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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Excursion to Ulleungdo and Dokdo 21-23 June, 2010

I was enough lucky to get invited to experience Korean ecological environment and culture by the Korean National Council for Conservation of Nature (KNCCN) on part of people-to-people diplomacy in Ulleungdo and Dokdo. This trip was organized from 21-23 June, 2010. I was part of about 100 international students, therefore besides ecological understanding; it also provided a good platform to meet with friends across the world.

Ulleungdo is an island, located in eastern side of Korea, about 161 KM from Mukho ferry terminal. Dokdo islet is further about 84 KM eastern side of Ulleungdo. First, we visited Ulleungdo and the same day we tour for local places notably the museum, and the very next day we took ferry and did excursion of Dokdo islet and finally on the third day we visited many places in Ulleungdo and toured many villages and beautiful sightseeing at there. This writing tells some observations about this wonderful trip.
No doubt both places are worth to visit in perspective of exploring ecological and cultural environment in addition to its geo-political setting. I had a unique opportunity to travel so long by water way i.e. ferry and experienced differences with road/air travelling. Ferry travelling is very much dependent on the weather condition, hence an important predictors of duration and destination. For example, the ferry used to go to Dokdo islet hardly 50 days in a year due to whether condition. Moreover, I felt a different kind of interest but a monotonous scene of sea.
The way of evolving human settlements is also interesting at Ulleungdo. In present context, it is similar to dream to reside on the moon. The chronological evolution of settlement is very interesting for me which can be found in many resources including handbook provided by the Dokdo museum in Ulleungdo. In brief, the political processes and numerous studies by kingdoms to know its habitation holding capability etc made possible to settle very few (about 50 families) to nearly 10, 000 population now. The process of evolution of governance is also appreciable. At the present moment, the village setting of Ulleungdo may be some of the best in the world; however the urban setting is unlike to the development of Korea. The core area especially, ferry terminal area demands for immediate planning intervention to restore natural fabric and enhance ecological environment.
Dokdo islet experienced was also great. We stayed hardly half hour. I wish I would have stayed some more time there and would have landed on the islet. Although, short stay at the Dokdo, permit us to see rich flora and fauna and interesting forms of islets.
I would like to thanks staffs of the KNCCN for arranging this wonderful trip.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asian University Conference for Green Leadership, Seoul National University

A day conference hosted by Asian Institute of Energy Environment and Sustainability (AIEES), Seoul National University dealt with the upcoming methodology for fostering leadership especially through undergraduate studies.

Representation from Japan, China, Singapore and of course Korea was representative of Asian brand. The discussion was intense and at least there was consensus for creating a brand leadership in the next generation.

Seoul National University program, in which they want to develop few courses for environmental science cross cutting to science, social science, engineering and others area in which if an undergraduate student will opt for 3-4 courses then an undergraduate student can get a certificate of green leader certified by certain central ministry in addition to the undergraduate degree.

I hope in future these kind of subjects will be very interesting and demanding both by market as well as by the world.

If time permit, I will write in detail, later !

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seoul has lessons for India on Games

With Commonwealth Games (CWG) tickets going on sale from June 1, it may be worth assessing how the host country benefits from holding events such as the World Cup, Olympics or Asian Games. They attract millions. There are spectators and thousands of players, officials and journalists. The visitors contribute to the local economy every time they pay for accommodation, travel and shopping. Some visitors may also see business opportunities and end up engaging in trade and commerce with the host country.
Equally crucial is the image the visitors take back of the host country. They virtually become brand ambassadors for the country they have visited. If a wider positive impression is created by word of mouth, it could mean the influx of millions of tourists from different parts of the globe. All of this builds a global brand image of the host country.
So immense is the scope for infrastructure creation, revenue-generation and image-building in the short and long term that countries do not want to miss out the opportunity to play host. The South Koreans developed many parts of their country in a planned and strategic manner by hosting the 1988 Olympic Games in different places. The initial events were in Seoul, then in Busan. The 2014 Asian Games will be in Incheon. Such an approach helps develop the whole country using the funds given to sporting events. It creates infrastructure, helps employment and can enhance the agenda for inclusive growth.
But for India, it has been a case of missed opportunities. New Delhi has not been able to use these Games – and others – strategically to develop different parts of the country. From the first Asian Games in 1951 to their 1982 edition, from the 2010 hockey World Cup to the CWG, the venue has always been Delhi.
Even so, India could still derive significant benefits from the CWG. It could capitalize on the global attention its economy is getting. It could showcase itself by attempting to achieve the following: One, create proper infrastructure. Two, ensure the Games are incident-free by putting in place an effective security and disaster management plan. Three, plan cultural events in select destinations. Four, create special-focus tourism zones, which could include Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and Kulu Manali.
Each objective requires a task force that integrates seamlessly with others. National prestige is involved so India’s political leadership should put aside its differences and work jointly to ensure the Games are a resounding success.
Security threats are the main concern in this part of the world, so it is high time everyone – from the home ministry to state governments to the ordinary citizen – gears up to face the challenge.
Creating special focus tourism zones would require a multipronged approach. It would include the facelift/maintenance of monuments, proper infrastructure development and a foolproof security structure. Planned cultural and culinary events and handicraft expos would go a long way towards attracting tourists. In addition, the National Cadet Corps and college students could be trained to create tourist awareness among the public. Special drives to encourage artisans and fine arts institutions could help produce handicrafts and innovative souvenirs to be sold exclusively during the CWG.
Handling tourists in large numbers involves planning. For the ‘pretrip’ phase, communication campaigns should be backed up with easy-to-use tourist websites. Payment gateways should be created to enable secure online payments. The ‘frequently asked questions’ section of tourism websites must be revamped. During the ‘trip’ phase, the role of designing mini-visits within the overall itinerary will be of immense importance. In the ‘posttrip’ phase, feedback and planning for future trips is required.
It would also be essential to maintain high standards of airport and flight management and a comprehensive anti-terror blueprint including coordination with international intelligence agencies. This would need multi-tier agency coordination. It is important there is no electricity grid failure. Disaster plans need to be chalked out. Media and PR management will be critical. So will be controlling pollution (air, water and noise) in line with international standards.
Tourist experiences linger on as memories, which can be built by events. They can be of two types – those that are associated with the history of the destination city and the second with events characterizing the general region visited. For instance, a host of events can be organized at Agra, such as light and sound shows at the Agra Fort, concerts on the banks of the Yamuna, handicrafts fairs, Mughlai food festivals in major hotels, night markets selling souvenirs, replays of Barsana Holi in Mathura or musical soirees that offer glimpses of Indian culture. Dramatizing historical events at Fatehpur Sikri or a diving show at Buland Darwaza would fascinate tourists.It would make for a unique experience – for tourists and the host country alike.
Source: DEVASHISH DASGUPTA, associate professor of marketing, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Changing Seoul for more foreign friendly

This is a well written statement about making Seoul more foreign friendly. I hope, based on the given statistics (, Seoul will be friendlier than ever. I am presenting the very same text for disseminate to make informed decision among foreigners.

According to the recent statistics of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the number of foreign residents of Seoul is estimated at around 250,000 taking up 2.5% of Seoul’s total population. This is an increase by 100,000 people within the last 3 years – a stupendous increase, indeed. This signifies just how fast Seoul is turning into a global and multicultural city. Then how satisfied are the over 250,000 international residents living in Seoul? According to the survey conducted in November 2009 on foreigners who had been living in Seoul for more than one year, their degree of satisfaction scored 3.8 out of 5 points, which is an increase for three consecutive years. But of course, there are things to be improved. To that end, Seoul city has launched the “Happy City Project” which includes various support programs for foreigners in communication, multiculturalism, solving everyday problems and obstacles, and so on. The project focuses on 15 foreigner-dense areas designated as “Global Zones” which include the Seoul City Hall area, Yeoksam, Samsung, Yeouido, Ichon, Itaewon, Hannam, Yeonnam, Seorae Village, Myeongdong, Insadong, Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, etc. Also the construction of the “Global Cluster Building” will begin in May, which will include a one-stop help center for foreigners and chamber of commerce offices of various countries. The “Global Business Help Center” will open in mid-May in COEX with the aim to help foreigners set up small to medium-sized businesses in Korea. And the on-site consultation service, where a batch of staff visits areas with high concentrations of foreigners, will be further streamlined.

Last January, 14 additional multicultural family support centers opened in Seoul, which makes a total of 20 such centers. A web site ( designed to provide information on Seoul city and job vacancies for foreign spouses was launched in five languages including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, English and Korean. A support center for migrant workers has also been operating, providing Korean-language classes that put focus on industrial site-related vocabulary. There is also the International Student Forum, and the foreign students support desks at major universities that provide counseling and information on Korea for international students. Various cultural performances will take place in Mugyo-dong “Global Street” near the Seoul City Hall, and flea markets for foreigners will be held at the Seoul Folk Flea Market in Sinseol-dong. Furthermore, the Seoul Help Center for Foreigners is going to sponsor 16 foreign community festivals including the Mongolian Naadam Festival and the Irish Folk Dance Festival. For medical services, the current 11 medical centers for foreigners will be expanded to 17 by 2012, and a Global Open Health Center will be launched in Yeongdeungpo-gu and Geumcheon-gu districts in May, where treatments for pregnant women and infants from multicultural families will be provided.

In terms of public transportation, sign panels will be furnished in a number of foreign languages at every subway station, and so will the Seoul city subway map. Also, 26 administrative forms frequently filled out by foreigners will be translated into Chinese and Japanese in addition to English and Korean. Tax notices, too, will have its contents written in both Korean and English. Likewise, Seoul city is making efforts to create a truly global Seoul that is a wonderful city not only for Koreans, but for all the foreign residents and visitors in it as well!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

India's development: Few questions

Yesterday, I was attending a lecture and in fact a close class room debate on sustainability. Class composed from different background of students both from developing to developed countries students. Few of my friends ask me questions these questions:
Student A asked, when I visited India I saw many people are begging, why? Student B asked three questions: about caste system in India, Kashmir issues and scope of micro finance to resolve poverty problems.

Later on, I though a lot on the given issues and found more or less these are the biggest bottleneck for India's development.
First, Poverty, despite our development still our 25 percent people can not afford 1 US$ a day. Despite strict reservation system yet we did not break the caste system especially backward class in the society almost have similar conditions. And still we have issues of Kashmir and there is no immediate solution for the same. Kashmir issue is also important in today context because we invest a lot of our budget for Kashmir that could be probably used for developing our country.

However, despite all these problems country is moving towards development path. These issues will remain for ever (at least for a century) for academic discussion.

May God help us to resolve these issues and fulfill our dream of India where no one live in poverty, no one feel suppress.

Multiculturalism in Korea: Way forward

A good analysis by Prof. KIM Seong-kon, SNU

We often hear that South Korea is rapidly becoming a multicultural country these days. At first glance this seems to be true as approximately 1.2 million foreigners currently reside in Korea, and more than 8,000 foreign brides come to Korea each year to marry Korean men. Indeed, interracial marriage between Korean men and foreign women seems to be fashionable lately. As a result, one can see half-Korean children affectionately playing with full-Korean children in the countryside, and studying together in schools.

Has Korea really become a multicultural society? The answer may be "not yet," if not "no." Unlike the United States, which is truly a multicultural and multiethnic country, Korea is only in the fledgling stages of multiculturalism. Strictly speaking, we are striving to embrace minority cultures rather than seeking to build a multicultural society in which different cultures exist equally with the same weight and importance. When we say America is a multicultural nation, we assume there is no longer a single dominant culture in American society, at least theoretically. When we say Korea is a multicultural society, however, we naturally envision a society in which the homogeneous culture of the Korean people takes center stage and minority cultures remain on the sidelines. Consequently, the term "multicultural" cannot be used to describe contemporary Korean society. Rather, foreign brides and their half-Korean children can be characterized as a "minority" within our society.

Since the United States is a country made of immigrants, it was once called "the melting pot." However, the nickname, "the melting pot," was replaced by the term, "the tossed salad," to account for the fact that the many cultures in America remain distinct, and not blended into a hybrid mush. America is indeed like "the tossed salad," comprised of a wide variety of vegetables and yet producing a harmonious taste. Others call America "the rainbow coalition," with each color of the rainbow representing the unique cultures in America that come together to achieve the supreme harmony of a rainbow.

When Barak Obama was elected president of the United States, my daughter came up with an intriguing idea. She approached me and surprised me as usual with her creative suggestion, saying: "Wouldn't "assorted chocolates" be a good metaphor for the United States, Dad?" "Well, what makes you think so?" I asked. "In a box of assorted chocolates," she said, "there are chocolates with different colors and flavors. Usually, there are brown, dark and white chocolates of different shapes in the box. Sometimes there are yellow, red and pink chocolates as well, arranged side by side. They have distinct flavors, and yet together, they make a fine box of assorted chocolates." In a box of chocolates, indeed, one can find a fine symbolism of peaceful co-existence and harmony of different skin colors, cultural heritages, and individual identities.

The same metaphor may be applied to Korean society as well. Currently, our immediate concern is how to help foreign brides and their half-Korean children assimilate into Korean society. That is to say, we are trying to absorb minority cultures into mainstream Korean culture, instead of acknowledging their cultural or ethnic identities. That is why we have a nationwide campaign to embrace foreign brides and their children as fellow Koreans, and to acculturate them into Korean society. We do not think that minority cultures can be part of Korean society. In that sense, we are trying to create a melting pot, rather than a tossed salad or a box of assorted chocolates.

In 2050, however, experts predict that one out of four or five people in Korea will have an ethnic minority background. If so, we should be prepared to build a truly multicultural, global society on the Korean peninsula. Within 40 years, Korea will be like a box of assorted chocolates: yellow, brown, black, and white chocolates of different shapes arrayed together side by side. Each chocolate will have its own unique flavor and taste, and yet all of them will make up a box of delicious, assorted chocolates. Few people dislike chocolates. There is a theory that chocolates have the enchanting power to make us fall in love with someone. Moreover, who can resist the mesmerizing sweet fragrance when one first opens a box of assorted chocolates! We hope our society, like an open box of chocolates, can emit such diverse, yet heavenly fragrances that can make people fall in love.

Christians visualize heaven as a paradise where people of different skin colors and nationalities gather together and live forever. Strangely, however, many Christians in Korea are not free from racial prejudice, and have suspicions and hostilities against people of different skin colors and cultures, against God's wishes. In the eyes of those biased Christians, heaven will be a nightmarish hell, even though they are allowed to enter. We should realize that we are just one of the assorted chocolates in a box called the earth. All chocolates are equally unique, precious, and important.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Graduation ceremony / Convocation - a memorable day

Yesterday, 26th February, 2010 was the graduation ceremony day at the Seoul National University. Two students from my lab did their Ph.D namely, Seagu Lee and Hoon san Kim. They took about 4 years to complete their Ph.D.

It was a time for joy and happiness for all of us. There is few difference in Indian graduation day and Korean. Here I would like to write few points from where we can learn some thing from each other.

In Korea, every school organizes graduation day separately and normally degree is awarded to every one by Dean of the school. However they organize almost in single day so it looks like a festival for the university. In India it is a university affair and convocation lecture is delivered by some very prominent personality like Minister of HRD or some time President of India etc.

However, I observed that due to too big events normally university does not organize regularly in contrast to India Korean Universities organize two time in a year before spring and fall classes.

So in brief Korean University opt for decentralized system of award ceremony while Indian universities still go for centralized system, hopefully they will think and change towards more robust system.

Beside all this, Korean students make 50- 150 copies of theses and they distribute among the students, professors and potential employer, this seem to be also good practice. I got two Ph.D thesis and after analysis this thesis I found both are between 100-125 pages but very concrete and to the point.

Later I will write some more....

Concept Korea – Fashion Collective 2010

Source: and for more detail

New York, London, Milano, Paris…..the mecca of the world fashion industry!

Amidst the festivities of “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week,” a world’s premier fashion event held from February 11 to 18 in New York, “Concept Korea – Fashion Collective 2010” took place from February 12 to 14 at the New York Public Library.

“Concept Korea” is an exclusive presentation featuring 6 Korean fashion designers – Andy Kim and Debbie Yoon of ANDY & DEBB, Choon Moo Park of PARKCHOONMOO, Sung Wan Hong of ROLIAT, Doii Lee of DOII PARIS, JUUN.J, and Kuho Jung of KUHO – to represent and celebrate the animated, creative and ambitious design talent currently emerging out of South Korea.

This exciting event, attended by numerous prominent figures including models and movie stars, not only showcased Korea’s fashion, but also its food, music, and other fields of art.

A lot of celebrities could be spotted at the opening party held on February 15 at the Astor Hall of the New York Public Library; actor Keanu Reeves, model Eva Mendes, soccer player Nakata Hidetosi, in addition to over 650 major figures in the art community starting with Chuck Close.

A lot of celebrities could be spotted at the opening party held on February 15 at the Astor Hall of the New York Public Library; actor Keanu Reeves, model Eva Mendes, soccer player Nakata Hidetosi, in addition to over 650 major figures in the art community starting with Chuck Close.

The event was co-hosted by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Creative Content Agency in collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). This partnership with the government is expected to give significant momentum to promoting Korean fashion, technology, and culture to the world.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Rice Chest of Wunjoru

In Kurye city, Cholla Province, there is a house built by Yu Yiju (1726~1797) who served as governor there during the reign of King Youngjo. The house is called “Wunjoru”, which literally means ‘House of a Bird Hiding in the Clouds’.

In this house there is a rice chest that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a cylindrical chest, made from a hollowed-out log. On the underside of the chest there is a small rectangular hole (5 x 10cm), and an inscription “For anyone and everyone” carved on the stopper. Its meaning is that anyone can freely take rice from the chest.

The Yu family used the rice chest to help needy people in the area. Travellers who were passing through would also take rice from the chest. In order to protect the dignity of the people who used it, they put the chest far away from the main building so that people would not run into the owners.

The chest can hold up to two and a half sacks of rice (200 kg). When the stopper with the inscription is turned, the rice comes out through the hole at the bottom. The quantity of rice taken by each person was normally around two to four liters. People rarely took more than this, even though the owners were not there to see them.

The Wunjoru held close to twenty acres of rice paddies, which produced 200 sacks of rice every year. Since 36 of those sacks of rice went into the rice chest, the Yu family gave away almost a fifth of their total produce to people who were in need.

The owner of the household checked the contents of the rice chest each month. If there was ever any rice left over, he would always tell his daughter in law, “We have to practice the virtue of giving for our family to prosper. Give this rice to neighbors who are in need of it immediately. Make sure that there is no rice left in the chest at the end of the month.”

The Kurye area was notorious for the many peasant uprisings that took place in it towards the end of Choson period, and also for guerilla warfare during the Korean War. There is no doubt that the Wunjoru house was able to survive the tumultuous history of the region because of the benevolent spirit behind this rice chest, which had warmed the hearts of many people.
Source: Chung Hyo Ye - Tales of filial devotion, loyalty, respect and benevolence from the history and folklore of Korea


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