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My Dear Anna….

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Beautiful Anna..

So this post is going to be a bit different than most. Instead of talking about temples, I’m going to talk about my daughter, Anna, who needs your help.

Last year, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Anna Quarrington, into the world. However, since she was born at just 26 weeks, and a preemie, she’s had a lot of medical issues. Since the lungs are the last to form, Anna’s greatest issues have been with her lungs.

So far, we’ve been able to cover her medical costs; however, after eleven months of being in the hospital, and with $35,000 already spent on her medical bills, we have used up all of our savings. And with it looking like she might still be in the hospital for at least 6 more months, we are turning to our friends and family for help.

It’s been a long road with only being able to visit her for thirty minutes each day for the past eleven months. But she is making progress. And with any donation, it will help take a bit of stress off of us.

So if you’re able, please make a donation to our GoFundMe campaign here.

If you’re in Korea, and it’s easier for you to make a direct bank transfer, please email me at: dostoevsky_21_81 [at] yahoo.com

I know the people that come to my site are a generous group. So please, any and all donations would greatly be appreciated to bring Anna home that much sooner.

Thank you!!

-Dale Quarrington


Learn Korean Ep. 91: Changing Action Verbs to Adjectives (Part 1 of 2)

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Keykat got me some chocolates as a gift! How nice of her! I can't wait to try them. But something's a bit fishy about this whole thing....

Remember that there are free extended PDFs available for every "Learn Korean" episode, and each contains additional information or examples not covered in the video.

Check out the episode here!

Click here to download a free PDF of this lesson!

The post Learn Korean Ep. 91: Changing Action Verbs to Adjectives (Part 1 of 2) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


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Thursday, March 2 Korean News Update

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The de facto head of Samsung has been indicted on bribery & embezzlement connected to the Park Geun-hye corruption scandal, North Korea wants custody of the body of leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother, South Korea’s largest dog meat market is closing & a South Korean musician worried about paying her rent sold an award she won… on stage. All that & more on the latest Korean News Update podcast episode from Korea FM.

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Assist & its $30 per hour flat rate podcasting voice overs, editing, mastering, transcriptions & even hosting (select a topic, they’ll create & host the podcast). Visit Facebook.com/PodcastAssist for more information. 

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What You Can Learn From a Fauxtographer

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These days everyone’s a photographer. Companies and potential clients are checking out your social reach on instagram more than they are checking out your site or blog. This has given rise to “fauxtographers” These are people who love the image of being an artist but are not so interested in the actual nuts and bolts of being a photographer.

A person who tries to jump on the photography band-wagon by “Pointing-and-shooting” hundreds of terrible pictures, which they will upload to myspace [or Instagram ~ JT] in an album titled “My Photography”, “My Art”, or “Critique My work”. Always followed up by the person adding “Photography” to their General section, or adding “Photography is my life…” to their About Me.
Bulletin posted at 5;34 by Jake: “Guys check out my photography”
Bulletin posted at 5: 41 by Jake: “C’mon guys I’m a photographer now, check it out” Definition by Urban Dictionary

However, before you write these people off as “posers” or think that because you can capture a stunning sunset and can edit properly in Lightroom or Photoshop that you are somehow better than them, check their followers. Typically these fauxtographers do one thing better than most photographers and that is marketing. They love promoting themselves more than their photos.

Promote Yourself

One of the best things that I learned from these people is the art of promoting yourself over your photos. If you asked them to explain the “exposure triangle” they would draw a blank. However, if you ask their friends or any of their “clients”  they would talk about this fauxtographer as if they were a master of photography. The reason is that these guys know how to speak as if they are a master of photography. They are confident and charismatic about their image not just their images. This is something that many of us do not know how to do well. If you have ever wondered how a fauxtographer got so popular, image over images is key.

Think about the “celebrity” photographers like Chase Jarvis, Trey Ratcliff, and many others. They not only take great images but they live a lifestyle and have and image that people admire and look up to. The fauxtographer is creating the exact same image. Yes, people who know them or who have years of experience want to throw-up when their images are posted or when their see how “inspired” by the “summer life” they are. However, the fact of the matter is that they are selling their image as a creative and as a successful photographer better than you.

Also, get some photos of yourself doing what you love and get those out there. One of the strangest things I realized was that there are very few images of myself with my camera in hand. These photos of you in action, show your audience that you are out there taking great images. The fauxtographer probably has a surprising amount of photos of themselves taking photos because they want to show off that precious image that they’ve been crafting.

Know the Game

I am always shocked to the thousands of followers on instagram that follow certain fauxtographers. Their photos were mediocre at best (not saying mine are any better…) and yet they get tons of engagement. By using different apps and playing the “like/unlike” game they game the system and that makes them look a lot more creditable to the untrained eyes of potential clients.

It is not all smoke and mirrors though. Many have invested more time into their sites and their online presence. Their sites look pro and the copy on their about pages is loaded with those “powerful” sentences that make it look like they live, breathe, and sleep photography…. despite buying  their first camera a few months ago. What they lack in photographic knowledge, they more than make up with image-building skill.

Stay Current

People like myself tend to stick to one style and then slowly change into another at a glacial speed. However, fauxtographers jump around from style to style. Shooting portraits to food to fashion. they are all over the place and they works for them. At times the “jack of all trades, master of none” works for clients that don’t care about the quality so much as a cheap photographer to simply cover an event.

By staying current and not getting to invested into a certain style means that you can adapt to the job. While I would tend to learn more about your personal style, this is one way to get your name out there. Though I wouldn’t recommend it, it does allow you some interesting opportunities and keeps you from getting labelled as “just a landscape photographer” as I recently was labeled.

Such a great amount of talent here.

Create a Tribe

If you have ever read anything about entrepreneurship recently it is all about your “tribe” or your first 1000 true fans. I never paid too much attention this and it has shown is some of my lack-luster events. However, the one thing that I noticed is that many fauxtographers are really good at building a tribe of loyal family and friends. Ones that believe in what they doing and are willing to overlook poor quality photos and cheesy gimmicks to gain followers.

Creating a group of people that truly believe is what you do is a great way to build authority. I will also help with any project that you want to get off the ground. Starting from scratch is difficult and takes a lot of work to build the kind of trust needed to get those shares/likes.

Get with the Best

One of the annoying things about fauxtographers is that they are everywhere. They seem to seek out the influencers and stick to them like glue. This seems logical to do but yet many photographers have this solo island thing going on. Yes, they follow good photographers and comment on their photos but not to the extent that I’ve seen or heard fauxtographers doing.

The lesson here is that if you are hanging around mediocre or less-than-serious photographers and secretly hoping to be great, it is not going to happen. If you are surrounded by great photographers that motivate you to get out, shoot, explore and up your game then you will improve.  For the fauxtographer it could be all about name-dropping and association. For you, it is about building networks of great photographers that can help you.

Create a Lot of Content

If you ever look at those 365 projects you will see that not all are great shots. That’s not the point of them. They are training you to get out and get photos. The regular practice of taking and posting new images on a daily basis is what many of the social media platforms love. The fauxtographer isn’t concerned with putting their best images forward for a portfolio review at all. They are posting daily to show how awesome their lifestyle is. Their feeds are full of snapshots of their fauxtographic awesome life eating at restaurants and whatnot. This is gold for most social networks as the regular posts keep followers engaged. Their followers don’t care if they are getting paid next to nothing to shoot an event or if they are giving their stuff away for free. They want to see content, whatever it may be.

As a true photographer, seek to post as often as you can. Reward your followers with great images and conversation about the places and experiences you have had. This will create the tribe that is needed to get your name out there and to get those sales/clients.


So there you have it, everything you need to combine you awesome photos with the tricks that fauxtographers use to get their name out there without actually taking great photos. I know that this post may sound negative or that I am jealous of some people. In some cases, I am and I think that you are too. We work hard to get great photos, understand how our cameras work to push the limits and many get nothing in return. Then some dude buys a new camera from best buy and suddenly they have thousands of followers and they are booking clients.

However, the thing that I want you to take away from this is the idea that while these “fauxtographers” may not be putting in the work to get better images, they are busting their butts promoting themselves and that is something that we should look into. It is fine to sit on the sidelines and roll your eyes when you see a blurry image with a passionate description about how creative they are. The thing is that you also have to look at why people are following that person. Why they are maybe booking them over you. Then suddenly that “fauxtographer” becomes something more.

The post What You Can Learn From a Fauxtographer appeared first on The Sajin.


Loisir: Afternoon Tea in Hannam-dong

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“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.” — Gary Snyder

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

I fear I fall into the first camp, at least when it comes to beverage of choice. And when B and I sat down for afternoon tea at Loisir (“Loser??” said B, upon seeing the neon sign out front, soft-pink in the afternoon sunlight) , we very nearly ordered coffee on instinct. At Loisir, you have the option between the two.

But it was afternoon tea, and while I tend to only really drink tea in either the American or Korean way (that is, hot and with honey when I’m sick or iced and with lemon, or some version of green and out of tiny cups), I thought we’d better go British. A quick look over the three-page list of tea varieties offered at the cafe, in comparison to the tiny box at the bottom of one page of the menu for coffee, supported this instinct.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Americans have a lot of funny ideas about the British and their tea, and I was amused to find, on my first few trips over there, that the stereotype is legit — just not in the way Americans imagine it, not among my friends anyway. They are the builder’s tea type, the type that would actually fall into the first category in the quote above, or maybe the third, had Gary Snyder been English. The English version of the second category would be the afternoon tea-goers. I don’t know any of them in real life.

So basically what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know squat about afternoon tea, other than it is a recent trend here in Korea, probably due at least in part to its Instagramability. It’s a strategy that seems to be working well for Loisir, which is tucked in along a backstreet, away from any major foot traffic. If you want to have afternoon tea at Loisir, you have to make a reservation, and when we arrived promptly when the doors open, at 11:50, nearly every table was already marked a with a “reserved” sign.

While the Instagram factor may be working in Loisir’s favor, it isn’t the main driving force behind the afternoon tea set. Owner-Head chef Kim Sukyeong says she started the cafe specifically to serve afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

The tea was mostly Twinings, with a few Dilmah and Whittard options. Standard-issue tea-type stuff. You can get everything either hot or iced, with the exception of the sparkling teas, which the menu says they carbonate (and I’m guessing sweeten) themselves. I lingered over the Chai but in the end decided it would probably not be very good Chai, so we went for Moroccan Mint with Rose green tea and Nutty Chocolate Assam.

I expected to like the black tea better, because I generally do, but the green tea was by far my favorite. I don’t think B, who one-shotted his first cup of each, cared much either way. By that point, he was beginning to realize that while the pictures of the food may have resembled the unforgettable (and cheap) breakfasts we had in Germany, the substance was going to be quite different, and he was settling into a bit of sulk.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

I think the basic concept of afternoon tea was achieved quite well by the set we were served, but there were little quirks that stood out as well. While the cheese was of the bog-standard, plastic-wrapped variety, the bread was remarkably high-quality. The “bruschetta” was just actually nothing of the sort, but was B’s favorite item. The “madeleines” that came with the set were some kind of teeny, tiny loaf, cut in half (although I have seen photos that prove that Loisir do have at least one proper madeleine pan).

The scones were miniature, which made cutting them in half without crumbling them near impossible, never mind that the butter that replaced the clotted cream was cold, which means that by the time I’d finished attempting to spread the first one, I was left with clumps of cold butter and scone doused in strawberry jam. Tasted alright though, once I managed to shovel it up with a fork. The other one, which I opted to eat dry given the previous fiasco, was just…. well, dry.

I would think combining the mini scones into two or three decently sized scones might be a better option, especially given how dried out scones can get if they have too much surface area. B went from sulking to flat-out angry at that point, saying he’d had far better scones in our kitchen for free. But then again, B doesn’t know how much I pay for quality butter, and how much quality butter I put into my scones.

The fudge-like cream in the macarons was chilled and therefore chewy. Not ideal, texture-wise, but again, the flavor was fine. The cream-puff cream was thick and sticky — basically I just had issues with texture all around — except for the creme brulee, which was the one thing I went in thinking probably wouldn’t be very good. It was lovely — a nice solid crack that gave way to a lovely, light interior.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

It was all just really sweet. By the time we got down to the end, we were struggling. I’ve seen photos of high tea in England — I know that the portions of dessert that were served up were proper. I just don’t know how anyone does it. Poor B, in the cab on the way home, said, “I thought I had adjusted to Western food because of your cooking, but I obviously haven’t. Do I look pale?” I told him he got off easy with me — I usually cut the amount of sugar called for in a recipe down to nearly half in everything I bake. I couldn’t prepare him for this. I wasn’t prepared for this.

Essentially this one comes down to the proximity factor and what you’re looking to get out of the experience. Would I ever, ever pay 52,000 won (about $50 US) for this back in the US? No. I also wouldn’t pay 52,000 won to have it again. But given where we are and how much a cup of loose-leaf foreign tea costs (never mind two pots of it) and the standard prices charged here for items of similar quality to those included in the set, it wasn’t too bad. If you’re looking for a pleasant atmosphere, a few good photographs, or something cute to do with a date, I’d say it’s not a bad option. If you’re a purist of basically any kind, avoid at all costs — it will only make you angry. I’m not a purist, so I enjoyed myself despite my little criticisms.

(The truth is, I still don’t have this “review” mentality quite down yet — I want to give people a realistic view of what they’re walking into, but I’m not one to pan a place — or an experience — just because it isn’t perfect. But the fact is, some people don’t have 26,000 won a head to just toss toward a mediocre half-meal, no matter how pretty it is. I understand that.)

Given that I’m an old married person with whatever the opposite of a sweet tooth is, I don’t think I’ll be back for tea. Wouldn’t mind giving their coffee a try sometime, maybe on a weekday, before the hordes of Instagramming fashion bloggers arrive. The interior was done by a group called Nordic Bros. Design Community and is quite lovely. The gables that are mirrored both on the exterior and interior are supposed to evoke the arcades of Paris, while also representing the building’s former life as a family home, while the little copper details throughout that kept causing reflections of B’s pale, zoned-out face to pop up in my photos, to humorous effect, are supposed to reference Narcissus, which makes the photos that much funnier. They have a nice, second-floor outdoor space, as well.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

(That bit of French there is, I believe, a jumbled-up paraphrase of a Voltaire quote, the basic gist of which is, “Paradise is where I am.” I don’t know — I don’t speak French, but if that’s right, I suppose the sentiment applies.)

Loisir
서울특별시 용산구 한남동 745-2
745-2 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Monday-Sunday 12pm-11pm

Afternoon Tea: 27,000 won for one; 52,000 won for two
Call 02-749-1128 to make a reservation (required for afternoon tea).

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

The post Loisir: Afternoon Tea in Hannam-dong appeared first on Follow the River North.


Follow the River North
Followtherivernorth.com

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

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What Have We Learned from Kim Jong Nam’s Death? Nothing We Didn’t Already Know

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Image result for kim jong nam

This is a local re-post of an essay I wrote this week for the Lowy Institute. I wrote this, because I was getting tired of reading or hearing on TV about how this poor man’s excruciatingly painful death changed things. It did not. Quite the contrary. The assassination, along with the February rocket test, just reconfirmed, for the zillionith time, what we all already know – that North Korea is a lying, brutal, norm-less regime that has no compunction about violating international law (the missile test is prohibited by UN Security Council resolution) or releasing a hugely dangerous toxin (VX) in an open, heavily travelled public place.

So one again, because the US has a new president and South Korea will likely have one soon too, we hear that we must engage North Korea and all that. Honestly, I keep wondering how this is supposed to work after 25 years of failure. What about North Korea has changed that suddenly makes it more likely to take negotiations more seriously? Who cares if the leadership in other countries changes. What matters is NK, and in February, it violated two major international norms – a missile test and an assassination. Yet at the very same time (!), we hear that talks should resume. Really? Isn’t that a glaringly obvious contradiction? The murder some poor guy and shoot a missile toward Japan, and we…reward them with talks? .

But honestly, talks in themselves are a concession to NK given its appalling behavior. So tell me why this time is different? I am not completely hostile to negotiating with NK; I could be talked into it. But there needs to be a compelling, this-time-is-different element.

The full essay follows the jump:

 

 

Last month, Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jon Un, was murdered in the Kuala Lumpur airport. The James Bond-style assassination, complete with an elaborate conspiracy and poison swabs, has received tremendous media coverage. In South Korea, cable news has covered it breathlessly for weeks. There has been much debate over what we have learned from this event. But it strikes me that we actually have not learned that much, that assassinations, terrorism, criminality, lying, and so on are part-and-parcel of this regime. February alone saw two such acts – a missile test (such tests are prohibited by United Nations resolutions), and this killing. The correlate policy insight then is why we should expect North Korea to behave any differently when it negotiates? This issue has arisen yet again, as we go through the regular, new US president ritual of whether we should talk to North Korea or not.

Talk is Cheap

The most obvious case for engaging North Korea is that it is effectively costless. Diplomats meeting in a conference room somewhere – Beijing or at the UN usually – is hardly expensive. Indeed, states maintain diplomatic corps precisely for such reasons. So why not? What is the harm of chatting them up and seeing what comes it? We can go into such talks with the necessary high skepticism, be on our guard to not get suckered, and otherwise double-check or double-verify any concessions they agree to make.

Unfortunately, even talking with North Korea is not so simple, for talking to Pyongyang is a kind of concession in itself. By agreeing to talks, we: 1) recognize, however implicitly, that North Korea is genuine sovereign actor, not an errant part of a unified Korean republic; 2) let North Korea off the hook, however implicitly, for actions, such as this assassination or its constant violations of UN sanctions, which really should isolate it; 3) impart North Korea international prestige simply by allowing it to interact with weighty states like the US or China; and 4) give it a potential smokescreen to buy time to continue its nuclear and missile programs. All of these are important regime goals, and critically none of them require the talks to lead to any concrete outcome.

The US and China likely enter talks instrumentally; that is, they see talks as a means to an end. But for North Korea, the talks themselves are a pretty good end, even if they go nowhere. Dragging them out serves the goals listed above. Perhaps negotiation’s ends goals – denuclearization for a peace treaty, e.g. – are attractive to the North as well, perhaps not. It is hard to know. But it is obvious that international negotiation in itself is valuable for the North. This is something I do not believe engagement advocates recognize enough: just sitting in a room with North Korean diplomats is in fact a concession to them and serves their interests. This is why the North Koreans are constantly calling for talks. Even if they do not intend to take them very seriously (maybe they do; it is hard to know), the North Koreans always want to meet.

So Talk is Not So Cheap Actually

 

It is worth unpacking the four gains I suggest above: First, talking to North Korea implicitly recognizes it. The two Koreas are in a long-term battle of attrition and legitimacy. South Korea is clearly winning that contest. Just as West Germany during the Cold War increasingly came to be just ‘Germany,’ so South Korea is becoming the Korea one is referencing when one says ‘Korea.’ East Germany and North Korea require the directional adjectives, because it became increasingly accepted that they were illegitimate, aberrant parts of a larger whole lying elsewhere. This legitimacy crisis ultimately undid East Germany. When East Germans were finally given the free vote in 1990, they overwhelmingly voted for unity, and therefore the destruction of their own state. North Korea faces the same dilemma, and every time we engage it, we reinforce its existence as a real state rather than the orwellian, mafiosi fiefdom it actually is.

Second, North Korea should be isolated and forgotten for all its awful behavior, like Zimbabwe or cold war Albania. Yet we talk to it despite its terrorism, crime, UN violations, and so on. This sends the obvious signal that it can act with impunity. Why not kill Kim Jong Nam in broad daylight if there are no consequences?

Third, just as North Korea desperately seeks recognition that it is a real country, so it seeks international status. Its news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, constantly speaks of other countries respecting its heroic accomplishments, sending congratulations to it on its national holidays, or organizing committees to study its juche philosophy. KCNA regularly takes umbrage at ‘insults’ to the ‘dignity’ its leader or state. Pyongyang routinely insists on high-level foreign dignitary visits to fish out western prisoners, because it wants the photo-ops. The North Koreans even hacked Sony Pictures over a forgettable, mediocre movie that showed Kim Jong Un in a unflattering light. For a state as small, backward, and otherwise irrelevant as North Korea, it captures a huge amount of global attention, which talks with powerful states like the US or Japan only reinforce. All this can be marketed domestically to legitimize the state and the glorious Kim family to its people.

Four, talks allow North Korea to continue with its illicit programs without fear of disruption, because kinetic action against it is presumably off the table during periods of negotiation. Dragging out discussions is thus an excellent way to buy time to finish a missile or reactor, while simultaneously claiming – truthfully or not – that all issues up for debate. Pyongyang has done this before. During the Sunshine Policy and the Six-Party Talks periods, North Korea did not stop its nuclear or missile programs, and when those efforts collapsed, Pyongyang was that much closer to a nuclear missile.

Strategic Patience is Not so Bad After All

 

For these reasons I have repeatedly defended the Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ approach, while arguing that South Korea should harden itself to win a long-term, grinding conflict of attrition. Little in North Korean behavior suggests that it takes talks, commitment, or international norms seriously. February suggests that once again. And talks with North Korea come with the implicit costs to the democracies sketched above. On the other hand, kinetic action against North Korea is terribly risky. The result is that, however fashionable it is to deprecate ‘strategic patience,’ it has been South Korean and US policy for decades.


Filed under: Korea (North), Lowy Institute


Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

 


Most South Korean Billionaires Inherited Their Wealth

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According to a 2016 analysis of Forbes data on billionaires around the world, nearly three quarters of all South Korean billionaires inherited their wealth. Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland spoke with Caroline Freund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute For International Economics, to learn why, despite the worldwide trend of self-made billionaires outnumbering individuals born into wealth, 74% of South Korea’s richest citizens are not self made. Dorland also spoke with Seoul-based Forbes reporter Grace Chung to find out how Forbes tracks South Korean billionaires, & how the trends they’re seeing now will play out in the future.

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Assist & its $30 per hour flat rate podcasting voice overs, editing, mastering, transcriptions & even hosting (select a topic, they’ll create & host the podcast). Visit Facebook.com/PodcastAssist for more information. 

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Into the Woods & Down By the Sea: Yangyang in Autumn

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This trip was so long ago by now. What happened? Well, first we got a puppy. Then I got busy with work. Then B smashed his ankle, rendering himself immobile. Then, my country started to fall apart.

Since then, I’ve done nothing in the gaps between work except read the news, take Charlie for long, therapeutic walks by the river and stress-eat. Things are only getting worse and, suffice it to say, I need to refocus. It’s important to stay informed and involved. It is equally important not to let a blackhole formed by the worst part of human instincts suck me into it entirely, one executive order at a time.

You’ll notice the format here has changed quite a bit. Part of my blogging block, I realized, came from trying to shoehorn everything I wanted to say into posts about restaurants and food. So I redesigned. And redesigned. And now I think I am happy. I hope it works for everyone else as well.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.
Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea. Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

So here is a post about a trip we took back at the beginning of October, before reality began to buckle around us. At that point, we had had Charlie for about a month, and between housebreaking and crate-training, all of the 2am, 3am, 4am trips outside for a potty break, we decided we needed a break. A puppy-friendly break, to be clear.

I started searching online for pet-friendly hotels, and it was through this filter that I finally managed to find the great white whale for Americans vacationing in Korea — the cabin in the woods, sized just right for two (or, I suppose, three). Better still, it was on the east coast, in Gangwon-do, my favorite province, with one caveat: If I’m going to eat or socialize, it’s the Jeollas all the way. But you can’t beat Gangwon-do for scenery.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea. Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

The leaves were changing. I wanted to hike. I wanted to cook out over an open flame the way we always used to do on the farm at Thanksgiving. I wanted to follow a creek through the woods. I wanted s’mores, chai hot chocolate and a heated floor, and to not see another person all weekend.

I don’t have any photos of the cookout or the s’mores. Well, I do, but they feature B, who prefers to keep his face to himself. I was too busy eating, cooking, laughing and talking with my husband and keeping an ornery little beagle pup out of everything (especially the chocolate) to snap more than a few quick frames for our own memories. But I do have lots and lots of photos from the hikes.

What I couldn’t take a photo of, anyway — and this is a shame, because I have a feeling you’re not going to believe me — is the smell of pine that reached out and slapped us right in the nose as soon as we climbed out of the car. I didn’t even know it was possible for the air to be that thick and heavy with the scent of anything alive.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

It was Charlie’s first time out of the house for more than a walk around the neighborhood or down to the river near our house. He was appropriately excited, curious and timid. We wanted to get him used to traveling and new places starting early. He’s an outdoorsy dog and will need a lot of trips like this in the future to counterbalance his city-dwelling status. Basically, me too.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea. Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.  Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea. Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

We felt so guilty after packing him back into his crate in the car to cart him back to the city that we decided to stop by Seorak Beach, a little ways to the north, which B scoffed and told me didn’t exist. As if he’s seen more of Korea than I have. As if I can’t read Daum Maps, too. Once his pride recovered (and he realized he wouldn’t have to drive an extra 40 minutes north, to Sokcho Beach, which was where he thought I meant when I said “Seorak”), he decided he wanted very much to see how Charlie would respond to the ocean, while I just wanted to savor the clean air and unfurled skylines a little longer.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

The beach was mostly empty, besides a few determined surfers who sat bobbing on their surfboards while what could be referred to as waves on a technicality only made their way past them to the shore. I didn’t think I’d ever see any sadder surfers than the ones who dot the shore along the Gulf of Mexico.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.  Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

Charlie watched and whined as B waded out into the surf. Eventually the temptation to follow became too much, and he summoned enough courage to take his first few cautious steps after him.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea. Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.

Then it was game on. Charlie has since become sand’s number one fan. We usually head down to a little patch of beach along the riverbank on our daily walks, and there is no end to what a little beagle nose can find lurking beneath. The number and variety of unearthed and truly huge dead fish I’ve had to hurl into the water before he can make a meal of them would horrify you.

We lingered on the beach eating ice cream and watching the clouds roll in until an internal alarm clock started to sound, warning of the rush hour traffic we would have to face driving back into Seoul if we dawdled much longer.

We packed ourselves back into the car, pulled out of the beach lot and immediately hit Seorak-san traffic. We chugged along the freeway, the exhaust fumes slowing filtering in through the air system reminding us of what we were headed back toward.

“We’re going to have to come back in the spring. And maybe the winter. Maybe every couple of months,” I said. The smell of pine still lingered in the car.

Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea.Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

[Just a closing note, about Charlie: When we started to think about getting a dog, I knew I wanted a beagle. They are small enough to live in the city, but still active enough to enjoy things like hiking and swimming. They are notoriously energetic and stubborn dogs, but they are also well-known for other traits, such as their shyness and their hesitance to lash out at anyone.

What I didn’t know, and what I dearly wish I had before we found Charlie, is that these latter traits are what make beagles the top breed chosen for animal testing, in Korea as well as the US and other countries.

I have had some serious struggles with the animal adoption people in Korea. I have found them disorganized and condescending. The latter I could make allowances for if it weren’t for the former. Before buying Vera, I attempted to adopt a cat for nearly two months. I went through the overbearing screening process because I knew that these are people who witness the fallout of animals being abandoned by careless owners on a daily basis. But after two months of being promised cats that were given to other owners, only to have them returned and re-offered to me, setting up meetings for home visits that never materialized, and generally being mussed around, I finally gave in and headed to the pet shops.

When it came time to look for a dog, I searched in earnest for beagles among adoption groups, but beagles have a notoriously bad reputation in Korea — in Korean, they are even  referred to as 악마견 — literally, devil dogs. I could hardly find any pet shops that were selling them, let alone any up for adoption (we ended up heading way out of the city to get Charlie).

But the truth is, there are a ton of beagles who need good homes here in Korea. They are rescues from animal testing sites who have had unimaginable things done to them and who have lived their lives almost entirely in cages, only being taken out to be abused.

If you’re interested in adopting a dog, and definitely if you are looking for a beagle, please consider contacting Beagle Rescue Network. We love Charlie and wouldn’t trade him for any dog in the world, but I wish I had known about the situation for beagles before we bought a puppy who would have found a very happy home somewhere else anyway. Puppies are cute, but they are a ton of work and require months of near sleepless nights before they settle into a routine. An adult rescue is a much more manageable alternative.]

The post Into the Woods & Down By the Sea: Yangyang in Autumn appeared first on Follow the River North.


Korean Titles of Family and People

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Korean titles of family and people work in a very different way than they work in English. However, it is vital that you know how they work; otherwise you could accidentally say the wrong thing and offend somebody. Titles are used far more frequently in Korean than they are in English, so they are important to know. Follow the advice in this article and you should have no problem using titles correctly in Korea.

Family names

Before learning about titles, it is useful to understand how family names work in Korea. The first thing to note is that the name order is different from in English. In Korea, the family name comes first. For example, in the name ‘Kim Bo-Kyeong’, the family name is ‘Kim’.

The second thing to note is that females don’t take their partner’s family name after they get married. While in English, you could have Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in Korea, it is highly likely that the husband and wife have different family names, for example Mr. Lee and Mrs. Kim.

Children take their father’s family name, and the first part of their given name is also often the same, such as the ‘Yu’ part in the names ‘Kim Yu-Na’ and ‘Kim Yu-Jin’. Koreans do sometimes change their names, just like people from other countries.

Age and Language

Age and language

The title that you give somebody in Korean often depends on the age difference between you and the person that you are talking to. If the person is younger or the same age as you then it is possible to call them by their given names rather than by a title.

There are two ways to do this. If you are using the polite or formal levels of language (when your sentences end in ‘요’ [yo] or ‘입니다’ [imnida]), then you should add the word ‘씨’ (sshi) to the end of their given names, for example Kim Bo-Kyeong would become Bo-Kyeongshhi (보경씨). Be careful to only use ‘씨’ with given names; never say ‘Kim-sshi’ (김씨).

If you are talking in the informal level of Korean, which is used with very close friends or with your partner, then rather than adding ‘씨’ to the end of their name, you should add ‘아’ (a) or ‘야’ (ya). If the name ends in a consonant, then you should use ‘아’, for example ‘보경아’ (Bo-Kyeong-a). If the name ends in a vowel, you should use ‘야’, for example ‘유나야’ (Yu-na-ya).

Nim (님)

If you have to show politeness to somebody, then you can do this by adding ‘님’ (nim) to the end of their full name. For example, 김보경님 (Kim Bo-Kyeongnim), although usually you will refer to somebody by a more specific title rather than doing this. ‘님’ can be added to other titles in order to show more politeness.

Family Titles

When talking about their older siblings, the word that Koreans use varies depending on the gender of the speaker and the gender of the other sibling.

If a male is talking about a female sibling, they use the word ‘누나’ (nuna).

If a male is talking about a male sibling, they use the word ‘형’ (hyeong).

If a female is talking about a female sibling, they use the word ‘언니’ (eonni).

If a female is talking about a male sibling, they use the word ‘오빠’ (oppa).

These words are not just used with relatives, but can also be used to refer to older friends. If the friend is significantly older than you, then you can add ‘님’ to the end of these titles in order to show more respect, for example ‘형님’ (hyeongnim).

Job Titles

Job titles

In the workplace, Koreans refer to their colleagues by using titles based on their colleagues’ rank within the company. The most common ones that you are likely to hear are 대리 (daeri), which means ‘assistant manager’; 과장 (gwajang), which means ‘manager’; 팀장 (timjang), which means ‘team manager’, and 부장 (bujang), which means ‘head manager’. There are lots of other job titles as you go higher up within the company.

When using these job titles, it is important to remember to add ‘님’, to the end of them when referring to other people. You can also add their family name too, for example ‘김 대리님’ (Kim Daerinim) would mean ‘Assistant Manager Kim’. If the person’s rank in the company is below ‘대리’, then usually they are referred to just by their name with ‘님’ attached to the end of it.

School Titles

In Korean dramas, you can often hear the words 후배 (hubae), and 선배 (seonbae). This word was used a lot in the drama 꽃보다남자 (Boys over Flowers) in particular. The word 선배 means ‘senior’, and is used to refer to a person at school who is older than you or in a more senior year than you. The word 후배 means ‘junior’ and is used when referring to somebody younger or in a more junior year at school than you. These words are often used in the third person (for example, “I’m getting dinner with my hubae tonight”) rather than the first person.

Doctors and Teachers

doctors and teachers

When talking about a teacher, you should use the word 선생님 (seonsaengnim). Sometimes, the family name will be placed in front of 선생님, for example ‘김 선생님’ (Teacher Kim). You can also use this word when talking about doctors. Sometimes the word ‘선생님’ is used on its own, and sometimes the word 의사 (uisa), which means ‘doctor’ is added in front of it.

 

Korean titles of family and people are some of the most confusing aspects of learning Korean, especially for beginner students. The system of titles is very closely linked to Korean culture. Because of this, it is difficult to learn how to use titles through textbook learning. The best way to learn their proper usage is to listen to how Koreans actually use them when speaking to each other.

Listen carefully to how people use these Korean titles and you will soon understand how to use them correctly.

 


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