Tuesday, November 23, 2010

23 November 2010

Today, I felt like going back home and not coming back here again. I had been here for too long, done so much but somehow, there is still some sense of dissatisfaction in me. Teachers are okay, friends are great, everything's good but there is nothing extraordinary :(.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just a dream

Just a dream

"Open my eyes, yeah.. it was only just a dream.
So I travel back, down that road.."

Banana Milk in Korea?

My table is always a mess..

우리 나라에서 딸기우유, 초콜릿우유와 일반우유만 있는데 한국에서 더 한 맛이 있다. 이는 바나나우유이다.

[In Malaysia, we have strawberry, chocolate and plain old white milk. In Korea, they have another that is the banana flavored milk.]

말레이시아에서 MILO에 대신 우유는 인기가 별로 없어서 이런 경우는 바나나우유가 안 생겼다 (아마 우리 날씨는 우유 쉽게 망치다).

그러나 한국에서 아침마다 우유가 옆에 있어야한다. 이 때문에 한국 우유 회사는 많이 타입 우유를 살 수 있다. 또한 한국과 말레이시아도 커피맛 우유가 있는데 사실은 요즘 매점빼고 일반 가게는 못 찾는다.

[In Malaysia, other than that of MILO drinks, milk has no popularity here. This makes it even impossible to see banana flavoured milk. (Well, I think maybe because our country's weather makes milk easily spoilt)]

[But in Korea, milk is very common for breakfast. Hence, in Korea, the milk company can sell more milk varieties than in Malaysia.]

[Also in both countries, coffee favoured milks are available but honestly, aside from convenience store in Korea, it's really hard to find them these days in normal stores.]


When I first arrived to Korea, I had no idea that banana milk would be so common than back home in Malaysia. Anyhow, I still like my chocolate milk.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Korea - College Scholastic Ability

Today, for the first time in this week, I heard the sound of a plane flying above my uni. My university is located quite near to an air force base and also near a US military camp. Sirens, jets flypass, etc were common occurences in Daegu.

The reason for the sudden disappearance? KCSAT (Korean College Scholastic Ability Test) or 수능 in Korean. Some dislike it, some like it. In fact, most foreigners like it ^^ This is the only time where traffic is at minimum and sounds are greatly reduced. A huge majority of Koreans are really hardworking people and exams are the only means of accessing their capabilities.

The life of a high schooler begins at 7am and ends at 9pm. Throughout the day, they do nothing but study. Not many have the chance to participate in co-curricular activities and those who did them, well, they must be really good or else they might not have good future. Students caught not studying are severely reprimanded.

This is so different from my schooling life. When I attended high school, outdoor activities constituted a huge chunk of my time in school. Studying was never imposed whereas in Korea, there are teachers to ensure students do study. Tough life huh?

It's sad to know that he, one day, will soon face the reality of competitive education in Korea

On the day of the exam, most flights were rescheduled, military planes were grounded and anything that makes noise were discouraged near schools. Typically, it is a silent day. It is also customary to see students following strange superstitions like eating sticky rice (떡) which means that they will not forget what they had studied, not washing your hair before your exam, dreaming of pig means good luck to you, etc.

Departmental stores here took advantages on this annual event by promoting "brain" food like enriched milk, green tea-enriched make-up, etc. In Malaysia, we had advertisement of Stabilo pencils. lol. The one where nerds... opps.. I mean top students claiming that the eraser and pencil works wonder during exams. so good ah? haiyah, no wonder some friends obtained better results in exams than me. hehe. And one more, some chicken essence brand too... ah, nevermind...

Until today, I cannot concur whether exam is good or bad. Some might say having exams does not test our interpersonal skills, it makes us more introvert, wrapped in our cocoons of books and there will be no meaning of growing up as a normal beings and not as competitors among friends.

Without exams, how are we going to distinguish ourselves from the rest, the mediocre and the better ones? How are we going to know jobs that we are good in? How are we going to test our knowledge?

Most students in Korea will make it in CSAT, some will not. They probably will resit next year. Like every year, it's common to see streams of exasperated parents visiting temples and praying so that they children will make good in this exam, the exam that will determine their sons' and daughters' future..

PS. Well, this post was partly "inspired" by my coursemates. lol. We were to take English conversation test last Monday and a week before the exam, our professor told everyone the listening texts that might come out for exam (we were told of 3 but only 1 will be for the test). I did not study the texts at all because there is no point memorizing the text for LISTENING TEST!!! So while the professor distributed the test sheets, he waited for while. So I thought, "GOSH, WHY ARE SOME STUDENTS WRITING ANSWERS ON THAT PAPER!!! (I am a bit panic la) EXAM STARTED ALREADY AH? ISN'T THIS ENGLISH LISTENING TEST OR HAD I MISTAKENLY UNDERSTOOD? IF NOT ENGLISH LISTENING TEST... HOW AM I GONNA FILL IN THE ANSWER!!! BO (did not) STUDY LA!!! LEEMA" So I asked the professor, he told me he was waiting for the students to just read the questions. The test will start soon. FUUUHHH... LISTENING TEST... *relieve*... Listening Test also memorized the passage. lol.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 November 2010

Hi peeps,

The smells, the sights

My exam is around the corner
So I think I need to temporary stop blogging ㅋㅋ
Can't be blogging too often right?

Maybe I'll continue next week
Trying to de-digitalize my world but to no avail

수업을 듣기가 힘들어 하루 중엔 수업을 듣기 때문에 점심과 저녁 빨리 먹었더니 배가 넘 아파 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 방학 방학 빨리 와~

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ADV Cycling at the National Parks of Korea

Do you love cycling? I remember when I started cycling, my first bike was the tricycle. It took a long time before I started to learn to ride the real bicycle. In Korea, there are lots of nice places where you can cycle.

Along the coast of Pohang? Eastern coast of Korea...

Along the defunct railway track? In Hapcheon-gun...

Along the hills? Pictured at Muju..

or down the skiing slopes? hmmn... wild ideas?


Autumn is the perfect time for outdoor activities; a crowd of people head to mountain areas to see the magnificent foliage.

Well, if you missed out on the peak foliage season, then how about going bicycling? If hiking is about getting to the top of a mountain, then with cycling, you get to savor the beautiful scenery and ambience you have so far overlooked.

Touring Korea’s National Parks with a Bicycle

The Korea National Park Service announced that they are going to add four more cycling routes to the existing four, so operating a total eight routes.

In the cycling programs offered at the Hallyeohaesang National Park and the Deogyusan National Park, you can rent bicycles for free at the respective park offices.

The Korea National Park Service is planning to create extra cycling routes of 20km at the four parks including Seoraksan, Naejangsan, Jirisan and Woraksan.

Choose a Course that Is Right for Your Capacity

When cycling, it is important to choose a course that fits your strength and skills, and also to be mindful of safety instructions.

For example, if you are on a downhill road, you shouldn’t exceed 10km/h by applying hand brakes. As in common sense, you must wear a helmet as well as restrain from using mobile phones or ear plugs to listen to music.

And also, should the unfortunate situation happens while you were on a downhill and you had lost control of your bicycle, then you should rather let go of the handles instead of holding tightly on to them, which is usually the instinct.

Remember, abiding safety rules aren’t only about your own safety; it’s as much about the other cyclists and hikers who are near you.

If you are one of those who aren’t really into the taxing, energy-consuming hiking activities, then you might want to consider trying a cycling program at the national parks!

>Link< (So cycle safely wherever you are, Malaysia, Korea, Mars, Pluto, etc)

Monday, November 15, 2010

ADV Korea’s Women of the Sea (Haenyeo)

Do you know what my former Korean language teacher had in common...

...with her?

They are both tenacious and hard working people. The former pic was my Korean language teacher when I was in Level 2. She got no other thing to do than continue talking on and on about food. A very jovial and active teacher.

One thing I like when I was learning Korean was that the teachers were very kind. They were so kind that even my neighbours were of no match to them. Really...

The last time I met her, she was so thin I thought she went for slimming body wrap like Rosie did in the Phuah Chu Kang comedy sitcoms (Those were the days when simple and vague comedies can make us laugh). For the first time, she wore high heels, really pointed ones and let me not talk about what she wore ^^ lol.

"So what's your name hey baby what's your name oh yeah
sexys my name yea sexys my name"

Mizz Nina Feat. Colby O Donis in "What You Waiting For"

Back to the story. :) In Korea, there is one tradition that is fast disappering. It is the tradition of women diving for living. There's the brief info..

" 'Haenyeo' (the sea women) are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju. What used to amount to as many as 15,000 haenyeo in 1970 has now plummeted to a mere third of that number; and most of them are over seventy years of age, meaning that haenyeo are fast disappearing. Nowadays, instead of the strenuous lifestyle as a haenyeo, many Jeju women are turning elsewhere for other possibilities of living.

In light of this sad reality, The LA Times published a feature article on Korean haenyeo, including interviews with the youngest haenyeo in Korea (33-year-old Ms. Kim) who has chosen the harsh path so that the precious tradition could be preserved..."

Read more at this link

Hi readers

Dear readers,

When I started blogging, it was to maintain my writing skills and language proficiency. Before that, I wrote stories/poems for my school magazines (it started in Standard 4 when I wrote for my school magazine) and not through the blog like what I am doing now.

I love writing but sometimes I can't think of any new ideas to write especially the ones that of your liking. So now, I am giving you the opportunity to decide what you want to read! ^^

Hope you will enjoy the liberty on choosing what you are interested to know and experience through this blog. Feel free to vote on what you would want to read at the poll located at the top left corner of the blog :)

Recently, I was selected together with 54 students to write about things related to Korea (which I did long long ago, wei, they should pay me la...) This is mainly to promote/introduce Korean culture to readers besides my normal entry.

Best regards,


Sunday, November 14, 2010

14 November 2010

Sweet Autumn, leaves falling, life continues.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Believe

요즘 저는 공부하고 싶어도 급한 일이 많이 생겼어요. 오늘은 수업 다 마친 후에 한국어 수업을 든 거에요. 한시 이렇게 빨리 지나도 배의 소리가 조용히 난 것 같았어요.아~ "수업 수고했어요"다고 들었어요 내일 주말인데 어떤 일하고 싶은 것 하나 더 하나 생각했어요.

학생식당에 가는 길 때 여학생은 저를 갑자기 방해했어요. 신문을 주고 싶은 이유라서 저도 신문 잡았어요. 신문 제목은 "'학자금 대출' 고민에 여대생 목에 숨진 채 발견 (A female student committed suicide because of loan was discovered)"다고 나왔어요.

왜 한국은 이 문제가 이렇게 많이 생겼니? 세상에서 우리는 한번만 태어날수있도록 후회하지 말아요. 사실 이런 경우은 피할 수 있어요. 인간의 문제와 실수가 있어도 그냥 쉽게 풀으면 해결할 수 없어요. 우리는 계속하라~ 포기하지 말고 새로운 시작합시다

Link : '학자금 대출' 고민에 여대생 목매 숨진 채 발견

이 노래는 한국어, 중국어와 일본어로 불렸다

This song was sung during ICIS in 3 languages - Korean, Chinese and Japanese. This song (I believe) was one of theme song for "My Sassy Girl" (a Korean movie). The movie was about a guy falling in love with a girl but the girl could not reciprocate due to her inner past.

So they make a promise to meet one day but the girl did not turn up. Awww. Fate or not, in the end the boy met the girl and they fell in love again. Typical Korean movie. ;)

Spent some of my time today to edit the blog's template to a newer one but decided to switch back. Blogspot.com does not has great templates compare to wordpress.com. It makes editing or creating new templates look immaturish here. What a hassle...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

G20 - Hi Seoul, Korea

From today, Korea will again come under the international spotlight. This time, it is not about North Korea sinking another ship or somebody famous committing suicide in South Korea. It is G20. G20 is basically a grouping comprising 20 members from among the highest GDP countries.

Korea is well known for its enthusiatism to showcase itself to the world. I can't say much but this time, I can agree that Korea really put all out to make this summit a success.

I went to Seoul last week and there was lots of events organized by the Korean government. It sucks to see lots of people crowded in one small place. It was even suckier to face the reality of having to pass through so many security checks each time.

Today while I was having my Statistic class (생활속의 통계), I thought of something else (more interesting). I am curious on why buying a fast food set meal in Korea always cost more than the same set meal in Malaysia even when the meals were in the same size.

Well, the prices differ depending on the country's purchasing power. The prices were based on the cost of renting outlets, transportation costs, raw materials, profits, etc and the final sum of the product will be passed on to the buyer, which is you, the customers.

Hence, when a country desires to become a high income country. Everything will go up. Prices, salary, cost of living, etc. Malaysia desires to be a high income country by 2020. The problem is whether the rate of increasing income matches with the poverty level of the country.

For example, if a middle class guy has an annual income of RM 1000 while another poor guy has an income of RM 100. By the time the income increases say 10-percent, the middle class guy will earn RM 1100 but the poor guy will only see an addition of RM 10 to equal up RM 110. RM 100 and RM 10 is a huge difference.

It is of no use to become a high income nation if the poor will continue to struggle. This will only widen the weath gap and ultimately, discontentment will happen. The increase of income does not change the purchasing power of the people.

In Korea, 1000 Won or 1 USD can buy only a small roll of kimbab (rice wrapped with seaweed) while in Malaysia, RM 1 can buy a pack of rice with small amount of protein.

Nobody benefited even when the income increased. The notions "developed country" or "High-income country" are of no praticality. Common sense tells us that if a person is staying in a High-income country, the cost of living will definately be higher so less savings.

Why would some people wish to stay somewhere else more develop? What is the use of it? Why would some countries hope to be called rich nations when even their own people could not afford a decent meal?

Instead, let us educate the people, make them think, make them create something else extraordinary, be it when we are still a poor or developing country. Let us all not be too obsessed in obtaining "High-income status".

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future..."

- Victor Hugo

Happy G 20!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LCIS 2010 - Muju Resort

As expected, after a hiatus from blogging scene, I am back (albeit a temporary one)! I am busy with my assignments and of course trips to here and there. The latest being a trip to Seoul, a detour from Suwon. Few weeks ago (lol, I had forgotten the date) I went to Muju Resort.

A fantastic resort actually if you are staying in Tirol Hotel (stayed there before :)) and have money to spend. I am lacking of it these days. Too much unnecessary spending... haiz...

LCIS stands for "Leadership Conference for International Student", with a diverse participation of over 60 countries, it was a chance not to be missed by international students in Korea. I am lucky to be selected but was quite reluctant to go after being selected because I had exams.

My main purpose of this trip is of course, to meet new people. Kinda bored after being in the class for too long, seeing the same people day in day out. haha. I need some change.

The camp was a 4D 3N experience but I could not attend the first 2 days because I had exam, chemistry. I am seriously not well verse in chemistry but I can be said to be good in biology (if it's in english and not korean ;)). Nevertheless I insisted on going there, alone so as not to miss this once in the lifetime experience.

To reach Muju Resort, one had to consider the timing. I went there on early autumn and not winter (for skiing) so there was practically no direct bus to Muju. I arranged my own trip list, with transportation plans and stuff like that. *Thanks to my department teachers for helping me too*

The way to go there to Muju is by stopping at Yeongdong (영동) from Dongdaegu Railway Station (동대구역). After arriving there, one have to take a bus or taxi to Yeongdong Bus Terminal (영동 시외 버스 터미널) to Muju Bus Terminal (무주 시외 버스 터미널). From here there are 2 options. Either take a Muju shuttle bus (which is free!) or a bus to Kuchungdong (구천동) which is next to Muju Resort and take another bus there. Only 3600 Won for this bus.

However, my advise is to take the free shuttle bus directly to the destination, very very convenient compare to the normal way because it was quite cold when I reached the Muju Bus Terminal at the foot of the hill.

Nevertheless, when I reached Yeongdong, I am lucky to have a nice Korean lad (that was sitting next to me) to assist me. He told me that it was quite late and would be better to go there only the next morning.

Well, the camp is more important and I am already planning to walk up the hill (lol) if I could not find the way up here. Just kidding. He offered me a ride up to Muju Bus Terminal because his home is in Muju and his mum is fetching him there. Great.

I was quite embarrassed while in the car with him and his mum, because the trip to the station was sooooooo long... Luckily I can converse in Korean well if not... hahahahaah, I will be lost in the jungles of Korea. :)

The trip to Muju was dark. Maybe it is located in the countryside, very few cars were spotted and street lamps were rarely found, the car's headlamp being the only source of light. hmmn.

I reached there at 7pm something. Most events were over by now but I was hungry.. I did not eat a lot during lunch (exam stress) and looking forward to have a big, hot, delicious dinner (Sometimes I treat myself after exam) which turns out to be, well, another far-fetched dream when arriving late.

Nothing was served and I grabbed whatever food that came to my sight, in this case 떡 which is s***y for LCIS participants whom had already ate their dinner and it was like Malaysian food to me because I am soooo hungry.

Along the way to my room, I bought a burger (I did something bad - I remembered I microwaved a burger while it was still in its packaging. Not gonna to repeat this anymore, very carcinogenic...) and 2 rows of kimbap for my dream dinner.

I did not stay in my room because my roomates were having drinking party until late up night and I was already exhausted by the time I reached Muju. Frankly, I slept really late packing my bags for the trip and studying all night for my exam on the day I went Muju. So not in mood to party lah.

The next day, we had some games and a halloween party. Nothing special because I think halloween to the Koreans was still another "Western" party so nothing interesting. The following day, we went Jeonju which is famous for its food (Note - bibimbap) but spent our time here doing nothing more than eating the food. Not much sightseeing too.

The camp was just so-so, really not as I expected but what can we say, it is the first time the Korean government organized this camp for foreigners. At the same time, sometimes the foreigners themselves were pretty wild. But met lots of people, be it with Koreans or the non-Koreans.


9 Nov 2010

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~