Friday, August 28, 2009

Defining Kim Dae-jung’s Greatness by Han Sang-jin, Professor of Sociology, SNU

Kim had a special view of history through which he looked at the world order with an Asian’s identity.

Kim Dae-jung, former president of South Korea, world-class leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, passed away this week, bringing an end to a dramatic life. It would be good if those who could not trust him while he was alive now mourn his passing and respect him for having sacrificed his entire life for peace on the peninsula and reconciliation of the Koreans.

From as early as the late 1960s, Kim maintained that the former Soviet Union and China should recognize South Korea while the United States and Japan should recognize North Korea, and the two Koreas should join the United Nations separately. He was 20 years ahead of his time.

However, South Korea’s military dictatorship regimes, whose primary agenda was anti-communist, constantly labeled his ideology as communism, oppressed him, sent him into exile and threatened his life. In 1973, he was abducted in Tokyo by the military regime, managing to survive shortly before he was to be weighted down and thrown into the East Sea.

In 1980, he was sentenced to death because of the Gwangju Democratization Movement. He was saved with help from the United States.

Kim was a man of conscience and action, but those things alone did not make him a great leader. He forgave those who tried to kill him. Such a gesture was the true evidence of his greatness. Just as for Han Yong-un, a Buddhist reformer and poet, and Kim Gu, an independence movement activist, the key words that defined the late former president’s life were human rights, justice and the fight for democracy. His philosophy embraced communication that went beyond the dichotomy of friends versus enemies, and his ideas embraced peace. That is why Kim’s values are global. Along with Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Kim, as a non-Westerner, made contributions to mankind through his cosmopolitan spirit.

In 1997, as soon as he was elected the 15th president of South Korea, he took on the twin tasks of developing democracy and a market economy, during an economic crisis. Responding to his reform of jaebeol, financial reform and dialogue among labor, management and the government, the people voluntarily participated in a national campaign to collect gold to help restore the country’s economy.

He enhanced three basic workers’ rights and introduced a system to secure the minimum quality of living for all people. He mended the social security safety net and implemented productive welfare programs to help the underprivileged improve their lives.

Under the principles of transparency and responsibility, he removed privileges and discrimination in economic and social institutions and opened a new horizon for social welfare.

He established the national council for human rights to protect rights of minorities and made remarkable achievements in securing gender equality and expanding rights for workers, disabled people, the poor in urban areas and prisoners.

Kim saw to it that demonstration tactics that often employed Molotov cocktails and tear gas should be managed with minimal force. He eliminated relics of authoritarianism in a short period and made our country become one of the advanced countries in terms of human rights.

He tried to overcome the economic crisis through promoting the information technology revolution and building a society based on knowledge and information. This was a huge success. He led our country to become an Internet leader and his vision and success still serve as the driving force for our industry and civic society.

What made Kim’s life truly great was that he sacrificed himself for peace on the Korean Peninsula despite difficulties and oppression.

He did not spare his passion for reconciliation and cooperation just for Korean nationals. He dreamed of opening a new civilization in Manchuria, Siberia and Eurasia, through cooperation between the South and the North. When the South and the North are one day reunited, Kim will be respected as a great teacher of Koreans and a great leader with global vision.

Kim had a special view of history through which he looked at the world order with an Asian’s perspective. His view can be called global democracy or universal globalism. While he was against the West’s attempt to spread its hegemony across the globe, he tried to preserve the future of mankind with ideologies of Confucianism, which pursues coexistence; Buddhism, which respects life; and the multiple nonviolent and peaceful systems of India.

Kim interpreted the loyalty and filial duties of Confucianism in a unique way, expanding them to include loyalty to the people and a duty for a social welfare system. He presented us with a progressive democracy anchored in tradition.

Kim’s last message to us to become a people of conscience and action will remain in our hearts forever. The value of the former president, a great leader and intellectual from East Asia, will shine even brighter in the future.
Source: SNU News

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A night stay in a Temple, Seoul

You might be surprised with the title "A night stay in a Temple" after looking over the image of the mosque. But here in Korea people are very much confused in differentiation between 'Buddhist Temple' and 'Mosque'. So the title represent the same confusion.

Korea do not do any census data based on religions, but the majority are Christians and Buddhist are in minority. Few other religious people are also there like Muslim. However, mostly Muslims are migrants either for job or study from Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan. Few month ago, I read some where, Buddhist live in rural area and Christians live in urban area of Korea, notably more than 75 per cent people live in urban area.

Korea has many mosques and under the guidance of 'Korea Muslim Federation' and perhaps, Seoul Central Mosque is biggest one, very spacious, and serving greatly to the Koreans Muslims as well as immigrants. This mosque was supported by Muslim countries world, notably Malaysia and Kingdom of Saudi Arab during its construction and further maintenance.

Yesterday (2009.08.22) was the first day of the holy month Ramadan. This mosque organizes five times prayers in a day and in Ramadan special prayer in night we called it as 'travih'. Yesterday, with other four friends went there, we did Iftar, offered Maghrib prayer and then we offered travih and stayed overnight and again we got up at 3'00 am and we offered nemaz and ate 'sehar'.

Many people around Seoul use to come for iftar, but yesterday due to Saturday, there was sabbeguzari, and the number had increased to about 200.

I also observed that many Korean people go there to visit Mosque, it is nice to know each other culture and religion and help in reducing cultular and religious gap.

One night stay was great with respect to spiritual growth. Our body is made up of two part physical body and soul and stay helped soul to attend their destiny.

God may help us to understand truth of the world, and guide us for eternal destination (Amin).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1)

Korea may be the tenth country in the world by successfully launching its space craft into orbit by their own land if successfully done on coming Wednesday(19.08.2009). Let us pray for better result.
It is very sad to know that despite all effort KSLV-1 did not reach to correct position means failure. However, the lessons will be greatly helpful for the Korean space science and technology.
I remembered very similar cases, when first time India failed to launch its own indiginious satellite. I remember Dr. Kalam story about failure and he had pointed one points still I remembered it. He mentioned about Sara Bhia leadership qualities then head of the sattelite lauching program. He said after failure he went himself to address the press conference and took all the responsibility for failure and the very next time after successfully launching sattelite he sent his juniors to address press conference. The point is that a leader take responsibility of failure but credit for success goes to all subordinates.
I wish that next time Korea will successfully launch their settelite. good luck ~

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SNU in world top 100 universities in Scientific Paper Performance

Seoul National University placed 85th in the "2009 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities." according to the Higher Education Evaluation & Accreditation Council of Taiwan.

The Taiwanese institute has assessed and ranked for world's 500 universities for scientific paper performance. The three criteria was used research productivity, which accounts for 20 percent of the total score, research impact, accounting for 30 percent, and research excellence, 50 percent.

Harvard topped the list with a total score of 96.14, followed by Johns Hopkins University at 52.67 and Stanford University at 51.63. SNU's score came to 21.76. Among other Korean universities, Yonsei University and Korea University ranked 200th and 238th, respectively.

Following those, KAIST, POSTEK, Hanyang University, Pusan National University, Kyungpook National University and Sungkyunkwan University were ranked among the top 500 universities.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Indonesian Tribe Adopt Korean Alphabet as Writing System

A minority tribe in the city of 'Bauer-Bauer', located in Buton, Southeast Sulawesi, has chosen Korean alphabet Hangeul as the official alphabet to transcribe its aboriginal language.

With a population of around 60,000, the tribe stood to lose its language because it had no alphabet to transcribe it. SNU professors of linguistics heard of this and visited Bau-Bau to propose the adoption of Hangeul.

Both sides signed a memorandum of understanding on the adoption of hangeul. Professor LEE Ho-Yeong and Kim Ju-won at SNU Dept. of Linguistics led the effort and supplied textbooks written in the Korean alphabet.

The textbook comprises writing, speaking and reading sections and also explains the tribe's history, language and culture. The entire book is written in Hangeul. (picture right)

Department of linguistics has tried for several years to spread the Korean alphabet to minority tribes across Asia who do not have their own writing system. This is the first case of Hangeul becoming an official tool for communications outside Korean territory.

Starting July 21, 40 elementary school students began learning the Korean alphabet with the textbooks. The Bau-Bau city plans to set up a Korean center in September and to work on spreading the Korean alphabet to other regions by training Korean language teachers. The city will also display Hangul and the Roman alphabet together on signposts and is considering publishing history books and folktales in Hangul.

"It will be a meaningful case in history if the Indonesian tribe manages to keep its aboriginal language with the help of Hangeul. This case will become a stepping stone to spreading and promoting the Korean alphabet globally." Professor KIM Joo-won has expressed hope.

(Source:SNU PR Office, August 13, 2009)

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Mother’s Troubles (2/100)

Some fascinating story from Korea's bravely which I must share with you.

Once, in a village, there lived a lazy delinquent. Having lost his father at a young age, he had been raised by his widowed mother, and had started to go astray early on in life. He never listened to his mother’s words, and was always causing mischief and disturbing the lives of the villagers.
His mother was very worried for his future, and called him to her one day, saying,
“I cannot allow you to live like this anymore. Fortunately, I have heard that there is a scholar of some reputation who is now living in the village. You must go and study under him.”
The mother took her son to see the scholar. At first, the scholar tried to teach him to study books and the teachings of the sages. However, the boy showed no signs of progress.
One day, the scholar said to him,
“The weather today is very hot. On a day like this, the best thing for us to do is to find a stream where we can bathe our feet. Also, we can eat watermelon and gold melon, having cooled them in the stream. Let us go now.”
The excited student rushed to get ready. The teacher told the boy to take the fruit, giving him a large watermelon and ten gold melons to carry. Pleased to be going on a trip, the student held tightly on to them, and hurried on his way.
But before they had walked one majang (about 400m), the boy began to sweat in the summer heat. His steps became unsteady, and he was on the verge of falling over. Unable to endure the heat, he said to his teacher, “I cannot go any further. Let us rest here for a while, and then go back home.”
Hearing this, the teacher scolded the boy, “You are complaining about walking only this far, carrying a watermelon? Think how your mother carried you for ten months, how she worked all day weaving cloth and tending to the farm with a heavy baby in her womb.”
At that moment, the boy felt a sharp pain, as if something was piercing his chest. Still holding the watermelon, he looked up at the sky, and soon tears started to pour from his eyes. He knelt before his teacher and said,
“Teacher, I have been so foolish. I repent from the bottom of my heart.”

A Visit to Seoul (Series 1/100)

Some hundreds of years ago, a young scholar who lived in a remote village married a woman from Kwachon. After the wedding ceremony, he went to live with the bride’s family. His father, worried about his son, said to him, “There is only one hill separating Kwachon and Seoul. When you arrive in Kwachon, you must take care never to visit Seoul.”

“Why not, father?” the young scholar asked.

“If you set eyes on a bustling, flourishing capital city, your mind will become unstable and you will be unable to concentrate on your studies. Please promise that you will remember this.”

The scholar was a devoted son, and he always did whatever his father asked of him. Therefore, he promised that he would follow his instructions, and left for his wife’s house.

After he had been living there for some time, however, it occurred to him that it would be a shame not to go and visit Seoul, since it was so close by. He felt that if he did not go and see Seoul then, he would be unlikely to have the chance to do so in the future. Therefore, in spite of his father’s advice, he climbed over the hill and made his way to Seoul.

Once on the other side, however, he felt so uncomfortable going against his father’s wishes that he turned back to Kwachon after reaching the South Gate.

When he returned to his wife’s house, however, he reasoned with himself that it would be acceptable for him to go Seoul provided that he could keep it a secret from his father. Again, on the next day, he made his way as far as the South Gate. However, he again remembered what his father had said to him, and being unable to pass further, went back to his wife’s house.

He repeated this several times, going to the South Gate in the morning and then returning to Kwachon. A soldier on guard at the gate thought the scholar’s actions suspicious and reported him to the authorities. He was arrested and interrogated by the head of the police.

“Why do you appear at the South Gate every day? What are you planning to do?”

The timid scholar replied in a faltering voice.

“I recently moved to Kwachon after getting married, and had never been so close to Seoul before. It was my father’s words that made me behave in this way.”

“Your father’s words? Explain what you mean.”

The scholar related the whole story, and begged the officer to pardon him.

“Since I could neither break my promise to my father nor abandon my wish to see Seoul, I walked back and forth in front of the South Gate every day.”

The officer saw that the scholar was a devoted son, and said, “Unless you yourself had told your father, nobody would have known about your coming to Seoul. But you kept your promise nevertheless, out of devotion to your parents. This is conduct worthy of a true son, and you deserve to be rewarded. Since you are already in Seoul, please take the opportunity to see the city, and then go back to your hometown.”

The young scholar was rewarded by the officer and taken on a tour of the city by a military escort, before returning home to his wife. He eventually told his father what had happened, and related all he had seen in detail. Later, he passed the state examination and rose to become prime minister.

Friday, August 7, 2009

India-Korea CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement): From Initiation to Agreement

The Korean government has processed CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with India

Since the CEPA negotiation was initiated by the declaration at the India-Korea Summit in February 2006, twelve rounds of negotiation have taken place. In February 2009, India and Korea signed the Interim Agreement in New Delhi. By signing the India-Korea CEPA on 7 August 2009, the trade agreement was settled between India-Korea.

CEPA is different from FTA in the following way:

CEPA stands for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. As means literally, CEPA refers to a comprehensive type of FTA (Free Trade Agreement). While FTA stresses trade liberalization, CEPA underlines a wider range of economic exchanges in various fields including goods and services, trade, investment, and economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Korean government is processing SECA (Strategic Economic Comprehensive Agreement) with Mexico as well. This is another type of bilateral trade agreement. But unlike FTA, SECA allows market opening only in a limited number of areas. This type of bilateral agreement is generally preferred by the countries in South America, as this was regarded as an intermediary stage of reaching FTA. For instance, Mexico has transferred its SECA with Chile and Uruguay into Mexico-Chile and Mexico-Uruguay FTAs respectively.

India-Korea trade negotiation was finalized in the form of CEPA in respect of Indias request.

The expected impacts by India-Korea CEPA:

India-Korea CEPA is aimed at establishing institutional framework of bilateral relations in economic and trade fields. It is significant in two following aspects. First, CEPA will provide a stepping stone to establishing strategic partnership between India-Korea. India-Korea have a high degree of trade complementarity. While major Korean products exported to India are automobile components, mobiles and petro-chemical products, Korea imports basic materials from India such as naphtha, cotton thread and metal mineral.

Second, India is a market with a huge potential. India is the 4th largest market after the US, China and Japan. It has the 2nd largest population (1.1 billion) in the world and the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) of GDP is as big as 3 trillion dollars. It is the 19th important trade partner of Korea, and the trade volume between India-Korea is on the rapid increase. In this respect, India-Korea CEPA is expected to provide a stepping stone to prosperous relations between India-Korea.

Chronology of India-Korea CEPA


7 February: Declaration of initiating CEPA negotiations at the Seoul Summit


2-4 April: Inter-session Consultations of India-Korea CEPA (New Delhi)

29 May-2 June: 10th Round of India-Korea CEPA (Seoul)

29 July-1 August: 11th Round of India-Korea CEPA (New Delhi)

22-25 September: 12th Round of India-Korea CEPA (Seoul) (tentative agreement)

23-25 November: 1st Round of Legal Consultation of India-Korea CEPA (Seoul)

5-7 December: 2nd Round of Legal Consultation of CEPA (New Delhi)


9 February: Pre-signing of India-Korea CEPA (New Delhi)

7 August: Signing of India-Korea CEPA

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Korea In Building Construction

Korean construction companies are among the limited number worldwide capable of offering Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contracts, turnkey arrangements that encompass all aspects of the building process from design to project finance. Amongst many other projects, Samsung C&T Corporation's iconic super-tower, Burj Dubai, currently nearing completion in the United Arab Emirates, is one of the most outstanding examples.
Expected to be the world's tallest building, its precise height has not yet been revealed, but it is expected to be at least 700 meters high, nearly twice the height of the Empire State Building, and 200 meters taller than the current tallest building, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The 55-story Emirates Towers Dubai Hotel and 73-story Raffles City Complex in Singapore, both built by Ssangyong
Engineering & Construction, and Samsung’s 88-story Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, completed in 1998, are also famous architectural landmarks.
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, a South Korean water plant builder, has developed an unrivaled leadership in its field. Doosan holds a 42 percent share of the worldwide market for water desalination, and expects to earn at least $40 billion over the next 20 years from sales to the six countries of the Arabian Peninsula – United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Building on its success in the Middle East, it is now planning to expand
into other regions such as North America and Africa.
Source: 50 wanders of Korea, Vol -II Science and Technology

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Research and Development Process In Korea

Korea has became the destination of research and development for last few decades. As in Indian case, education system is borrowed by UK so in the case of Korea borrowed by US system. Normally 4 years of undergraduate study after 12 years of high school and then graduate study (Master 2 years, and Ph.D. 3 years and more).

Most of the professors are US educated have great command in their area and very helpful to the students (very exception in some area). They work too much and demand for the same from the students. It is very normal for a Korean professor to come at 9:00 am and left school by 10:00 pm. I observed one thing very interesting here about the outlook of the office. Normally Indian professors have small room, some books and rarely some other stuff. But Korean professors' room is full of books, and all daily needed stuffs even some time bed too. Probably, Indian professors room is not his/her headquarter but act as brach office and his/her head quarter must be in their home.

How they guide to graduate students?
That depend upon the professors, but in general all the professors have weekly meetings. For example, my professor use to have meeting on every Saturday from 3:00 pm onwards. Few graduate students present their work in the meetings and get comment from the professor as well as peers students. I think it is good way to guide, every one has opportunity for presentation and that seminar is a kind of in-house seminar.
Beside that, they have special summer/winter class. Here, Normally semester lasts for 3.5 month and about 2.5 month break between semesters. In this vacation, students use to organize their time by this special summer/winter course beside summer/winter courses by university.

One more notable thing against India is about time limitation for thesis submission. You can submit your dissertation by semester wise based on your own programmed time. It means that if you want to submit thesis in particular fall/spring semester you have to inform and do all the papers work and then finally your thesis will be evaluated for that particular semester and you will be awarded degree.

Do they have coursework in graduate study?
Yes, normally for Master program we have to take 24 credits and for Ph.D. course we have to take 36 credits. Beside these credits, we have to pass language course (depending upon schools) and thesis qualifying exam. And after passing these requirments you will be called as 'doctoral candidate'.


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