Saturday, May 22, 2010

Issue 101: Rude Girl 경희대 패륜녀

Another issue in Korea attracted the attention of the public, online, after a female Kyung Hee University student swore at an elderly cleaning lady. Just like the other sensations ahead of her she was given a title "경희대 패륜녀"or "Kyung Hee University Rude Girl." By other sensations I mean Loser Girl, Red Bean Paste Girl and the likes...

A posting by the cleaner’s daughter, describing how her mother was humiliated, and an audio file, made by an unknown person, publicized the argument between the two and rapidly spread over the Internet angering numerous people. (Please click attached link for the file)

The student already apologized after paying a visit to the cleaning lady. As expected the student does not want to go to school because she is afraid and upset. The student’s mother also apologized to the cleaner separately, the council confirmed. The cleaning lady’s daughter also posted a writing calling for Internet users to stop paying attention to the incident.

this is the link of the recorded conversation
Other links:

Monday, May 17, 2010

South Korea beats Ecuador 2-0

As expected, this story is today's headline of Korea Times. My friend told me about the game last night when we went to noraebang. After singing, we watched the game at the noraebang's lobby.  My friend and some of the people who were watching screamed so loud when Korea earned 2 points during the game.

Lee Seung-yeoul and Lee Chung-yong exploited their presence on the pitch by scoring the goals that lifted South Korea to a 2-0 victory over Ecuador in a friendly at Seoul's Sangam Stadium.

Lee, one of the youngest members of the squad, unleashed a left-footer outside the box to give Korea the lead in the 73rd minute, followed by Lee's brilliant drive six minutes before time.

With the win, South Korea made it even with the Latin Americans, gaining revenge for a 2-1 loss in their first meeting in Houston, the United States, in June 1995.

Under Huh Jung-moo's leadership, South Korea has recorded 20-4-13 since December 2007. Before heading off to Japan on Saturday for a friendly with the Japanese team, he will shortlist the current 30-man squad to 26 members ― three sidelined as contingency additions.

The national team will them have two more tests against Belarus and Spain, before arriving in South Africa on June 5.

With the victory, I could just imagine how Korea is preparing for the World Cup this year! I'm so excited to take part of the crowd next month ^^

Full story: link:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Suicide in Korea

Korea has the highest suicide rate ― 26 people per 100,000 ― among the 33 OECD member states. Over the past couple of years, high-profile actors Ahn Jae-hwan, Choi Jin-sil and Choi Jin-young, former President Roh Moo-hyun and business tycoon Park Yong-oh of Doosan Group have all killed themselves

Eight people were found dead at two separate spots Wednesday in apparent group suicides, reigniting fresh concerns over the reemergence of the phenomenon that shook the country last year.

Last year, a total of 11 youngsters were found dead in guesthouses or cars in Gangwon Province, in suspected group suicide pacts formulated at online communities.

Police are investigating whether they linked up on an Internet suicide site.

According to local investigators, a man and four women were found dead in a car parked in front of the Jangwoi Industrial Complex in Hwaseong, about 50 kilometers southwest of Seoul, at around 1:10 p.m. They were all in their 20s or 30s and had apparently inhaled toxic gas, they said.

Separately, three men were found dead hours later in Chuncheon, about 90 kilometers east of Seoul and 140 kilometers northeast of Hwaseong.

Police said both groups were found with burnt briquettes, and suspect a possible link between the two. Officers have found evidence that one of the women in the first group sent online messages to the rest asking them to join her on "D-day." If verified, the incidents may be the latest in a series of suicides among youngsters who use the Internet to find like-minded people.
link: Group suicides create stir again

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Parent's Day

엄마 아빠 키워주셔서 감사합니다! Happy Parent's Day! 
May is the sort of Family Month in Korea. This month celebrates most of the famliy-related holidays. May 5th is Children's Day which is an official holiday.  Today is Parent's Day although it's not an official holiday. There is no Mother or Father's day in Korea so I guess this day replaces those two days.  Another holiday is the Teacher's Day, which I believe related to family ^^

An article written by Kang Shin-who today is the headline news of Korea Times. It says "Cash tops gift list for Parents’ Day" which could probably give us the idea of  Korea's 빨이빨이 culture. 

What Lee Hee-ja, 72, would really like to receive most as a gift on Parents' Day is a white envelope of cash handed to her by her son.
"I know my children are all busy, so only a small amount would really be more than enough," she said.

According to a survey by Asan Medical Center in Seoul ahead of Parents' Day that falls on Saturday.
The hospital surveyed 220 adults for two weeks from April 12. The result showed 30 percent of the respondents picked cash as the gift they want to receive the most on the special day.
For Lee Yoon-jung, 30, a pediatrician intern at a general hospital in Seoul, it's simply impossible to visit her parents. She will not be able to put carnations on her parents' lapels ― all she is able to do is make a phone call and wire some spending money.

But the gift children selected that they want to give most to their parents was comprehensive medical check-ups. When asked what they actually want to give to their parents, 36 percent of them chose medical check-ups, while 27 percent cited cash and another 25 percent opted for package tours.

Related Story:
Celebrate Parents' Day With Concerts

Friday, May 7, 2010

Celebrities campaign to upgrade Korea’s image

A recent campaign, dubbed as ``Creating a High-class Country With 28 Stars,'' was launched yesterday and has invited 28 popular figures to share their experience as honorary ambassadors for various government bodies and projects. The 28 participating stars will post their thoughts and feelings on Web sites such as Korea's government policy portal and Nate's and

I think this is a sort of unique campaign since the target is the local Korean community. Instead of upgrading the Korean image for the international community, the said program seems to aim the same goal as any other governmental efforts to upgrade Korea's image but the method is a bit different. The selected stars will sort of campaign to the Koreans, "proper" behaviors or should the do's and don'ts in different situations. Through this it could probably lead to a positive image.

Baseball pitching coach Sun Dong-yeol, broadcaster Kim Sung-hwan, actor singer Rain, Ji Jin-hee, comedian Nam Hee-seok, and actors Zo In-sung and  Jung Jun-ho are some of the 28 figures.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is ‘Misuda’ still relevant?

One thing that surprised me during my first days in Korea was the show that featured a panel of expat women who speak Korean "fluently." The show is called "Chitchat of Beautiful Ladies" or Misuda. Of course, at that time I couldn't speak, read nor write Korean so I thought they were really good. An article from the Korean Herald by Song last May 4th questioned Misuda if it is still a relevant show. Imust be noted that when the show first aired in 2006, it was a big hit. It was something very unique that many Koreans would be amazed. Just like what I experienced but it seems to be loosing its popularity and as what the article says, the relevance is questionable.

Is watching a group of foreigners talk about Korea still a novelty for most Koreans?

The novelty of seeing foreign women talk about Korea attracted much viewership, consistently winning its Monday night timeslot. The program became so popular that some of its guests became overnight celebrities. Their faces began popping up on subway banners and even in television advertisements.

One key factor that did much for its success ironically had nothing to do with the show’s original motivation. Its immense popularity had much to do with the appearances of the show’s panelists than anything else.

Most were young, made to come across as comic fodder and more importantly, attractive -- hence the name of the show. With each successive season, producers and writers were running out of topics to cover and soon it devolved into a circus-like atmosphere relegating its guests to the statuses of punchlines and caricatures. New panelists seeing an opportunity to get their 15 minutes of fame were seen dancing, singing and spouting controversial comments to stir the media pot -- most of which were scripted by the show’s writers.

Plus the issues that arose due to some statements made by some people in the show. Talking about the loser nyeo and German woman who penned a tell-all book of her life in Korea. That one according to the article attracted thousands of hate e-mails because the things she wrote in the book had contradicted her generally positive disposition toward Korea and its people when she was a guest on the show.

To be honest, I just want the show to live with its name. It says chatting with beauties but not everyone's

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

National Museum of Korea

That was probably my 5th time so visit the museum. I visted the museum a year ago. I was very impressed with the museum's huge structure and the its landscape architecture not to mention the scenic view of Namsan. The museum is also beautiful in the evening, probably a perfect place for a romantic date. haha ^^  Established in 1945, the museum contains over 150,000 pieces in its collection with 11,000 on display at one time. It is one of the largest museums in the world in terms of floor space. The Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersburg, Russia is said to be the largest single museum building  and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC is the largest museum "complex."  The admission is actually free of charge with the exception of certain special exhibitions, although you must first receive their “free tour ticket” from the counter before entering the museum. You can also avail digital guides and guided tours.
It is located near Ichon Station of Line 4 and Jungang Line on the Seoul Subway.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Single Korean females eye foreign husbands

Koo Hee-ok, a 29-year-old office worker in Sydney, has been in a relationship with the Australian man she met there a year ago, and the couple plans to tie the knot in the next two years.

Born and educated in Seoul, Koo went to the Land Down Under to get her master’s degree in accounting in her late 20s and then got a job at a local firm. She did not consider marriage before meeting the man she now considers her life mate. She had a few Korean boyfriends in her early 20s, and dated some Korean men in Sydney as well. But she could not help feeling repulsed by what she described as their “typical way of thinking.”

“I was upset about Korean men making chauvinistic remarks, that women are supposed to be coy and kind and that it’s even better if [a potential marriage partner] is younger, pretty and knows how to cook,” she said via e-mail. “ I have never heard the foreigners I’ve dated say such things.”

The men she is talking about sound as though they are straight from the dark ages. But there is still a considerable portion of Korean men, even those in their 20s and 30s, who think that way, according to the Korean bachelorettes interviewed for this article. Many of these women - who have lived overseas, are well-educated and have good jobs - have opted to find husbands among non-Koreans, who they think are more open-minded and respectful of women than their Korean counterparts.

Kim, who works at a domestic publishing firm and asked not to be named, also belongs to that group of women. The 32-year-old Kim recently became engaged to a European man who is an executive at a Seoul-based financial company. She says she is happier than ever with her fiance, but her confession of the relationship to her parents last year aroused fierce opposition from them because her boyfriend is a foreigner and therefore not a suitable match in their eyes. Her parents, both from Gyeongsang, one of the most conservative regions in the nation, went so far as to kick her out of their house because she refused to break up with her boyfriend. Her parents think it is a huge disgrace for the family “to mix blood.”

“I had almost 200 blind dates with Korean men that were arranged by my parents. Most of them were elites - such as doctors, prosecutors, lawyers - from rich and distinguished families,” said Kim, who spent a year at a university in the United States to polish her English through a study abroad program when she was in college in Seoul. “But I was never willing to have second dates because the prospect of marrying them suffocated me.”

full article:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fewer Students Studying Abroad

Whether it's a trend or not, for 3 consecutive years now, the number of Korean students studying abroad is getting lower. There are many speculations about the said "phenomenon." Some argue that it has something to do with the global financial crisis while some think that it's connected to the changes made by local prestigious universities in Korea on its admission process. As I mentioned in my previous blog entries, English test scores (TOEFL, TOEIC etc.) are no longer decisive for college adimissions.

According to a report by the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, the affluent Gangnam neighborhood in southern Seoul, which ignited and led the boom in the early 2000s, has shown reductions in the number of primary, and middle school students studying overseas for the third straight year after hitting its peak in 2006 when it stood at 2,517. It fell to 2,336 in 2007, further to 2,282 in 2008 and nearly by a third to 1,614 in 2009.
Among middle school students, the number fell to 550 last year from 1,247 in 2006. In the same period, the figure for elementary school students dropped to 1,064 from 1,270.
If Gangnam area residents are starting this downward trend, the rest of the country is likely to follow suit, the report said.
The total number of the nation’s elementary, middle and high school students studying overseas has also fallen. Hitting an all-time high at 29,511 in 2006, the figure fell to 27,668 in 2007 and 27,349 in 2008. The 2009 figure has yet to be tallied, but is most likely to be smaller.
English bubble burst?
Some analysts have suggested that the “English bubble” is deflating. “With more prestigious specialized schools putting less weight on TOEIC, TOEFL and other English proficiency test results in their admissions criteria, more parents are less likely to send their children abroad spend a lot of money and deal with the other side effects,” Kim Seong-cheon, spokesman of civic group “World Without Private Education” was quoted as saying to Yonhap.
Some agents taking care of overseas school admissions believe the shift in public school English education to speaking and other practical English skills from reading and writing is also helping narrow the gap between those who have studied abroad and those who haven’t.
“There were also reports that those who studied abroad are unable to smoothly re-adjust to the academic atmosphere in Korea. This may have impeded students planning to enroll at domestic high schools or universities,” an official from the education ministry said.
In fact, in a separate report by KEDI in 2007, more than 50 percent of the 418 elementary, middle and high school students studying in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and China said they wouldn’t recommend the academic sojourn to others.
On the other hand, some skeptics say the phenomenon is a temporary one, affected by the global economic slump and the low birthrate. “Most students are in elementary schools. Since the number of students in that bracket has been falling fast, it is natural that the number of students going abroad also gets smaller,” an education ministry official said.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Will 2PM still be the hottest time of the day?

Together with Rain and Lee Hyori, 2PM made an official comeback on stage. This time it seems that the group is package as more manly/beasty and sexier group than before. A news article in Korea Times asked 
whether its charisma could excite fans like it did last year.

The six-member band returned to the stage last weekend through cable music channel Mnet's ``M Countdown'' and performed two new singles ― ``Don't Stop Can't Stop'' and ``Without You.'' Fans and critics have expressed mixed opinions, and it's time to wait and see what the group has in store this year.
Music and Moves

The dance moves were definitely restrained compared with last year. Created by producer Park Jin-young, also known as JYP, a singer and dancer himself, the sixtet proves that it's a dance group, true to its form. Instead of the acrobatic moves and group choreography formed in perfect harmony, the members move to the beat in more controlled movements.

``I was expecting difficult moves like last time, but they kept it clean and simple. I was disappointed at first, but then it helped me listen closer to the music,'' Lee Su-jeong, a fan of 2PM, said.

The song ``Don't Stop Can't Stop'' is a dance number with strong drum beats, and the members appeared on stage in oversized hoodies and white bands on their wrists, dressed like boxers.

The lyrics, written by JYP, also send out a strong message.

The group went through a difficult time after its agency JYP Entertainment decided to kick out its leader Park Jae-beom, also known as Jay Park, permanently, citing that he admitted that he had ``done something wrong'' during the promotion of the group's first single ``Again and Again.'' Fans, feeling betrayed and frustrated for not knowing the exact reason for his removal, demanded the agency withdraw its decision to fire him or that they would boycott the six-member group altogether.

"Don't Stop Can't Stop" responds directly to the criticism. ``You wanna see me fall right? Haters. Like a candle on a windy night, yeah right. Just watch me do this, take a deep breath, hold tight. I'm never going down without a fight,'' the lyrics go.

While members have moved on and started to branch out in different areas, including acting and co-hosting entertainment programs, the decision to return with such a song proves that they are serious in continuing as the group 2PM, even after tough decisions and consequences were made.


The first impression of 2PM's overall look is simplicity. The group shed their smoky makeup and dark suits of last year, returning with a more composed look.

``Overall, the concept is modern chic. We avoided using too much makeup or shiny accessories, and switched to a more casual look. We didn't want the members to look too serious and dark, but more modern and simple,'' Mei Han, the agency's publicist, told The Korea Times.

``We wanted them to look a bit cold and chic. If you look closely, they are all wearing different outfits, but because of the color and the overall tone, they work as a team,'' she said.

``Without You'' is a house number featuring a man expressing his feelings, heartbroken by his lover's betrayal. Dressed in tight black sweatshirts and dress pants, the members didn't have to tear or pull up their shirts to be sexy. The black clothing did all the work, highlighting their nicely toned and tanned arms. Male groups and singers have been showing skin like it's a trend these days, and it seems the classy move of showing just a little will work as an advantage.

The Future?

Currently, the group's single ``Without You'' has reached the top 10 in major online charts, including, and as of Tuesday, but it will take some time to see if their popularity will reach expectations.

JYP had been going through a divorce battle with his former wife, and news that they had finally separated made headlines last week. The producer may not be involved in all of the group's activities, but having too much on your mind is never a good thing, especially when fans are closely watching the moves of former 2PM leader, Jay Park.

After leaving the group and the country last year, the 23-year-old managed to make a name for himself in the United States through his dancing and singing talent. News that he was returning to Korea to shoot the b-boy film ``Hype Nation'' and that he was working with U.S. hip hop musician, Dumbfoundead, instantly made headlines. Some have pointed out that the dancer should clear his name before starting over, but the decision will be made by Park himself.

He may have left the group, whether voluntarily or not, but it will certainly be hard for fans to distance the image of him from the group altogether ― a factor that could work in 2PM's favor.

Lee Hyori on the Chitty

In Korea Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is not the 1968 Ian Fleming's book based film nor the musical popular in  US and London during the late 1960s.  In Korea, it is the title of Lee Hyori's newest single.

In the music video of ``Chitty Chitty Bangbang,'' she appears as an alien. Led by her fellow dancers, Lee is dressed in bright colored outfits, various wigs and dark eye makeup resembling Lady Gaga.

Different she may be, but it's hard to ignore the fact that she went a bit overboard with the colors and costumes. And the fact that she was ``inspired'' by Lady Gaga may also work as a minus in terms of originality.

The music, which is one of the most important aspects of a singer, is currently under the microscope by fans and experts.

``(Chitty Chitty bangbang) is powerful, with the intro starting with drum beats, a staccato rap style and speedy bridge. It's a good combination of power and beats,'' a reporter from the sports daily Sports Seoul wrote, while other Web sites and reporters pointed out the lack of creativity.  Despite the criticism, it's evident that Lee has continued to contribute to the music scene, and we will have to wait and see if she will be able to impress fans with her music, along with her clothes and makeup.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rain and JYP 'faceoff'

Korean pop singer Rain, who is arguably the biggest sensation throughout Asia, made "a slip of the tongue" during a TV show, which incurred a response from another formidable pop musician, Park Jing-young or better known as "JYP" among his fans.
Rain recently made a remark: "I already surpassed Park Jin-young," a statement that could be interpreted as a sign of confidence or arrogance, depending on how it was seen.
During a show, aired by SBS on Friday, Rain said he received a personal text message from Park after the remark.
Park shot back to Rain: "Am I your jumping board?" said Saturday.
Judging that his remark might have irked Park's anger, Rain came to his defense, by apologizing to Park. "Oh, no∼ there was misunderstanding," Newsen. Com cited him as saying.
Park said: "Misunderstanding? What misunderstanding?" it said.
But Park apparently took Rain's comment in good faith. He later told Rain. "No worries. I enjoyed it."
Park is one of Korea's best pop musicians, who is well known for his talents in singing, dancing, song-writing since 1994. He later extended music career by forming JYP Entertainment, a production company in 1999 which is one of the biggest talent and music producing companies in South Korea.
Great talents like Jinju, G.O.D., Byul, Lim Jeong Hee, Min, Noel, Ivy, Park Ji-yoon and Rain all got their start there.

S. Korean facelift popularity in China proves fatal

A Chinese woman died after a failed facelift at a beauty parlor in China, which earned her trust by falsely telling her that a South Korean doctor would operate her, Chinese media outlets said.
Chen Li, a 38-year-old woman from Hunan province last month, saw an advertisement from a beauty parlor that said a South Korean medical doctor would visit Changsha, the provincial capital.
Chen, who had been considering a plastic surgery, saw it as a "rare" opportunity to get a surgery directly from a South Korean doctor. South Korea is now perceived as the "Mecca" for plastic surgery throughout Asia, including China.
She paid 270,000 yuan ($39,600) and agreed to a surgery that would rearrange her teeth and remove scars, said Chinese news sites, citing Singaporean newspaper, Lianhezaobao.
Unlike what was initially advertised, there was no South Korean doctor visiting the city.
The surgery was performed on the morning of April 19.
Until 4 p.m., there was no news coming out from the surgery room. Chen's mother asked about it.
The beauty parlor's chief told her: "Something unexpected happened. She was already transformed to a hospital," the report said.
Her family members immediately rushed to the hospital where Chen was supposed to be. But they only found her in the cadaver room, already frozen, the reports said.
The details regarding the exact cause of her death was unknown. But the case was resolved, the report said, after the beauty parlor paid Chen's family 560,000 yuan (US$82,000), it said.
With the popularity of South Korean plastic surgery, some Chinese hospitals advertise they have "connections" with South Korean hospitals. Some beauty parlors in local provinces also have jumped the wagon by illegally performing plastic surgery.