Saturday, August 30, 2008

여름의 해넘이

Sunset during summer came almost one hour late. The sky started to dim only after seven and night came only after eight. My circadian clock responded initially and for almost a week I slept late but woke up early. Soon, I felt so tired that at one point in time, I fell asleep soon after switching on my laptop. I ended up doing nothing that night. Anyway, just to show how bright the sky was after seven, the following pictures were all taken after seven.

The aft-end of the Central Library of KHU.

Train crossing Han River into Gangnam.

The evening sky over Cheonggyecheon in Dongdaemun.

Friday, August 29, 2008

우리 중급2반

3주일 동안 친구라면 친구이죠! 더 알고 싶지만 3주일이 너무 짧은 시간이라서 힘들더라고요. 처음에 낯선 얼굴이었지만 같이 공부하다가 보니까 이별전까지 익숙하게 됐었어요. 시간이 흐른 것은 참 신기한 것이네요. 나중에 만날 수 있는지 없는지 잘 모른들 그 때 중급2반에서 같이 공부하던 친구들을 기억할 게요. 나라도 잊어버리지 않았으면 좋겠어요. 친구야, 앞날에 좋은 일만 가득하기를 바래~

Thursday, August 28, 2008

끝이 가까워지고 있다

SKS has a face lift recently. I am not too sure how to describe it but the building looks so "blue". The school probably has a lot of blue paint left over, so much so that it even decided to paint all the wooden table tops in the classroom blue. It is so weird to see table tops matching the wall in colour.

The new look

The old look

Anyway, I only have three more lessons left in SKS. The end-of-term test is scheduled on Sep 4 which is next Thursday. On Sep 9, which is the last lesson for this term, we are going to learn to play 윷놀이 [pronounced 윤노리] or the "Yut" game. Since this is a game of luck and tactic, I hope that my class can finally has a fair chance to come in first.

The end is almost nearing. I don't think I will feel sad about it. Looking at it positively, an end also marks the beginning of a new phase. I cannot see the future now but I hope that everything will just turn out fine. Meanwhile I should not forget that I still need to sit for TOPIK Intermediate on Sep 21. This means that revision has to continue even after class at SKS has ended. More hard work needed. 노력해야 하지, 아자 아자!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

월.E 보고 싶어

Wall.E has been showing in cinemas throughout Seoul like two weeks ago. I was kinda surprised when it is not even shown in Singapore yet. This is probably a tactic employed by the Hollywood studio to counter the rampant piracy problem in Korea. Apparently the tactic is not working because I saw DVD copy of Wall.E being sold three for 10,000 won (S$13.60) in the street of Seoul. Seoul is very much like Singapore many years back before we are obliged to clamp down on piracy to push the signing of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. With piracy problem effectively quashed, it is unlikely that Singapore will ever get to watch new blockbuster before their world-wide release date.

허수아비 전시회

It was the second field trip for our summer programme and we were at Weongol Village, Gongju (city), Chungcheongnamdo (province) - a rural village which is about 3-hours bus ride away from Seoul. Our purpose at Weongol Village was to make 허수아비 or scarecrow (허수아비 can also mean puppet). It was an experience that brought us closer to the farming culture and the "agricultural art" of Korea.

There is always a photographer who will accompany us for field trip. The photographs taken by him were burnt into CD-ROM and given to us as souvenir. Here are some photographs of scarecrow and their creators taken by our accompanying photographer.

The chic scarecrow

The flamboyant ajumma scarecrow

The diligent ajumma scarecrow

The flower girl scarecrow

The grouchy scarecrow

The fun-loving scarecrow

The young and naive scarecrow

The loving ajumma and ajeosshi scarecrow

The teeny-weeny scarecrow

The "anti-cute" scarecrow

Monday, August 25, 2008

베트남에서 온 반친구

I received a card from my feisty Vietnamese classmate on the last day of class. The following was written:

이퀴녹씨~! 안녕...~ ^^
짧은 시간이었지만 긴 여운을 남을 것같아요.
3주일 동안 친구라면 친구이죠!

베트남에 가야 해서 정말 아쉽네요 ㅠㅠ
하지만 착해 보인 이퀴녹씨를 (사실을 모르겠지만) 잊지 않을 거예요 :P
베트남에 가면 연락해요. 가이드해 줄 테니까... (무료예요)...

한국어를 열심히 하고 다시 만날 때 그전해 보겠죠! ^^
늘 건강하고 행복하세요.

When she was back in Vietnam, she sent me a photo which we took together using self-timer mode. I feel that everything about the photo is just right although there wasn't anyone clicking the button.

여름의 구름과 꽃

Everything seems to be in bright and brilliant colours during summer. The heat may be unbearable but to take refuge in an air-conditioned room is to miss out seeing the most beautiful part of summer - the colours of nature.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

얼굴이 안 보인 사진

Combined group photo, Summer 2008. Click to enlarge.

We were each given this 8R-size photo at the end of our course. There are about 600-700 people in this photo because we took it together with students attending the regular language course. With so many people coming together, each individual's face looks almost like a dot.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

떠나기 싫어

The Grand Auditorium. Goodbye Kyunghee. Till we meet again.

I am going to miss Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin Robbins.

The sky, as seen from rooftop of my boarding house, during sunset today.

This will be my final posting from Korea for my short-term summer Korean language programme. An end is also a new beginning. Just like autumn begins with the end of summer. I shall leave Korea tomorrow. If there is one final thought I would like to share, it is that the summer in Korea is very unlike the perennial summer in Singapore. You have to experience it to know it.

Friday, August 22, 2008


一叶知秋. The footstep of autumn is slowly closing.

It has been raining since early morning. Today is the 수료식 or the closing ceremony for our short-term summer course. Though the ceremony started at 10am, we were still required to report to class at 9am to do evaluation for our course and teachers. My heart skipped a beat when I was handed evaluation forms written completely in Korean. Frankly, I was not too used to reading page after page of Korean characters. I was relieved when it turned out that I was able to understand most of the questions.

We were also handed our group photograph during the class. There were like 600-700 faces "squeezed" within this 8R-sized group photo. It would have been difficult to spot our own faces if we have forgotten where we stood when the photo was taken. Anyway, to make the photo more memorable, we wrote our well-wishes for each other at the back of each of the photo cover. Ten minutes to 10am, we were all ushered into IIE 210 (Auditorium of IIE) for the closing ceremony.

Most senior student of I2 (left) and I1 class were arranged to sit together.

The closing ceremony started as usual with the IIE Director, Prof Kim Jung Sup, delivering his address. One thing he would always remember to do during his speech is to ask students to repeat "경희인", word-by-word, after him. After his speech, Prof Kim presented the course certificate and CD (containing photos and videos taken during our course) to the most senior student of each class. This arrangement demostrates once again that age really matters a lot in Korea.

The director of IIE reminded us that we are 경희인.

Prof Kim presenting certificate to John of Class 8, Elementary 2.

After the certificate presentation, it was the students' turn to go on stage to make speeches. Representing the cohort was our classmate, Kenichi, and an Egyptian lady from Advanced 2 class. There was some background as to why our classmate was selected for the job. Advanced 2 class was the first to nominate their Egyptian classmate. That left our class, Intermediate 2, to nominate a guy speaker for the sake of equality. On the day when our teacher asked for volunteer, Kenichi was absent from class. Since no other guys stepped forward, Kenichi was "volunteered" since he didn't say "no" during the class.

Our classmate, Ino Kenichi, representing the cohort to go on stage.

Kenichi was showing a bit of nerve when delivering his speech. On the contrary, the Egyptian lady looked quite cool and was very fluent. She is a Korean language majors in a university in Egypt and has been studying the language for the past 3 years. It is quite obvious that students from the Advanced 2 class are of a different pedigree. They are either Kyobos or Korean language majors. I am not too sure when will I ever come close to their standard.

To ensure equality, the Egyptian lady from Advanced 2 also spoke.

Kenichi with the script he used to deliver his speech.

After the end of the closing ceremony, we returned to our class. Our teacher then presented our certificate to each of us in a very formal manner. Then just before we were dismissed from class, we were each required to go out and speak about our feeling and thought for the past 3 weeks. Honestly, I did not know what I was talking about as my thought was totally disorganised. Anyway, just before our final farewell, we presented our teacher with a photograph which we took together at an earlier time. Our well-wishes were scribbled all over the back of the photo. One of the most common wishes for our teacher was "빨리 결혼하세요!". No wonder our teacher used to call his age "슬픈 나이" (the age of sadness).

Our teacher, Mr Yim, presenting certificate to every student.

We were made to go out one by out to speak about our thoughts.

There wasn't any farewell lunch organised. Not too sure if it has anything to do with the bleak economic outlook. The food was not the main issue, rather, it was the loss of a final opportunity to take pictures with people whom we were acquainted to in the last 3 weeks.

It was drizzling when we left the main gate of KHU for lunch at about half past 11. The weather was cold and wet that morning. It seems like summer has ended together with our summer course.

It was still raining when we walked out of KHU's main gate.

반별 사진

Here are the class photos taken by IIE staff for this Summer 3-Weeks Korean Language Programme (from Aug 4 to Aug 22, 2008). There are 155 students in total. Though I may not have seen or known all of them, for memory sake, it is good to know who are those people who have studied with me in KHU.

Class 1 - Elementary 1

Class 2 - Elementary 1

Class 3 - Elementary 1

Class 4 - Elementary 1

Class 5 - Elementary 2

Class 6 - Elementary 2

Class 7 - Elementary 2

Class 8 - Elementary 2

Class 9 - Intermediate 1

Class 11 - Advanced 2

우리 반 소개

There are 11 classes in this short-term summer 3-weeks course. Four classes each for Elementary 1 and Elementary 2. One class each for Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Advanced 2. My class is Intermediate 2 and we are taught by a male teacher (임채훈) and a female teacher (박혜경). By the way, male Korean language teacher is considered "rare species" even in Korea. My class is quite well-mixed with 13 students from 9 countries - 4 from Japan, 2 from Singapore and 1 each from Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Thailand, UK and Vietnam. Among them, I am most impressed by our 19 years old feisty classmate from Vietnam. She is the 3rd prize winner of the first Vietnam Korean Speech Contest held by the Kumho Asiana Vietnam Scholarship and Cultural Fund in Hanoi on 3 July 2008. For being one of the 6 winners of the speech contest, she got herself a fully paid one-week tour of Korea and a 3-weeks language course in Kyunghee University. Before this trip, she has never been to Korea. Her father objected to her studying Korean. She also does not own an electronics dictionary. But within two years, since she started studying Korean in Vietnam, her Korean language proficiency has reached a very advanced level. Her Korean pronunciation is almost immaculate. She thinks and speaks in Korean effortlessly. I have never come across anyone who is as passionate as her in mastering the Korean language. When her Korean teacher asked her to write one page of essay, she wrote three pages. When the Korean Embassy donated Korean books to her university, she volunteered to translate all the book titles into Vietnamese. She even attempted to translate a Korean novel into Vietnamese. If she is considered hardworking then I am really lazy. In term of passion and effort, I am nowhere near her. But I am really glad to have met her. She showed me what I should have done but have not done and the most important lesson that I have learnt from her is that nothing stands in the way of a determined heart.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

이번 마지막 수업

The Institute of International Education, 국제교육관

I am quite sure autumn has arrived. The sky is high, cloudless and very blue. The morning air is quite cooling. If it get anymore cooler, I will have to put on warm clothing. Today, for the first time this summer, I didn't break a sweat walking up the slope to IIE. Our teacher said that the IIE building is modelled after the 거북선 or "turtle ship". However, no matter how I look at it, I couldn't figure out the connection between the two.

Today is the last lesson day for this summer programme. We have a "finale" or sort to end the lesson. Our teacher requested for a group of students to sing "Maria". She had the song played from the computer and the atmosphere in the classroom reached its peak when it came to the chorus. It is good to actually end our lesson on a high note.

Taking a break during 쉬는 시간 or rest time in our classroom 204-1

Mari.....a.... Ave Maria

Enjoying ourselves while others perform.

Not asking for signature. Just exchanging contact at the end of the lesson.

We have Dakgalbi for lunch. Some pictures to whet the appetite.

The appearance just after gochujang sauce was added

The appearance after gochujang was well mixed with the ingredients.

Fried rice to complete our lunch. Burnt rice tastes good!