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About Eunbin Ko

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Awkward flight attendants

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Recently, a corporate executive arouse criticism for a fuss over a bowl of  instant noodles in an airplane. A POSCO Energy executive reportedly smacked a Korean Airline (KAL) cabin crew with a magazine because of its unsatisfactory
service with his in-flight ramen. He first complained about the seat next to his being unavailable and the unpleasant temperature in a cabin. Eventually, his complaint was carried over smacking a Korean Air stewardess.

After the relevant incident was being reported, the news has rapidly spread online through social networking sites, and netizens rushed to criticize the executive and the company. Eventually, the executive resigned from his position. The company publicly apologized to recover its damaged public image. The incident hurt Korean Air itself as well as POSCO’s public image. Furthermore, the incident has led to shed a new light on some relevant issue such as emotional labor’s poor
surroundings.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/11sRQ2h (by  Si-yeon Kim)

22

04 2013

The relationship between the exchange rate and tension between the Korean Peninsulas

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With my international friends

 

Wow, the exchange rate has dramatically increased.”

I was surprisingly sad when I withdrew money from a bank. Apparently, it must have been affected by recent unstable relationship with the North Korea.

“By the way, is it possible to break out a war in South Korea?”

A friend of mine has asked me, who is also a Korean exchange student in Spain. No one among Koreans in Spain expects war to spark between South and North Korea, however most international media flashed front-page headlines about North’s provocative actions against the South; therefore, many local friends asked me how a potential war would affect me. I am lost of words about this unique situation that more foreign friends than local Koreans are worrying about the tension on the Korean Peninsula. Normally, Koreans construe it just as a political problem.

I could not help laughing after looking at my friend’s Facebook who just talked about Korean tension and the exchange rate. He wrote what our catastrophe is here, the tension on the Korean peninsula or exchange rate? What is my wish? I just hope that peace will come soon and not worry any more about our daily life abroad related to exchange rate and friends overseas do not worry for Korea because of this problem.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/Zv2rac

16

04 2013

Our engagement diamond, roses, and potato

 

40 years ago, My wife and I planted roses as our engagement gift.

40 years ago, My wife and I planted roses as our engagement gift.

 

I cannot believe that 40 years have already passed since my wife and I were engaged. How time flies. As our engagement gift, we planted red and yellow rose bush on my wife’s flowerbed at the southern corner of the house.

The diamond we have was not as brilliant, but we were happy planning our shining future while planting the fragrant roses. For our 40th anniversary celebration today, we planted not roses but potatoes at the northern corner of the house. No one expected that we live in Imjin Riverside.

However, every moment of our life here is so important and precious. Though it’s not 0 degree, it is a little bit chilly to plant the seedlings, so we decided to sow 7 kinds of greens such as a corn, carrot, groundsel, scaber, kidney bean and peanut. My wife who was trimming the potato sprouts looked so lovely and I was reminded of the time we were engaged and affectionately planted the roses 40 years ago.

To be honest, it is shameful as a man who gave roses instead of a shining diamond as an engagement gift. This anniversary gift was also not jewelry but a potato seed. However, my wife and I believe that potato seeds are as productive as a diamond. Furthermore, fragrant roses and edible potatoes are even better than the diamond, which is not aromatic and edible. I appreciate my wife for thinking the way I do.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/XUrSCg (by Ogyun Choi)

03

04 2013

About my dream

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“What on earth are you studying for?” I hesitated to answer my mum’s question. Normally, I study general knowledge from newspapers, essay writing, and group discussions. However, I am afraid my mum does not understand about what I am doing for a study because she may think these are not practical study. So, I lightly answered, “Study is just study.”

My dream is being a journalist. I do not exactly remember when I started having this dream. Anyway, I learned from the news that there are varieties of people around us who have different experiences; it fascinated me, so I would like to be newscaster. My dream has been given shape since I quit my short-term work. I had to stick to my work at least 9 hours or more, so I realized I should work what I really want. Since I submitted my resignation at my first company in 2009, I had had no full-time job. I am thirty years old this year. I spend most of my time in the library every morning. In the afternoon, I also have a study group or I teach for middle and high school students as their personal tutor. I also join for some activities such as a reporter, interviewer, and programme-maker. I thought that those careers helped me to be a journalist but in reality I could not pass the final step of the press test even though I applied as many as nearly eight times for a year.

There are so many friends around me, who already worked for almost five years. Compared with me they look like they are doing a great job. Some friends who work as a businessman encouraged me saying that ‘you must be happy because you know exactly what you want to be’. Is it really a good thing? I sometimes think my dream is only a sticking point for having a job. I cannot avoid thinking I am old to have a challenge like having a dream whenever I fail for a final interview of the press. Nevertheless, I never give up my dream because I believe many drops make a shower, and I already collected lessons of experience somewhere along the line.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/YnIeqh  (by Na-ri Shin)

22

03 2013

A Spanish exchange student who fights alone

Panorama of Málaga

Panorama of Málaga

 

“An exchange student? Good for you! By the way, why Spain and not US or Australia?” Whenever I told my friends that I was going to Spain for six months as an exchange student, 9 out of 10 always have the same reaction like of that above. I understand why people say so because Spain is not an English-speaking country, also I do not major Spanish, but biology. I am a 23-year-old normal student who would like to be a journalist. I just really wanted to travel around southern Europe, but I had no money and also did not want to get support from my parents for that.

One day, I found an exchange programme and applied for it. I was too nervous to remember about the interview day, anyway, I became a successful applicant as a student in Universidad de Málaga in Spain. Koreans are not familiar with Málaga, which is a port city located in the south of Spain. However, it is well known for its quite famous city for the soccer team, Málaga CF and the eminent artist Picasso’s hometown. When I arrived in Málaga, I felt like being in a historical site where people crowd between old buildings; Here is Centro Historico, and this fantastic scenery was indescribable.

Coincidently, I spent Lunar New Year in Spain, and it was my first time to observe a holiday abroad alone. Suddenly homesick sprang up to me and I found some news that there would be a Korean-traditional event to celebrate Lunar New Year’s Day in Muelle Uno. When I got there, I was so comfortable with the familiar atmosphere, yin-yang symbol, hanbok, sesame oil fragrance, and Gangnam Style music. This event was held not by a Korean, but a Spanish who is a representative of Cultura Asiática (Oriental Culture and Language Institute), which so impressed me. It was precious time that I met a number of international students and shared Korean culture with each other. I am so excited for my future life here in Spain.

* For the original article in Korean:  http://bit.ly/103LW7t (by Jeong-hyeon Kim)

 

18

03 2013

A boy’s diary

The author: The 16-year-old boy who lives in a remote mountain village.

It has been long since I have seen winter. We have a severe winter time at my home located on 500m altitude around the mountain. My mom seriously caught a cold for a few days by the end of autumn, it was just after the time that my mom helped a neighbour reaped pears. At first, she laid up with fatigue but finally her condition steadily worsens. “I should take some rest in the afternoon,” my mom said.

After she served my lunch, she came into her room and since then the lights in her room were out. She still slept even when I finished having dinner. I found my mom who moaned with her ailment. So, I made honey tea and gave her a massage until she fell asleep again. The following day, she was still in bed without having any foods saying that it is the best way to endure her pain by emptying the stomach as animals do so. In downtown, I bought some fresh fruits she loves and came back home. “I will have them later. I want to have some boiled rice served in Kimchi soup,” she said. Having some foods that sick people crave to eat is the best treatment. Right, my mom really likes that food. It must be good for her to have some hot boiled rice served in Kimchi soup to feel better. To make the soup, first I boiled water with anchovy and seaweed for 10mins and took them out, cut some Kimchi, put them into the pot and boiled it for 5mins. The next step, I put one scoop of rice and mixed them up and put some soy sauce slightly for seasoning. Done! Yummy soup! I am 16 years old; I cannot believe that I cooked for my mum. I grew up enough to cook the food that my mum would like to eat, which means that my mum also is getting old. When I entered her room with the boiled rice served in Kimchi soup, she sprang up in bed and had it at once. Deliciously she ate it; unconsciously, I also had some with her. Surprisingly, her energy was restored and even asked me to wash the dishes. “Yes, mum I will gladly wash them.”

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/ZyezHQ (by Okhada Ryu)

 

15

03 2013

An interview with a Singaporean

Tan Poh San(陳寶珊 陈宝珊) from Singapore visited Korea in March 9th. She planned to stay at Heyri in Paju-si. She looks calm and timid at first impressions; however, she always travel alone even at forty years of age.

Here follows are the questions and answers.

- How was yesterday in Korea?

“It was a little bit chilly but fine.”

- It takes time that spring comes in Korea. Even though you feel that spring is just around the corner, but suddenly there’s a wave of the last cold snap. After having several bitter cold, the real spring comes. Do you have any jackets?

“I see, it doesn’t matter. Yesterday, I went to Provence and Premium Outlet in Paju-si.”

- Do you have any problem to communicate in Korea?

“I speak Korean a little bit, but not fluently.”

- How did you learn Korean?

“I love one of Korean singers, Si-gyeong Seong. I listen to his radio show and also study Korean with some books.”

- Do you come to Korea for business?

“Just for traveling.”

- Have you been to other countries before?

“I went backpacking to Europe with my friends, but it did not fascinate me in Europe. I also visited Japan for Seong’s concert and only stayed around the hotel. One thing interesting was when I met a Japanese friend and we had a conversation in Korean.

- Oh, what an interesting story that a Japanese and a Singaporean talk to each other in Korean in Japan. It looks that you think the world of Korea?”

“Sure.”

- Do have any special reasons that you love Korea?

“I just love it as it is. I feel very comfortable just like being at home as I landed at the Incheon Airport.”

On the day she goes back to Singapore she said, “I do not want to leave.”

She looked hesitant to leave for her country.

- Anyway, I will miss you, if you have any questions about Korea, please feel free to email anytime, also if you want to write some essays in Korean, I can help you review it. I am a native speaker.

“Thank you very much, I will do it. I don’t want to say but have to say goodbye.”

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/12KLikG   (by An-su Lee )

12

03 2013

A Silver Delivery Man

A silver delivery man, Gwangyeon Kim (69)

 

Nowadays, it has been a familiar sight on a Korean subway that there are old people, who head somewhere busily with flower baskets or brief cases. They are called the silver delivery men. They are over 65 years old, whose transport is the metropolitan subway for free. This elderly delivery service has become one of rising silver jobs.

Old delivery man, Gwangyeon Kim (69) said, “I do not need to use a smart phone to find a certain place. I do not know well like the young. I would rather go to a real estate office, police office or around town to ask about it. It is one of my secrets when I am working.”

Mr. Kim has been working as a delivery man for four years, and not only for a living, but this job improved the quality of his life. He said that not working made him feel dull and gloomy after retiring from his previous job, so he decided to have another one. At first, he lost 10kg (22lb) for a while due to overwork, but it helped him cope with his chronic diabetes.

He mostly delivers official documents and flower baskets. Once, Mr. Kim delivered a flower basket, which was purchased by a guy for a lady, whom he liked. However, she refused to accept it, and wanted Mr. Kim to throw it away. Mr. Kim didn’t throw it, but gave it to his wife instead. His wife really loved it.

On the other hand, his job has some dark sides as well. Compared to the current Korean minimum wage of 4,800 won per hour ($4.5), his hourly wage is far lower, which is only 3,700 won ($3.4). He is earning an average of 800,000 to 900,000 won a month or $741-$834. Additionally, since he is paid hourly, he often skips his meal or have a quick meal on the subway. He said that he was relatively paid well compared with others.

There are over 200 quick delivery service companies with old staffs mostly working under poor surroundings. It has been pointed out that these unpleasant environments need to be taken seriously by the government to improve the working condition of old workers.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/14XwVXy  (by Hyeona Cha)

20

02 2013

The Korean airmen’s parody of Les Miserables ‘Les Militaribles’

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“What a coincidence that CNN reported about both cultures of ROK and a nuclear test of DPRK on the same day. This spoof from ROK is an excellent adaptation.” (dbwo***)

A Spoof of Les Miserables on YouTube, Les Militaribles, has garnered massive attention. The 13-minute video had been viewed over three million times, just within a week on YouTube. Almost 6000 international comments also demonstrate its popularity. The great popularity was triggered when the Hollywood movie star Russell Crowe reposted a tweet with a link to the video. The media also took notice and reported Les Militaribles’s popularity, including The New York Times, CNN, as well as Korean media.

The South Korean Air Force’s official blog team produced the video, and the singing airmen were music school students who contributed its video. The contents mainly depict about clearing the snow, especially the important job for its landing trip in the air force. Moreover, creators also seasoned it with the airmen’s lovesickness.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/WkhsNr (by Seongae Yoo)

14

02 2013

A man with a pink ribbon

All men have a dream for unconstrained and free life. An-su Lee is one of those people and it seems that he was almost fulfilled his dream. At first glance, one might think that he is a geek because of his beard and the pink ribbon he ties to it. He has lived in art village and written stories about the events around the village in OhmyNews.

“I worked as a magazine journalist for 25 years, I always desired to lead a life of a wanderer. After all, I quit my job and went to America to study. After a short-time studying, I ran a guest house and hosted international guests in an art village for 7 years and I am yet free totally.” Lee said.

His article is basically talking about a daily life and nature around him, full of humanism, which also depicts his motto ‘otium cum dignitate’ (living free from worldly cares).

Lee said, “I usually used to write two or three essays almost every day on my personal blog, one day I read some OhmyNews’ articles that citizen reporters posted. There was a large number of moving stories edited on OhmyNews’ main page and I thought that my articles  could also be useful to the site. I believe that OhmyNews’ editorial way matches my style of writing with people’s daily lives. Since then I have written my articles for OhmyNews, and besides that I also suggested my wife and daughter to join as a citizen reporter for OhmyNews, because I think that writing is able to help us organize our thoughts and deeply explore about our life’s real value.”

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/V0wwQd (by Jihyeon Kim)

12

02 2013