Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ganghwa Special: Hanok Anglican Churches

Of course who would miss the Anglican churches of Ganghwa Island. This is another feature that the island could offer to its visitors. I never imagined churches mainly of western influence not just on beliefs, practices but also on the architecture. But these Anglican churches in Ganghwa Island, are inspired by a Korean traditional house architecture called Hanok. As you can see in  the pictures we took during the trip, it's truly amazing how the fusion of "modern" and traditional elements works so well in Korea.

My friend Ben who is from UK, was the one who really wanted to see this unique collision of modern and traditional elements being expressed through the church structure. We went to Ganghwa Anglican Church although there are still 2 other churches I guess.

One of my favorite blogs, The Marmot's Hole, here in Korea mentioned about these churches. The blog said 
 "Also known as Saints Peter and Paul Anglican Church, Ganghwa Anglican Church first opened in 1893. King Gojong — looking to score points with the British, I’m told — lent the missionaries a palace woodcutter who had participated in the 1867 reconstruction of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The result was a splendid church marrying royal palace, Buddhist and Western architectural elements. The layout of the church ground, with its gates and bell pavilion, is quite similar to the layout of a Korean Buddhist temple. The dancheong, roof spines and gargoyles recall Korean official buildings such as one might see at one of Seoul’s royal palaces. The interior, meanwhile, is a hanok interpretation of the Western basilica."
 Other Anglican churces in Ganghwa Island are Ganghwa Onsuri Anglican Church and Seodo Central Methodist Church. Please click this link for more detailed information about the island's Anglican churches.  http://www.rjkoehler.com/2008/03/03/hanok-anglican-churches-of-ganghwa-island-and-jeondeungsa-too/

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ganghwa Special: Dolmen Sites (Goindol)

Dolmens (Goindol), prehistoric rock tombs built by Megalithic cultures in the 1st millennium B.C. can be found all over the world but around 30,000 of it are in North and South Korea. In South Korea, Ganghwa Island houses the biggest of its kind (others can be found in Gochang and Hwasun) and probably the most number. There are 80 dolmens in the island itself. The purpose of these dolmen are said to be a mystery same with other dolmen sites in the world.
Our first stop was Dolmen Site (Goindol) not just because it’s the most famous spot in island but it’s not that far from the bus station. The area was huge and really clean. We went there with a perfect autumn weather…also a perfect timing for taking pictures. Interesting enough, the background songs played were all K-pop music so it was like enjoying prehistoric Korea with a mix of modern Korean pop music. When we went there, a museum was being built for the purpose of informing the public more about dolmen and prehistoric Korea.

FYI: Appointed as Historical Site number 137 and dates back to the Bronze Age. It used vast stone measuring 710cm in lenght, 260cm in height, and 550cm in width. Its formation is representative of the northern Dolmen and is used for detailed research on ancient history.  At the Australia Keynes 24th UNESCO World Heritage, Ganghwa dolmen was appointed as world heritage together with the Gochang and Hwasun dolmens in November 29th, 2000.

Useful Links:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

800 (or more) Korean men want to date Paraguayan soccer diva

Paraguayan model Larissa Riquelme, who achieved fame as a soccer fan during the 2010 World Cup, has been “proposed to by 1,000 men around the world,” the marriage consulting firm Sunoo in Korea said Tuesday.
Riquelme signed up for Couple.net, run by Sunoo, in the hope of finding herself a man that fits her criteria. Men can apply for a date with her during October. So far, about 1,000 men have asked for a date with her.

Among the applicants, 80 percent are Koreans and 20 percent are foreigners.

“What’s surprising is that the majority of Korean applicants are those working in conservative areas such as in government agencies, police, military, etc.,” said a manager of Sunoo in charge of public relations overseas. Foreign applicants vary by nationalities and occupations: there are doctors, post-graduate students, fitness trainers and those in the entertainment business from Paraguay, Brazil, Singapore, the U.S., etc.
When the application date has passed at the end of October, managers at Sunoo will select about 100 suitable candidates for Riquelme, and then Riquelme will pick a couple of men she wants to date. She is expected to meet them in mid November.
When asked what qualifications her date requires, she said: “It is the language, especially an ability to communicate in English,” said the manager.
Riquelme has continued to receive media attention worldwide since a photo of her cheering the Paraguayan soccer team in a low-cut top was exposed. According to Sunoo, Riquelme is an elite woman who graduated from law school in Paraguay, but who now focuses on modeling. After the World Cup, she took an acting role in a Mexican drama. Now she hopes to make it in Asia too.

By Lee Woo-young
Edited by Hannah Stuart Leach

Rain sued over gambling debt

Top singer and actor Rain is being sued by a Korean-American businessman based in Los Angeles for over $150,000 the star allegedly borrowed for gambling.
The plaintiff alleged that Rain was a gambling addict and that he had spent a substantial amount of money at VIP rooms at casinos in Las Vegas, even a couple of days ahead of his U.S. tour. He accused Rain of fraud, breach of conduct, embezzlement, and several other charges.
The case was filed with a Los Angeles Court by Andrew Kim, the LA-based businessman who once organized Rain’s U.S. tour. He told a local daily that he has been severely “deceived and manipulated” by the performer.
In the lawsuit document, Kim’s attorneys stated, “Around June 2007, Kim flew Rain to Last Vegas aboard Kim’s personal jet ― the trip cost around $50,000. They stayed at the Bellagio. This is where Rain first revealed to Kim his heavy gambling habit. Kim was stunned to discover that Rain would repeatedly place bets upwards of $10,000.”
The statement said that given such high stakes, Kim was not surprised when Rain informed him that he had ran out of gambling money, and pleaded with Kim to lend him some money to cover his gambling debts and finance further gambling.
“Rain promised Kim that he would repay such funds promptly ― in any event by the time he performed his Los Angeles concert,” it said.
Kim said in the interview with the daily that Rain was a “super star” and that he had no reason to doubt him and agreed to loan him some money.

Attempting to dodge draft?
“He seemed to be under enormous pressure and whenever he was particularly stressed, he asked to take a trip to Las Vegas. He always bet thousands of dollars and on problematic days he would spend $150,000 on baccarat. However, he refused to pay the money back later and even asked, ‘Why should I?’ It is irresponsible of a world famous celebrity. He also let many of us down by indulging in gambling when he should have been concentrating on the concert and his performance,” Kim said.
The file also alleged that the singer was seeking to dodge mandatory military service. Rain, 28, publicly vowed that he would join the army next year after several projects wrapped up. He is currently filming a KBS TV Drama, “The Fugitive: Plan B.”
“Kim arranged and paid for Rain to consult with an immigration attorney so that Rain could obtain a United States green card. Rain was seeking U.S. residency to avoid military service in his native South Korea. He evidently believed that fulfilling his military duty would thwart his fast-rising career,” the file reads.
Kim and Rain started their business liaison several years ago but the relationship turned sour when Rain’s concert at the LA Staples Center was canceled two hours before the scheduled time. They have now turned against each other and are engaged in a separate legal battle over who will take responsibility.

Rain’s attorneys admitted that Rain occasionally visited casinos.
“A casino is more of a comprehensive leisure facility and visiting those places is not illegal. You shouldn’t label a person a gambling addict just because he goes there several times,” lawyer Lee Deok-min of Yoon&Yang said in a press release.
“You can claim anything in the court file but the truth will be revealed in the end. Rain is not a gambling addict and the problems mentioned above are not true: he did not borrow the money. Rain met the lawyers to consult about working visa and it had nothing to do with draft dodging or attaining a green card. We will take legal action against this groundless claims,” he added.

By Bae Ji-sook