Sunday, June 27, 2010

하늘

If you never think sky is beautiful, you should really find a chance to look at the clear blue sky of autumn. Things on earth look more alluring with autumn sky as backdrop.

Blue autumn sky in Kyunghee

Clear autumn sky in Daegwallyeong

Thursday, June 24, 2010

산수간에 즐긴다

Daejeon Beach
(대전해수욕장, 大田海水浴場)

Achasan
(아차산, 峨嵯山)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

왕따

Koreans like to do things together. Social bonding is important to them. They enjoy eating, singing, drinking, bathing and sleeping in big group. Because of this, being made an outcast or loner is considered a harsh punishment socially. Koreans have a special term for this group of people whom they call "왕따" (pronounced 'Wang Da', 译音: 王大). It will be a sad thing if you are being labelled "왕따" in Korea. But, the fortunate thing is, to be made a "왕따" is very hard in the first place.

난 왕따 당하는 양이다. I am a "왕따", boo~

We are so happy together. See my smiling face?

Together forever. Happy happy.

Sorry for being anthropomorphic but these sheeps do look 'emotional'. By the way, you can have a close encounter with them at the children's zoo in Seoul Grand Park. These amiable sheeps will eat any grass you hold out to them. It is unlikely they will ignore you.

여름 바캉스

I like vacation, I mean who don't. If only summer is a season and not a climate in the tropics, I will soon be hitting the beach for my summer vacation.

Saw this MPV carrying a family of bikes on my way to Daejeon Beach. They must also be on their way to the beach.

I like beach festival in summer. You know that a festival is going on when you can see balloons floating high up in the sky.

Here I am, lying on the Daejeon Beach, with waves after waves of cold sea water sweeping over me. What a cool treat.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

우유보다 커피

No prize for guessing what is keeping me busy late into the night these days. I need more coffee. Remember to support "Dae Han Min Guk" tomorrow.

"Coffee Over Milk" - SBS TV Mon, Tue Drama "Coffee House" OST

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

청정

On a hot summer afternoon, it is good to be sitting beside a lake. I like this view, for it has sky, mountain, trees, water and their reflections. I wonder does 'coolness' come from a calm heart or from the lake of water.

Sitting under shade is also a good idea. I will give up my room aircon for it. I need to appreciate how fortunate I am to be sitting under the shade when outside is scorched by the blazing summer heat.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

금강산도 식후경

The scenery of Mt. Geumgang is said to be very beautiful. Despite that, there is a Korean proverb which says you can only appreciate the scenery of Mt. Geumgang after your stomach is filled. "A hungry man is an angry man", I don't think anyone will disagree "금강산도 식후경" (金刚山也是食后景). I shall stop showing scenery pictures temporarily for today. Let's 'eat' instead.

Pearl-like fish roe and rice served in a hotpot. This 'Al-bap' (알밥) may not look nice but its smell and taste were very good. I especially like eating the burnt rice on the side of the pot.

What is there to say about kimchi? Give me another dish, please.

Monday, June 07, 2010

하루

밤이 될수록 아름다워지는 해운대
(Picture: Haeundae Beach, Busan)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

물결

Waves sweeping up Haeundae beach. I can almost feel the cold sea water.

Waves sweeping over your feet on a hot summer day is a cooling enjoyment.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

붉은 악마

In a football match, fans are as important as the players. The supporters of the Korea's national football team call themselves the 'Red Devils'. In Korea, 'Red Devils' (붉은 악마, pronounced as '불근 앙마']) is not merely a term, it is a culture. A simple proof is the Teddy Bear's Museum at Namsan included 'Red Devils' as one of its exhibits on Korea's modern culture.


To be a 'Red Devil', I guess you will have to wear red and learn to shout "Dae-Han-Min-Gook". Face paintings and 'horns' are optional though. In depth understanding of the game is also not required.

By next week, the 'Red Devils' will be set loose again as the Korea's national football team seeks to repeat the glory of World Cup 2002 at the South Africa's World Cup 2010.

With so much support back home, I think the Korea team should at least advance to the quarter-final so as not to disappoint their fans. To have a sense of the degree of support the team is enjoying back home, just watch the music videos below. With so much hype, you may be forgiven for thinking that Korea is hosting World Cup 2010.


"We Are One" - HAM [Credits: koreanpride2]


"Victory Korea" - Super Junior [Credits: sment]


"We Are The One" - T-ara [Credits: ThearmtvpHD]


"We Are With You" - Kara [Credits: ThearmtvpHD]


"Dreams Again" - After School [Credits: misocha]


"The Shouts of Reds" - Big Bang & Kim Yuna [Credits: taijizero2]


"The Shouts of Reds" - Trans Fixion [Credits: TheArirangseoul]

Friday, June 04, 2010

그때 당시

'Metasequioa Lane' in spring 2006 during my 1-week immersion programme to KHU with fellow NEX students. The programme theme was 'Korea Drama'. That was why we were arranged to visit Nami Island - filming site for famous winter scenes in "Winter Sonata".

The same 'Metasequioa Lane' in summer 2009. Though immersion programme was discontinued after 2006, I was still back in Nami Island. This time, I was with my classmates from KHU's Korean language course. The Nami Island 3 years later was more developed and crowded too.

Nami Island, Spring 2006.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

중심인물

I am outside Gallery La Mer in Insadong. Gu Hye-seon (고혜선) held her first art exhibition "Tango" there. From what I saw, she probably has a very well developed right brain. Her art pieces are generally quite similar. Each piece will have wavy lines originating from some points which then radiate out, 'morphing' along into complicated forms. I could not tell in specific words what she was drawing but if I am to give some description, it is "evolution of amorphous forms". Sound abstract but that's how thing is. Besides being an artist, Gu Hye-seon is also an actress, writer, musician and a director. Her directorial debut "요술" (Magic) will be released later this month. There is one good Korean word to describe such multi-talented person - 팔방미인 (八方美人).


I am at the Seoul Olympic Park, a hot venue for concerts. To be exact, I am outside the Fencing Gymnasium. As you can see, Super Junior was holding their concert. After 5 years of hard work, the group is finally gaining popularity outside of Korea. Their latest song is getting healthy air time these days in local radio stations not long after release - something quite unheard before. For people who have witnessed the rise and fall of Cantopop and J-pop popularity in Singapore, K-pop may be regarded as just another passing fad. How long will this 'fad' last is anyone guess but the truth is K-pop popularity is on the rise and Super Junior is coming to Singapore.


I am at Dongdaemun waiting for bus opposite of 'Doota', the landmark building of Dongdaemun. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park is one of the prominent projects launched by the newly re-elected Seoul Mayor, Oh Se-hoon (오세훈), to make Seoul a 'design city'. His other initiatives include 'Culture-nomics' and 'Han River Renaissance'. Despite that, he didn't enjoy overwhelming support in the poll, beating his nearest challenger by only a meagre 0.5% in yesterday poll. Not to mention, he was trailing his challenger in the early phase of vote count. It must have given him a big fright of his life. It seems the Koreans dislike for the ruling party has taken its toll on him. Nonetheless, he is the first mayor of Seoul to be re-elected and his road to Korean presidency has never been brighter.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

해금의 대명사

If you have heard of 'haegeum' (해금, 奚琴), you probably would have also heard of '꽃별' (Ccotbyeol). First, about haegeum. Haegeum is a Korean traditional musical instrument which looks and sounds very much like the Chinese 'Er-hu'. It was originally a musical instrument belonging to a tribe called 'Hae' which inhabited the northern region of China. Record of haegeum's existence was traced back to the Goryeo period. Next, 꽃별. 꽃별 is the name of an accomplished haegeum player in Korea. Literally translated, 꽃별 means 'flower star'. She is equally at home with both traditional and contemporary music. However, I am more familiar with her contemporary numbers.

꽃별 with her haegeum

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to watch 꽃별 performed 'live' twice. Both times, I was mesmerised by her music. It was like 꽃별 was telling a story from a long forgotten time through her haegeum. The sound of haegeum seemed to have the power to penetrate the deepest part of my feeling and thought. Even after the music had stopped, I could sense the 'rippling' of my heart.


Dear - 꽃별, 꽃별3집 'Fly Fly Fly'

꽃별 also played the OST track '비익련리' for the highly-rated Korean drama 'Chuno' (추노). I think this is probably the closest many foreigners would get to know her.


비익련리 (比翼連里) - 꽃별, 추노(推奴) OST

(听完《比翼連里》后,联想白居易《长恨歌》里"在天愿作比翼鸟, 在地愿为连理枝"所引起的澎湃,久久无法消散)

해변

다대포해수욕장의 해돋이와 바닷물
(Picture: Dadaepo Beach, Busan)