Thursday, February 26, 2009

겨울 학기 수료식

So finally it was the closing ceremony. Our teacher sent us a sms in the morning reminding us to be in class by 10:20am and to be at the Crown Hall by 10:40am. There was a special event going on during the closing ceremony so she had to make sure that we turned out. Before the ceremony proper, I received my result slip, a group photo and a CD containing class photos and videos. There was no course completion certificate for me since I will be continuing.

Inside the Crown Hall for my course's closing ceremony.

As I mention earlier there was this special event. The event is the brainchild of a civic group and one of their targeted audience are foreign students. IIE was picked to host the event because it has the largest cohort of foreign students in Korea. Yonhap News, being a member of the civic group, was also there to cover the proceedings. The event requires us to make some sort of a promise that when we return to our country, we will tell people around us the correct things about Korea and to seek and correct misinformation about Korea found in any textbooks, magazines and other media. To mark this special occasion, everyone was given a free t-shirt to be worn during the ceremony. We also flew paper planes to signify that we will deliver our promise or something like that.

Sat with my classmates right at the back as we didn't want to appear in Yonhap News.

The amiable director of IIE wearing the white t-shirt made for the special event.

Paper planes in take-off position waiting for command.

Paper planes taking flight.

After we had fun throwing paper planes all over the hall, the diploma presentation ceremony began. Anyone who has studied from level 1 to 6 at IIE will be awarded a diploma instead of a certificate. Not surprisingly, almost if not all the students who went up stage today were Chinese students.

To end the ceremony, teachers who taught Intermediate 2 level, put up a sign language performance for this heart-warming song - "거위의 꿈".

Intermediate 2 teachers performing sign language for the song "거위의 꿈".

Beethoven Virus version of the song - "거위의 꿈".

So that's it for the closing ceremony.

The farewell photos for class 33. Only 4 of us are advancing to Advance 2.

After the closing ceremony ended, we had 감자탕 with our teachers and our neibouring class since there weren't many of us left by then. I was always puzzled by why 감자탕 doesn't seem to have a lot of potato in it. My teacher taught me something new today. The "감자" in 감자탕 doesn't mean potato. It actually means 감자뼈 - the name for a specific portion of the pig's backbone. We ordered 묵은 김치 and 만두 감자탕 and polished the two pots clean. The 감자탕 is very savoury. It tasted much better than it looked.

With the end of our 회식. The winter term has finally come to an end. Holiday starts tomorrow.

Our class toasting with soju. I had half a cup of it.

Combined 회식 with our neigbouring class.

만두 감자탕 heating up right in front of me.

감자뼈 from the 묵은 김치 감자탕. There was not much meat to be eaten.

수료식까지 10시간만 남았다

Ten hours more to closing ceremony. I still can't believe that this is happening. It may be a small achievement but it has taken a long time to come. I should no longer doubt the power of dream.

Yesterday was our last day of class, we have an enjoyable morning eating tidbits and watching the Korean comedy "울 학교 이티" (Our School's E.T.) . ET in this case means English Teacher and may also mean Extra Terrestrial since English teachers are also "aliens" (foreigners) in Korea.

Before we started watching the movie, we had a session of "rolling paper". Below are the nice words I received after my paper went one round around the class.

그동안 같이 공부할 수 있어서 재미있었어요. 다음 학기도 열심히 공부하세요!! 일본에 오면 연락주세요 ^^ - 메구미 (니이가타, 일본)

한 학기 동안 같이 공부해서 즐거웠어요. 반장을 담당해서 고마워요. 그리고 사진도 많이 찍어서 정말 고마워요. - 장아정 (대동, 대만)

반장님 너무 좋은 학생인데요. - 진성초 (사천, 중국)

반장님, 이번 학기에 만나서 반가워요. 열심히 공부하세요 ^^ - 유결 (호남, 중국)

재미있는 여행 생활 잘 지내세요. 취미 많는 사람을 좋아해요. 반장님한테 배운 것이 많아요. 여기까지 같나지만 다시 만날 때를 기대해요. - 송초 (해남도, 중국)

여기 인기가 진짜 많다... 왜...? 그럼 내가 왔다 갈게... - 조희 (북경, 중국)

그동안 정말 즐거웠어용. 덕분에 행복했습니다. 화이팅!!! - 왕서악 (산동, 중국)

우리 사랑하는 반장님 ^^ 일단 사진을 찍고 보내 줘서 고맙습니다. 그리고 앞으로 열심히 공부하고 건강을 지키세요. - 아셀 (키르기즈스탄)

한 학기 동안 정말 수고 많으셨어요. 반장하시느라 힘드셨죠? 너무 고마워요... 이번 여행 재밌게 갔다오세요 ^^ - 희은 쌤

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

눈과 눈의 차이점

I don't need more than my two hands to count the number of times it snows this winter. I miss the day when it snowed in the morning while I was walking to school for my mid-term test. That was probably the most beautiful day this winter.

The only proper snow this winter came on Jan 16 morning.

Anyway, I just learned how to differentiate 눈 (snow) from 눈 (eyes) in class. When Koreans prolong the sound of 눈, they mean snow. But when they mean eyes, 눈 is pronounced short and quick. It is not difficult to guess why the sound of 눈, as in snow, is lengthen. Since snow falling from sky is longer than the length of eyes, Koreans emphasise that they mean snow by lengthening the sound of 눈.

The same logic is applied to other similar instances like 다리, 말 and 새. As you may have known, 다리 can mean both bridge and leg. Koreans prolong the sound of 다리 to mean bridge since bridge is longer than leg. As for 말, which can mean either horse or speech, a lengthened 말 pronunciation means speech since horse cannot be as long as those speech made by people with "long breath". Finally, 새 can mean new or bird. Bird can fly great distance, so naturally when Koreans want to mean bird, they lengthen the sound of 새 slightly. Take 새 집 for example, when you want to mean bird's nest, you will have to say 새~집, but when you mean new house, 새 집 is to be pronounced short and quick.

Lengthening the sound is just one way to differentiate the meanings of the same word. In the case of 잠자리, which can mean both sleeping place and dragonfly, the way to differentiate them is to change the sound of 자 to 짜. When Koreans mean sleeping place, they emphasise 자리 and pronounce 잠자리 as [잠짜리]. In the case of dragonfly, 잠자리 is simply pronounced as 잠자리. It is easy to understand why pronunciation changes for sleeping place but not dragonfly. 잠자리, as in sleeping place, is made up of two words which is 잠 and 자리. So when Koreans want to emphasise that it is 잠의 자리 that they are talking about, the sound [잠짜리] naturally surfaces.

Actually, I am much less concern about the technicalities of pronunciation these days. They may be interesting to know but barely helpful. I have come to realise that the best way to improve my pronunciation is to just listen and repeat after my textbook CD.

청계천에 산책

It feels very different to be in Seoul as a tourist and as a student. As a tourist, I made it a point to go out to somewhere everyday but as a student, I am quite contented staying inside my dormitory after school. It is quite apparent that purpose of why I am in Seoul is shaping my thought and behaviour.

It has been quite a while since I last went downtown. Yesterday, I suddenly felt like taking a walk down Cheonggyecheon. Frankly, Cheonggyecheon is quite plain-looking during the day. It only turns on its charm at night.

One of the many nice cafes found along Cheonggyecheon.

There is a "Digital Garden" show going on every evening at Cheonggyecheon now. Using laser beams projection, colourful images of digital flower are projected onto a section of the wall along Cheonggyecheon. The digital flowers are computer-generated graphics and what is amazing is that they can "grow" and "bloom". Since it is laser projection, the lines of the 3-dimensional digital flowers are very sharp. "Digital Garden" as the show is called, is the work of a Mexican artist - Miguel Chevalier. I have never seen anything like that before.

Laser-projected digital flowers can be seen at Cheonggyecheon in the evening.

The lines of the digital flowers are so well-defined that they look like printed.

Watching from across the stream. The digital flowers look like fireworks.

On-site photo gallery of Cheonggyecheon's history under a bridge.

The familiar view of Cheonggyecheon Plaza.

Monday, February 23, 2009

가슴이 답답해

My class this morning started with only 4 students. My teacher was feeling rather upset about the class attendance. This was not the first time she felt upset about students not attending her class. In fact, absenteeism is a rampant problem among students who are buying time to enter local universities. The problem arises because KHU, in particular, allows "conditional admission". What this means is that students can be admitted even if they do not possess advanced Korean language certificate but the condition is that they must attend compulsory Korean language lessons in the afternoon (on top of their daily lectures and tutorials) for another 1 year. This "conditional admission" system created two-folds problem for the teachers at IIE. First, some students waiting to enter university are not interested in learning Korean. Their main objective is to ensure that they can continue to extend their D-4 visa until such time they are admitted. It can be rather demoralising for any teacher teaching a group of indifferent students. The next problem is once this group of students is admitted, they will be "recycled" back to IIE to re-learn their Korean. The same outcome will prevail and that is they will still not be interested in learning Korean since their stay in Korea is already guaranteed by the fact that they are undergraduates in a local university. To put it simply, conditional admission system is a double whammy for IIE's teachers. They have to face the same group of problematic students not once but twice. Despite of that, there is nothing much the teachers can do.

Next issue of the day is my end-of-term test results. I am too distraught to comment about my results. What I need to do now is to face the wall and do self-reflection for the next 3 days. The test may be difficult but it is not an excuse for me to get such poor marks. I am especially saddened by the fact that I messed up my vocab/grammar test. Anyway, here are my results:

Reading: 75
Vocab/Grammar: 72
Listening: 75
Speaking: 72
Writing: ? (Result will be out tomorrow)

After lesson today, I have lunch with my Chinese classmate. He told me that he is going to exchange money at Myeongdong later because the exchange rate there is the best in Seoul. Sometimes, you just have to believe what the Chinese students are saying because there are so many of them living in Korea and they are also very well connected. So I suggested that I follow just to check out the place and the exchange rate. Guess what is the exchange rate for Sing dollar at Myeongdong today? It is S$1 to KRW950. I feel like crying and banging my head against the wall. I have exchanged almost all my money that I intend to spend in Korea. 가슴이 너무 답답해!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

뭐 라고요?

The problem with limited Korean vocabulary is that we tend to create weird expressions in a weak attempt to breach our vocabulary gap. Regardless of where we come from, being foreigners, we can understand quite well the weird expressions used by each other but I am not too sure about our teachers. Examples of such expression, which I can remember, are 주배장 and 싱싱한 빵.

주배장 is derived from 주차장 (car park) so it is not difficult to guess that 주배장 (ship park) means harbour. You would also not take too long to realise that 싱싱한 빵 means fresh bread. Since we are students, we could never get away without being corrected. Proper Korean for 주배장 is 항구 while 싱싱한 빵 is 갓 구운 빵 (갓 means just, 굽다 means to bake).

We always laughed when we blurted out some weird expressions. We knew that they are not right but lack of anything better, broken Korean is still useful to explain ourselves. It may sound like a paradox but I realise that sounding weird and broken is an effective way of learning Korean. Of course this is only valid if I am corrected at the end of the day.

A bakery in COEX. Daily New? A rather weird expression to describe bread.

Friday, February 20, 2009

기말 시험 끝났다

It snowed early this morning when I was still asleep. This morning snow is probably going to be the last for this Winter (or should I say the first snow of Spring). The Winter arbitrarily ends on the last day of February although I think it has already ended based on the recent weather pattern. Yellow Sand from mainland China, which usually finds it way to Korea during Spring time, arrived today. The sky is very hazy now and I don't feel like going anywhere although I just completed my end-of-term test today.

We had reading, grammar/vocabulary and writing test yesterday and it was speaking and listening test today. The test is more difficult than I expect but I should not have problem getting my course certificate. I believe my teachers are going to be lenient since, among other things, my class attendance is almost perfect and my attitude towards study is seemed as positive. Closing ceremony is next Thursday and after that will be one full month of holiday. I am so excited as its like eon has passed since my last long holiday.

It snowed early this morning but by noontime most of it has melted away.

Monday, February 16, 2009

우리 33반 앨범

I spent the whole of Sunday night doing up our class's album. I finally uploaded my end product to our school's website early this morning. You will need window media player plug-in to see the videos.

Below is the class 32's album. We share the same teachers and our classrooms are next to one another. I thought their album is quite well made. Their sound tracks are also very nice.

일요일 밤12시

What is more scary than ghost on Sunday midnight?
It is the truth that tomorrow is Monday!

The canned coffee CF by Cha Tae-hyeon is so funny. It is a rather humourous way of looking at Monday blues.

일요일 밤12시 귀신보다 더 무서운 건...
내일이 월요일이라는 사실!

Today's morning temperature nosedived to -8degC. That's a drop of 22 degrees from 14degC within a span of 3 days. I am so fascinated by drastic change in temperature that whenever it happens, I am so compelled to blog about it. Anyway, today was a "cheery" day. The sun was so strong that it seemed like summer. I was only reminded that it is still winter upon stepping out of building. It is indeed very cold but I like it. ^^

School's fountain pool, especially the ripples, look very nice under sunlight

Saturday, February 14, 2009


먹거리 means various kinds of food while 잠거리 means various kinds of accommodation. 거리 by itself means street but when it is attached at the back of a noun it can also take on the meaning of 여러가지. Anyway, this post is not about grammar but about food.

I don't usually eat in a Korean restaurant when I am alone. Korean food is meant to be eaten in a group and I feel weird sitting in a Korean restaurant alone. So most of the time, I ended eating non-Korean food. But when I am with company, I will suggest Korean food. During school day, it will be school canteen food for me because it is cheap.

While I may be a "picky" eater (I don't eat raw food, most of the seafood, exotic food), I am not a person who will miss food or complain about food. I don't miss Singapore food and likewise I don't think I will miss Korean food when I go back.

School canteen food - Donkatsu Cheese Spaghetti. Price: 3,500won

Frequently-ordered food - Chomp Chomp Donkatsu. Price: 5,000won

Recommended - Cajun Chicken Omurice. Price: 5,800won

국제 시사 발표 (항공모함)

I have been busy preparing for my presentation which happened yesterday. Everyone is supposed to select a topic on current affairs and make a presentation on it. My presentation topic is about China's plan to build 6 aircraft carriers and its impact on the world and the balance of power. I was given one hour to present.

First, I have to introduce my topic by going through 3 prepared questions with the class. Then, I asked my classmates to read the article which I extracted from the Chosun Daily. For every paragraph read, I have to explain the more difficult words as well as the content of the paragraph.

Finally, I also prepared 3 more questions which are meant for class discussion. My Taiwan classmate said Taiwan will be in danger if China possesses carriers. My Japanese classmate didn't think that Japan will build carriers even if China has them because they are just too expensive to maintain and will be a liability to Japan's economy. My China classmate said that the reluctance of Chinese authority to reveal much of their plan and intention to the world has to do with the Chinese culture and not because they are plotting something against others. Just like what the Chinese authority reiterated, he believed China is not a threat even if it possesses carriers.

I am quite relief that my presentation is finally over. It took me two days to complete my preparation. Though it was demanding, I value the experience to make a presentation in Korean for one full hour. My presentation material is attached below even though I think nobody will read it. It is just meant to be a record of my study.

The end-of-term exam is next week, so I will be busy again preparing for exam.

국제 시사 발표 (항공모함)


혹시 여러분 군사가 무엇인지 아세요?
군사가 군대, 군비, 무기, 전쟁 등 이런 거예요.

군사에 관심이 있나요? 관신이 없구나.
관심이 없다고 해도 오늘의 발표가 계속해야 돼요.

1. 항공모함이 무엇입니까?

군대의 종류가 3가지 있잖아요. 무슨 종류가 있어요?
[육군, 공군하고 해군이에요]

해군이 사용하는 배가 뭐라고 해요?

또 세계 가장 큰 군함이 뭐라고 해요?
[이게 바로 항공모함이라고요]

항공모함이 이런 모습이에요. 이 항공모함은 미국의 니미츠 호예요. 미국의 최신식 항모예요. 길이 330m 인데 이 항공모함은 수직으로 서면 63빌딩보다 더 높아요. 너무 크죠.

2. 현재 항공모함을 보유하고 있는 나라가 어느 나라인지 압니까?

모두 9개 나라가 항공모함이 보유하고 있어요. 미국, 영국, 프랑스, 러시아, 이탈리아, 스페인, 브라, 인도, 태국. 다른 나라의 항모보다 미국의 항모가 두배 더 크고 수량도 많고요. 다른 나라가 1, 2 척 항모 보유하지만 미국이 지금 모두 9 척이나 보유해요. 이런 군사력을 가져서 미국은 지금 세계 남아 있는 초강대국 뿐이에요. 초강대국은 가장 강한 큰 나라라는 뜻이에요. 중국도 초강대국이 될 의도가 있는 것 같은데요.

3. 왜 그 나라들은 항공모함을 보유하기를 원합니까?

공식적으로 말하면 항모는 국가의 종합적 국력의 표현이에요. 종합은 여러가지를 한데 모아 합하는 뜻이에요. 종합적 국력은 나라의 다양한 능력이에요. 예를 들면 기술능력, 노동력, 경제능령, 군사능령 등. 다시 말하면 국력이 강한 나라만 항모를 가질 수 있다는 뜻이에요.

중(中), 항공모함 6척 보유 목표

스위스의 한 군사 전문지가 "중국의 목표는 6척의 항공모함을 보유해서 전 세계 분쟁지역에 중국군을 파견할 수 있는 능력을 보유하는 것"이라고 보도했다고, 중국 언론들이 28일 일제히 보도했다.

[단락1 설명: 스위스는 유럽에 있는 나라의 이름이죠. 군사 전문지는 군사 전문 잡지예요. 일반적으로 중국이 군사 장보가 거의 안 보도해서 사람들은 중국의 현제 군사 상황을 알고 싶으면 이런 군사 전문 잡지를 구독해요. 그 잡지는 중국이 6 척의 항공모함을 보유하고 싶다고 평가했지만 이 소식이 확실인지 아닌지 그 잡지도 잘 몰르겠어요. 그냥 평가예요. 또 중국은 항공모함을 가지고 있으면 세계 어디 지역에 중국군을 보내는 능력도 가지고 있을 거예요.]

중국 언론들은 인터넷 포털 둥팡 네트워크를 인용해, 스위스의 군사 전문지 '국제함대' 12월호가 러시아와 프랑스 이탈리아 등의 항모(항공모함) 건조계획을 전하면서 중국의 항모 보유 목표가 6척이라고 평가했다고 전했다.

[단락2 설명: 이 단락의 중심 내용은 중국의 매체들도 그 스위스의 군사 전문지의 기사를 인용하고 중국의 항모 보유 목표가 6척이라고 보도했어요.]

또 항모에 탑재할 함재기로는 미그 29기나 중국이 자체 생산에 성공한 젠(殲)10, 또는 젠10보다 먼저 개발한 FC1(일명 샤오룽•曉龍)이 될 가능성이 높은 것으로 이 잡지는 본다고 전했다.

[단락3 설명: 항모의 가장 중요한 특징이 뭐예요? 항공기이죠. 항공기가 없으면 항모가 아무것도 할 수 없죠. 중국의 항무도 항공기가 필요하죠. 무슨 항공기가 사용할지 사진을 보여드릴 게요.]

국의 항모 보유 가능성은 지난 23일 중국 국방부 대변인 황쉐핑(黃雪平) 대교(대령)가 기자회견에서 "항모 보유는 한 국가의 종합적 국력의 표현"이라면서 "중국은 현재 항모 보유에 대해 진지한 검토를 하고 있다"고 밝히면서 더욱 활발하게 거론되고 있다.

[단락4 설명: 중국 국방부 대변인 황쉐핑 기자회견에서 "항모 보유는 한 국가의 종합적 국력의 표현"이라면서 "중국은 현재 항모 보유에 대해 진지한 검토 (검문, 토론, 어떤 일을 잘 살피보는 뜻)를 하고 있다"고 밝히다. 이 거 보면 중국이 항모 보유할 계획이 사실이죠.]

중국은 일찍이 1985년 호주의 퇴역 항모 1척을 구입해서 국제사회의 관심을 모았지만, 항모의 갑판만 복제해 조종사들의 항모 이착륙 훈련에만 사용했다. 또 러시아로부터 3척의 퇴역 항모를 구입했지만, 이 역시 새로운 항모 건조로 연결되지는 않았다.

[단락5 설명: 중국이 항공모항 건조 기술이 없어서 호주와 러시아 퇴역 항모를 고입하고 기술을 연구하고 개발해요. 또 퇴역 항모를 통해 조종사(항공기를 다루는 기능과 자격을 갖춘 사람) 들의 항모 이착륙(이착(땅에서 떠오름) 과 착륙 (땅에 내림)) 훈련해요 (어떤 일을 잘하고 싶으면 훈련해야 돼요).]

영국의 군사전문지 제인스 디펜스 위클리는 최근 중국 해군이 지금까지의 '연안 해군'에서 '대양 해군'으로의 변신을 시도하고 있으나, 실제 추진 상황은 예측하기 어렵다고 진단했다. 미국은 현재 9척의 항모를 보유하고 전 세계 바다를 장악하고 있다.

[단락6 설명: 중국 해군이 '연안 해군'에서 '대양 해군'으로 변신을 시도하고 있다고요. 연안 해군은 자기 나라의 바다에만 파견할 수 있는 해군. 대양 해군은 세계 아무 바다에나 파견할 수 있는 해군. 변신은 모양을 바꿈. 영국의 군사 점문지가 중국의 변신이 쉬운일이 아니라고 판단했어요.]

(출처: 조선일보, 2008.12.29)

어휘 설명

1. 전문지 - 전문 분야를 집중적으로 다루는 잡지
2. 보유 - 가지고 있거나 간직하고 있음
3. 분쟁 - 의견이나 이해의 대립으로 서로 싸우는 일
4. 파견하다 - 일정한 임무를 주어 사람을 보냄 (군대를 파견하다, 대사를 파견하다)
5. 언론 – 매체
6. 일제히 – 한꺼번에, 동시에
7. 건조 - 건물이나 배 따위를 설계하여 만듦
8. 탑재 - 배, 비행기, 차 따위에 물체를 올림
9. 함재기 - 항공모항이나 기타 함선에 싣고 다니는 항공기
10. 대교 (대령) - 계급의 하나
11. 종합 - 여러 가지를 한데 모아서 합함
12. 진지하다 – 태도가 참되고 성실하다
13. 검토 - 어떤 사실이나 내용을 분석하여 따짐.
14. 활발하다 - 생기있고 힘차며 시원스럽다 (힘차다: 힘이 있음)
15. 거론 – 어떤 사항을 논제로 만들어 제기하거나 논의함
16. 퇴역 – 물러남, 하던 일에서 지위를 내어 놓고 나오다
17. 갑판 –군함과 같은 큰 배 위에 철판으로 깔아 놓은 바닥
18. 복제 – 똑같은 것을 만듦
19. 조종사 – 항공기를 다루는 기능과 자격을 갖춘 사람
20. 이착륙 – 이륙 (땅에서 떠오름) 과 착륙 (땅에 내림)
21. 연안 해군 – 자기 나라의 바다에만 파견할 수 있는 해군
22. 대양 해군 – 세계 아무 바다에나 파견할 수 있는 해군
23. 변신 – 모양을 바꿈
24. 추진 - 목표를 향하여 밀고 나아감
25. 예측 - 미래의 일에 대해 생각하여 헤아림
26. 장악 - (권력이나 세력 따위를) 휘어 잡는 것

함께 생각해 볼 문제

1. 항공모함 보유는 중국에 어떤 작용을 할 것으로 예상됩니까?

a. 중국의 긴 해안선을 방위 능령
b. 장점의 국제 이익을 보호할 수도 있다
c. 초강대국이 될 수도 있다

2. 중국이 항공모함을 보유하게 되면 세계에 어떤 영향을 미칠 것입니까?

a. 군비 경쟁 – 일단 중국이 항공모함을 보유하면 주변 나라가 (예를 들면 일번, 러시아, 인도) 자기 나라의 이익를 위해 그 나라도 항공모함을 보유하고 싶어해요. 왜냐하면 항모를 없으면 분쟁이 생길 때 불리한 상황(처지)에 놓이게 될 거예요. 군비 경쟁이 사실은 좋은 일이 아니예요.

b. 힘의 균형 [세력 균형, 음식 균형] – 미국이 남아 있는 초강대국이잖아요. 하지만 세계가 더 조용해요? 더 평화로워요? 중국이 항공모함을 보유한 후에 세계 힘의 균형에 도움이 될 수 있어요?

3. “중국위협론”에 대해 어떻게 생각합니까?

중국위협론은 무슨 말이에요. 중국이 군사력을 통헤 다른 나라의 이익을 위협한는 말이에요. 왜 이런 말은 생겼어요?

중국의 땅이 너무 크기 때문에 중국과 관련된 분쟁도 많게 돼요. 예를 들면 대만 분쟁, 남사군도 주권 분쟁, 인도와 러시아, 일본 등의 영토 분쟁이 있어요. 일단 분쟁을 악화하면 다른 나라도 영형을 미칠 거예요.

중국이 항상 우리 나라가 위협이 아니라고 말했지만 다른 나라 계속 중국을 안 믿어요. 왜 그렇해요? 중국은 자기의 생각과 행동을 다른 나라에게 별로 안 설명해요. 설명할 때도 자세히 설명이 싫어요. 그래서 설명한 후에 다른 나라가 중국에게 더 많이 의심이 생겼어요. 비밀도 많고 숨긴 것도 많기때문이에요.

Friday, February 13, 2009

단비가 온다

It has been raining since this morning. This morning is the hottest and wettest morning since I arrived in Korea. I bought an umbrella at a convenience store this morning but it was damaged by afternoon. Should I call this umbrella "불량품"?

Anyway, the Koreans call today's rain as 단비 which means "welcome rain". If the dry weather continues any further, it will be drought in Korea soon. After today's rain, the last cold wave for this winter will arrive this weekend. The last coldness of winter is called "막바지 추위". I guess it's time to put on my winter clothing again for one last time.

Since it is raining today, I have a question related to rain.

Assuming that you are driving a two-seaters cabriolet on a rainy day. As you drive pass a bus-stop, you saw 3 persons. The first person is an old lady who is very sick. The second person is a doctor who once saved your life. The third person is an opposite sex who is your "style". What will you do in this situation? If you want to mull over the question, don't read further because I am going to reveal the most ideal answer in the next paragraph.

The most ideal answer is to give your car key to the doctor and let he drives the old lady to the hospital. You shall then wait for your bus together with the person who is your "style" in the rain. Isn't it a perfect answer, 완벽하죠?

This question is asked by a Korean company to 200 job applicants and only one person gave the right answer. Naturally, that's the only person who got the job deal. Don't feel bad if you didn't get it right. Majority of us will choose one of the 3 persons to give a ride to but very few can think beyond and out-of-the-box. I think it's no big deal. 'Can-do' attitude is still more important for success than the ability to think out-of-the-box.

I have another joke related to rain. After raining has stopped, a frog with a big tummy came out for a walk in a field. Soon, he met a snake.

"Snake, snake, what are you doing?", the frog asked.
"I am on my way to dinner.", the snake replied.
"What are you going to have for dinner", the frog asked again.
"I am having a frog with a big tummy for dinner.", the snake replied.
"Oops, when did my butt come in front?", the panic frog said whilst trying to push its tummy behind.

Did you laugh? No? It's ok. After our teacher told us this joke, one student remarked, "추워요!" Now you should know why the cold wave is coming tomorrow. Because I just told a "cold joke" ^^

Monday, February 09, 2009

귀가의 길

There is one thing I must learn. For any festival, visit when it just started, not when it is about to end. In comparison, Hwacheon's Sancheoneo Ice Festival seems more interesting than Taebaek's Snow Festival. Anyway, even without the snow festival, I would have still wanted to visit Mt. Taebaek. If I could stay for another day at Taebaek, I would have climbed up Mt. Taebaek. It has been quite a long time since I climb up a mountain in Korea. The 2 days 1 night to Taebaek is just the first of the many to come. My next 2 days 1 night trip shall be to Jinhae to see 벚꽃 probably on the last week of March before the start of my Spring semester.

Sunset at Taebaek as seen from my room. The view of distant mountain was great.

Roads at Taebaek are brightly-lit at night. I couldn't sleep because of aching legs.

Taebaek in the morning. Taebaek is not as remote as I thought.

Empty Taebaek Station. The next train to Cheongnyangni is at 10:13am.

Boarding Cheongnyangni-bound train. 2 days 1 night trip to Taebaek ends here.

Ipod music - my most faithful companion for the 4.5 hours trip back to Seoul.

M 슈퍼 콘스트

It was freezing at the O2 resort. Probably the coldest weather I have ever experienced. The wind was so strong that it even swept up the snow on the ground, sending them up in a vortex. It was the first time this winter I have to put on a beanie because my scarf just wasn't good enough to keep my head warm.

The M Super Concert was staged at the "Ski House" of the resort. To get there, I first took a taxi to the O2 Resort Condo (condominium). Free shuttle bus service was provided between the Condo and the Ski House. I arrived at the Ski House half an hour to 8pm. There were still empty seats available but I chose to stand since I wanted to take pictures. For the next 2.5 hours, I was standing on the same spot. The snow beneath my shoes actually melted and re-frozen as ice. My legs suffered bad ache after that. However, the experience of watching a concert at 1,420m above sea level during winter is worthed the pain.

By the way, I think my face will be appearing on Mnet on 12 Feb. I caught a glimpse of my face appearing on the big screen during the concert, thanks to the mobile camera that kept moving around shooting the crowd at short distance. Its hard to avoid the camera. At one time, the camera was just hanging right in front of me. Being camera-shy, I covered up half of my face with my scarf. So my scarf actually served dual purposes.

A lited ski slope. I think overnight skiing is possible.

The concert uses the ski slope as the backdrop.

Looking at the stage from the back.

Prize presentation for amateur ski board competition held before the concert.

Doing white balancing for all the cameras. This took quite a long while to complete.

Heavy metal group - 체리필터 (Cherry Filter) singing Rolling Heart.

Bobby Kim singing "사랑 그 놈". A very nice ballad.

"Stay" singing "너를 사랑하는 게".

They call themselves "Wink". Their trot song "부끄부끄" is quite popular now.

A new duo called the "Blue Spring" singing "사랑한다 사랑한다".

She is Lyn. One of my favourite singers. Her recent piece is "사랑 다 거짓말"

Ha Ju-yeon of Jewelry featuring in another person song "이젠 남이야"...

... That person is the youngest member of V.O.S - 김경록.

The roving camera.

아주 singing 재벌2세.

주보라 singing "Want You".

양정승 singing "어린 여자".

"Dear Cloud" singing "Lip"

He is Park Hyeon Bin, a famous trot singer. His "샤방샤방" (means 반짝반짝) is a big hit.

They are Jewelry-S.

The trio belong to the group Gavy NJ. Its the first time I heard of the group.

Kara singing Rock U and Pretty Girls.

Baek Ji Yeong singing "총 맞은 것처럼".

I left the concert before Baek Ji Yeong finished her singing because it was getting a bit late. It was about 10pm when I left. I was actually prepared to walk back to my hotel in darkness if I couldn't get a taxi. Fortunately, I didn't need to. Except for my aching legs, it was a wonderful day.