Monday, May 31, 2010


연꽃은 더러운 못에서 꽃이 핀다

It is not your background but who you are that matters. You just have to see the lotus and the dirty pond which it grows up from to understand.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


더위가 찾아오자 파김치가 되다

나와 추위가 더 잘 어울린가 보다

Friday, May 28, 2010


Early spring - Waiting for flowers to bloom

Early summer - Waiting for monsoon rain to come

Early fall - Waiting for leaves to turn red

Early winter - Waiting for first snow to fall

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

빵집의 유혹

Tous Les Jours in Seoul Olympic Park

Dunkin' Donuts in Jongno 1-ga

When night fell, walking pass a bakery with an empty stomach in Seoul, could mean coping with a lot of temptations. Shops of reputed bakery chain are all brightly lit at night with every intention to tempt the 'weak-willed' souls who have yet have dinner.

Anyway, it doesn't cost much to get a few buns. A bun costs around 1,000won which is not expensive considering the amount of advertising budget each chain pours into inviting top Korean stars to front their brand. However, foreign-brand bread can be rather expensive (see picture below). Foreign label is rarely cheap, that's why it makes good sense to support local brands.

'Fire Flosss' selling at about $3 SGD. Expensive, no?

Monday, May 24, 2010

자연의 색깔

What is the colour of grass?

What is the colour of sea?

The colour of grass is, of course, green. In Korean, you can say it is '초록색' or '푸른색'. On the other hand, the colour of sea is blue (or is it?). In Korean, you can call it '파란색' or '푸른색'. In case you have not noticed, 푸른색 is used in both cases of grass and sea. So is '푸른색' green, blue or a colour somewhere in between like turquoise?

'푸르다' has its root in the word '풀' which means 'grass' in Korean. Since '풀' is green in colour, it is logical to associate '푸른색' with mountains, fields and trees, all of which are green in colour too. However, what is confusing to foreigners is how did Koreans come to associate blue sky and sea with '푸른색'? Was it a situation where Koreans did not know how to differentiate between green and blue?

This is how I read '푸른색'. It is a spectrum of colours ranging from green to blue and conveys the feel of nature. Imagine green rice field, clear blue sky and transparent turquoise sea - the multi-faceted colours of nature. '푸른색' is, thus, not merely an expression of colours; it also encompasses the beauty and grandeur of nature. If by chance, Vanessa Williams is to ask me to paint the 'colours of the wind', I would have no doubt painting it '푸른색'.

I shall leave you with the song "제주도 푸른 밤" (The blue night of Jeju Island) by Sung Si Kyung. If you are wondering why the night is '푸른색' when it is neither green or blue colour, then you must recall the feeling which '푸른색' conveys. '푸른색', in this instance, is more about '느낌' (feel, impression) than colour. Can you feel the beauty of '푸른색' now?

Enjoy the '감미로운 목소리' (sweet and gentle voice) of Sung Si Kyung ^^

Sunday, May 23, 2010


My 'Japanese language teachers'

My 'Russian language teacher'. 안녕 is Привет.

(Pictures above are that of my classmates introducing their mother tongues in Korean language during lesson time)

My Chinese friends were full of admiration what I said I am proficient in both English and Chinese. Being effectively bilingual is their dream but a difficult one. I could fully appreciate their sentiments. I didn't have it easy as well.

Now that I know a third language, I am more open to foreign languages. Language to me, previously, is an exam subject that I had to pass. Today, I view it as a communication tool. If I have the wish to communicate, then learning a new 'tool' is not a big problem.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

여름의 단풍

Orange maple leaves in summer - Picture taken in Kyunghee

I like to echo what one of my lecturers had said, "One thing good about being in Kyunghee is that you feel like you are in a forest."

Google Earth's satellite picture shows that Kyunghee is indeed less built-up than many other campuses. There are many empty spaces in between buildings which are meant for plants and trees.

I like a nice environment to study in and that's why I stuck with Kyunghee throughout. A bonus is that Kyunghee is also one of the top 10 universities in Korea. Perhaps, that also explains why its tuition fee is on the expensive side.

별을 잡았던 나

To live a life with dream. To look at future with hope and past with gratitude.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Friday, May 14, 2010


귀항 (歸航), Returning to Port

December 2008, I quitted my well-paying job to afford myself a chance to listen to my heart. The trade-off was not insignificant but my mind was long made and I was prepared to pay the price and face the uncertainties. It was definitely an impetuous decision but there was no other way I could have gained control of my fortune if I had moved cautiously. Time waits for no man, looking back was not an option. I knew I have to go and so I went.

September 2009. I returned but to a different 'world'. My life was reset. I could no longer afford to drive a car. I dare not switch on the air-con on a warm night to avoid high electricity bill. The loss of creature comfort was not something I had not expected. I am perfectly fine with my new life except that I was losing sleep over my uncertain future.

Recently, I had a rare conversation with my dad. I am not a person who will divulge my worries but somehow I could not hold back anymore.

"Dad, if my business fails, we may well lose our house. If thing continues the way it is now, I will not be able to pay for the monthly instalment once my savings are depleted in a few years time."

"I was in a worse shape than you now. Take it from me, things will straighten out once you get there. Whether you think your future is bright or bleak, you are both correct. So it is better for you to be optimistic. Things will definitely get better if you stay optimistic."

The reassurance from my dad was a much-needed shot in the arm for my otherwise languishing spirit. I have thought it over; I may not be out of the wood yet but nothing is stopping me from feeling optimistic. While the future may be abound with uncertainties, it also offers many possibilities. I shall stay optimistic and hopeful. If thing doesn't turn out well eventually, I will not have any regret because I chose this path, because at least I have attempted.

잘 돌아왔습니다!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

있다 없다

Should it be '없는' or '없은'? 없은 seems more right because 없다 is a descriptive verb and so should go with 'ㄴ/은' but 없는 (pronounced '엄는') sounds more correct. I encountered such dilemma several times during test which was, of course, not very helpful ㅠㅠ.

I thought I understand '있다' because it looks simple enough. However, when I was asked to explain why '있다' appears in '~고 있다' and '아/어 있다', I was tongue-tight. Apparently, there are more to simple verbs '있다 없다' than meet the eyes. I think I may have found the answer to my queries now.

Meanings of 있다

- As an action verb, '있다' means 'to stay or remain' in a fixed place.

1. 가만히 있어라 (Stay still!/Don't move!)
2. 그는 집에 있는다고 말했다 (He said he stays at home)

- As a descriptive verb, '있다' means either 'in existence' or 'in possession'

3. 집에 피아노가 있다 (In the house, there is a piano)
4. 나는 돈이 많이 있다 (I have a lot of money)

Note: '있다' in sentence 3 has the meaning of existence while 4 has the meaning of possession.

'있다/없다' absolutely loathes '은'

Basic grammar teaches that when an action verb becomes a noun modifier, it goes with '는' whilst descriptive verb goes with 'ㄴ/은'. However, this rule does not apply to '있다/없다'. As noun modifier, '있다/없다' behaves like an action verb, i.e. they go with '는' only even though they may be descriptive verb.

- 있다 as action verb

5. 가만히 있는 빌리 (Billy who stays motionless...)
6. 집에 있는 민정 (Minjeong who stays at home...)

- 있다 as descriptive verb

7. 집에 있는 피아노 (The piano which is in the house...)
8. 돈이 있는 나 (I who has money...)

- 없다 as descriptive verb

9. 우리나라 없는 음식 (The food which is not found in my country...)

Note: All the above examples are in present tense. To change to past tense, just replace '는' with '던'. Example,

10. 집에 있던 민정 (Minjeong who stayed at home...)


In Children's Zoo, Seoul Grand Park

In Nami Island

Sunday, May 09, 2010


A friend texted me asking if I need anything from Korea as she is going on a tour to Korea with her family. I replied, "I have enough to last me a lifetime. Thank you so much and have a good trip."

I have my time travelling around Korea

I have my time studying in Kyunghee

I have my time appreciating the finer things of life. I am contented.

장미꽃 가든

Roses start to bloom in early summer or in June. The Rose Garden in Seoul Grand Park has so many varieties of roses that I am not too sure if I have covered 50% of them in the pictures below. Though I am no fan of roses, I do like their names. Names like blue moon, summer wind and peace.

Rose Garden in Seoul Grand Park

Bridal Pink (United States)

Blue Moon (Germany)

Burgund' 81 (Germany)

Charleston (France)

For Shin' 82 (Germany)

Freute (France)

Gallivallda (France)

Gold Buny (France)

Gold Monica (Germany)

Golden Touch (Germany)

Harmonie (Germany)

Hiogi (Japan)

Ingrid Weibul (Germany)

Inka (Germany)

Landora (France)

Lavaglut (Germany)

Maria Callas (France)

Makayuki (Germany)

Minuet (France)

Niccolo Paganini (France)

Nicole (Germany)

Noblesse (Germany)

Oklahoma (United States)

Peace (France)

Pink Peace (France)

Princess de Monaco (France)

Queen Elegabeth (United States)

Saiun (Japan)

Summer Wind (Germany)

Tchin-Tchin (France)

Tineke (Netherlands)

Tokimeki (Japan)