Saturday, October 29, 2011

Exam Over, Whats next?

One of the many songs during Asia Song Festival 2011 in Daegu :)

"Music" by AAA (Though I can't understand Japanese, I enjoyed it!!!)

The original version

When time passes so quickly, sometimes one feels afraid of what's going to happen next. Like everyone, I am looking forward for the future but am a bit insecure on what am I going to be in the future. If only life is already laid down in front of your eyes and we just follow that direction - that would be pretty easy.

I always like poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. If we continue to believe in fate and not trying to improve ourselves, life would be hard and we wouldn't recover from failures. Nevertheless, I think what makes me a little different is that I am somehow determine to pursue my dreams but at the same time willing to sacrifice some of them because of personal reasons - we can't have everything on this world right? ^^

Therefore, there comes the importance of money. The world would be a better place if each and every people have enough to spend, sufficient to eat and a shelter. If every countries value humanity, there wouldn't be any money wasted on wars and foreign interventions. Contrary to popular belief that money is evil, I think money is just great as long as we know how to spend it well! I love to travel and without money, I can only dream.

But that's another story.

So what's my path? Be a young but handsome beggar? Hehe. Just Kidding! :P Be dependent on parents? Nah. Work after graduate? Maybe. Medicine in John Hopkins? Of course this time again, getting a scholarship is a must because over there, 300,000 USD is a very very huge sum of money for me to study there. But I am not smart (book wise) in Korea because of Korean language.. :( The "feel" of graduating soon is worrisome but I am sure I will do fine, like always. Hopefully..

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice, it is not a thing to be waited for - it is a thing to be achieved..." William Jennings Bryant, American politician.


I have a huge liking on hot and spicy food. Sometimes, if reincarnation does really exist, I think I must not be a Chinese. I think I am either a curry loving Indian or Sambal (spicy sauce) is-a-must-in-every-meal Malay hardcore fan. But every time I taste spicy food, my eyes will turn watery... Hot.. Hot.. In Korea, every dishes tend to be spicy (they add chili powder even in plain soups! -_-"). Imagine going out with a girl and sweating profusely like if you are gonna die of heat stroke. Hmmmmnn..


Ahhh... At last it's fall here in Korea.. You can feel fall had arrived when it's impossible to go out with a pair of shorts - too cold. It looks weird to be wearing only a plain T-shirt to class when everyone else are wearing outer. I do miss summer. It wouldn't be so cold swimming on autumn days than during summer. But eating 잉어빵 on cold windy days while enjoying the colors of fall sounds great!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daegu - Asia Song Festival 2011 (I)

Two more days and then, it's "Hello" to mid term exams but still I'm not as focused as last time. I went for a concert in Daegu yesterday - Asia Song Festival 2011. Before deciding to go, I reminded myself that this is my first Korean concert and it's free (VIP pass) so why not?

Daegu Asia Song Festival 2011 ticket!

Peter Ho from Taiwan

Like Being Hit by a Bullet, Chinese version



And I got a nice seat too, it was only a short distance from the stage and wow - you can see them performing without relying on it being projected on the big screen all the time. And most importantly, it was in Daegu - my city.

BEAST supporters (Fiction, fiction... yes they were there yesterday...)

Yesterday was great, I like a Japanese song by AAA. It was a happy song, so nice and all my study stress dissipated away. Fuhh... Couldn't describe it as it was all in Japanese but music is universal and I liked it very much. G.NA's song "Black & white", she was so hot! erm.. I mean her song was great! ^^

AAA from Japan

Lee Seung Gi, hmmn.

SNSD or Girls' Generation

Just a kit lens (and not zoom lens) but quite a clear pic

I saw a shot of a Malaysian fan on the screen, instinctively, I recorded it. It was by Super Junior. Sadly, I do not know the names of any members of this group - not a K-pop fan. Yet. Haha :)

Super Junior

The second guy (plump guy) was quite funny because he spoke in a Daegu dialect, the fifth guy said "I do not have any plans of coming here (Daegu) again" and everyone were like "Huh?". Then when he said "I'm only lying", the girls were all like "AHHH.." -_-"

Besides the rest of the well-known ones from Korea, there were songs by Perfume from Japan (They were like dolls!), Tata Young from Thailand (but not so "young" anymore), Bibi Chou from China (Never knew her English is good!) and many more (including a few Korean performers too like Miss A).

Will update again after my exam! Good luck!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

8 October 2011

Everywhere in Daegu, I can listen to this song. In the malls, phone shops, restaurants, gas stations, and even on TV. It's like this song is now a hit in Korea. Previously, it was Lollipop by 2NE1 and Big Bang.

"아직 난 널 잊지 못하고
모든 걸 다 믿지 못하고
이렇게 널 보내지 못하고 오늘도

다시 만들어볼게 우리 이야기 끝나지 않게 아주 기나긴
살갗을 파고 스며드는 상실감은 잠시 묻어둘게
새로 써 내려가 시작은 행복하게 웃고 있는 너와 나
네가 날 떠나지 못하게 배경은 출구가 없는 좁은 방 안

아무렇지 않게 네게 키스하고
달콤한 너의 곁을 떠나가질 못해
우린 끝이라는 건 없어

이렇게 난 또 (Fiction in Fiction in Fiction)
잊지 못하고 (Fiction in Fiction in Fiction)
내 가슴 속에 끝나지 않을 이야길 쓰고 있어..."

Fiction by Beast

But... I... prefer... Secondhand Serenade... Boys like Girls... Big Bang... Beast??? My exam's next week so will stop blogging temporarily. 요즘 난 항상 정신이 없고 길을 좀 잊어버릴거같아.. 이제 어떻게 돌아갈수있는지 잘 몰라 나 계속할까? 나 포기할까? 난 행복위해서 원하는것 다 잡아야하겠는데.. 세상에 가끔씩 이렇게 어렵게 살지만 빛 나를 비추면 다시 계속할게

My First, Her First - Korean First Birthday

When I was young, I like going for buffet. Firstly, my parents will pay for my share and secondly, I like the varieties of food. However, I think growing up changes how you think and react. Of course I still like going to buffet but I am no more into eating as much as I can.

I like the atmosphere. I cherished the feel of being at peace while having a nice simple dinner by the sea, with live band jazzing near me. That was in Penang but now in Korea, I like observing people and taking pictures. I was invited to first birthday party (첫돌) by my former Korean language teacher last month.

Her daughter just turned a year older. So like every Koreans, she and her husband organized a small party for family and friends to celebrate this occasion. In Korea, the biggest occasions are the New Year's Day (following the Lunar calendar) and Korean Thanksgiving (추석 or Chuseok) so Korean First Birthday is not a very grand event.

The best gift to give on Korean First Birthday is still money! The standard amount to give is between 30,000 Won to 50,000 Won depending on your relationship to her/him. By the way, you can give more. (Source : My Korean Classmate) And unlike in Chinese family, do not cuddle the baby!

During that dinner, I was the only foreigner. It sucks to be the only one but I practiced my Korean so it was okay... There, one of my former Korean language teachers was as sharp as a hawk correcting every mistakes I made while speaking in Korean. Nice experience huh? -_-"

Luckily I can understand her, if not she will be like talking to a frying pan. Oops. What did I do there? And what happened next? Okay okay. We arrived at SeaHouse restaurant around 6pm but most guests were still not around. Like every typical Korean First Birthday party or wedding ceremony, it starts and ends very quickly. So, we were asked to eat first. After dinner, there was a short video presentation of the child.

My first round - The pizza and 파전 (Korean pancake) were way below expectation

My second/last helping - Rambutans (Hmmn) but the best was the yogurt

After that, there's a game session and finally, the climatic event! The What-is-she/he-going-to-be-in-future event - the child should select an item from a tray carefully arranged with a huge coin, a bow (very uncommon), a small toy and a book or a bible (?).

If the baby picked the huge coin, she is going to be someone working in field of study relating to money and maybe she's going be rich someday (most Korean parents always wish for that), if it's a bow, she will excel in sports, a toy (I am still not very sure what is the meaning of it) and finally a book (She will be a well learned person). She picked the bow.

Then, both my teacher and her husband read out oath of responsibility to each of their parents-in-law like "I promise I will be a good wife to my husband", "I will be a good daughter/son to you" and so forth. And, it was all over~

The Korea of Tomorrow and Beyond

The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it...” by Ronald Reagan, 40th President of United States of America

Korea is no stranger to the world and is well known for its vibrant economy. From a country ravished by war and receiving foreign assistance to becoming a donor country. Korea’s achievements are remarkable in the eyes of the world. What makes Korean economy so robust? The answer is foreign direct investments coupled with locally well known conglomerates like Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

During the 1998 Asia Financial crisis, Korea had started to liberalize its economy through various enactments like Foreign Investment Promotion Act to encourage foreign direct investments (FDI). Nevertheless, challenges like the burst, 9/11 terrorist attack and the late-2000s sub prime mortgage crisis that spreads to most parts of the world including Korea make attracting foreign investments a difficult undertaking.

Korea needs to be less dependent on family controlled conglomerates or Chaebol. With powerful conglomerates around, it is difficult for any new start up investment companies to compete on equal terms. This will not attract new foreign investments due to monopolistic practices of some conglomerates.

The greatest problem faced by new foreign investors besides a lack of information on investment and immigration procedures is the different interpretation on laws by the central and local government. [1] This is true in cases that are related to restriction in certain business practices. Therefore, laws and regulations in Korea should be standardized in line with global practices. That is why political stability and good relationship between central and local governments are paramount. The recent issue of political opposition on tax exemption on Sukuk (Islamic bond) to attract investment is a fine example.

Besides that, when investing in Korea. There is a general lack of clearly defined, English language information on investment and immigration regulations. This makes conducting business in Korea difficult for new foreign investors. Therefore, a one stop website should be made for investors interested to invest in Korea. There should be proper, step by step guidelines for foreign investors and the information should be updated frequently. Also, a one-stop investment Agency in Seoul could be established to coordinate and facilitate fast track approval of applications from investors.

2010 annual Fraser Institute reported that Korea ranked 37th in economic freedom behind neighboring competitors like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, each ranked 1st, 22nd and 24th respectively. [2] Korea is said to lag behind in factors like freedom in government size, labor market regulation and business regulation.

Korea should reduce the corporate tax from the current 22% to enable it to be more attractive for foreign investments - since in Singapore and Taiwan, both taxes 17% while 16.5% in Hong Kong. High tax imposed will not make Korea competitive to foreign investors since the profit will be greatly reduced. By lowering the taxes, Korea will benefit from other spin-off such as more hiring of new employees and a boost in taxable personal income due to it.

A business without workers is like an empty factory, unable to produce goods. Fortunately, Korea is blessed with no shortage of educated workforce. However, labor unions constant demands for pay rise and strikes conducted by the unions instead of proper negotiations mar Korea’s image as an attractive country for investments. Korea needs to have realistic and understanding labor unions. The labor unions need to be flexible in accepting lower pay scale in exchange for shorter work hours or better benefits. Good mutual trust between employers and trade unions is vital.

Ideally, graduates lacking the appropriate skills could be sent to be retrained to cater to the needs of the foreign companies operating here. Fresh graduates are also trained to speak better English, an important prerequisite to a job in most international companies here in Korea.

On the other hand, Korea needs to improve Korea’s branding as a suitable investment friendly country. This means to eliminate corruptions that are plaguing some large Korean corporations and provide adequate facilities for foreigners. They can come in the forms of good education facilities that are appropriate for children of many nationalities and to reduce the language barriers between foreigners and Koreans by providing sufficient support.

In conclusion, Korea with its excellent infrastructure, a competent and diligent workforce should be harnessed and enhanced to complement the attractiveness for foreign investments. If the right policies are in place, Korea will be a force to reckon with in future. Korea must not be complacent with her current economic prowess or be easily satisfied because there are always other countries trying to catch up to take the top spot.


[1] World Bank Report on FDI in Korea (Page 20)

[2] Fraser Institute Economic Freedom of the World 2011 Annual Report (From Page 92)

(This essay was written by me for an economic contest. Sometimes I think I am taking the wrong course in my university, but somehow, I also do like science. I hope I am not the only one still searching for what he is really good at. And I do hope my intuition is right all these years..)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wanna be a model in Korea?

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date..."

"...Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

Sonnet 18 - William Shakespeare

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Sounds true but I believe what's more important in it is that the personality counts more. Well lets take this scenario, imagine dating a beautiful eye candy (Guy's "dream" when young and sometimes, it continues till death though not all guys are that la. Hehe) and so you met her for the first time in a coffee shop.

She's so mesmerizing, so pretty, walks with a style. Is she a model? This isn't another dream right? Wow!

But the moment she starts talking... ugghhh... Same goes to some guys for most girls just to be fair to my female readers. :P But that's another story. Being a model is a dream of many and even in Korea, being pretty (for girls) and handsome (guys) are paramount. Getting a good job is among the many reasons.

Some Koreans then resorted to having plastic surgery to look good. Face lift, double eyelid, nose job and so on, you name it, they have them all. Though not everyone here have done plastic surgery but having one here is not a big issue. Some parents here encourage their daughter to have plastic surgery too. Anyway, whether plastic surgery or not, I couldn't care less.

My model

An ordinary blogger :)

Nevertheless, being a foreigner in Korea (IF YOU ARE ONE), you have the chance to be a model. Don't believe me? Erm.. You should now! Well, the catch is only that you have to be a foreigner (27 years or younger) in Korea and is confident enough to say "YES I AM PRETTY/HANDSOME!!!" deep down in your very own heart - you need the confidence.

You are almost done! If you are selected (2 men and 2 women), you will be paid 400,000 Won (almost 340 USD), accomodation in Jeju Island, meals and round air ticket from Gimpo airport to Jeju Airport.

If you want to apply to this position, please fill out the details below and send it by e-mail (president[at] with your photo

1. Name :
2. Nationality :
3. University :
4. Address (Korea) :
5. Phone number :
6. E-mail :
7. Date of Birth :
8. Alien Registration No. :
9. Height & Weight :

Are you ready for it? If not, what are you waiting for? Hurry up because it's until 10 October.

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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~