Friday, October 15, 2010

Hangul Calligraphy

Are you familiar with calligraphy?
There is a growing interest for hangul (the Korean alphabet) not only as a set of alphabets but also as an artistic theme. Known for its highly scientific and pragmatic nature, now hangul is being re-discovered as calligraphy (the art of fancy lettering) as well as applied as a fashion component.
In calligraphy, letters transform into something unique, one-of-a kind, and creative that reflects the emotions of the particular theme that the words denote. Used in the poster for “Festival” (a film directed by Gwon-Taek Lim), hangul calligraphy is now used everywhere, far and wide, from movie posters, book jackets, record covers, to product advertisements etc.
Calligraphy is gaining popularity in the online world as well. Breaking away from the uniform Microsoft fonts, web users are now turning to more original letterings and do not hesitate to make a purchase for calligraphies to use for their blogs and homepages. It is estimated that annual volume of font purchase is over KRW 10 billion.
Cyworld, the widespread web site that offers mini homepages, sell 20,000 fonts daily, and introduces new fonts everyday that are customized to meet users particular wants and demands. Fonts that apply the handwritings of celebrities such as Yuna Kim are particularly appealing to the customers.
Lie Sang-Bong is one of the most well-known Korean fashion designers who is especially acclaimed and recognized for his hangul-themed works. His range of work includes not only clothes, but accessories, electronics, and home appliances as well. Lie incorporates hangul usually written vertically, aptly conveying traditional Korean flavor at the same time as keeping it modern and suave.
Hangul-themed design is gaining further vitality with the efforts of Dong-Eui University in Busan, which established “Han Fashion Center” in 2006 with the support from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The Han Fashion Center launched its own brand called “Hooga” and undertakes various activities such as exporting design carpets abroad and supporting some 130 local companies that lack design capacities. The center aims to create design products that capture the characteristic beauty of hangul – the harmony between its lineal and curved lines.
Hangul, created by King Sejong, is now being re-created in the hands of designers.
As you may have noticed, last October 9 was Hangul Day in Korea. It was a day for us to ponder the value and beauty of the great Korean alphabet, especially in these times where there is an unbridled deluge of foreign languages, ugly slangs and obscure jargons in our everyday communication.

Benefits of Red Ginseng

Autumn is here now in full swing. As the saying goes, you can see “the sky getting higher and horses getting plump.”
In these crisp, pleasant days, are you one of those people who feel always sleepy and somewhat lethargic, dozing in the bus and missing your stop?
If you are, then I’d like to introduce you to a certain health food: Red ginseng.
Red Ginseng Prevents Swine Flu
When the H1N1 swine flu virus swept the nation last year, the sales of ginseng and red ginseng skyrocketed as well. People believed there is nothing more effective than Korean ginseng in increasing immunity against flus. Not totally ungrounded, but still there hadn’t been sufficient scientific study to back up such an argument.
Now, more about ginseng has been unveiled at the 10th International Symposium on Ginseng held on September 15. The results of a research on the effectiveness of ginseng in preventing H1N1 were announced. According to the study, the group who took ginseng along with vaccination had a 40% higher survival rate than the group who took only vaccination. Red ginseng, in particular, was found to boost up defense against not only H1N1 but seasonal flus as well.
An experiment was conducted with 227 participants at three medical offices in Milan, Italy. Half of them were given ginseng at a dosage of 100mg daily, the other half placebo. The results showed a significant decline in the frequency of colds and flus in the treated group compared to the placebo group (15 versus 42 cases).
Red Ginseng Also Reduces Fatigue and Prevents Cancer. Other benefits of red ginseng include reducing fatigue, improving blood circulation, and getting rid of fat and cholesterol.
Red ginseng also helps quench thirst, especially for diabetics who urinate a lot to get rid of the extra sugar in their blood. Also, red ginseng is good for enhancing your stamina in general. Those who often catch cold and never have enough energy might as well give it a try!
The size of the domestic red ginseng market, currently, is about KRW 1 trillion. And with the increasing consumer demand, it is expected to further grow, as much as six-folds within a few years. In addition, as an increasing number of foreigners are taking interest in the benefits of red ginseng, there is to be a lot more export and branching out into global markets.
Well, it seems like red ginseng is all that is good! Why not brace up ourselves against the vicious seasonal flus with some help from red ginseng? :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011

There are several sports that Korea excels at: taekwondo, archery, judo, and weight lifting to name a few. But in athletics, unfortunately, Korea has rarely won medals and accordingly, public interest, too, is rather modest.
But next year, it seems it may be quite different – for the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships is scheduled to be held in Daegu, Korea from August 27 to September 4. Those who run the fastest, jump the highest, leap the farthest will be all gathering together!
So the 27th of August 2011 is the day it will begin. Following the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup, this time Korea will host the IAAF Championships, with some ambitious goals set for itself – ranking within top 10 in 10 categories, including marathon, race-walking, hurdles, pole vault, and javelin throws for both male and female.
The organizing committee for the Daegu Championships is working hard to make the event a success. They are repairing and upgrading the Daegu Stadium which will be the main venue for the games, and the Athletes’ Village where the athletes from all over the world will be lodging is scheduled for completion in April 2011. About half has already been completed. Also, some 6,000 supporters are being recruited, including interpreters, assistants and organizers in some 10 specific areas.
Now that slightly less than a year is left till the grand opening, the tickets are on sale both on and offline. The price of the tickets ranges from KRW 10,000 to 150,000 and the season ticket with which you can watch all of the competitions costs from KRW 200,000 to 850,000. The prices are cheaper than the ones at the Osaka Championship in 2007 or Berlin in 2009.
A Mega-Scale Sporting Event
The IAAF Daegu 2011 will be the second time the competition is held in Asia, following the one in Osaka, Japan in 2007.
It will be a mega-scale sporting event where over 6,000 foreigners from 213 countries will visit and participate in 47 different games. Apparently, it is a major opportunity to showcase various attractive aspects of Korea. Apart from the actual visitors, there will also be some 7 billion TV viewers, which will induce an impressive amount of economic value. To host this championship, Korea needs KRW 5.5 trillion’s volume of manufacture, 60 thousand employments, and is expected to generate value-added of 2.3 trillion’s worth.
Hosting a sporting event of this magnitude is certainly no easy job. It requires a lot of resources both finance, energy, time-wise, not to mention a thorough, meticulous planning. The entire world will be watching Korea. So, let’s hope and strive for a successful hosting!

Perfect Time to Visit National Parks of Korea

The stifling heat of the summer has somewhat simmered down and we can now feel a hint of autumn seeping through the air. If you’re planning an autumn vacation, I’d say you should definitely go for the mountains.
Around this time of a year, Korean mountains exhibit splendid foliage. National parks at such mountains as Seoraksan, Naejangsan, Songnisan and Wolchulsan will be perfect spots for enjoying wonderful Korean autumn sights. In link with this, there is a TV program that introduces beautiful mountain scenery of Korea.
There are around 20 national parks in Korea, all of which boast exceptional natural beauties. 38 million people visit the parks annually, and they are home to some 60% of endangered species. So it’s hardly an overstatement to say national parks are the very core of Korea’s ecology.
In an effort to promote Korean natural sights to the world overseas, the Korea National Park Service produced a TV program that introduces Korea’s national parks in cooperation with Arirang TV, an English-language TV channel that has viewers from more than 188 countries including the US, Canada and the UK via satellite.
In the program, foreign reporters visit the parks and go on “eco-tours”, introducing the sights from the perspective of non-Koreans. For example, at Dadohaehaesang National Park, the largest national park in Korea which expands across seven coastal areas in the South and West Sea, reporters get hands-on experience on drying anchovies, or at Odaesan National Park they get to unearth potatoes.
The program is made up of 20 episodes, each of which is about 10 minutes in length. It will be aired at 7:30 pm (Korean time) every Saturday on Arirang TV.
Various Education & Entertainment Programs
We may think national parks are just nice, peaceful tourist spots with a bunch of mountains and creeks and trees and whatnot bundled up together. Well, maybe so. But recently, many educational and entertaining programs are being offered for those far too many city-bound children and life-jaded adults.
For example, at those national parks near the city such as Bukhansan National Park, they have built an “eco village” where city kids can explore nature, get an education on environment and also receive treatment for environment-related illnesses such as asthma or atopic dermatitis which as many as one quarter of children suffer.
Also, since national parks house many of endangered species, children can take actual glimpses at those precious fauna and flora that they’ve only seen on the pages of books. For example, Byeonsanbando National Park houses the very rare insect “chrysochroa fulgidissima,” or in another term, “jewel beetle.”
So, why not take your autumn vacation at one of these splendid national parks?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two Korean Villages Become UNESCO Sites

Andong City’s Hahoe Village and Gyeongju City’s Yangdong Village, which are the two most representative historic villages in Korea, were registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list at the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) held in Brasilia, Brazil on August 1. With this designation, Korea now holds a total of 10 UNESCO World Heritage items.

It is extremely rare for historic villages to be in intact state due to modernization and development and such, and the assessment of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is accordingly extremely rigorous.
The Hahoe and Yangdong Village, too, had to go through a series of reviews, holdups, and postponements before they were granted the approval. ICOMOS recognized the two villages’ historic and cultural significance as early as last May and the legitimate ground in having them registered as one coupled-up item. However, due to the fact that there wasn’t a comprehensive administrative office that manages both of the villages together, ICOMOS sustained their approval.

To this, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration with Gyeongsangbuk-do, Andong City and Gyeongju City, organized “The Council on Preservation of Historic Villages” that was going to collaboratively manage and preserve the two villages. And after submitting to 21 member countries of WHC thorough information and promotional materials on the Hahoe and Yangdong Village as well as dispatching a government delegation to the 34th Session of WHC, were they able to put the two villages on the list of UNECO World Cultural Heritage.

1995: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple / Jongmyo Shrine / Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks
1997: Changdeokgung Palace Complex / Hwaseong Fortress
2000: Gyeongju Historic Areas / Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites
2007: Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
2009: Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty
2010: Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong

Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong Village’s layout and location – sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

The Hahoe Village contains Yangjindang Manor (Treasure No. 306), Pikchondaek House (Important Folklore Material No. 84), Chunghyodang Manor (Treasure No. 414), and Namchondaek House (Important Folklore Material No. 90) among others. It has also preserved the shamanist rite of Byeolsin-gut, Hahoe Mask Dance, and Jeulbul Nori.

The Yangdong Village contains Mucheomdang (Treasure No. 411), Hyangdan (Treasure No. 412), Gwangajeong (Treasure No. 442) as well as Tonggamsokpyeon, a book printed on movable metal type (National Treasure No. 283).

The two villages are the first of their kind in Korea to receive the honor in that they are places that are actually being inhabited by people. They are “living heritage.” Residents have well preserved not only traditional housings but the intangible culture of the two villages as well, which further increases the value of Hahoe and Yangdong.

Having relics registered on the UNESCO list is pointless if they don’t continue to be properly looked after. The two villages, Hahoe and Yangdong, now having become world-acknowledged historic assets, will likely trigger a surge of tourists both domestic and international. And accordingly, we will need to further reinforce maintenance system and strengthen tourism infrastructure so that those precious vestiges of the past can still be there for the next generation to appreciate as well.

Monday, July 26, 2010

University Computer Center, SNU : Wow great service

The service provided by university computer center (UCC) was too great that I think to dedicate few pages for the university service.
Recently, my laptop had some error and did not start at all. I tried all permutation and combination to start it but failed and hence approached UCC. Here UCC is very systematically developed and quite possible in other universities of developed country must be better than here, however for me it was great service.

They loaned all licensed soft wares including SAS, SPSS, Office etc which is greatly helpful to the students. They have very quick service to reach to the destination (big campuses like SNU about 2 - 3 sq km)and solve the problem especially for networking issues even in dormitory. The UCC have many good staff interestingly from 9 to 9 and not 9 to 6 and even in Saturday.Is it not great service?

I think it provide excellent service to the student community. their service also include data extraction from the hard disk, and all services are free. great !!!

Not only SNU, UCC but lets see for example the services of SNU library is also great. It provides good number of books, journals etc beside this it has very good system to buy books and even data set (like census data) in very reasonable time.

Both services of SNU - UCC and Library help greatly to more dedication in research.

Thanks to University Computer Center and University Library, Seoul National University

Monday, July 19, 2010

11th APRU Conference, Jakarta

Here is some photographs from 11th APRU conference, Jakarta. I hope to write some detail about Jakarta in general and conference in particular later (If time permit me) . Now it is hard time to concentrate on writing thesis.

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