seoul - For 90 minutes, dozens of South Koreans avoided their smartphones and other electronic devices as they took part in an event that encourages people to live a stress-free life in one of the world’s most wired countries.
The third edition of the “space-out” competition held on Sunday drew more than 1,500 online applicants vying for 60 slots.
Under the "Relax Your Brain" slogan, participants of the event, held at the Ichon Hangang Park in the capital of Seoul, sat or lay still for one hour and 30 minutes, away from their electronic gadgets and without eating, talking and sleeping under the temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius (86F).
To win in the competition, organized by the city council of Seoul and launched by Korean activists in 2014, a participant must not move too much and must have the most stable heart rate.
"Let our brain -- never free from information overload from a smartphone, TV or computer -- relax! Let's enjoy just thinking nothing!" the council was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
Local singing sensation Shin Hyo-Seob, a.k.a. Crush, emerged the winner. From 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the rapper did not talk, sleep, eat or move around and had the most stable heart rate.
“I was so exhausted physically and mentally while preparing an album, so I just wanted to relax for a while,” Crush said. “This event is highly recommended for those who have migraines or complicated thoughts.”
Becoming popular in South Korea for his collaborations with K-pop stars, the 28-year-old Crush has released two albums.
"I did not know I was going to win," he said. "I was just spacing out without thinking of anything. It was a great time to rest my mind and body."
With almost 90 percent smartphone penetration, South Korea is one of the world’s most connected countries.
Smartphone users in the country of 50 million people spend an average of four hours a day playing games, chatting or tweeting.
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