IT’S A PRIVILEGE TO BE ABLE TO VISIT FARAWAY PLACES and experience other cultures and sights, as we often have to do in our line of work. Case in point: I have just returned from South Korea as a guest of LG on its 2015 Home Appliance and Air Solutions press tour. Having been to the country before, I couldn’t resist, on occasion, stepping back to note the reactions of my fellow travellers, all of whom were first-timers. It’s safe to say that they were bowled over by this Asian Tiger’s bustle and restless innovation. Yet at the same time there’s a conscious effort not to let go of traditions and history.

So, in the space of one day the visitors were given insights into how we’ll be managing tomorrow’s households (by remote control and apps, of course) and given a feel for the country’s heritage in the form of Hanbok, which is Korean traditional dress.

Our tour group was guided through the art of dressing up in the finery and rich colours of a bygone era – and a fine-looking crowd we made, too. Even if I say so myself.

When we weren’t soaking up local culture – and that includes soju, kimchi and that international treasure of Korean performance art, Nanta – we were trying to give our hosts an understanding of some of our own local traditions. Actually, one tradition in particular.

It was wry smiles and nodding heads all round at most of our business sessions as the inevitable question, sadly, came up: “These ideas are great. But what about load shedding?”

Fortunately, they’re on top of that, as well as they can be. Besides the obvious drive towards greater efficiency in operation, other ways of mitigating the effects of power outages include auto-restart systems and battery operation. We’ll be looking at the implications in an upcoming issue.

For the moment, though, we will continue to keep South Africa’s energy crisis in sharp focus. This month in Beat the Blackout we examine alternatives and solutions – effectively, what we as consumers can do. In future issues we’ll look at the broader view. It seems appropriate to use load shedding as the basis for our latest Workshop Challenge. Let’s get creative. After all, we’re a can-do culture, too.