Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Choi Jin-sil’s kin found dead from a possible suicide

Choi Jin-young, the younger brother of the late actress Choi Jin-sil, was found dead at his home yesterday after a possible suicide, according to the Gangnam Police Precinct.

Investigators said the 39-year-old Choi was found hanging from an electrical cord in the attic of his apartment. His mother first found him and called police and a 119 rescue squad around 2:14 p.m. Choi was rushed to Gangnam Severance Hospital for CPR at 2:46 p.m. but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Choi’s mother went to her son’s apartment after she received a phone call from Choi’s college friend saying that Choi had failed to pick up her phone calls.

“No suicide note was found in Choi’s apartment,” an investigator said. “Some say he committed suicide after suffering from depression, but that’s mere speculation. We’ll thoroughly investigate the case to determine the exact cause of death.”

As there was no evidence of a break-in, however, police tentatively said it appears Choi committed suicide. Police have ordered an autopsy.

An official at Mcloud Entertainment, which represented Choi, said the agency is shocked by the news. “There were no signs of Choi feeling bad recently,” the official said. “Last month Choi signed a contract with us to make comeback on local TV.”

An official at a broadcasting company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Choi had been on medication for depression.

In an interview earlier this month, Choi told reporters that he decided to resume his work because he wanted to be a proud uncle to his 10-year-old nephew and 8-year-old niece, of whom he gained custody after his sister’s death 18 months ago.

Choi Jin-sil was one of Korea’s most beloved actresses before committing suicide at the age of 40 after suffering from depression. She had reportedly been suffering extreme mental stress because of Internet rumors that linked her to actor Ahn Jae-hwan, 36, who committed suicide in September 2008.

Rumors online said Choi had loaned the actor 2.5 billion won ($2.2 million). Ahn killed himself apparently under pressure after a series of businesses failures.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2918517

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Number of Korean billionaires on Forbes list surges

Eleven Koreans made it onto Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires this year, marking a nearly threefold increase from 2009 as many of the nation’s wealthiest individuals benefitted from a surge in their stock holdings.

The lofty list of the richest individuals on the globe includes a few new faces from Korea this year.

Shin Chang-jae, chairman of Kyobo Life Insurance Co., SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun made the list for the first time ever.

According to the magazine’s April issue, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who recently announced a comeback after a hiatus lasting almost two years, is the only Korean in the top 100. Lee in fact came in exactly at 100, a huge leap from 205 last year. Lee had an estimated wealth of $7.2 billion as of Feb. 12 - more than double the $3 billion calculation for 2009 - as the value of his stock holdings in Samsung Electronics Co. and Samsung Life Insurance Co. appreciated.

Samsung Life Insurance shares are trading at around 120,000 won ($105) on the over-the-counter market ahead of its initial public offering, which is scheduled for May. Samsung Electronics closed at 820,000 won yesterday, up 59 percent from March of last year. Lee ranked as the 17th-richest man in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chung Mong-koo, chairman of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, came in at 249 versus 468 a year ago. His fortune is valued at $3.6 billion. Hyundai Motor Co.’s share price nearly doubled in the last year, closing at 116,000 won yesterday. Forbes compiles the list every year by analyzing the value of everything from real estate and paintings to yachts, planes and cash.

Jay Y. Lee, chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics, placed 536th with an estimated fortune totaling $1.9 billion. The only son of the chairman, Lee is a major shareholder in several companies including Samsung Everland Inc. and Samsung SDS Co.

Chung Mong-joon, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party, and Shin of Kyobo tied for 616th with $1.6 billion, while Shin Dong-bin, vice chairman of Lotte Group, and Shin Dong-joo, vice chairman of Lotte Japan, tied for 655th with $1.5 billion each.

The world’s richest man is Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, president of Mexico-based Grupo Carso, according to Forbes.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2918396

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Once Biwadwachan, now Lee Hyo-ri

Lorita Biwadwachan, a 48-year-old Filipina woman, married a Korean man 14 years ago in Jangheung County, South Jeolla. She recently changed her Filipino name to a Korean name, Lee Hyo-ri, after the popular Korean singer, at a local administrative affairs office in her neighborhood. She said she decided to take her husband’s family name, Lee.

“I wanted to keep my Filipino name, but I sometimes encountered uncomfortable situations because of my name before and I decided to change my name to Korean after I heard court and county offices in my neighborhood are helping marriage immigrants get Korean names,” Lee said.

Lee said her Korean friends and neighbors had a hard time pronouncing her Filipino name, and when filing administrative documents at public service offices and filling out documents for her children’s schools, her name was often too long to fit in the space, because the Korean system was created for Korean names, usually no longer than three or at most four characters.

The Gwangju District Court’s Jangheung branch partnered with Jangheung County to help marriage immigrants adopt Korean names in February. A total of 26 marriage immigrants in the region have obtained Korean names through the program since Feb. 3, with three more still waiting for their applications to be processed.

Of the 71 marriage immigrants living in Gangjin and Jangheung who have obtained Korean citizenship and decided not to change their names, 41 percent of them have now changed their minds and have opted for a Korean moniker, the government said.

Yet some of the new names are more conspicuous than others. Many choose the names of celebrities such as Lee Hyo-ri, Jeong Ae-ri, Lim Ye-jin and Gil Eun-jeong. Immigrants changing their names are also required to register a “clan origin” area. Since their ancestors are not Korean, most - including Lee from the Philippines - choose their current residence.

“The primary reason for marriage immigrants to decide to change their names is concern about their children,” said Baek Jeong-min, a family affairs division official at Gwangju District Court’s Jangheung branch.

Kim Na-yeon, a Vietnamese marriage immigrant who first came to Korea in 2004 in Gangjin and become a naturalized Korean citizen in 2007, said she decided to obtain a Korean name because her son will enter elementary school next year.

“I changed my name because I didn’t want my son to be bullied by his classmates because of my name,” Kim said.

Other counties are following Jangheung’s lead.

Lee Seong-guk, an official at the Haenam County family welfare division, said among 403 marriage immigrants, 131 marriage immigrants have already obtained Korean citizenship, but many of them have not opted to change their names.

“Many marriage immigrants aren’t aware that they can create their own Korean names while also adopting a Korean clan origin, too,” Lee said. “When choosing a clan origin, we will suggest marriage immigrants choose Haenam or names of the area of Haenam.”

South Jeolla’s 22 cities and counties are home to 6,492 marriage immigrants, and 27 percent, 1,749, have obtained Korean citizenship.

The largest groups in the province among foreign spouses are Chinese, with 2,069 people, and Vietnamese at 2,055, followed by Filipinos, Japanese and Cambodians.

Local universities offering green finance courses

The Lee Myung-bak administration has been pushing “green growth” policies since last year, and one area of focus has been finance.

“Green finance,” a new buzzword, refers to financial activities that support sustainable energy technologies and mitigate environmental degradation. The local market has seen the recent introduction of a large number of financial products related to such goals.

To develop green finance, the Financial Services Commission has decided to nurture young, talented minds interested in the industry. The FSC announced yesterday it would extend financial support to two universities - the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Korea University - to operate green finance courses.

“We [the FSC] will financially support the newly chosen schools for their R&D expenses and scholarships,” said an official from the FSC.

“Each school will complete preparations for the launch of MBA programs specializing in green finance by the end of 2010.”

The FSC held a meeting of its Financial Hub Korea committee to discuss financial support for MBA programs specializing in green finance, the agency said yesterday.

An assessment board consisting of 13 members including professionals working in the finance industry and experts from academic circles evaluated a total of four schools - Korea University, Chung-Ang University, Kaist and Hanyang University - that applied for the green finance MBA programs.

The two selected schools, Kaist and Korea University, will receive financial support worth 500 million won ($440,500) and 400 million won, respectively.

The country has seen growing interest in green growth fund products, especially with a Korean consortium’s successful bid to build nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates in December.

Investors in a green growth fund operated by NH-CA Asset Management saw a rate of return as high as 7.24 percent in December.

That was in contrast to the previous three months between September and November, when the fund’s returns had remained in the negative range.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2918198

Monday, March 22, 2010

Seoul to Ban Smoking in Public Places

I have many Koren friends who smoke. Most of them just smoke anywhere even while walking on the streets. If there is one thing I hate the most, that would be inhaling the smoke of cigarettes that other people made. This is very annoying and you get to experience this in Korea.

"Streets and parks of Seoul City could be designated as non-smoking areas. The 21 members of the Seoul Metropolitan Council proposed an ordinance to prohibit smoking on streets and in parks and plazas within the capital."

This would be good especially to pregnant women and children, as stated in the suggested bill handed in by a city councilor. Of course, just like Japan designated areas for smoking will be provided.

In a survey made by Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs last year,
nearly 60 percent of respondents complained about second-hand smoke in public areas. More than 66 percent had complaints about second-hand smoke on streets and 62 percent in restaurants.

The bill would affect public areas such as streets, parks, plazas and outside of municipal buildings.
If passed, the ordinance would take effect from January 2011, fining violators up to 20,000 won.
So there's still 9 months more to smoke freely. To smokers out there good luck on your public places hopping ^^

Full Story:
Seoul to Ban Smoking in Public Places

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yellow Dust in Korea

The Korean Peninsula experienced its worst case of yellow dust ever recorded Saturday and Sunday, leading the weather administration to advise people to take extra care as more is expected this month.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) posted a special yellow dust warning for most parts of the country Saturday. The dust in the air marked 2,684 micrograms per cubic meter in Daegu; 2,408 micrograms in Jindo, South Jeolla Province; and 1,048 micrograms in Sokcho, Gangwon Province. These are the worst figures since the KMA started taking dust density measurements in 2005. According to the agency, the special warning is posted only when the density is over 800 micrograms per cubic meter. The KMA posted its first such warning in 2007.

Full Story:
Korean Peninsula Blanketed by Worst Yellow Dust
By Bae Ji-sook (bjs@koreatimes.co.kr )

Cheating scandals add new burden to SAT students

Many Korean students roaming school corridors today carry a burden that remains unresolved. It’s a burden that makes many institutions here wealthy, while nagging at parents and keeping students up all night.

That burden is the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Originally targeted at high school students in the United States, the test has come into more frequent use in Korea as more and more students aim to study overseas. And recently its escalating popularity has resulted in some serious problems.

The first scandal broke when it was revealed a few teachers at Korean private institutes leaked the January 2010 SAT questions to some students studying in the United States.

Next came reports that one of the most renowned SAT teachers in Gangnam had been abducted and beaten after he deciding to transfer to another institute.

These incidents, although unrelated, have had an immense impact on students - especially those who took the January SAT.

“The moment I got home after taking the SAT on Jan. 23, I saw the article [reporting on the cheating] on the Web,” said Lee Won-ki, a senior at Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies. “Right away I felt this sudden deflation. I was afraid that all the effort I had put in during the last few years might mean nothing just because of somebody else’s misdeeds.”

His concerns did not end there.

“A few days later, I learned that an SAT teacher had been beaten up,” Lee said. “Since I did attend a few institutes to help my scores, I felt guilty even though the institutes I had been to, as far as I know, were never involved in anything like that.”

The stories also had an impact on those who had yet to take the SAT.

“Of course it concerns us,” said Kim A-young, a rising junior at Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies. “It means we have to choose institutes more carefully, to avoid something like this happening again.”
Still, she doesn’t think the problems should worry Korean students taking the exam.

“I mean, it’s not our fault, right? They were just the illegal actions of a few people,” Kim said. “It isn’t fair for us to be discredited in any way, and I know that the College Board [which supervises the SAT] is aware of this.”

Ahn Jae-min, a student at Daedeok Mechatronics High School, said he wasn’t too surprised by the reports. “Cheating does happen, even on the Korean college exam,” he said. But he added that the scandals have cast students trying to study abroad in a negative light.

Ahn said that because the recent events involve a lot of money - bribing test takers, paying teachers - some people believe “international students” are rich.

With so many students expressing concern about the SAT and overseas education, the institutes themselves are worried about how they’ll be perceived in the future.

“There will be some changes, obviously,” said Elina Jin, a teacher at a private institute called PJE. “We’re going to have to take precautions to prevent these kinds of things.

“There will be more regulations and inspections in both the employment and management of instructors in many institutes. But there won’t be any drastic alterations, since that would kind of suggest guilt, which is totally unnecessary.”

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2918065

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hallyu 101: God of Study (공부의 신)

Kang Suk Ho is an ordinary lawyer who decides to take up a job at the nearby high school. After seeing the conditions of the school and the poor grades all the students have, Suk Ho decides to create a special class promising admission to the most prestigious college in Korea, "Chun-Ha-Dae University." Five of the most laziest students - Hwang Baek Hyun, Gil Pul Ip, Na Hyun Jung, Hong Chan Doo, and Oh Bong Goo join the class to in order to prove that they can do it with hard work and dedication.


Kim Soo Ro as Kang Suk Ho
Bae Doo Na as Han Soo Jung
Oh Yoon Ah as Jang Ma Ri
Yoo Seung Ho as Hwang Baek Hyun
Ji Yeon as Na Hyun Jung
Go Ah Sung as Gil Pul Ip
Lee Hyun Woo as Hong Chan Doo
Lee Chan Ho as Oh Bong Goo

This is one of my favorite Korean dramas. It's very funny but at the same time serious. It gave me a better understanding of Korean educational system. There are also interesting information like study tips for students who will be taking college entrance exams.

The drama was aired on KBS 2 until February 23, 2010. It was aired every Monday and Tuesday at 21:55.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More PhD holders than jobs?

The number of people who received Ph.D.s from local universities last year exceeded 10,000 for the first time.
Analysts in Korea say that a growing number of highly educated individuals are vying for limited well-paying office jobs, adding the deepening "academic inflation" is further aggravating the already dire employment conditions among those in their late 20s and 30s.
The number of Koreans receiving Ph.D.s from domestic universities in 2009 totaled 10,322, up from 9,710 the previous year.
In 2009, Korean universities offered a combined 19,847 doctoral positions, up sharply from 13,052 in 2000.The number of Ph.D. holders per every 10,000 Koreans rose to 2.1 last year, from 0.3 in 1985 and 1.5 in 2000.
An increasing number of people have entered graduate schools, with businesses seeking more highly-educated human resources specializing in engineering, medical and other academic fields. But at the same time, many have chosen to study further because they cannot find the job they are looking for amid the tight labor market, creating academic inflation," said Kim Sung-taek, director general at the Korea Labor Institute. "The surging number of academic overachievers is a failure of the nation's education system and is worsening the labor market conditions, creating an employment mismatch."
He said these highly educated Koreans are only looking for "decent" jobs at large companies and public organizations, while shunning positions at small businesses, which offer lower wages and fewer benefits. Small enterprises suffer from a chronic worker shortage and have to employ staff from China and Southeast Asian nations."Many academic overachievers choose to remain unemployed rather than work for small firms, obstructing the efficient allocation of human resources in the Korean economy. This trend has made unemployment among young people worse than it should be," Kim stressed.In February, the jobless rate for those aged between 15 and 29 reached 10 percent, up from 9.3 percent in January. It was the highest figure since it hit 10.1 percent in February 2000. This is more than twice the overall official unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

Full Story:
Ph.D. Holders Surpass 10,000 in Korea
Lee Hyo-sik (leehs@koreatimes.co.kr )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How did English Start in Korea?

This is an article written by Kim Eun-gyong is an associate professor of applied linguistics and Associate Dean of the Center for International Affairs, Information and Communications University (ICU) in Daejeon. She mentioned interesting facts about the developments of English education in Korea. This could probably explain and give us some points of view regarding Korea's obsession of the English language.

English language education was first introduced to Korea in 1883, when the Joseon government opened an English language school in order to train interpreters. Since then, English has enjoyed the status as the most popular foreign language during the greater part of its existence in what is today South Korea. The following passage from an article of the Korea Times (dated February 5, 2008) offers an excellent illustration of the current extraordinary status of English in Korea society.

"According to a report by the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI), Koreans spend about 15 trillion won ($15.8 billion) on English learning per year. Koreans also topped the applicant list of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) between 2004 and 2005 as about 102,340 out of the 554,942 applicants were Koreans. They also paid 700 billion won toward English examination fees. Enthusiasm for English study has also seen a large number of children, teenagers and even adults going to English-speaking countries like the United States, Australia and Britain to study. Last year some 250,000 under 29 years old went abroad for studying. The English frenzy saw the coining of the term 'goose father,' referring to a father who lives alone in Korea having sent his spouse and children to a foreign country to study English or some other form of advanced study. The goose fathers are estimated to be about 200,000 goose daddies nationwide. Most Koreans start to learn English from middle or elementary school. By the time they graduate, they have already spent about 100,000 hours on English studying, according to the SERI report."

In this remarkable advancement of the English language in Korean society, the government’s educational policies have played crucial roles, for English language education (ELE) has served as the main vehicle of the spread of English in Korea and most of its development has been led and shaped by the educational policies of the highly centralized government.

Therefore, in order to understand why and how the English language has become an important part of present-day Koreans’ lives and to be able to have a glimpse into what the status of the English language will be in the future Korean society, it is necessary to investigate and cultivate our understanding of the government’s past various roles in the development of ELE and the social contexts that brought about the changes made in the government policies on ELE.

My article series will examine the ELE development from the beginning to the present from the perspective of government’s role in it. More precisely, the series will include investigations on the Joseon government’s introduction of ELE, the stunted development of ELE during the Japanese colonial rule, the expansion of ELE under the strong influence of the U.S. military government of Korea and during the Korean War, and the continual development of ELE led by the Korean government.

President Lee Myung-bak has made known his intention to restructure the nationwide system of ELE. As a presidential nominee he pledged to reinforce public education in such a way that all high school graduates can communicate with foreigners without difficulty, and his presidential transition team suggested that all the English classes in high schools be taught in English.

The presidential nominee’s and his presidential transition team’s obvious interest in ELE have intensified citizens’ already heated interest in and worries over ELE and started to show side effects such as a strong backlash from teachers and parents.

Thus, it seems for now that President Lee has given up on his plan to implement immersion programs; the annual task report that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology presented to him included no mention of English immersion programs. This illustrates just how difficult it is for the government to introduce ELE policies that satisfy the majority of the citizens while having long-lasting positive effects.

Such a gallant attempt will require thorough preparations, including in-depth analyses of the successes or the failures of similar measures taken in the past whether in Korea or in other countries.

This series intends to offer a comprehensive view of the development of ELE in Korea and sound suggestions for a future direction that the Korean government should take with regard to English educational policies.

With such high hopes, I now would like to begin the series by examining Koreans’ contact with the English language before the Joseon government’s introduction of ELE in 1883.

by Kim Eun-gyong egkimrivera@icu.ac.kr

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Korea faces worker shortage in 2017

Korea is projected to start to see a workforce deficit from 2017, a market report said yesterday.
According to the Germany-based finance company Allianz SE, the number of young people aged between 15 and 20 in Korea is expected to fall short of the number of people approaching or entering retirement in 2017.

The company released yesterday a report assessing how the ongoing demographic change will impact the global labor market. Japan already faces the problem, with just six million people leaving school available to replace 10 million employees nearing retirement, while China will begin to see its workforce fall short in 2019, the report said.

In the United States, on the other hand, the number of people of working age is still on the rise, the report showed. It was attributed to the country’s attractiveness as an immigration destination, as well as to a rise in its birthrate.

Meanwhile, in Europe, seniors aged 60 to 65 will outnumber those entering the job market by 200,000 this year, the report said, with 28.8 million people in the older age bracket, and 28.6 million between the ages of 15 and 20.

Allianz stressed that increasing the proportion of older people working will be the challenge facing labor market policy in the future.

“The key milestones have already been achieved in pursuit of this objective in recent years, with moves to reduce the number of early retirement incentives being introduced as part of pension system reforms in many EU countries,” explained Michael Heise, chief economist and head of corporate development at Allianz.

“The task now is to create the right environment on the labor market,” he said.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2917842

‘Average Kim’ takes economic hit

The average Korean household leader is a wage-earning, 44-year-old man who lives in an urban area of the country, has a wife and two children and is the family’s main breadwinner, according to an analysis of data released by Statistics Korea.

Think of him as “the average Kim,” the Korean version of the average Joe.The average Kim was likely encouraged by recent news that the economy grew by 0.2 percent last year, a relatively impressive performance considering most countries posted steep declines.

But he didn’t benefit from that slight growth - or even maintain his pre-economic crisis lifestyle. Instead, government data show he went in the opposite direction, underscoring the effects of the downturn on the middle class. The average Kim’s household budget for 2009 took a hit, as his average paycheck shrunk while the cost of educating his children swelled.

He earned an average of 4.23 million won ($3,700) every month, including 3.84 million won from his employer and an extra 150,000 won he made from a small real estate property he rented out, which is categorized as “business earnings” by tax authorities.

That’s about 45,000 won less than the previous year, the result of pay cuts and downsizing at the average Kim’s employer. His monthly paycheck actually shrank by 54,000 won, though his earnings from other sources slightly increased.

At the same time, the average Kim saw a 1.3 percent decline in purchasing power tied to an uptick in inflation, further impacting his finances.

A quick glance at the household budget shows that the average Kim’s family had monthly expenses of 3.46 million won, a figure that includes 2.66 million won spent on everything from household items (88,000 won), food (334,000 won) and private education for his children (508,000 won). He also doled out 800,000 won monthly for other costs such as taxes (180,000 won), monthly pension payments (130,000 won), interest on debt (90,000 won) and insurance (400,000 won).

The one bright spot is that he paid 10,000 won less in taxes than he did in 2008.The biggest headache for the average Kim’s budget was, not surprisingly, the ever-burgeoning cost of education.Kim spent an average of 510,000 won every month in this area last year, including 320,000 won to send the kids to hagwon, or after-hours private education institutions. The government has promised it will help ease financial burdens on local parents tied to education, but Kim wound up spending about 30,000 won more every month in this area. Money spent on eating out and accommodations other than the home came next at 352,000 won.

But as more families opted to eat at home to save money, such spending - mostly on eating out - inched down by 6,000 won compared to 2008.

Who is the average Kim?
Each family must designate someone as its head, and that person must register as such with the government.
The typical head of a household is 44.4 years old. Six out of 10 household leaders in Korea are employed.
Most preside over a four-member household, and 61 percent of them are the sole breadwinners in their families.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2917852

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Postech becomes all-English campus

POHANG, North Gyeongsang - Starting this spring semester, Pohang University of Science and Technology, or Postech, is operating as an English-language campus in which all classes, seminars, meetings, written notices, executive documents and theses will be in English.

So far, the response from the faculty and students has been positive, although some express concern over a potentially difficult transition.

Upon this journalist’s visit to Postech on Wednesday, the main building in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, had notices both in English and in Korean plastered along its walls.

“Our English-language operations start from here,” said an employee at the school’s promotional office. One notice about steps to prevent the A(H1N1) flu included Korean text with an English translation written right below it. “In honesty, there is a lot of stress [among professors and students] about English. Maybe it is time for people like me to leave this school,” the employee said.

Postech started this new English campus system on March 1 as a part of its effort to globalize. During the matriculation ceremony this year, all speeches, including the president’s opening talk and the freshman oath, were in English. School officials said that while most parents didn’t understand much of what was said, they believed this was the right way to go to become a top global school.

Last month, the school announced that it will invest a total of 50 billion won ($44.2 million) for three years to scout 10 Nobel Prize and Fields Medal laureates to lecture there.

“As we have brought in many distinguished scholars from overseas, we have the strength to compete with other universities on a global scale,” said Baik Sung-gi, Postech’s president.

The university’s upcoming teachers’ conference with 247 professors will be conducted in English. The school will also include a foreign professor on its globalization committee.

Many at Postech agree that the transition will take some time.

“I think students understand around 70 percent of the English-language classes,” said Kim Yong-seok, 44, an industrial and management engineering professor at Postech. “Compared to students in the U.S., who ask questions [during lectures] quite aggressively, Korean students hesitate to ask any questions and this should change.”

Although many students this year say that the change is for the good, some express concern about their English ability. “My listening and writing skills in English are not great. I plan to improve my English, though,” said Goh Dong-gun, 21, a sophomore in the industry and management engineering department.

“It is frustrating that I can’t understand English well but I’m adjusting slowly,” said Jung Hye-yun, 19, a freshman in the computer science and engineering department.

link: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2917763

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hallyu 101: Cinderella's Sister (신데렐라 언니)


A modern day adaptation of Cinderella with a twist as our Cinderella, Goo Hyo Sun, is loved by everyone whereas her stepsister, Eun Jo, has a dark past and struggles with the fact that her mother starts to care more for Hyo Sun than her.

Moon Geun Young as Song Eun Jo
Seo Woo as Goo Hyo Sun
Chun Jung Myung as Hong Ki Hoon
Taecyeon as Han Jung Woo

 Will be aired at KBS2 from March 31 every Wednesday & Thursday 21:55

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Sachoom is the abbreviation of "Dance When You are in Love" in Korean. I've seen many musicals in Korea from student club-led musicals to professional musical group performances. Korea can indeed show its prowess when it comes to performing arts. As expected, Sachoom is another must watch musical/ dancical ^^
Held at the Sachoom Theater on the 4th floor of Nakwon building near Insa-dong, anyone could just drop by the theater after touring this old district of Seoul.
Sachoom actually follows a story line that depicts the love, friendship and passion of three close friends. The main casts were really good. They even emitted an aura of a typical Korean idol that would surely entice the eyes of Kpop lovers out there. As you can see in the pictures, the dancers are very attractive so for people out there who wants to enjoy dancing and pleasant sceneries, Sachoom is a perfect venue for these cravings ^^
"It starts with the friendship of two boys and a girl. One boy, however, finds that he is the least talented dancer among his friends. Determined to become one of the top dancers, he struggles to catch his peers' attention" The audience can enjoy watching different kinds of dances and unlike the other musicals, audience can take pictures or even videos ^^