Saturday, April 04, 2009

화사한 출발

Plum blossoms in full bloom inside my campus.

School reopens this week. Plum blossoms are blooming everywhere in the campus. Everything looks so cheery during Spring. The Spring Semester opened with a "bang" and I mean the Samulnori performance put up by some middle school students during the opening ceremony. However, the event is fast becoming a routine to me and I can now understand why many continuing students choose not to attend. It would be good if free lunch can be arranged after the ceremony to stimulate participation.

Samulnori performance put up during the opening ceremony.

As if to say that we have reached a very high level, we were arranged to study at a classroom which is literally at the top of a building. It is a 7-storey building and there is like only one small lift serving the whole building. What this means is I have to climb 7-storey of steps every morning because it is almost impossible to get into the lift when everyone else is rushing for the lift just before lesson starts. In case you think I am complaining, I actually like my daily cardiac workout.

In this semester, I am quite fortunate to have a professor as my teacher. She has just returned to Korea after her 3-year stint as a visiting professor at the University of Indianapolis. She also happens to be one of the authors for the KHU Advanced textbook. I am really thankful to be blessed with so many good teachers along the way.

During our very first lesson, she spoke about the similarity and difference between heaven and hell. The similarity is spirits in both heaven and hell have to eat with very long chopsticks. The difference is spirits in hell are selfish and only want to feed themselves. However, they are not able to put food into their own mouth because the chopsticks are way too long. As a result, they are always hungry and in pain. In heaven, the spirits feed each other with their long chopsticks so everyone is always full and happy. The moral of her story is that we should help one another in class so as to make our class a heaven.

Next, she made us ponder about child nurturing. She recalled a friend who taught her child the value of money by making him work to get his pocket-money. For every work completed, she would give him a sticker and when a certain amount of stickers are collected, she will give him his pocket money. While acknowledging that this method is good at instilling money discipline, my teacher also pointed out its pitfall which is the breakdown of the relationship between a mother and her child which is priceless to start off with. In the midst of the discussion, she handed our first homework. We were supposed to write about how parents should nurture their children. So I wrote:

"아이를 잘 키우려고면 부모도 올바른 행위를 지켜야 돼요. 아이의 가치관이 부모를 통해서 이루거든요. 부모의 행위가 올바르면 아이가 저절로 올바른 사람이 될 거예요. 또 적당한 처벌하면 도움이 돼요. 아이가 강한 자존심이 생기기전에 적당한 처벌하면 도움이 된다고요. 아이가 어리니까 잘 못을 해도 모르기 때문이에요. 잘 못 할 때 적당한 처벌을 하면 아이가 어떤 것을 잘 못 한 게 알게 될 수 있어요."

Now for something very fundamental which she highlighted during our class - the pronunciation of 웨, 외 and 왜. When we were asked to pronounce the 3 characters, we just said "way, way, way". We all knew that they are pronounced the same but what we did not know was that 외 and 왜 had different pronunciation previously. But since it is difficult to pronounce them in their original sound, 웨, 외 and 왜 are now all pronounce as [웨] (웨 sounds like 'way').

She has another test on our fundamentals. She wanted us to differentiate between the conjunction ~고, ~(으)면서 and ~다가. Her reason for bringing this out is that many students are still confused about their usage. Below is what I have re-learned.

1. 점심을 먹 커피를 마셔요. When ~고 is used as a conjunction, it means that I have completed eating my lunch before drinking coffee.

2. 점심을 먹으면서 커피를 마셔요. When ~(으)면서 is used, it means that I am still eating my lunch when I am drinking coffee.

3. 점심을 먹다가 커피를 마셔요. When ~다가 is used, it means I stop my lunch halfway to drink coffee. I may have stopped eating my lunch but I have not completed eating it.

On a separate topic, I had a relief teacher who has a typical B-type personality this week. Those B-type teachers whom I come across so far are of very interesting and fun-loving character. Though she was only taking us for two periods, she really brightened up the class atmosphere. Anyways, we had a crush course on blood type and personality from her. She said O-type people have the best personality *cough cough* as they are sincere and truthful. B-type people are quick-tempered, emotional, easily excitable, low in perseverance and highly opinionated. A-type people are always concerned about what other people think. Lastly, AB-type people are either a genius or a fool as they are trapped in between A and B-type personality.

It has been a beneficial week although I was feeling a bit 'cold' after neglecting study for one month. At the same time, I have to re-adjust my body clock which has gone haywire during the holiday period. It is a good start and I should make it a point to concentrate on my study and not blog so frequently... Just joking. For the moment, I think I should have enough time to do many things. The beauty of not having enough time on my side makes me values time even more. I shall try to achieve as much as possible with my remaining time here. Start with the end in mind and I will never be lost.


  1. haha I didn't know about the AB-type explanation!
    그런 설명 있어서 모르겠어요.
    저도 한국어를 빨리 잘 했으면 좋겠어요. ^^

  2. for someone who is serious about korean language, i thought it would be better for you to attend formal lesson. i benefited a lot from the mistake corrections i received in class. but unfortunately, there aren't many good choices in singapore.

  3. ㅎㅎ. 나도 O형인데!!! ㅎㅎㅎㅎ

    참... 혹시 닭한마리를 먹어봤어?? 우리 학교 바로 앞에 어떤 닭한마리 집의 닭 엄청 맛있거든! 시간이 돼면 한번 먹어봐.. ^^

  4. 먹어본 적이 있어.
    네가 닭한마리가 땡기지?