Sunday, April 27, 2008

파도 탑시다!

Korean class at NEX is getting more interesting these days. Last Saturday, we role-played a typical Korean company function or 회식 (會食) to learn about the Korean drinking etiquette or 주도 (酒道) and the 회식 culture. Our class was divided into four groups and each sitting at one table. Each group represented a department of the company and in each group, one student role-played the head of department or 부장 (部長) and another, a new employee of the department or 신입사원 (新入社員). Among us, one student was selected to play the role of the president of the company or 사장 (社長). As for our teacher, she called herself the waitress of the Hof (호프) or beer house.

At the start, our teacher went around the tables asking if we would like to have 술 (wine, liquor) or 맥주 (beer). After we placed our "orders", she gave us a bottle of mineral water with a post-it that has the word "맥주" written on it. Then, the new employee of each department was made to pour drink for everyone. Our 신입사원 was very into her role. She held the bottle with two hands and respectfully poured the drink into our styrofoam cups. Once that was done, we were made to 건배 (乾杯) or cheers. While drinking, our 신입사원 was mindful about turning her face slightly away from her "seniors". If you do not know, that's part of 주도.

After one round of drink, all new employees were required to give a self-introduction. Our teacher was trying to impress upon us that 회식 is a very stressful time for new employees. Being the lowest rank in the company, new employees have not much saying rights and have to do what they are being told. Especially during self-introduction, if one says that I like singing, then the rest will shout "노래해, 노래해...." or if one says that I am learning to dance, people will shout "춤춰, 춤춰...". No matter what, the seniors would probably be on a lookout for some form of entertainment from the new employees.

Next, came the "climax" or sort for the role play. We were required to practise 파도 타기 (Ride the Wave). In 파도 타기, a person shall start the "wave" by bottoming up and the person next to him will immediately follow suit and so on and so forth until the last person in the group bottoms up. The wave can only move on if the person who is supposed to drink, empties his glass. Usually, a person who has problem bottoming up would be cheered on, "원샷 (One Shot)! 원샷! .....", by his colleagues. To execute 파도 타기, everyone will first be told (잔을 피우세요!) to empty their glasses, so that they can be refilled with drink for 파도 타기. According to the Korean drinking etiquette, a person's glass can only be filled up with drink again after he has emptied it.

To practise 파도 타기, our teacher called out "파도 탑시다!" (Let's ride the wave) and our "president" started the ball rolling by "bottoming up". The whole "wave" probably took less than one minute to complete since we were only drinking water. There was no puking and no drunkard uttering nonsense and everything was well under control. It was so much fun though I believe the actual scenario could likely be quite different. Regardless, the classroom role-play had definitely served its purpose of helping me to remember the Korean drinking etiquette better.

Some more things which I learnt about 회식. 회식 usually comprises three sessions or 3차. 1차, from 7pm to 9pm, is usually held in 식당 or restaurant. 2차, from 9pm to 11pm, is in 술집 or beer house. 3 차, from 11pm to 1am, will be in 노래방 or KTV room. People would usually made their way home after 2차. Actually, come to think of it, there is nothing distinctively different about Korean 회식. It seems like company functions are all quite similiar in form although they differ in details. Singaporeans like me, usually won't go beyond 1차. It is either we are quite disengaged employees or we are just home-loving creatures. But there is one thing which I like about 회식 in Singapore and that is, it is usually held in a more casual manner and new employees need not feel stress-out by the event.

Friday, April 25, 2008

좌절감을 맛볼 때

Breakdown is prohibited. Use your strength!

세상에 곤란한 일이 용이한 일보다 많은 것 같애. 그렇지만 모든 문제가 반드시 풀린 방법이 있을 거야. 좌절감을 맛볼 때 핑계 말고 포기 말고 문제의 주 요인을 회피없이 알아보고 직접 해결하자. 힘내! ^^

Thursday, April 24, 2008

외도 보타니아

The journey from Haegeumgang to Oedo (외도, 外島) took about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, every passenger was given a badge with the ferry's name, 그랑프리 (Grand Prix), on it. It was meant to be used as a re-entry pass later. We arrived at Oedo at 12:50pm and our tour guide reminded us that it is very important for everyone to return to the ferry point by 2:20pm. The tour package didn't include the entrance fee so I had to fork out another 8,000won to enter the Odeo-Botania. As its name suggests, Oedo-Botania is a botanical garden located in Oedo. The walking route around the garden is well defined, winding and in one big loop. The first part of it goes uphill and then, it is downhill all the way until one is back at the ferry point. With only one and a half hour to do sight-seeing, I couldn't give much time to smell the flowers along the way. In spite of that, I have managed to capture about almost everything that was seen along the way. I shall let the photos tell the story since there are about 50 pictures in this post.

The small ferry point at Oedo.

Two small sphinxes "guarding" the exit point of Oedo-Botania.

It's definitely Oedo (외도, 外島) alright.

Exotic landscaping.

Trees being trimmed into "mushroom" shape.

A neat line of palm trees by the side of walkway.

Pretty Camellia, in different colours, blooming everywhere.

Ajummas at the "Fountain of Farewell"

Sculptures are part of the garden landscaping.

Administrative office of Oedo. It probably has very good sea view.

The Venus Garden has some flavour of the Mediterranean.

Looking out at the South Sea from an observation deck.

At the picturesque garden in front of the Lee's House.

The Lee's House is made famous by the drama "Winter Sonata".

Plethora of flowers at the Flower Garden.

They call that slope the "Stairway to Heaven".

An overview of the Venus Garden from a vantage point.

The sea view at the Oedo Fortress was magnificent.

Rock and sea conjure up an image of Australia but it's Oedo.

The stairs to "Panorama" - a cafe at the highest point of Oedo.

Hope of the World Garden. From this point onwards, it's downhill.

Adam and Eve and a magpie in the Garden of Adam and Eve.

A panoramic view of the Oedo-Botania.

Another look at the "Stairway to Heaven".

Last look at the tulips before heading back to the ferry point.

Directional sign which points the way back to the ferry point.

The South Sea glittering in the afternoon sun.

Views captured while walking back to the ferry point.

Steps like those seen in the Greek island of Santorini.

The cliff just beside the ferry point.

At the exit of Oedo-Botania and back at the ferry point.

It was 2:15pm and people were still thronging into the island.