Monday, March 31, 2008


I cannot complete writing about my day's happening because I either don't have Internet connection or I don't have power supply. I shall upload whatever I can and then complete the posting when I go back to Singapore.

I am back in Seoul after a day in Jinhae. Cherry Blossom has not bloomed in Seoul. It will probably take another week or so before they start blooming. I went down to Kyunghee today and there was no cheery Cherry Blossom to greet me. Kinda disappointed. Anyhow, I have taken some shots of the Plum Blossom in the campus to make up for the disappointment.

It's Springtime, so I must have strawberry. Walk past a fruit stall beside Hoegi station and bought one pack of them at 4,000won. The strawberry looked so fresh like they were plucked from the farm yesterday. They are so nice and sweet that I finished them in one afternoon. Sorry, no leftover :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008


It was a cold and wet day in Seoul. My first meal upon arriving in Seoul was Mac's Big Breakfast.

Idling in Coffee Beans in Daehnagno while waiting to have lunch with friend at Insadong.

In the afternoon, I was off to Jinhae. Took KTX from Seoul and transfered to Mugunghwa at Miryang Station to reach the final destination - Masan Station.

Waited at Platform 5 for the KTX to arrive. Departure time was 16:30.

Arrived at Miryang Station at 18:47 and waited for the Masan-bound Mugunghwa which arrived at 19:07.

The KTX sped past Miryang Station. The force of wind created by its high speed was kinda strong.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

둘째번의 집

열차가 곧 출발하는데 달려가서 문이 닫기 전에 들어갔다.

싱가포르에서 사라졌던 레스토랑을 서울에서 우연히 마주쳤다.

열차가 탔다가 종각역에서 내렸고 영풍문고에 찾아갔다.

피곤할 때 1층의 자리에 앉아서 2층의 가계로 바라봤다.

그리고 시장할 때 한국사람과 함께 포장마차에 실컷 먹었다.

그 곳은 내 둘째번의 집입니다 :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


The relationship between Korea and Japan have definitely gotten closer after they co-hosted the World Cup in 2002. That year, Lena Park and Brown Eye from Korea and Chemistry and Sowelu from Japan sang the World Cup theme song "Let's get together now" and the world got to see the closeness of these two countries. Good neighbours are not always easy to come by. To be a good neighbour, people should first learn about mutual respect. Then, they must be willing to let go of historical baggage and leave the baggage where they should rightfully be - in history. Lastly, as aptly put across by the poster above, people should want to know more about each other. The road to mutual respect and understanding can be bumpy, but yet, to receive a sincere and genuine smile at the end of the day may just make all efforts worthwhile.

Monday, March 24, 2008

불가능의 가능성이다

Life is full of enigma. It is enigmatic because it is built with twists and turns. It is definitely anything but a simple linearity. Life can be unpredictable but yet, at the same time, it is hopeful. What is thought to be impossible could well turn out to be possible. So I think there is every reason to always feel positive about life.

Möbius Strip II by M. C. Escher

I first came across the artwork "Möbius Strip II" (by M. C. Escher) in Il Mare. It is quite interesting how the movie try to give a logical reason, through a brief showing of the artwork, to explain why two persons separated by a "time gap" can eventually meet one another.

If you can follow an ant around the Möbius strip, the ant can move from the lower side of the strip to the upper side and vice versa without the need to go over the edge of the strip. Now, instead of ant, let's imagine two persons are placed at two different points of the Möbius strip. If both of them move at different speeds, they are bound to meet at some point along the strip one day. So what seems to be illogical initially, starts to make sense if one recognises that life is some sort like a Möbius strip.

Möbius strip is a mathematical enigma and so is life. While Möbius strip can explain the reel life, it is far from explaining the real life. I guess, sometimes thing in life is not meant to be explained in depth as it can get rather complicated. When that happens, it is wiser to accept thing as it is. Nonetheless, the enigma of life gives us enough reason to feel positive about it.

I must admit that it may not be easy to understand all that I have written. But that's alright, so long as you get the drift :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

트럭 한 대의 배

Caught sight of this truckload of pear in Daehangno.

Naju (나주, 羅州) in Jeollanam-do (전라남도, 全羅南道) is famous for its pear just like Jeju is famous for its tangerine (귤,橘) or Geumsan (금산, 錦山) for its ginseng. Apparently, for agricultural products, brand is not as important as its origin. Anyway, my teacher used to say that boiling Korean pear together with honey and ginger in water produces a concoction that is very benign to our throat. I have tried it a few times and it is quite effective against cough. However, more often than not, I ended up taking cough syrup as preparing the concoction is a bit troublesome.

Friday, March 21, 2008

우리 반은 최고요

Our last lesson for this semester was nothing but interesting. After going through the mistakes made in our test paper (which we took on Tuesday), our teacher handed us a recipe for making ddeokbokkgi and explained the steps. The recipe looks simple though it is written in Korean. It would have been interesting if we could get some practical hands-on but all that we have yesterday was just restricted to verbal explanation.

We spent about one hour in our classroom before moving down to the school canteen for our cultural event. The cultural event, which starts about a year ago, has since become the highlight of the SKS's Korean language course. The theme for this semester's event is "ddeok-cutting". Didn't sound interesting to me initially. Each class was instructed to bring along a set of knife (칼) and cutting board (도마) for the event.

Before we got into action, we were all treated to kimchi and ddeok soup (떡국). I guess this event is supposed to coincide with the celebration of Seollal as ddeok soup is a traditional Korean dish taken during the second biggest festival of the Korean's calendar. Perhaps, the timing didn't match up, so we ended up eating ddeok soup two months after Seollal.

We made a queue for the food while our teachers busied themselves serving us. The ddeok soup came with sliced ddeok, egg, seaweed, minced beef and plus, of course, a handsome serving of hot soup.

Kimchi before it was gone. I don't have a yearning for kimchi but somehow, I can easily finish a plate of it without even knowing.

My first time eating ddeok soup. Nothing exceptional to shout about. I guess the easiest way to learn a culture is to start with eating.

Once we have our stomach filled, it was time to sweat over the cutting of ddeok. The truth was that ddeok-cutting was no piece of cake. The ddeok was actually harder than we thought. It took quite a lot of effort to cut a roll of ddeok into small pieces. There was a competition between the classes for the most beautifully-arranged ddeok pieces. Our class arranged our cut ddeok pieces into a chrysanthemum flower - nice enough to look at but not good enough to win. Oh well, the climax of the cultural event was not exactly the competition but rather the photo-taking session after everything was over. It was photos, photos and more photos.

Does our "masterpiece" look anything like 국화 or chrysanthemum? 멋있죠?

Should never forget to bring a camera for the cultural event. Memory begins after the event ends.

우리 고급1반의 미녀들입니다. 중간에 계시고 제일 키가 큰 미녀는 우리 선생님이십니다.

The night was not over yet for our class. We went to nearby Geylang for durian as our teacher loves to try the fruit. After one round of durian, we cleared our table and our teacher started to teach us how to play "Hwa-Tu" (화투) or more commonly referred to as Go-Stop. It is a traditional Korean card game which has its origin in Japan. We didn't stay around long enough to master the complex scoring system of the game. But what I did pick up was that I should buy Hwa-Tu made of plastic. Because the "authentic" way or "the ajumma-style" of playing Hwa-Tu is to throw and "slam" the card hard against the surface to produce a loud sound and which only plastic cards are capable of making that sort of noise.

I think I need more practices before I can write something decent about the card game. For now, I am just a novice. So that's all for this semester and the next semester's class will start in two weeks time.

Our teacher teaching us to play Hwa-Tu beside a durian stall in Geylang. The scoring system is quite mind-boggling for novices like us.

고급2반으로 가자

Yesterday marked the last day of this semester. I didn't intend to complete the Advanced 1 course as I have previously planned to enrol for the Kyunghee's 3-week Spring course this March. Since the plan didn't materialise, here I am, completing A1 course at SKS for the second time in a year. The course started with 13 registered students but ended with only five. As a comparison, my previous A1 class ended with only me and myself. Unlike NEX which requires at least 10 students to start a course, 5 students are enough in SKS. This means that I will finally get to attend A2 course next semester. Hurhurhur, *grin*.

Next, I shall introduce our classroom. It is located at Block B, 3-02. Actually, SKS is only one U-shaped building. For some unknown reason, it names its 3 sides, Block A, B and C, even though they are all connected. Our classroom is used by the primary 5 students during the day. It has a rather humble setting and sometimes I felt like I am attending lesson in some village school in Korea. Wooden desks and chairs, which have long disappeared from the classrooms of Singapore schools, are still used. Projector, which has almost become a standard equipment in any Singapore classroom, is absent. Teacher continues to conduct lesson using markers and whiteboard. Despite the slight discomfort of having to sit on chair meant for children, I quite like our classroom. It is simple, functional and best of all, Hangeul can be seen all around the room.

Two cute-looking cards pasted on the whiteboard to remind teacher to write down the name of the lesson unit 단원명(單元名) and the learning objectives 학습목표(學習目標).

Another cute-looking card pasted on the door to remind students to close the door after them - without fail.

Through words and pictures, a student from the previous primary 5 class recalling her memorable time spent with her class.

Calligraphy artworks by the Korean students, pasted on one side of the classroom wall. 푸른산 흰구름 is translated as "green mountain white cloud".

Wooden desks and chairs are rare sight in Singapore these days. While there are many desks and chairs in the classroom, only eight are arranged. There are only seven Korean students in the day and on Tue and Thu night, there are only five of us. The classroom looks empty but spacious.

Lastly, I got myself another set of A1 result slip and certificate but they are not exactly the same as the last. Compared with my previous set, the differences are: for the result, I got one more percentage point and the course certificate is signed by our new principal, Mr Kwon Byoung Jhin. Two rounds of A1 are more than enough. Now for A2. 고급2반으로 갑시다!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

길을 건너자

I am going to stop blogging for the next few weeks. Unwanted work and responsibility are stacking on me regardless of what I think. I would like to think of myself as a pool of water. Because only by being water can Archimedes' principle, or the law of upthrust be applicable to me. The principle states that a body immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. Otherwise, under pressure, I will probably crack like a piece of solid wood. Meanwhile, I am waiting to cross the street. Shall be back soon . . . probably before the Spring flowers bloom.

Standing at a traffic junction beside the City Hall, Seoul, waiting for the "green man". I couldn't wait to cross the street because I saw a "garden of lights" right over the other end.