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So it is 2017 and I am super excited for the coming year. The reason is that I am taking 2017 very seriously and I am going to drive this blog and my school into new heights this new year. So what does that mean for you, my loyal reader? Well, that means that you get to learn a whole lot of new skills from me. I have been collecting a ton of material to help you be the best in 2017 and this blog is going to be the dispensary for that knowledge, skill, and training.
I know what you are thinking “Jason, has this not been done like 2,000,000 times over by more well-known photographers?” To that I say, “you are right, but so what?” I am not being cocky, but I just have to state that the style of blog where I write about the musings of an aging expat photographer/English teacher is not the most original either. Thus, I want to push and challenge myself. I really want to put my 13 years of teaching and my Masters of Education to good use.
With that being said, here are the changes that you are going to see in the year 2017:
More Learning-Focused Articles
Last year I lead a number of workshops and helped a few photographers improve their skills. It felt great to help photographers along on their journey through photography. While it is great writing about places that I’ve been, I felt that it would serve you, my precious readers more if I focussed each post about learning how to improve your technique and learning a new skill along the way.
In the upcoming articles, I am going to be taking you through some of the steps that I take to get the photos that have appeared on the pages of magazines and even National Geographic. I will show you the steps and techniques that will get you the shots that you want. This will also push me as a teacher and as a photographer as well. It will be a divergence from what I have done for years on this blog but I think that it will be a better move for the future.
I think that within the last week I wrote more articles on this blog than I did in the last 6 months. The truth was that I was spread way too thin. With a lot of work cleared off my plate for 2017 I am back in the game and going to head out strong. Thus, you are going to see a lot more content being sent out this year. This content as mentioned before will be more focussed and directed at improving your photography.
More Courses at Learn.JasonTeale.com
Last year I launched my own school for photography with a great course on creating cinemagraphs. I really enjoyed creating the course but had little time to add to the school since then. In this coming year I am going to add a great number of courses design to give you hours of training to help you master lightroom, photoshop, and much more. These courses will be high quality and offer downloads and discounts for you as well. If you are a beginner or a so-called expert, there will be something there for everyone.
So that is my plan for 2017. Let me know what you think of the changes and what you want to see content-wise. Ideally, this blog is going to be more focussed on you, the readers more than anything else. I want to create content that you resonate with and that works for you. Thus, I am hoping to have more interaction with you all this your. Also if you haven’t already, sign up for my email list and I will notify you when the new courses and content goes live.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Nothing’s more perfect than a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s day, right?
If you’re a coffee lover, definitely check out these new delicious winter drinks served at Korean cafes to cozy up this winter!
1. Angel-in-us Coffee
Angel-in-us has come out with three drinks to keep you warm and let you have a warm winter: A bright Purple Sweet Potato Latte, rich Irish Coffee and creamy Eggnog Latte!
2. A Twosome Place
A Twosome Place has also released three delicious winter drinks. Among them, one that particularly stands out is the White Cream Tiramisu Latte (doesn’t the name itself make you salivate?). Not to mention the adorable snowflake decor on top!There’s also a Pistachio Latte and Vin Chaud, which is a blend of mulled wine with sweet fruits.
3. Holly’s Coffee
Holly’s certainly is feeling festive with their drinks. Don’t worry as just because Christmas is over, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these drinks with festive cheer thrown into them! There’s Toffee Delight, Belgian Cafe Mocha, Mint Chocolate and Real Belgian Chocolate!
4. Paik’s Coffee
Known for their cheap and affordable prices and large range of drinks, Paik’s Coffee has released a Chocolate White Mocha, Tiramisu Latte and Classic White Chocolate! Mmmm just look at all that chocolate powder.
5. Tom N Toms
Last but definitely not least, Tom N Toms has come out with five “romantic” drinks to fill your winter with some love. Romantic Cinnamon Mocha, Mint Mocha, Milk choco, Mint Choco and Cinnamon Choco. They even come with an adorable candy cane stirrer!
Don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop for more exciting and informative posts like this one as well as the latest things to do in South Korea!
If you have read this blog for a while then you might have noticed that I didn’t post all that much in 2016. The truth was that I was busy and if you read my last post, you would have found out that I was not really in the best state of mind for much of the year. However, that does not mean that the year was all bad. There was actually quite a lot of good stuff that happened. This is what I am going to focus on here as this is the end of the year here in Korea and I am looking forward to a better and more happy 2017.
The year started with me coming to terms with the passing of my best friends and mentor, Dave Harvey. I wrote about him near to the end of 2015 but it really started to hit me throughout 2016. I felt that this was one of my key struggles in 2016 as the sadness felt like an anchor to everything that I wanted to achieve. However, as time passed I knew that Dave would not want me to throw it all away and I had to push on.
I did a lot of work with different magazines around the country and a few outside of Korea as well. This to me was where I felt more alive. These “missions” that I was sent on allowed me to push my photography into new places. It also forced me out of the conventional landscape modes that I fall into sometimes. From going to Pohang to the alleys of Jagalchi Market in Busan, I covered a lot of ground in order to make some pretty pictures.
The biggest lesson that I learned from this work was not to give up. In one of my last assignments for Seoul Magazine, I was sent to cover the Eonyang area. They really wanted a picture of the silver grass or eoksae fields. Although I had photos they wanted ones from a different spot. I set out early in the morning and proceed to make a HUGE mistake. Which was taking a shortcut over one of the most dangerous peaks that I have seen in over a decade.
The sad part was that by the time I got up to the peak it was too late to take the easy way down but worst of all, my camera recorded nothing! It malfunctioned and I left with only the pictures that I took on the way up. Thankfully with a few edits the magazine was satisfied with what I sent them.
In a rather surprising twist, I was contacted by Ulsan MBC who were interested in doing a documentary about the foreign community in Ulsan. We gathered at the studio to discuss the project. It was unclear what the final result was but it was an interesting experience. It kickstarted my interest into making more videos and doing live broadcasts of my photographic outings.
One of the most surprising things was seeing myself on tv for the first time in a way that made me realize how much image and charisma play a part in today’s photography celebrities. I realized that I am far from any celebrity and that I certainly lack the on-camera poise that people like Chase Jarvis or Trey Ratcliff have.
At any rate, it was a fun project to have been a part of and there were certainly some nice exposure from it. I like the fact that many of my students saw it and realized that I was not just an English teacher. I was happy to have them “report back” to me that they saw the show and that they liked my pictures that were shown in the documentary.
Working with the City of Ulsan
I have been in Ulsan for many years. I first arrived in July of 2003 and was in love with the lifestyle and freedom that I had here. Over a decade later, I am one of the last long-term expats here. Many of my old friends have long since moved away and only vague memories of their time here. For me, the time spent here paid off when the city of Ulsan contacted me about my photos. They had admired my style for a long time and wanted to put them up around the city to celebrate the new “12 scenic sights of Ulsan” project that they started.
They chose two of my photos for signs to commemorate the scenic spots and then they commissioned an interview with a leading travel magazine in Korea. It was a huge leap for me, especially doing the interview alone and in Korean. At any rate, my wife was able to make sure that I sounded alright and that were were not any misunderstandings or things lost in translation.
The interview appeared in not only a major travel magazine but in the Jeju Air inflight magazine as well. It was huge exposure for me and no doubt help solidify my standing as a professional photographer in Ulsan, if not the rest of Korea.
Cinemagraphs and Tutorials
As many of you know, I have been working with the fine people over at Flixel and creating some cool cinemagraphs with their amazing app. I can’t say enough good things about these wonderful people. Over the year, I took some interesting chances with my creations. I reached out to DeathWish Coffee to see if they’d be interested in helping with a project. The cinemagraphs were a hit and Flixel even used the footage in some of their training material.
Following that, I decided to started my own online tutorial site Learn.Jasonteale.com which is where you can learn how I make cinemagraphs and (in a few weeks) learn beginner lightroom techniques as well. The start of the tutorials were a huge high point for me and I made it on F-stoppers, a popular photography site thanks to Dylan Goldby for interviewing me.
Here's the thirteenth episode of the new "Learn Hangul" series - a series designed to help you learn the Korean alphabet from the very beginning to the end.
So far we've been introduced to the basics. We've covered all of the basic vowels and consonants, all 6 syllable blocks, double consonants, strong consonants, diphthongs, the names of the letters, and sound change rules including the base consonants.
Today's episode will cover a few more sound change rules.
Stay tuned for more! New episodes of this series will be posted once a month until it is finished. There will only be one more episode in this series (14 total).
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It was about this time last year when I got probably one of the worst messages of my life. As I wrote in my previous blog post about it, I got a message early in the morning telling me that my best friend had just lost his battle with cancer. My whole world fell apart.
Pats on the back or likes on facebook didn’t help against the darkness that crept in late at night. I was defenseless against the multitude of negative emotions that confronted me. Anger, frustration, hopelessness, ripped me apart and left me broken. I lost the motivation to deal with or do anything. It was hard to find the beauty in a world that made me so angry and full of pain.
For a personal such as myself, these feeling are dangerous. I slipped up and stumbled throughout 2016. When you have as much on the go as I do, you soon realize that you can stop or you will pay the price. I am not just a photographer. I run another website, I am a teacher, I am a photography instructor and during 2016 I also completed my masters in education. Couple that with the pain of trying several times and failing to have a baby, losing the family dog and working a job that I absolutely hated, found me breaking down in my car before classes and snapping on idiotic drivers on the way home.
I felt trapped. Lost in the darkness. Not to mention, dealing with the reality that you only get so long to grieve before people start rolling their eyes when yours start to water. You learn to keep the pain in and live with it like an unwanted house guest. Nobody really cares how much you are in pain after while and if you continually drop the ball people don’t want to hear the same reason over and over again. I missed deadlines, damaged work relationships and got kicked out of classes due to backups and screwups resulting from procrastination. There was simply no drive left in me.
So as I dug myself further into this dark hole, but I was fortunate enough to have been given a gift by my late friend. I was given the gift of photography. This allowed me to see the beauty in a world full of dark desolation. It wasn’t easy to find the beauty at first, but it was there. I just had to force myself to find it.
The first thing that I tried was to use photography to express my loss. This resulted in one of my favourite cinemagraphs. It reflects my feeling of hopeless and lack of direction. The black and white image shows how the colour of world was lost one my friend past on. The overall tone reflected how cold I felt in his absence.
I was also a part of a documentary that took most of the year to film, also gave me new direction and taught me new skills. It showed me what was important to me and how to express it to others. The producers gave me little projects to complete throughout the filming and also showed me where my strengths are. I am happy to say that they were impressed with my work and plan on doing more projects with me.
It is was direction of these projects and the deadlines that forced me to get out and do something. It forced me out into the world to face it head on. I had no other choice. People were expecting results. At times, I failed to deliver but I still made the effort. I still got out and just did it.
I am grateful that I know a number of people in the publishing world that like my work enough to hire me. Both my other community site and this blog remained largely untouched as I found it difficult to put anything down into words. Feared opening up old wounds and dealing with that pain again, even though it was probably for the best.
However, each month I had a place to go and an article to write for different magazines around the country. `These articles gave me focus and direction up until their completion. Heading out to Pohang or eating at a nice restaurant was great and it got myself and my wife out of the house. For some articles my wife and I worked as a team and this was a huge bonding experience as I was really pushing people away. She helped in so many ways that we actually got even closer because of it. She also understood the lengths that I go to get a story. After following me around on a travel piece in Seoul, she realized that I was not just “having fun” but was actually working hard to get the right shots.
Photowalks and Meetups
As I said before, I was pushing a lot of people away. In some cases I just needed space and time to think. However, that was also becoming the issue. I was thinking too much about the loss and the depression. Heading out with other photographers allowed me to just focus on the photography and not all the other stuff. Throughout the year I participated in a number of events from leading the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk to heading up to Seoul to participate in an event put on by National Geographic. All of these events allowed me to distance myself from the pain and the negative thoughts that filled my head. It allowed me to have fun and meet new people. It was a needed break because the stress from day to day life was starting to bubble in unpleasant ways.
The final part of the puzzle was learning new bits about photography. Again, this allowed me to shift my focus onto the something that I am passionate about. Learning new techniques or experimenting with different styles of photography took my mind off of the outside world for a moment. I could obtain some sort of satisfaction from acquiring a new skill or getting the shot that I wanted. When you feel like your whole world is crumbling down around you, these small wins are what’s needed. When depression hits you tend to only look at the negative side of things. In a world of celebrity photographers who are gifted with brand new expensive equipment and have tons of money (or so it seems) to travel the world, it is easy to get down when you don’t get the responses, likes, attention or the high-paying contracts that others seem to get.
It’s Never Over
While I feel that I am through the worst of it having suffered probably 2 of the worst years of my life (yes, 2015 was not a good year either), I can say that as I look towards 2017 I feel optimistic. I feel the energy flowing back into me again. I pretty much left this blog and others for lack of energy and time but I promise in 2017 I will be taking them in a new direction. Hopefully I will be able to most more with different content.
However, if you are reading this and looking for the answers, seek the right help. In all honesty I should have sought professional help but living in South Korea, finding that is hard to comeby. This is still a country with one of the world’s highest suicide rates and professional help is tough to find for Koreans, it is even tougher to find for foreigners. At any rate, if you are needing more of this style of help (therapeutic photography) then then check out The One Project.
It is a great site that offers a ton of help. There is a free package that is perfect or other plans that help the project stay funded. I just signed up to get myself better for 2017. My goals are to make myself the best that I can be so that I can help ease the stress of the transition back home to Canada.
Lastly, I just like to thank Griffin and Valerie Stewart and my awesome wife Jinny who really helped me throughout 2016. Were it not for you guys, I probably would have not even made it this far in my career or photography. Thank you so much for your help and support.
The post How Photography Helped Me Overcome the Death of my Best Friend appeared first on The Sajin.
If that thrilling post title doesn’t pull you away from It’s a Wonderful Life or Sound of Music, I don’t know what will.
This essay is a local re-post of my op-ed posted with the Lowy Institute this month. The pic is President-Elect Donald Trump in his first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It well captures what a banana republic amateur hour set will be running the US shortly, which makes Trump the number one Asian security story of the year. That is Trump with his daughter and son-in-law business partners, but no US-side translator or Japan expert, because heh, what really matters is getting Trump Tower Tokyo built…
My top 5 security events for the region in 2016 follow the jump, but honestly you’re probably a lot more interested in my picks for the worst TV show and movie of the year.
As the year winds down, it is time to look back on the biggest stories in the always-tense northeast Asian region. End of year annual lists can be fairly ridiculous, but also a somewhat useful, if soft, methodological tool in that they force a ranking or prioritization on events. Events that may seem like a big deal at the time, blow over, while other reveal themselves as more critical. In that vein here are the five biggest regional shifts for the year 2016:
1. The Election of Donald Trump
Asian security has turned, since World War II, on the American regional commitment. During the Cold War, the US and Japan informally held communism at bay. When China partially defected on ‘socialist fraternity’ in the 1970s, it informally lined-up with the American ‘hegemonist’ it would today like to leave the region. As the region’s balance of power shifted after the Cold War, the US again played a dampening role, this time on China’s regional ambitions. Smaller states in the region have generally supported America’s post-Vietnam footprint here for that reasons.
All of which makes erratic, theatrical Donald Trump a hugely destabilizing prospect. This is a business-like region where elites tend toward dark suits, grey hair, and bland seriousness. Trump, right down to his orange skin and penchant for flamboyant lying, is the antithesis of this demeanor.
And indeed, the buffoonery and destabilization have already started. Trump brought family business members, but not a US-side translator, to his first meeting with Shinzo Abe. He has already managed to provoke China in way far more serious than he probably realizes with the Taiwan phone call. By contrast, had Hillary Clinton been elected, that would not even be in this top five.
2. The Impeachment of the South Korean President
Park Geun Hye was impeached by the South Korean parliament on December 9. The vote was badly lopsided against her (234-56), and her approval ratings are at an astonishing(ly bad) 4%. South Korea’s high court, the Constitutional Court, must now take up the case within the next 180 days. I believe they will impeach her, forcing a new presidential election within sixty days, which the left will almost certainly win. (My thoughts on ‘Choi-gate’ are here, here, and here.)
The left’s victory will likely re-orient South Korean foreign policy. The left here continues to believe in the Sunshine policy, a policy of engagement and dialogue (or appeasement to conservatives) with North Korea. It continues to oppose intelligence sharing with Japan (even though South Korea benefits much more than Japan from that). And it continues to oppose THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense. The latter two were pushed through by Park just prior to the explosion of ‘Choi-gate.’ If the left wins the presidential election by a wide enough margin, it may re-open those decisions.
Finally, the leading candidate on the left, Moon Jae In, has now begun speaking of South Korea taking a ‘balancing’ position between China and North Korea, and the US and Japan. This will almost certainly re-open US alliance issues, as an American defense commitment to South Korea is politically unsustainable, especially in the Trump era, if South Korea’s rejects its position as an ally.
3. The Two North Korean Nuclear Tests
It is practically a requirement that any such list include North Korean shenanigans and hijinks. Would the DPRK be what it is if it were content to act like a normal state? This year’s outrage was two nuclear tests in just nine months. The first on January 6 was approximately 10 kilotons; the second, on September 9, was approximately 30 KT. The yield of that last test means Pyongyang now has a weapon more powerful than those the Americans used against Japan.
Two tests in nine months breaks North Korea’s pattern of roughly one test every three years. It is unclear what signal the second test was to send. Perhaps it was simple defiance. The fourth nuclear test provoked a tough new sanctions package, so perhaps the fifth test is to inform us that no matter how much we sanction them, they’ll just keep charging ahead.
The last test also finally revealed the open secret that no one seriously expects North Korea to denuclearize, when the American director of national intelligence admitted as much. Denuclearization is formal US policy, but I cannot think of anyone in the North Korea analyst community, hawk or dove, who thinks it will happen. North Korea is now a nuclear weapons state whether we like it or not.
4. South China Sea Cat-and-Mouse Ramps Up
This is not exactly in northeast Asia, but it involves China and likely will suck in Japan in the future. China’s expansion into the South China Sea has been twenty years in the works, but this year, the zero-sum nature of the tussle over control starkly emerged with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s defection on the shaky coalition to push-back on Chinese control.
Ironically, it was the Philippines which brought the issue to the Hague, where it won a major ruling in its favor in July. But in October, newly-elected Duterte jetted off to Beijing to apparently make a deal exchanging acceptance of Chinese claims for development assistance. He made sure to add while there, “I announce my separation from the United States…Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.”
It is unclear if Duterte can bring the very pro-American Philippine military with him. Nor is it clear if Duterte can survive the public backlash if he surrenders the islet closest to the Philippines, Scarborough Shoal, to overt Chinese control. But like many states around China, he is far more eager to trade with China than fight with it. Hawks expecting a robust anti-Chinese coalition have not properly grappled with how well Beijing has forestalled that with offers of trade and assistance – which makes Trump’s decision to cancel the Trans-Pacific Partnership all the more misguided.
This was also the year that South Korea finally agreed to missile defense. The system is not nearly as destabilizing as China says it is, but China has chosen to plant its flag on this issue, so it makes the top 5. THAAD provides only enough shielding to partially deter North Korea and defend mostly US assets in South Korea. It does not provide robust coverage of South Korean cities, nor is peering into China (as the China so duplicitously, endlessly argue). America has other, satellite assets that cover Chinese strategic launches.
Nevertheless, China has framed this as a fork-in-the-road issue for South Korea. An overt choice between the US and China has long been an existential anxiety for Seoul, and it is curious why Beijing chose this issue to force that choice. So uncomfortable was the South Korean left with Park’s acceptance of THAAD, that several opposition lawmakers flew to China the day after the decision to apologize. Moon’s ‘balancing’ comments capture this strategic tug-of-war as well. China is now forcing a long unwanted grand strategy debate on Seoul.
One of the first dishes everyone gets to know in Korean cuisine always seems to be bibimbap (비빔밥), especially if you have yet to visit Korea. That’s no surprise, since it’s also one of the most famous dishes among the Koreans.
The word bibimbap means ‘mixed rice’, which it accordingly stands for.
비비다 = to mix
밥 = rice
It’s a rice dish with assorted vegetables, and you’re supposed to mix them all together before eating. But while the vegetables used might vary depending on the restaurant, there’s a certain symbolism to them that doesn’t ever change.
Bibimbap originated from Jeonju, South Korea. While it’s worth the trip to go down there to try authentic bibimbap, if you’re in Seoul and pressed for time–fear not! You don’t have to leave the city to get yourself a great bibimbap tasting experience. Let us present you the best bibimbap in Seoul.
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #1: Gogung (고궁)
This restaurant located in Myeongdong, is often considered to make the best bibimbap in Seoul, especially by the older Koreans. Their style of bibimbap mimics the version of the dish that was served to the kings already during the Joseon Dynasty. However, the ambiance of the restaurant itself mixes modern and tradition.
They serve two types of bibimbap: Jeonju bibimbap (전주비빔밥) and dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥). Jeonju bibimbap is served cold, made specifically Jeonju style, and even using ingredients directly delivered from Jeonju. Meanwhile, dolsot bibimbap is served steaming hot. It is comes in a black hot stove pot, giving a distinctly different taste to the dish, though the ingredients remain the same.
Location: Jung-gu, Chungmuro-2-ga 12-14 (중구 충무로2가 12-14)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #2: Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan (전주 중앙 회관)
Here’s another bibimbap restaurant right in Myeongdong. Although smaller than Gogung, it has been around nearly fifty years. It also serves both Jeonju-style and dolsot-style bibimbap, though the taste of their dishes is often regarded as richer, sweeter, and more intense than traditional bibimbap. Jeonju Jungang Hockwan, located in a small alleyway, seems to be geared mainly towards tourists. Although this makes the price of the food slightly higher than its local counterparts, it’s still worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Location: Jung-gu Chungmuro-1-ga 24-11 (중구 충무로 1가 24-11)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #3: Mokmyeoksanbang (목멱산방)
If you want to add even more tradition to your eating experience, head over to this Hanok (Korean-style housing) restaurant with great traditional ambience inside. Located in Namsan, they have a variety of different bibimbap dishes to choose from. A peculiarity about the dishes you are served is that the bowl comes with only the rice and meat inside it; the vegetables are neatly served on a separate plate.
Location: Jung-gu, Yejang-dong (중구 예장동)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #4: Walkerhill Ondal
It may be unusual to get your bibimbap from a restaurant attached to a luxury hotel, but Ondal Restaurant at the Walkerhill Hotel is one of the few that specialize in Korean food. The ingredients used in their bibimbap are of the highest quality possible, using organic vegetables, with a mix of modern and traditional in creating the dish. The price tag on this bibimbap is hefty, but if you want to enjoy a luxury bibimbap meal with great views of the Han River and you have the money to spend, make sure to make the trip over here.
Location: Gwangjin-gu Walkerhill-ro 177, 2F (광진구 왈커힐로 177 2층)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #5: Sae Byeok Jib (새벽집)
If you happen to be on the southern side of the Han River and get struck with a craving for bibimbap, Sae Byeok Jib (새벽집) is the place to go. While it’s not a restaurant specializing in bibimbap, their yukhoe bibimbap (육회비빔밥), or “raw beef bibimbap”, is excellent. It’s also a great opportunity to try raw beef for the first time without its taste overwhelming you.
It comes with a side of seonjitguk (선짓국) which is basically coagulated blood. Not everyone might dare to try it, but if you are brave enough, you just might find yourself liking it! The price of the dish is quite affordable. This restaurant is known for its pricy and delicious galbi (갈비), aka “ribs”.
Location: Gangnam-gu, Cheongdam-dong 129-10 (강남구 청담동 129-10)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #6: Grandma Yu’s Bibimbap (유할머니의 비빔밥)
One of the most authentic Jeonju bibimbap dishes is made right at Grandma Yu’s. It’s been around for 40 years. This restaurant is popular among locals, to the point where you can easily find yourself waiting in line for a seat in the restaurant. They also have dishes beside the bibimbap, if for whatever reason your serving didn’t fill you up.
Location: Jung-gu, Bukchang-dong 12-2 (중구 북창동 12-2)
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #7: Bon Bibimbap (본비빔밥)
Bon Bibimbap is a franchise that you can find all around Seoul without having to make a trek to a certain area just to get yourself a bowl of bibimbap. It’s more recent than most of the other restaurants on this list, but its long lunch lines will tell you immediately that their food is every bit as good. They perhaps have the most diverse selection of bibimbap, with very affordable prices.
Location: see restaurant locator here
Best Bibimbap in Seoul #8: Matna Bunshik (맛나분식)
This is a small restaurant located in a small alleyway in the heart of Wangsimni. It is especially popular among the many students in the area. Their cheese dolsot bibimbap is to die for! You won’t see too many people talking about this restaurant because it’s not known to people outside of the area, but everyone who has visited there vouches for their food.
Location: Seongdong-gu, Haengdang-dong (성동구 행당동)
Have you already tried the best bibimbap in Seoul? Let us know where in the comments below!
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
“DRIP by drip our society is being poisoned with headlines selling hatred,” begins a video by Stop Funding Hate. “Right now the press use fear and division to sell more papers and they don’t care what we think because hate pays.”
Stop Funding Hate is a social media-based grassroots campaign aiming to deter companies like Virgin, Waitrose and Specsavers from inadvertently funding racism by paying for advertisement space in the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun. The hope is that the advertisers will see that the hate speech presented in these papers is damaging to society and that they will pull their ads from those publications.
Intrigued by the campaign, I got in touch with Richard Wilson, the campaign’s co-founder, and posed the following questions.
What motivated you to start Stop Funding Hate?
Katie Hopkins’s article in the Sun last year comparing migrants to “cockroaches” was a real wake-up call for me. I’ve met survivors of the Rwandan genocide and have friends from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where similar language was used to incite ethnic killings. I was seeing comments from Congolese friends on Facebook horrified to see this dehumanising language in the UK — a country that they had taken to be safe and stable.
Then the UN put out a statement pointing out that the Sun was using the language of genocide, warning that “history has shown us time and again the dangers of demonising foreigners and minorities […] It is extraordinary and deeply shameful to see these types of tactics being used […] simply because racism and xenophobia are so easy to arouse in order to win votes or sell newspapers.”
Research by Liz Gerard has shown that the anti-migrant coverage has actually been intensifying, with the Daily Express and Daily Mail in particular running an increasing number of anti-migrant front pages each year. At the same time community tensions are rising and there are growing divisions in our society. I’m personally quite worried about what will happen if things continue in this direction.
So far, you have aimed the campaign at Virgin, Specsavers and Waitrose. Why have you chosen these companies specifically?
Virgin and Waitrose are companies known for a particular set of values, which many people would say are fundamentally at odds with advertising in newspapers like the Sun, Mail and Express. Specsavers are clearly also a well-loved company, about which people have a lot of positive feelings. Again their association with these very aggressive and divisive newspapers just doesn’t sit right.
Specsavers issued a response after members of the Facebook community expressed their displeasure at one of their advertisements and threatened to boycott the company. How do you feel about the company’s response?
We were amazed by the scale of the public response to the Specsavers ad. We hadn’t originally identified them as a key company to engage with. But when we saw that they had an advert next to an anti-migrant front page headline in the Daily Express, we put a couple of things on social media that a lot of people picked up.
We think it’s commendable that Specsavers have responded to public concern over this issue rather than ignoring it. We know that this idea of “ethical advertising” is a new and emerging one, but we hope that Specsavers and other companies will start to factor it into their future marketing plans.
It’s a sad reality that migrant-bashing sells papers. The Sun, Mail and Express are more interested in profit than genuine reportage. But though we may completely disagree with what they say, they can exercise the freedom of expression (as long as it’s not hate speech, of course). Do you think what they print is hate speech?
The UN has stated unequivocally that elements of the British media are engaging in hate speech — and they’ve called on the government to do more to tackle it.
We are fully committed to freedom of expression, not just for newspapers but also for the customers of companies like Virgin, Waitrose and Specsavers who may want to express a view on these companies’ association with the anti-migrant press. We recognise that there are good reasons for treading carefully in the area of government regulation so the UN is actually going further than what we are calling for.
Our campaign is also about freedom of choice. The overwhelming majority of people in the UK don’t buy — and might never buy — the Sun, Daily Mail or Daily Express. Yet it’s currently very difficult to avoid shopping with one company or another that advertises in these newspapers.
Freedom of expression also means that the public has the right to question, criticise and challenge big media outlets like the Sun, Mail and Express. Yet the aggressive behaviour of the press can mute or even silence such criticism.
Obviously the Mail, Express and Sun are the most shameless offenders when it comes to migrant bashing. But the Telegraph and the Times generally also portray migrants in an unfavourable light. Will you focus on them also?
This is a campaign that focuses very specifically on the most extreme cases. We don’t take sides in political debates. This is not about whether people like or dislike a particular newspaper, but rather whether that newspaper is engaging in activities that are causing significant social harm. In this respect the evidence we’ve seen suggests that the Daily Mail, Express and Sun are in a category all of their own.
Of course companies care about the way people (especially their target market) perceive their brand, but if we really want them to change, wouldn’t we have to affect their bottom lines? Is this type of thing what you’re hoping to achieve or is media attention enough?
I think ultimately brand perception does affect the bottom line, otherwise companies wouldn’t invest so much in it.
Alongside that, supporters of the campaign are already making their own individual choices over whether to continue shopping with the companies we are engaging with.
We aren’t telling people what they should or shouldn’t do — and I don’t think we need to, as everyone’s individual circumstances are different. But if enough people get involved in the campaign, we do think it could have a significant impact on the bottom line, alongside those less tangible things like brand perception.
Some might describe campaigns such as yours as mere clicktivism. How would you respond to that? Though social media has great power to rally voices around a cause, does Stop Funding Hate have the momentum to keep going?
I wouldn’t make such a big distinction between online and offline campaigning. Whether it’s a Facebook page, a phone call, or a letter, these are just tools that can be used, more or less effectively, to communicate and organise. The key thing is how well you use those tools.
Whether or not our own campaign succeeds, we think it’s likely that this issue — and the public concern surrounding it — will not go away until we see a significant improvement in the way that the British press behaves towards migrants and other demonised groups.
How do you see things moving forward for the campaign?
We are currently working on a major new campaign focusing on one of the UK’s leading ethical brands, with a new video that we hope to release very soon. We’ve also got some big plans for the Christmas period, which is obviously the “peak” advertising season for many companies.
The campaign keeps on growing and gaining new supporters — from faith groups and academic experts to people who work within the media and are horrified by the way things have been going. Our biggest challenge is staying on top of all of the excellent ideas and offers of help that keep coming in.
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