Recent Blog Posts



All Recent Posts

Would a Chinese Cut-Off of North Korea Bring It Down?

Printer-friendly version

This is a re-posting of something I wrote for the Lowy Institute here. Basically, I was trying to think of what might either bring North Korea down, or otherwise force it to change substantially. Usually at this point, people say something like, a war, or an internal revolt. But a war would be so disastrous, that it is worth looking at other possibilities. And an internal popular revolt seems really unlikely. In 71 years, North Korea has never had one.

In the movies, like Avatar, the people rise up and overthrow their oppressors. In reality, authoritarian regimes almost always collapse when the regime’s internal groups turn on each other. Regime splits, possibly catalyzed by popular protest, can force dictatorships to change or even collapse. In Egypt in 2011, the regime split after Mubarak failed to quell the revolt with his thugs and then flirted with using the army. They brass balked, and Mubarak began to lose internal support.

But if there won’t be popular revolt in North Korea, how to set the regime’s factions against one another? Well, how about going after their cash? The military and police who keep the Kim regime afloat pay a pretty high price for that. They are globally isolated, hated by the countrymen, and will be remembered in Korean history as thugs. What is the compensation? The great lifestyle of the gangster racket Pyongyang runs – the HDTVs, booze, women, foreign cars, and so on. All of that depends on a) foreign cash, and b) a foreign pipeline. China is required for both. Shut that gate, and the pie of foreign goodies suddenly starts to dry up. That might get them them tearing at each other.

The full essay follows the jump:

One of the great career mistakes a North Korea analyst can make is to predict Pyongyang’s downfall, or worse, attach an actual date to that event. The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) manages to survive no matter how much the world throws at it, no matter how many times we on the outside confidently predict it will fall. And it sure looks like it should fall. It violates almost every expectation we have about successful, or at least stable, states in the contemporary era. Indeed, we often label it a failed state, which suggests that instability or break-down are imminent or likely.

North Korea is just Supposed to Collapse…or Something

But one does not often see a credible pathway – i.e., one without huge changes in current circumstances – laid out for that implosion. Instead, I often find at conferences or in regional journalism a vague, almost teleological, sense that North Korea’s time is up, that it will naturally crumble, subject to ‘historical forces’ or something. The South Korean government is particularly prone to this sort of nebulous-but-confident speculation. Its presidents ritualistically suggest unification will happen soon. Lee Myung-Bak wanted a ‘unification tax’ for this imminent event, while Park Geun-Hye spoke of it as a soon-coming ‘bonanza.’ The South Korea left likes to speculate – even more fantastically – about a Korean federation paralleling relations in ‘greater China’ or even the EU. I have seen lots powerpoints over the years on what to do with the North Korean military or its nuclear weapons after unification and so on, but surprising few credible scenarios of how to actually get from here to there.

So rather than predict a date for North Korea collapse, I want instead to lay out a (hopefully more credible) pathway to change, if not collapse – a Chinese cut-off of North Korea igniting regime elite divisions as Pyongyang factions fight over a declining budgetary pie. There are other obvious possibilities: A war could break out – probably accidentally, as a result of a North Korean provocation gone too far, and igniting a tit-for-tit spiral that escalates. North Korea would lose that war. Andrei Lankov has suggested that the ongoing flow of information into North Korea could ultimately create generational change. The young of today, exposed to world, will inherit North Korea’s institutions tomorrow and slowly change them. Or perhaps, North Koreans will themselves rise, as Eastern Europeans did in 1989 and Arabs in 2010. All these scenarios involve huge changes, whereas mine tries to deal with the DPRK as it is now.

How to Catalyze Regime Splits?

Rather than looking for a black-swan event like implosion or collapse, far more likely is the possibility of regime splits at the top leading to some sort of mild, perhaps rolling, political change. Comparative political science often argues that authoritarian states are prone to change when divisions arise among elites. Often popular revolts catalyze these divisions. But North Korea has never had a popular protest in its history, and there is precious little evidence of a civil society. So what other mechanisms might set the DPRK’s elites against each other? As it is basically a gangster state, how about their money and goodies?

The current South Korean and US strategy is to slowly isolate North Korea in hopes of pushing it back toward the bargaining table. Sanctions have steadily increased; this year has seen the heaviest UN sanctions yet, plus the targeting of Kim Jong Un personally by the United States. This has probably slowed the nuclear and missile programs, but North Korea’s behavior this year is arguably its worst since 2010. South Korea closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex, depriving North Korea of 100 million legal USD per annuam. And Seoul is now seeking to peel away North Korea’s ‘third-worldist’ friends, like Cuba and Namibia. This should make it harder for North Korea to evade sanctions and engage in the gangsterism that has provided cash to the regime for decades. All this should help. Its slowly shrinks North Korea’s room for maneuver, and it wisely pursues low-hanging fruit first. Cutting off subsidies, thickening sanctions, isolating North Korea step-by-step from its few remaining friends slowly backs it into a corner, where it survives almost exclusively on Chinese forbearance.

A Chinese Cut-Off

It is now widely understood that North Korea is greatly dependent on China. China accounts for roughly 90% of North Korean trade. Its banks hide the regime’s slush funds. Informal cross-border networks help feed North Koreans where the state no longer can. It is the pathway over which elite luxuries like alcohol, HDTVs, and jet-skis travel to the Pyongyang ‘court economy.’ The closure of Kaesong, roll-up of other allies, and tough new sanctions on North Korean shipping increasingly leave China as North Korea’s last major pipeline to the world economy.

A Chinese cut-off would therefore be disastrous. It would dramatically reduce resources flowing into the country, especially the luxury goods which underwrite the governing bargain between the Kim family and the military. In the mid-1990s, Kim Jong Un’s father promised the military extraordinary access to politics and the budget, in exchange, most analysts believe, for not overthrowing Kimist rule after the end of the Cold War. This was known as the ‘military first policy’ (son-gun), but it is better understood as a gangsterish bargain: the Korean People’s Army (KPA) will not overthrow the Kims so long as they provide the goodies to the brass. Those benefits include living in Pyongyang in nice apartments with proper electricity, water, and so on; foreign luxury items like HDTVs, liquor, films, and automobiles; a blind eye to corruption and personal debauchery; limited access to the outside world for elite families and their money.

Critically, this ‘songun bargain’ (my term) requires an outside pipeline. These luxuries are not substitutable domestically, no matter how hard the regime squeezes its population. Should the booze, jet-skis, clandestine shopping trips to Beijing, and so on be caught off, what are the benefits to the KPA standing by the Kims? The costs are clear and enormous – senior regime figures are marked men globally, individually subject to the whims of the Kim clan, cannot travel easily, will likely be lynched or executed should North Korea fall, and so on. Why carry these costs if the luxury benefits are not there?

Further, all sorts other standard, but scarcely substitutable, goods, such as hydrocarbons and machine parts, would dry up if China took sanctions more seriously. Fuel shortages already inhibit KPA training, for example. Factories would shut down.

In short, if the Chinese seriously shut the gate, there would eventually be a contracting budgetary and foreign goods pie in the court economy at the top, which could set elites against each other over what was left – which parts of the security apparatus got whatever gasoline was left, which generals got the remaining top-shelf liquor or HDTVs. This would not happen immediately; there would be a ‘pipeline effect’ of several years, perhaps a decade. Extant reserves would cover initial losses; China would probably not seal off North Korea completely, even if it were offered a withdrawal of US forces from South Korea in exchange; North Korea would likely return to serious gangsterism in order to find funds; and the regime would first crack down even harder on its own people to find resources for the court economy. But eventually the shortages – particularly in nonsubstitutable foreign niche goods (Kim Jong Un’s favorite cigarettes, for example) – would feed through to the top. As resources shrank, it is easy to imagine a gangster regime – already built on predating its own people and the international community – falling into mafiosi gangland-style infighting over what was left.

Keep Flattering China, South Korea

If there will be no popular uprising to push North Korean elites toward fracture, maybe depriving them of the luxuries, which are the only benefit they accrue from the whole awful system, will. North Korea cannot survive on its own. It has always required a foreign patron; the only time it did not have one, it fell into a man-made famine. Worse, the regime’s ideology is a preposterous quasi-theological monarchism which its elites almost certainly know is bunk. The military-first policy and well-known indulgence of the North Korean elite strongly suggest their cynicism. We also know that North Korea reacted sharply to the US pursuit of its illicit holdings at Banco Delta.

Exploiting this weakness for foreign cash and luxuries will, as ever, require Chinese cooperation on sanctions, plus a long-term effort to convince China that North Korea is greater threat to it than a unified Korea. This re-evaluation may be underway, and South Korea should keep flattering away with China, however humiliating it may be. The road to Pyongyang still runs through Beijing.


Filed under: China, Corruption, Factionalism, Korea (North), Lowy Institute, Political Science

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University
robertkelly260@hotmail.com

 


A Fusion of K-Pop and Food Brings The Best Collaboration Ever

Printer-friendly version

K-Pop fans, prepare to be strapped for cash as you blow all your money on these goodies from this awesome collaboration. SM Entertainment already has multiple stores open to the public selling exclusive goods and merchandise as seen here as well as a surround viewing concert,hologram concert,and hologram musical.

This time E-Mart, the biggest discount mall in Korea has teamed up with SM Entertainment to stock the shelves with an array of food and drink items featuring your favorite stars such as Super Junior, TVXQ, EXO and Girl’s Generation.For those of you looking to take home something featuring your favorite K-pop star while also satisfying your taste buds, read on!

1. SHINee

Instagram Photo

Featuring aqua blue packaging that’s as refreshing and fresh-faced as SHINee themselves, this collection features sautéed red pepper paste in seafood, nut, and beef flavors, sweet and salt flavored popcorn, lemon flavored sparkling water and finally cheese and snack sausages.

The red pepper pastes are not only perfect for mixing with rice and sesame oil to produce a simple meal but also feature the member’s beautiful faces. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone.

2. Super Junior

Instagram Photo

One of SM’s earliest formed and still active groups, Super Junior is endorsing ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake) sauce, sea salt and pepper corn flavored potato chips, sweet and peanut flavored popcorn, sea salt flavored popcorn, Habanero ramyeon and jjamppong(spicy Korean-Chinese noodle) .

The jjamppong is very popular,with the flakes you sprinkle over the chewy noodles packed with squid, onions, red peppers, beef and even shrimp. The sea salt flavored popcorn is another favorite. You definitely won’t be”sorry sorry” for purchasing them.

3. EXO

Instagram Photo

Need we really say more? Packaged in sleek black and white with their futuristic cubic logo as a finishing touch, this range features sparkling water and the already famous jjajangmyeon (black bean sauce noodles) and jjamppong which have been blowing up on social media with fans purchasing boxes of them in bulk to take home.

4. TVXQ

Instagram Photo

Much like their masculine and sexy image, the TVXQ range features spicy and barbecue flavored popcorn, almond and caramel flavored popcorn, truffle chocolates, and lobster flavored chips. There’s even health food-6 -year- old red ginseng extract available in stick, capsule and tablet form for your convenience. The striking black and gold packaging is sure to catch your eye in stores.

5. Girl’s Generation

Instagram Photo

With their exemplary ruling status among female K-Pop groups,this collection has gorgeous and girly packaging featuring Thai sweet chili flavored chips, cheese caramel mix popcorn,and powdered vitamins.The packaging on the vitamins is so pretty that it almost looks like an album!

6. Red Velvet

Instagram Photo

Just like how their group name combines the strong and fierce image of red with the soft and feminine image of velvet,this sparkling water is a delicious blend of fizzling soda and smooth grapefruit.

7. F(x)

Instagram Photo

Red light? Nope, you’ll definitely be hitting the green light as you race to sweep up these purchases with F(x). Enjoy cheddar cheese and onion flavored chips, butter and coconut flavored popcorn and rainbow gum. There’s even an anti-drowsiness gum with caffeine in it, perfect for preventing your eyelids from drooping as you drive late at night, cram for finals or work overtime

If you want to purchase K-Pop goods aside from these, check out our post on where to buy K-Pop goods in Seoul here. For more awesome finds like this one and the latest, trendiest and newest things to do in South Korea, visit Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, Trazy.com!button_main 2

 

 

 



Trazy.com
a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 


The last lap

Printer-friendly version
We've just filed our notice of marriage with the ROM! :0 

I still cannot get over my love-hate relationship with Korea... Sometimes I use very strong words when speaking about Korea, and on good days I try to focus on happier things likes its proximity to Japan, being able to have our own car and own apartment in Korea, being able to go back to Kaohsiung easily, four seasons etc. The thought of being in a place I don't want to be and all alone scares me.

Rye Blueberry Pancakes and Where the Hell I’ve Been

Printer-friendly version

Pfft. Every post can’t just be excuses about why I haven’t been posting, so I am going to try to at least tack a recipe on the end this time around. Feel free to skip to the end if that’s what you’re after. I have been busy, though. Is there anything quite as thick and long as summer on the peninsula? I’ve been waking up early for sunrise walks by the Han, before the day gets too heavy. It helps me clear my head — you’d be surprised, maybe, how busy this city remains throughout the weekdays, unless you rise at dawn.

sunrise on the han

Around the last time I posted, I had concocted a somewhat harebrained Plan B before I’d even given A a try, but then somehow the universe turned over and spat out a handful of opportunities, like it always seems to do. Self-sabotage is one of my fortes, but something always seems to get in the way. Translation work has been surprisingly steady (and challenging, interesting and decently paid). I’ve had some god’s-honest writing work as well, all of it dropped into my lap. I’m working now on running out and getting some for myself. Probably the most pleasant news is that there will very likely be some literary translation to come, which I thought would be out of reach for a while yet, but like I said, opportunities.

I’m not saying there’s a god, or anything like that, but what I feel like lately is that whatever’s kept me going so far in life seems to be fed up with the begging off and bowing out. Korea was a plan B, teaching was a plan B, language school, grad school, maybe even the magazine was a plan B. Or maybe I just let stuff happen the way it needed to. It’s hard to know. But how I’m feeling now is like the table’s been set right in front of me, and I’ve got to do is pick up a fork and dig in.

So I’m going to give that a shot.

Speaking of tables and digging in…

rye blueberry pancakes 1

I’ve become very fixated on rye flour. I’ve been subbing it into everything — brownies, muffins, pizza dough, pancakes.  There’s something about that rich, slightly salty, earthy flavor. It wasn’t that long ago that our wheat flour used to taste like something. Now we remove all the flavor in the processing. But rye’s flavor remains, and I like experiencing the flour as an element of taste, as well, I guess. I’ve also been putting black pepper in all my desserts, which I will get to eventually. I promise I’m not pregnant.

rye blueberry pancakes 3

These rye blueberry pancakes made for a nice Liberation Day brunch this past Monday, which was followed by a Hitchcock marathon. It was a nice weekend, and the last one, I hope, we spend huddled inside under the air-conditioning. I don’t mean to be that person, but fall is sort of almost here? Indulge me. We all have our wishful thoughts.

rye blueberry pancakes 3


Rye Blueberry Pancakes

4-6 pancakes

Rye Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • butter, for coating the pan

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  3. Toss in the blueberries and stir through.
  4. Place a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Drop a pad of butter in the pan and swirl it around until it is coated. Ladle the batter into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the batter into a circle. Don't crowd the pan -- make sure the pancakes won't touch.
  5. When the batter begins to bubble, flip the pancakes over and continue to cook them on the other side until they are dark golden brown. Wipe the pan down between each set of pancakes, adding fresh butter to re-coat the pan. Serve with your choice of toppings.
http://www.followtherivernorth.com/rye-blueberry-pancakes-hell-ive/

 

The post Rye Blueberry Pancakes and Where the Hell I’ve Been 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.

Categories
Books & Stuff    Cafés & Shops     Korean Food & Ingredients      Personal     Recipes       Restaurants & Bars


One Night in Bangkok

Printer-friendly version

Toronto Seoulcialite Thai Air Asia

Birthday blues, drinking bans, monsoon season, and all-you-can-eat health food, (and the world’s your oyster…)

On August 6th (my 29th birthday for all those keeping track) I took a cab to Sports Complex Station in Seoul, the express subway to Gimpo, then crossed to the other side of the platform to catch the remaining distance to Incheon Airport.  The subway from Seoul to Incheon is ridiculously easy, as is the public transportation from Don Mueang (the smaller airport) into the city of Bangkok, Thailand.

Taking Public Transportation from Don Mueang Bangkok Thailand Toronto Seoulcialite

From International arrivals head to Gate 6.  From Domestic it doesn’t really seem to matter which Gate you take, just head outside and look for the A1 Bus.  This bus will take you to Mo Chit BTS Station and costs 30 baht ($1.11 Canadian).  From there, you’ll need to figure out to which BTS station you need to go.  This determines the price of your trip.  To ASOK Station, the cost was 42 baht ($1.56 Canadian).  You’ll need exact change, but there are cashiers to provide you with all that (they don’t, however, provide you with a ticket.  That seemed pretty odd to me).

Where to Stay Novotel Bangkok Thailand Sukhumvit 20 Toronto Seoulcialite

I did one splurge night and one save night in Bangkok as bookends to my trip.  While my save night was more comfortable than expected, the splurge night left me ready to take on the next 10 days of my trip in style.  The Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20  is a short walk from Asok Station, and is very close to Terminal 21 – a Western-style shopping mall with an H&M, a Victoria’s Secret (accessories and undies, only – no bras), a giant Starbucks, MAC cosmetics, and some other recognizable retailers from back home.  I didn’t stick around too long as I was in Thailand, of course.  On the other side of the main street you’ll find Soi Cowboy (from the movie “The Hangover II”) as well as a variety of Indian restaurants, upscale burger bars, and tons of stalls for fragrant street food (just make sure they cook it in front of you!).  The location of the Novotel Sukhumvit 20 in Bangkok could not be more perfect – you’re right by the subway (Sukhumvit Metro Station and Asok BTS), street food, ladyboys, nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping.  The old city is a 25-minute air-conditioned subway ride away as well.

Instagram Photo

I wish I had known what an amazing location this actually was, but in the heavy rain and with the drinking ban due to the election, I was very happy to enjoy a lovely meal, a glass of champagne, and a quiet night in my luxurious hotel room.

Instagram Photo

When I arrived at the front desk I was hot, sweaty, and carrying a big ol’ duffel bag since I had no checked baggage with Air Asia.  The staff were courteous and friendly, and my check-in experience was smooth.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

I loved all the details included in the decor.  I had no idea that this location was only a couple of months old.  Upon first glance everything just seemed to be in tip top shape.  I was really impressed!

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

Instagram Photo

The best part of my hotel stay is definitely a toss up, but I always judge a hotel based on my room in particular.  My Superior Room included 1 King bed (although 2 Single Beds are available if you’re not keen on snuggling), a 42″ Flat screen TV, a mini-bar with cheap and cheerful Chang (100 baht/ $4/ can), free WiFi and a safety deposit box.  My room had a shower, but apparently bathtubs and Smoking rooms are available upon request.

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

 

The bathroom had great lighting for makeup as well as a giant, fancy shower with a removable nozzle and a waterfall/ rain-style shower head.  I’m also very, very glad it was the only hotel/ hostel of my stay with a scale, because I got a little curried away throughout Phuket and Chiang Mai!

View from my Superior Room at the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Bonus: I didn't have to use my power adapter once! Cheap beer, snacks, and a coffee maker! Mammoth TV! Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

After a quick shower and rest in my stellar than stellar room, I ventured up to the infinity pool to check out the view and take a dip before dinner.  The pool wasn’t too crowded, the music was faint, but added to the ambiance, and the decor was modern and fun while still managing to be sophisticated.  Because the hotel is so new, I really felt like I had the place to myself to just relax right into the start of my Thailand vacation.

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand The Food Exchange Bangkok Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

I had read all about The Food Exchange restaurant in the in-flight magazine on Air Asia, so I was excited to give it a try at my own hotel!  After a dip, I wandered up to the 9th floor for some healthy eats.  They were running a promotion for 50% off the price of the buffet, so I bought myself a glass of champagne and settled onto the balcony for a breath before heading back in to check out the buffet offerings.  The Food Exchange prides itself on being health-focused.  There’s even a tag-line about this being a lifestyle and not a diet.  I’d be inclined to agree, however my lifestyle couldn’t handle the sheer volume of what I would mostly agree were healthy eats!

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

Aren’t these facilities perfect for small conferences, appreciation dinners, or even (dare I say it…rehearsal dinners/ weddings)?  I like a modern touch with warm, muted tones so this space would be perfect for the kinds of events I enjoy planning and running!

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Sushi - Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

I couldn’t believe the different international dishes they were offering!  I was delighted by the giant, carved wasabi flower, the large display of colourful sushi, the various types of hummus, tabouleh, sun-dried tomato spread, olive tapenade, and guacamole (with real, fresh cilantro – heaven!).  There was chicken kofta and falafel balls, freshly made papaya salad, bespoke pasta, tasty flatbreads, a smoothie bar and salad bar.  This is what Korea so desperately needs: GREENS!  I would dine out weekly at a hotel rather than a meat-market weekly if fresh avocado and mixed greens were on an all you can eat menu.  I think most expats would agree!

My glass of champagne came to about $8, and the buffet was 50% off so it ended up being around $20. Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

 

Instagram Photo

After getting my mix of falafel and steamed veggies (as well as a little birthday champagne – why not, right?) the rain started to fall…hard.  I retired to my room where there was a surprise of light, but decadent, chocolate cake from The Gourmet Bar and a lovely note from the hotel management wishing me a Happy Birthday.  It was nice that someone remembered and did something (oh – shout out to Air Asia for giving me a complimentary bottle of water, too.  No love for Canada Post).

Do I dare eat this entire chocolate cake? Absolutely - yolo.  Happy Birthday. Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

After over-indulging and then catching a few heats of Olympic swimming, if was time to snooze!  My bed was plush and comfortable, my room was quiet, and the only thing waking me up in the morning was my alarm.  The blackout curtains would have been essential had my “one night in Bangkok” gone according to party plan!  Sometimes I think the universe is just willing me to slow down, and I can’t think of a better place to have relaxed!

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

If a hotel has a fitness centre I always make sure to check out how stacked it is and try to at least get in some weights.  Being that this location of the Novotel Bangkok is so new, the fitness facilities were practically untouched.  This, to me, was perfection.  I got in a quick run followed by some time with their free-weights and weight machines.  If I were here for business I’d be thrilled to come into this clean, well-organized facility before heading to meetings of a boardroom for the day.

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand 20160807_072347Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand 20160807_073017

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present: REAL BACON!  After a year and a half in South Korea, real, fragrant, crispy bacon is a rare find.  I was clearly very excited for my bacon!  There was also tons of fresh fruit, a new assortment of sushi, the smoothie and salad bars were up and running again, and there was a grand supply of morning pastries I avoided.  Omelettes to order were available, the coffee was hot and fresh, and there was finally an assortment of Thai dishes ready for me to devour.  While the fish balls didn’t happen, the cashew nut chicken was calling my name.  I enjoyed it without rice, instead opting for fruit, veggies, and assorted cheese (something else that tends to be a hard find in Korea!).

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 Hotel - The Toronto Seoulcialite Thailand

The Novotel got their very own tuk-tuk the evening of August 6th, so I guess this little guy and I share a birthday.  In the morning, I had my very first tuk-tuk ride to the subway station where I departed for the airport to head to Phuket.  I’ll have to make it back soon to check out the new Sky on 20 bar where those staying in Executive Suites may enjoy lounge access with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks during happy hour.  Since the 20th floor is currently getting its finishing touches, I guess it’s just an excuse to come back when Lake Ratchada is visible from the 20th floor with 270 degree views (and Mexican cuisine being served, because I’m always down for tacos!).

Novotel Bangkok Sukhimvit 20
#WeLoveAccorHotels isn’t just a hashtag! I loved my time at the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20

My one-night stay at The Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 was in partnership with Accor Hotels and The Toronto Seoulcialite, however views (and food & beverage purchases!) remain my own.  I would like to thank the team at Accor Hotels  for hosting me, and for their start to finish great service with a smile.  My stay at the Novotel Skhumvit 20 may have only been one night in Bangkok this round, but I would surely recommend staying with them again.  #WeLoveAccorHotels isn’t just a hashtag!

If you liked this post go ahead and pin it on Pinterest! xoxo

Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20

 

 



Stricter South Korean Drunk Driving Laws Being Considered

Printer-friendly version
Checkpoint

This spring South Korea’s National Police Agency began conducting a nationwide survey to gather opinions for how to punish drunk drivers & if the country’s blood alcohol limit for drunk driving should be lowered from .05 to .03 percent. Such changes in other countries have led to a decrease in road fatalities, & Korea FM host Chance Dorland spoke with Jonathon Passmore, technical lead for the World Health Organization’s violence & injury prevention in the Western Pacific Regional Office, & Yours – Youth for Road Safety Executive Director Floor Lieshout, to learn more about the issue.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

Subscribe to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts via:

iTunes 96x33   Subscribe On Android      Stitcher 96x33   Tune In Smaller   YouTube 79x33   RSS 83x33

Like us on Facebook  Patreon 728x90

 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

If audio player does not load, listen to this episode by clicking here.

Listen to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts online via:
Overcast – http://bit.ly/KFMovercast
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/KFMstitcher
audioBoom – http://bit.ly/KFMaudioBoom
Player FM – http://bit.ly/KFMplayerfm
Tunein – http://bit.ly/KFMtunein
Acast – http://bit.ly/KFMacast
RSS – http://bit.ly/KFMrss
iTunes – http://apple.co/1O91B39

Korea FM banner-ad

The post Stricter South Korean Drunk Driving Laws Being Considered appeared first on Korea FM.


6 Months in Canada, the Update

Printer-friendly version

teaching-abroadTomorrow is the day, the 6-month point of my return to Canada after 10 years living in South Korea working as an English teacher. It’s a good time to reflect on things, and here are a few of those thoughts (If you’re in the just getting ready to leave stage, check out this blog post: Leaving Korea? Top 10 Tips to do it Well).

For Work, Make Plans, but be Flexible

I thought that I wanted to go all-in on the digital entrepreneur thing when I went back to Canada. But the reality of it was harder than I thought, especially because I was new to Canada and didn’t really know people where I had chosen to live. I felt kind of sad and depressed staying at home with the cats on my computer so knew I needed to go out and get a real job. I did however hire someone to work for me full-time to keep the online thing going which is working out really well.

That real job consisted of the booming movie industry in Vancouver where I’m working for 4 months on a CBC TV series. It was strangely easy to get the job, despite my total lack of experience. I get paid a kind of ridiculous amount of money for the actual amount of work I do (locations, and more recently, crafty assistant). The hours are long, but after 10 years working 10 hours a week in Korean universities for 32 weeks of the year, it feels pretty good. And there’s also a ton of opportunity to climb the ranks and get better and better jobs for more money and fewer hours.

So what I’m saying is this: make a plan for work when returning to your home country, but be flexible. I truly had no idea that I’d end up doing the movie thing. But, it’s actually way better than any other thing I considered. And I’m now living in Vancouver, and it’s unexpectedly affordable. It all just really worked out, but in the most unexpected way.

It Takes Time to Make Friends

In Korea, I had a big group of super rad friends. It was hard to leave them and when I look back at pictures from my going away party, I feel sad. Really sad. And I don’t have that in Canada. And I’m not sure I ever really will. People are busy with families and jobs and other stuff and they simply don’t have the time (and disposable income) to hang out and do fun stuff every single night of the week like they do in Korea. But, I’m trying not to let it get me down. I knew it would take a couple of years to have a solid group of people around me.

Things will be Hard at the Start

The first couple of months in Canada were really chaotic and stressful. I knew that they would be, based on the interviews I did for the book, “Life After ESL.” I tried to mentally prepare myself for it which really helped. So many times, I would say to myself, “WTF…this is some crazy shit. But, I’ll figure it out and everything will be okay.” And then it all really was okay.

I did a few things which helped:

  • Made time for paperwork. This stuff takes time and it’s better to just bite the bullet and do it at the beginning. I devoted a couple entire days to it and got it all done. Get a cellphone and car asap and this process will be much easier.
  • Brought my pets. I brought little Sarah and Lucy with me from Korea. It was kind of annoying and expensive, but totally worth it. It was really comforting to have them with me…the familiar, when everything was kind of new. They’re happier now too because they can be outside and have this amazing backyard to hang out in.
  • Had enough money. I ended up spending a lot of money getting set up in Canada, mainly due to moving around a few times. But, I had a big pool of money (thank you Korea Teacher’s Pension payout!) and it ended up not being a big deal, especially since I got my well-paying full-time movie gig. It would have been really, really stressful without this buffer. At this point in time, with the movie gig and the online gig, I’m at the break even point of how much money I spent in those first few months.
  • Dealt with one thing at a time. Make a list. And then just go through it, starting with the most important things.
  • Had a financial goal. My goal in Canada was to save $1000 a month by the end of my first year. Then $2000 a month by the end of my second year. The online thing wasn’t really doing it for me. The movie thing is though.

If you Want to Go, Just Go

Some people ask me whether or not I miss Korea and if I regret leaving. The real answer is that I miss Korea a little bit, especially my friends, but that I haven’t regretted leaving for even a second. I wasn’t happy living there for the most part, and teaching in Korean universities is a bit of a joke (see: Why South Korea isn’t the Place for Serious English Teachers). I wake up almost every single day and am happy that I’m not teaching.

Sure, I was scared about money and work and finding a place to live and leaving my friends and dealing with all the paperwork, but I figured it out. I think everyone does eventually.

Canada, especially Vancouver is an amazing place to live. Not to be one of those ridiculous patriotic Canadians who backpacks around the world with the maple leaf on their backpacks, but like it is a great country. It’s clean. There are no loud-talkers. You don’t feel like you’re going to get mowed down by a scooter on the sidewalk. It’s okay to be gay. It’s okay to be a woman. It’s okay to be from another country. Everyone speaks English, mostly. People are polite. There aren’t a million and one people at every single nice place. I can go paddling and not worry about dying due to getting hit by a jet-ski. I can get any kind of food I want. There are avocados and cilantro and parmesan cheese in abundance.

The Advice I Gave? It’s Solid I think

Job Ideas for former ESL teachersI for real was kind of terrified to leave Korea after 10 years and go back to Canada. My friends in Korea thought I’d be a lifer and never leave. That’s how comfortable I was there and how little I talked about going back. In order to alleviate this terror, even a little bit, I interviewed 55 English teachers who’d returned to their home countries and tried to glean every bit of wisdom I could from them. I then found the commonalities in their stories and wrote a book about it, offering up advice for expat teachers returning home.

Having now gone through the experience myself, I can say that the advice I gave in that book is super solid. And I think it can really help you make the transition more easily. Here’s what a few of the reviews on Amazon had to say:
“Here’s my verdict: This book should be the starting place for anyone thinking of going home after a stint abroad.”

“I know that there are people who will end up TEFLing forever, but for the rest of us, her book offers good advice in a concise format.”

“I think this is Jackie’s best book yet.”

—>Buy Life After ESL: Foreign Teachers Returning Home on Amazon<—

The post 6 Months in Canada, the Update appeared first on .


Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea

Amazon
amazon.com/How-Get-University-South-Korea-ebook/dp/B00ORLRP2Y 

My Life! Teaching in a Korean University
eslteacherinkorea.blogspot.com

University Jobs Koreauniversityjobkorea.com

YouTube: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL0Q8kr18oQIo12jZrwIUdnU4C6eJV5rK


 


How to Say ‘Boyfriend’ in Korean

Printer-friendly version

One of the most common questions that people get asked in Korea is ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ This makes learning how to say ‘boyfriend’ in Korean very useful. One of the ways that Koreans often meet their girlfriends or boyfriends is through their friends, so if you want to get a boyfriend, then learning how to say ‘I want a boyfriend.’ is also very useful. To start off with, we should learn the word for ‘boyfriend’ in Korean.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

 

‘Boyfriend’ in Korean

 Boyfriend in Korean

남자친구 (namjachingu)

This word is pretty easy to learn. It is made up of two words: 남자 (namja), which means ‘man’; and 친구 (chingu), which means ‘friend’.

This word is simple to use, but might feel a little bit long. If you want to shorten it, you can take the first syllables of each word to make a shorter, two syllable word. In this case, that word is 남친 (namchin). This method of shortening words is quite common in Korean. If you are aware of it then it could make your studying a little bit easier.

 

‘Boyfriend’ in Korean: Limits on Use

In English, the word ‘boyfriend’ is usually only used to refer to your partner. Likewise, in Korean, this word is usually only used to refer to your partner. If you want to refer to a male friend who you are not dating then you must use a different word.

One way of doing this is to use the word 남성 (namseong), meaning ‘male’, instead of 남자. This makes the phrase 남성 친구 (namseong chingu).

 

Be Careful When Using Romanization

When first learning Korean, Romanization can help you learn new words quickly. But after a while, it can start to slow down your Korean study. If you really want to learn Korean, then you should learn how to read Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) as soon as you can. It only takes a couple of hours to learn Hangeul, but the benefits to your Korean learning are massive. It can speed up your learning by helping your reading, writing, pronunciation, and memorization. You could learn how to read Hangeul today, what are you waiting for?

 

Sample sentences

Formal ‘Boyfriend’ in Korean

Formal Boyfriend in Korean

남자친구 있으세요? (namjachingu isseuseyo?)

Do you have a boyfriend?

 

Standard ‘Boyfriend’ in Korean

Standard Boyfriend in Korean

남자친구는 어떤 사람이에요? (namjachingneun eotteon saramieyo?)

What is your boyfriend like?

 

당신*의 남자 친구가 되고 싶어요. (dangshinue namjachinguga doego shipeoyo.

I want to be your boyfriend.

* 당신 (dangshin) means ‘you’, but instead of using 당신, you should replace it with the person’s name.

 

Informal ‘Boyfriend’ in Korean

남자친구 있어? (namjachingu isseo?)

Do you have a boyfriend?

 

남자친구는 어떤 사람이야? (namjachinguneun eotteon saramiya?)

What is your boyfriend like?

 

네 남자친구가 되고 싶어. (ne namjachinguga doego shipeo.)

I want to be your boyfriend.

 

Now that you know how to say ‘boyfriend’ in Korean, talking about your relationships (or hopes for a relationship) should be a lot easier. Who knows, maybe someone may even say to you ‘네 남친이 되고 싶어.’

Let us know your favorite phrase that uses the word ‘boyfriend’ in the comments below!

 

*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  

 


Please share, help Korean spread! 
facebooktwittergoogle_plus

 

 


Learn Korean Ep. 89: 주세요

Printer-friendly version

Drawing is pretty difficult. I'm no artist, but I'm not... that bad. Keykat thinks she can do a better job than me. Let's see if she's lying. After all, are there any famous bear artists? I don't think so.

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. 89: 주세요 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


www.GoBillyKorean.com

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean

FOLLOW ME HERE:

Google+   

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL:

 


Syndicate content

Koreabridge - RSS Feeds
Features @koreabridge     Blogs  @koreablogs
Jobs @koreabridgejobs  Classifieds @kb_classifieds

Koreabridge - Facebook Group

Koreabridge - Googe+ Group