Friday, April 29, 2011

This morning's royal wedding reminded me of a popular TV show several years ago. Based one a comic book, Palace(Goong) illustrated an imaginary lives of royal people in Korea. Until the early 1900s, there was Korean dynasty existing, but due to the invasion Japan, most of them were killed, and others ran way to other countries. This show is a fiction, base on the idea about how it would be if the dynasty was still existing. At the beginning of the show, the prince and his family look for a bride, and a common, middle classed high school girl is chosen as his mate. Rest of the show is about their lives in palace. Here's the synopsis from DramaWiki. Goong is a story about young love in face of tradition, politics, and intrigue. In the imaginary world, modern-day Korea is a constitutional monarchy and the Royal Family lives in a grand Palace, the Goong. Story opens with the sudden death of the reigning the King. Faced with the decreasing popularity among the public for the Royalty, a grand wedding for the Crown Prince, Lee Shin, is decided to be the best publicity move to improve the image of the Royalty and at the same time prepare Shin for immediate succession. The intended bride? The headstrong, awkward, and sweet spirited Shin Chae Kyung that just happens to go to the same exclusive art school. Chae Kyung was betrothed to become the next Crown Princess by her grandfather and Shin's grandfather.
After 14 years of living in England with his mom, Lee Yul appears all of a sudden. He is Shin's cousin as well as the former Crown Prince. Everything seemed to be going normally until Chae Kyung's optimistic spirit wins the heart of internally lonely, Yul. As the Crown Prince Shin and simple-minded Chae Kyung's relationship appear to developing deeper feelings, a series of scandals are exposed to the public right after the pair were officially announced married. Will love prevail all in a world of political pressures and martial hardships? Or will being in the spotlight of the public be too much for the young newlyweds to endure?
This show was popular, especially among young girls in Korea, because it gives the fantasy of royal lives to them. However, what attracted me about this show was the outfits the casts were wearing. In the palace, the royal family were Korean traditional outfit, hanbok. Hanbok itself is pretty too, but what the main character was wearing was the modern version of hanbok, which was new and interesting. Her clothing gained popularity, and that affected on huge popularity of the teddy bears with her clothes. Even though Korean culture is not welcoming people wearing hanbok unless it is a special occasion, but it was nice that this show helped the tradition gain some popularity. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Designer Hey-soon Lee
 Silla Hotel, one of the biggest hotel in Korea, got in trouble due to the recent incident about regulation on clothing. Last week, the most renowned Korean hanbok(Korean traditional clothes) designer, Hye-soon Lee was resisted to enter the conference held in Silla Hotel; because of her outfit. Lee was wearing the traditional Korean dress, hanbok, and when she was entering the conference room in Silla Hotel, an employee stopped her, because hanbok has "danger of causing accidents by tripping legs". Embarrassed by this incident, Lee tweeted about this happening, and the followers re-tweeted this, which eventually caught Silla Hotel in trouble. What fired people's anger toward Silla is that they were found out to let a Japanese women with their traditional clothes, kimono.
 After this happening, Silla Hotel apologized in public several times, and Bu-jin Lee, Samsung's chairman, Lee's daughter visited Hye-soon Lee to apologize about it(Silla Hotel is one of Samsung's branches). Despite their continuous apologies, people are still upset about Silla's attitude of neglecting the traditional culture.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Different from USA, where school year starts during summer, Korean schools start their new semester during spring. Most of the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools start in early March, and colleges usually start in April. As most of my friend go to college this month, I want to tell little bit about the universities in Korea. Unlike America, all of the renowned colleges are located in Seoul, the capital city of Korea. Almost every students regard the colleges they attend very seriously. The college that is known to be the best one in Korea in Seoul University, and everyone struggle to get into this school. Since most of the good universities are in Korea, students want to attend one of those, and they regard their life to be successful if they are accepted to one of the "In-Seoul" colleges. Another difference about Korean college system is that many students study one or more years if they fail to be accepted to the colleges they want. This is the reason I previously said that "most " of my friends are going to colleges this year. Because Koreans take only one test a year that is required to attend a college, many of them dedicate their whole year to prepare the test. One of the reasons why I prefer the educational system in America is that students are given several chances to take SAT or ACT. Especially in Korea, university is one of the major factors that affect one's life. Therefore, students take this test very seriously,  and even decide to spent one or more years to get high grades on the test. Since the tuition fees in colleges are ridiculously high, some of the students have to spend some of the college years working. Because of that, it is common to take more than four years for one to graduate from a college. In high school and probably in middle school, students have to study hard to get into good universities. After they graduate from colleges, they have to work hard to get high jobs. Therefore, many of Koreans regard the college years as the most precious time in one's life that he or she can enjoy the freedom. So, I want to tell my friends to enjoy their precious years...

Friday, April 22, 2011

secret marriage of the celebrities

Many people in Korea got shocked for the recent news about Korean pop stars' marriage that were kept for secret for 14 years. Jia Lee, who recently started to gain fame by her acting in one of the most popular shows, were found out to be married to the most famous rocker in Korea, Taeji Suh. What is more shocking about their secret marriage is that they are working on divorce, and that the woman is dating with another Korean famous actor. The media says that they met each other when Jia Lee was staying in Los Angeles, to help Suh being stabilized in the US, and got married in Nevada in 1997.
Of course, I got shocked about this news, because no one even knew that those two people know each other. However, what I felt about this news when I first heard it is pity towards them. Most people are celebrated when they get married, and they enjoy their happy lives as married couples. However, these two people had to live worrying if someone would find out that they are married. Being famous might be fun and enjoyable, but I appreciate about being normal.

Friday, April 15, 2011

 One of the Korean rapper, MC Mong got in trouble because of he extracted his teeth with the intention to dodge his military draft. Every males in Korea need to be in the military for two years, but there are many problems with that, especially for the stars. What most of the male actors and singers worry about joining the military is that people might going to be forget them. In addition, the music industry and TV shows are changing so quickly, so they are worried that they might not going to be adopted well after two years of military trainings. For those reasons, MC Mong seems to extracted 20 teeth, so that he can be exempted from the military. However, soon this fact has been found out, and he is now going through his fourth court trial. Even though he is refusing this fact, everyone thinks that the purpose of his extracted teeth is on the military.
 Not only singers, but every other males in Korea also struggle join the military. Because they are required to join the military at the age of 20 through 30, many people refuse to join the army, Most people join the military after the freshman year in colleges, but things are different when they dropped out once or more. As they get older, they worry more about getting job, but the thing is that of they spend their most important two years in military, they hardly can catch up others. I hope the nation to be united soon, so that no one should worry about this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This article is about a Korean educational institution, Kaist, in Korea where all the elite scientists are known to be going. Since this January, four students committed suicide, and in April 10th, a professor in this institution killed himself. As so many "blessed" people kill themselves, people started wondering why they committed suicide. As a result, they all turned out to be died because of harsh educational system in Kaist. The school made the students pay the tuition fees depend on their GPA, so that the students have more will to study. The students who passes away had different GPAs, but people agree that the reason for the suicide is in the education in Kaist. Two of them had GPAs that are higher than 3.0, but both of them turned out to have depressive disorder. Other two students had GPAs below 3.0, and they also had struggled because of the tuition fee.
 Like I said in the previous post about the "tiger mom" and her education, I disagree with this kind of forceful education. In my opinion, the true learning is coming from one's willingness in learning, not from any other reason. I am especially upset with this incident, because the school connected money and education, while they are arguing that education should exist for education itself. I hope people realize the true reason of education so that no more young people in Korea suffer from this matter. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Martian Virus

Because people constantly pursue something new, there are some people regarded to be different from everyone else. This Korean TV show, "Martian Virus" shows those people's lives. In this show, the audiences can see the  people who are not living like everyone else. Sometimes, there are rather "crazy" people come to show off their weirdness. For instance, there was a woman who spend money like Paris Hilton, without that much of money. She buys all the expensive clothes, bags, and shoes. What was so shocking about her was that she periodically goes to Japan just to have lunch there. Also, there was a guy who goes to hair salon whenever he goes outside - even when he goes to a nearby market. Another shocking episode was the one about a girl who hasn't brush her teeth for a decade. Other than those people, there were people who wears weird makeups, wears weird clothes, and do stuffs what other ordinary people would never do.
Although I can't really understand why people do those insane things, I can compliment their braveness. They are brave in a way that they do what majority of people would not do because they worry about what others would think. However, those "Martians" not only live however they want to live, but appear on TV to courage people to live their own lives. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

     Just like in the U.S., smart phones, including Iphone or Android, are widely popular. As Americans use Skype as a messenger for their smart phones, there is a messenger program, called Kakao Talk, in Korea. This messenger is available only on the smart phone devices, and most of the smart phone users use it. Just like Skype, Kakao Talk provide messaging and calling service for those of who are connected to the Internet. So far, there are 10 million people using Kakao Talk, which is enormous regarding the total population of south Korea is 40 million. Recently, this application is causing problems for the network providers, because the smart phone users don't use much messaging and calling services, because they can do that with their messengers, for free. Being upset about this, some network providers were known to black mailing Kakao Talk to make them charge people additional fee for the app.
     In my personal opinion, I think this kind of trouble is happening, because smart phones were adopted to Korea without proper systems ready. In many other countries, network providers seem to earn money by monthly plans, However, the network providers in Korea seem to charge people more for individual phone calls or messages. Also, different from US, where wifi is available at almost everywhere, there is not so many places where wifi is available, since the land is small enough to connect all the internet with wires underground. As a result, when smart phones were first released in Korea, people got shocked by the huge amount of bills they got charged for 3G networks. These kind of troubles might be necessary to make the services better, but I am not sure if smart phones are proper for Korea right now.