Monday, April 26, 2010


A train passes Dongho Bridge. I am still some distance away.

Another train passes and I am getting closer.

Recording life as it unfolds. I am walking towards Dongho Bridge because it is where Oksu Station of Jungang line is. Jungang line will take me straight home .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

마니산의 봄

The journey up Mt. Mani (마니산, 摩尼山) was anything but a walk in the park. My leg muscles weren't conditioned for some rigorous climbing. Bad ache and cramps, however, failed to dishearten me from trying to reach the peak at 468m above sea level. There was this desire in me to want to be part of Korean legend, to be where Dangun (단군, 檀君) was said to have prayed to the heaven during the old Joseon Dynasty.

Spring flowers had started to bloom, though much of the trees were still left bare. Speckles of pink, purple and yellow littered the mountain. The spirits of spring must have been back merry-making at their playground. Wandering clouds joined in the spring festival, enveloping the mountain and hikers in a veil of mist. I could have mistaken Mt. Mani for the place on earth where heaven is found.

Misty mountain with blooming azelea and cheeful hikers.

Cherry blossoms overhanging a pool of tranquil water

Friday, April 23, 2010


When you start seeing small lanterns sprouting out in the streets and temples in Korea, you know that Buddha's birthday is around the corner. I believe such lantern spectacle is unique to Korea.

Bong-eun Temple (봉은사) at Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu

Jo-gye Temple (조계사) at Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu

Thursday, April 22, 2010


When billions of dollars are poured into research and development of green energy and technology, the future of Korea's economy definitely looks bright.

'Wind turbine system' fitted on top of lamp post looks impressive but I don't think they actually work. Picture taken at the Global Fair & Festival 2009 Incheon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010




Orchids at the International Horticulture Exhibition, Goyang's Lake Park

I used to think that Singapore was the leading orchid cultivator in the world. We even had a hybrid orchid species made our national flower. Export of orchid flowers used to a be a darling of Singapore's economy but not anymore. They have since fallen out of favour due to drop in export sales.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Went for a short business trip to Jakarta over weekend. Hotel gave me a free upgrade to suite. Such good deal never happen to me before.

Fortunately, there wasn't any night programme. I had a good view of sunset from my room at 23rd floor.

Jakarta at twilight. Jakarta at night looks like a city observing Earth Hour; not as much lights as you would expect of a city.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Children's Grand Park (어린이대공원), open on Children's Day (May 5), 1973, is one of the largest children parks in Asia. This park, dedicated to the children in Korea, has among other features, a mini zoo, a botanical garden, a theme park, an amphitheatre and a musical fountain. As an educational venue, it is not only fun, it also provides children with interesting information about plant and animal life.

In spring and fall, many school children and teachers hold their school picnics there. With abundant shades and amenities, it is also an attractive places for families and friends to gather and bond on off-day or weekend. There is a child in everyone and nobody will likely feel out of place in the park. A good way to enjoy the park is to lie on a picnic mat and bask in its lush greenery and tranquility.

The park is accessible by subway. The Children's Grand Park Station (Line 7) is located near the park's main entrance. Entry is free although there are fees to some sections of the park like the theme park.

The main entrance of the Children's Grand Park

The banner appeals to the public to exercise self-discipline and avoid smoking in the park. There is no faint sign of a threat to fine anyone flouting the 'no smoking' rule. Label me idealist or naive but I prefer 'slapping' one's conscience than one's pocket.

A few giraffe 'lanterns' near the main entrance. Yes, they are lanterns; they lit up at night. Somewhere at the centre of the park is a mini zoo which is free. They have giraffes and polar bears as part of their exhibits. A trivia: Which has more neck bones? Giraffe or man?... Answer: both have the same number of neck bones. Giraffe's neck bones are elongated to give it an extended reach.

An ecological pond with a water mill as its centre of attraction. The pond has wooden walking platform built over it. Public can transverse and walk around it with ease.

Wooden sculpture of frogs. There are quite a number of fables which use frog as protagonist. One of them is about two frogs which fell into a well. Both of them tried to climb up but the rest of their friends around the well mouth above try to dissuade them. They were afraid that both of them might fall to their death. Eventually, one succeeded and one failed. The frog that made it was actually half deaf. He thought the rest of the frogs were cheering him on when in fact, they were discouraging him. The moral of the story is that a word of encouragement can go a long way to help others succeed in life.

Another frog sculpture. I believe some people may have heard this joke before but I am going to repeat it anyway for the benefit of those who don't read my earlier posting. There was this frog with a big tummy. He was taking a stroll when he met a snake. He asked,"Snake, what are you doing?". The snake replied, "I am going to eat a frog with a big tummy." The panic-stricken frog, while trying to push his tummy behind, responded, "When did my backside come in front?"

One of the many stone sculptures found around the park.

It was spring and the park was decorated with colourful spring flowers.

Water fountains made from Korean traditional sauce jars.

There are bugs like this 'lurking' around the park. They 'glow' at night.

A photo zone with snow white and seven dwarfs as backdrop. Oops, where is the other dwarf? If you don't know, you are supposed to be the last dwarf; you are part of the fairytale.

The bubbly little girl was running everywhere and couldn't keep still for a moment. I had problem taking a picture of her until her attention was captured by a ball held by her mother. She has every features that remind me of Korean kid.

A girl lying comfortably against her mother in the evening sun while watching TV programme on her DMB-enabled phone. One word to describe it - Bliss.

The amphitheatre, with top-notch lightings and sounds, capable of staging any type of performance. A total pleasure to be watching outdoor performance in this place.

Introducing the 'Piano Prince of Korea' - Yiruma. He was doing his rehearsal for the night. One of his pieces that night was called 'Dream'. You can watch his moving rendition in one of the videos embedded below. Warning: be prepare to be touch.

This girl, with an angelic voice, came in to co-sing 'Dream' with Yiruma. Her voice left a deep impression in me.

'Dream is the theme song written by Yiruma for an animation called "Doggy's Poo". The main message is God does not make anything that is useless. Everything and everyone in this world are worthy of their existence. Believe in your worth.

Yiruma performing 'Dream' with children choir during his concert. Do pay special attention to the video. There is a part which is quite funny. Though the choir made some mistake, I am still overwhelmed by their performance. Those kids are adorable.

No singing, just plain soothing piano music by Yiruma - Dream (Piano Solo)

The Arirang Party - a 'bibimbap' (local equivalent term is 'rojak') of Korean iconic cultural works that include traditional dance, b-boys, Korean drums and samulnori. Another performance which left an indelible mark in me. It would be good if I can have the opportunity to watch the full performance in future.

Ladybug coming 'alive' after dark

Before heading home, stop by and enjoy the musical fountain

Waiting for train inside Children's Grand Park Station (Line 7). I took line 7 to Konkuk University station and transferred to line 2. At Wangsimni Station of Line 2, I had to make another transfer to the Jungang line to get to Hoegi Station. Despite the need to make several transfers to and fro, the trip to Children's Grand Park is always worth the worth.