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How about five-color tteokguk on this Seollal?

Seollal is a major holiday in Korea, it is the first day of the first month by the lunar calendar and the days right before and after make up this 3-day holiday. It is a holiday in which normally entire family gathers on.

Tteokguk is a traditional food of Seollal, as well as traditional rice-cake soup. As Seollal gets close, there has been an increasing number of grandparents who have already started preparing Seollal foods.

“I came to the rice cake cooking mill to buy various rice cake for the up coming Seollal and I am so excited to meet my grandchildren so I don’t feel tired at all.” Seonyeo Bae (78) said, who visited the rice cake cooking mill in Jeolla-do.

The Seollal holiday is a traditional food holiday, so it is the busiest time of the year for the rice-cake cooking mill.

There has been a slight change to the rice cake ingredients depending on the customer’s needs. White rice cake for tteokguk is mostly used, which is made with just rice, but these days as people are considering their health and wellbeing, the ingredients have been changed from rice powder to more natural nutritious powders from wormwood, cactus, autumn squash, and rubus coreanus fruit. For rice cake, each ingredient is enriched with various nutrients that produce different colors, which makes them look more tempting.

* For the original article in Korean: (by Donsam Lee)


02 2013

The hardships of applying to Korean companies

Mr. Song who is in between jobs was astonished when applying for a job, that required him to write every single detail of his personal details as well as his career on his CV.

Song said that a number of companies asked him to provide details such as his  height and weight on his CV, which seemed to not be related to the position. In addition, there was a section asking for inventory of my parent’s property. He said that he couldn’t understand what they really wanted from him because what they required from him was  not related to his ability and passion toward applying for the position.

Taking these kinds of complaints into consideration, the Seoul government has carried forward its scheme of adopting a ‘standard CV’ that does not require educational background and physical conditions, but instead focuses more on experience and capabilities of the applicants.

Mr. Lim who is also a job applicant said, “I have applied for both Korean and American companies and American companies did not require a photo and personal details such as age, height and weight, only asking me about my basic information such as schools attended, home address, a contact number and experience. There are no rules to write a CV for American firms so I can have more of an opportunity to relate my experience and ability.”

It has been a commonplace affair that Korean firms ask applicants for their personal details besides their professional experience on their CV. Therefore, Seoul’s ‘standard CV’ and the Ministry of Employment’s ‘competency based CV’  initiation are expected changes in Korean’s odd employment culture.

* For the original article in Korean:  (by Nara Shin)


02 2013

A youth who falls in love with birds

Eojin Kim (18) is a birds expert and a citizen reporter for OhmyNews has been fascinated by not only wild birds but also ecological environment matters.

“I have been in love with quadruped animals (four legged animals) since childhood, I spent most of my time reading animal dictionaries and relevant books in my teens. One day I went to see some migrant birds and because I deeply enamored with giant eagles. Since then I have focused more on birds than other animals.” Kim said.

His parents suggested that while continuing his birds exploration he should write articles for OhmyNews, saying that it could help him earn some money.

Kim also said, “I am a student at an alternative school and will graduate this month. I have been considering my future career in fields such as veterinary, algology, or become a conservationist, eventually I decided to make an environmental documentary after graduation. It would be very tough and exhausting work but I believe I will be  satisfied with devoting my life to what I love.”

Additionally, he has also published a book, related to birds, called <Birds which a city boy loves>, The owner of Longhorn Beetle publisher also suggested that he published his articles that the he wrote for OhmyNews into a book.

* For the original article in Korean: (by  Gyuhwa Choi)


01 2013

How to visit a patient?

Visiting a sick person is fairly usual. However it can be uncomfortable for both the patient and visitor because the patient is unlikely to want people to see them in their poor state and a visitor would also feel sorry for the patient seeing them in pain.

Be that as it may, not going to visit our friend who is sick goes against what’s right. For those who are suffering from a chronic illness or unstable healthy condition, heartwarming comfort can be very helpful in relieving pain and worry. Grief ages us but shared sorrow is half-sorrow.

There is some etiquette, which I’ve acquired from my experience of visiting my friend who became disabled after surgery for cancer.

1. Check the patient’s current situation before visiting: You should call the patient’s family or the patient to ask whether he or she is available to meet you. particularly, it would be better not to go right after his( or her) operation or hospitalization.

2. Visit between 2-3 pm and visiting hours should be short: If possible, avoid visiting before or after eating, and when doctors do their rounds in the morning and in the evening. You need to check the hospital’s visiting hours and should only meet with the patient for 30 minutes or less so that they don’t feel tired.

3. Do not go as a group: 1 to 3 people is an ideal number to visit the hospital to avoid causing a nuisance to family or other patients. Moreover, it’s better not to go with your children because they are easily exposed to infection and also might become burden some to the patient.

4. Prepare appropriate gifts: You have to consider his or her gift depending on their illness. For instance, it is inappropriate for those who suffer from diabetes or cardiac failure to buy fruit juice or cans with fruit sugar.

Tip. Heartfelt consolation is one of the best gifts, but you can also buy something that they like as a small gift, such as a book or CD, with a letter from your heart. You can also give a small amount of money to support his or her medical expenses.

5. Do not overdo praying: A patient or other patients near your friend might feel unpleasant if you pray for him or her too loudly. You need to keep in mind that every man has a different religion or belief.

All things taken into consideration, as you visit a sick person, it is best to make them feel comfortable. You need to treat them as you usually would and have some interesting conversations with them. Remember that your sincere comfort from your heart is the most important thing for them.

* For the original article in Korean: (by Ogyun Choi )


01 2013

[OhmyBlog] A letter for those who feel tired of our unremarkable lives

Whenever I come back to Korea, I meet two close friends while having a conversation with a cup of coffee and a nice meal. We are childhood friends and always stick together as a threesome.

However, one of them, who married a Japanese lady, passed away 2 months ago. Until last year, we had a meal talking about tiny bits of our life but now he suddenly disappeared.

It was truly unexpected that he died of myocardial infarction, I was so sorry for not being at his funeral because of the long distance barrier, I was too far from Korea at that time. After I got back home, I went to the cinerarium where my friend’s bones placed with my other, living, friend.

Before going there, I was extremely worried that I would break down and weep in front of his remains but I didn’t feel as much sadness as I thought, instead I just stared at his antemortem photo and the urn with his ashes. It hasn’t sunk in yet that my friend isn’t with me anymore.

Today I saw the news of the suicide of Sung-min Cho, a previous Korean baseball star. Someone goes through a terrible day that he or she can’t endure anymore, but my friend who died might really long for the day with bright sunshine and fresh air in winter.

Recently I felt really disgusted about my mundane life and at that time I just faced my friend’s death. Now I can feel the wonderful value of our life. As soon as we live we can express any other feelings such as I love you, thank you and sorry and so on. So I really appreciate my friends and my family being with me, and also a special thanks to my friend who died and made me realize our life’s worth.

Life is that somebody’s death gives a big enlightenment to the alive.

My dear friend, I promise that I will do my best for everything while I live.

* OhmyBlog: Citizen reporters can contribute their stories not only through in news form but also in essays on OhmyBlog. There they have published some books such as collections of essays and poems. A blog payment system has been introduced that Ohmynews readers contribute to voluntarily since 2010.

** For original blog in Korean:

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01 2013

[Explicit chat show] 2012 Presidential election, causes of the Democratic United Party’s loss

On the 9th and 15th, OhmyTv launched a new programme ‘Explicit chat show’ which was basically an extension of the previously aired OhmyOlle. There were two main presenters on this show including an OhmyNews representative reporter Yeon-ho Oh and Yun-seon Chang, who is a leader of the OhmyNews political team.

They visited the members’ room of the Democratic United Party in the National Assembly to inquire about the causes of this election’s defeat.

“We lost the general elections, local elections and presidential elections each two times consecutively. It is exceedingly important to analyse the cause of defeat, but we have never done it so far.” Gyeongmin Shin said, who is a member of the Democratic United Party.

After Shin’s comment, Oh suggested that all 127 members of the Democratic United Party should make discussion papers about it.

Besides them, Oh and Chang interviewed several members of the Democratic United Party such as Yuninsun Nam, Minhui Choi, Sangho Woo, Yeonghwan Kim, Seongjun Jin, Kim Gisik and Jiwon Park.

* For the  relevant video see here:


01 2013

Les Miserables and Korean society ①

Guerrilla column: A guerrilla column has been contributed by OhmyNews citizen journalists. There will be a guerrilla column written by citizen reporter Ingyu Kang below. It was translated to English with a summary of the contents.

Les Miserables has been a smash hit in Korea. There have been over two million people that have seen this film within a week of its premiere and it topped the box office in that time. It seems that this movie has helped soothe those who have suffered from the aftereffects of the presidential election. (particularly voters who desired a change of government.)

It is understandable because the younger generation who eagerly desired for a change in Korean society has fallen into despair and feels betrayed. There are many reasons why the younger generation want changes in the Korean society, but one only has to look at the number 1 cause of death in those younger than 40 to have an understanding of how the generation feels. A number of estimates show suicide to be that cause of death.

According to the BBC (2012), Koreans officially work an average of 2193 hours annually, which is 125 hours more than the second ranked Chile.

It is because of this situation of being overworked and a feeling of despair that the younger generation cast their votes the opposition Democratic United Party’s Jae-in Moon, and not the conservative ruling party’s Geun-hye Park. (Korea elected Park as the 18th president)

Should the youth  feel frustrated with the current living conditions of Korean society? It seems the answer  is ‘yes’,  but we can find some perspective  thorough Les Miserables’s tremendous popularity in Korea.

The backgrounds and social problems in Les Miserables are closely related to recent Korean events. For instance, scores of men at semiconductor companies have contracted cancer and workers at automobile companies have committed suicide because of their unfair dismissal from their work. In addition, many workers risk their lives to clime to the top of transmission towers. After the presidential election, a total of 5 people lost their lives due to difficult living conditions and suicide.

Social issues are applied to not only workers  but also children in Korea. In the last 10 years there has been a two fold increase in the number of children who have been abused emotionally, physically and/or sexually. More than 40 million primary school children have to skip lunch during  vacation due to disturbed backgrounds. There are over 20 million teenagers  who run away across the nation and a quarter of women who have become a prostitute have done so only to stave off hunger and to live more comfortably.

These unbelievable problems have persisted in the country with 10th largest economy in the world. It would be better for the government to do nothing, as they aggressively promote an unfair education system, deregulate employment protection legislation and welfare retrenchment, that all negatively affect the lives of regularly working people.

* For orginal article in Korean: (by Ingyu Kang)


01 2013

Les Miserables and Korean society ②

Guerrilla column: A guerrilla column has been contributed by OhmyNews citizen journalists. There will be a guerrilla column written by citizen reporter Ingyu Kang below. It was translated to English with a summary of the contents.

21 century Korean edition <Les Miserables>, more miserable than the original

Les Miserables discloses what the powerful are likely to conceal, which elaborates on legislation that is used as a powerful instrument of vested rights. The stringent laws are never applied to the corruptors, but on the contrary these unfair laws are enforced on the less fortunate as seen in the case of Jean Valjean who spent 19 years in prison on a charge of stealing a piece of bread.

Some might think that Jean’s life sounds unrealistic, although it can easily be seen in our current laws. Many are enforced to the letter against trash collectors for their illegal acts but the same law has been applied far too leniently with a cooperate mogul on suspicion of tax evasion and/or misappropriation. That has been the Korean style of righteousness of the law to this point.

Another tragedy in Korean society relates to the overwhelming indifference that people have in our society towards those less fortunate. This presidential result magnifies that point. A direct presidential election in Korea has been completed by those who sacrificed and devoted themselves realizing a true democracy. Ironically, people this time voted for the daughter of a former dictator.

It seemed that the student revolution in <Les Miserables> was unsuccessful but  consequentially the French Revolution changed France from a monarchy to a republic, which also contributed to the growth of democracy all over the world.

* For orginal article in Korean: (by Ingyu Kang)


01 2013

Les Miserables and Korean society ③

Guerrilla column: A guerrilla column has been contributed by OhmyNews citizen journalists. There will be a guerrilla column written by citizen reporter Ingyu Kang below. It was translated to English with a summary of the contents.

A perspective of the 2012 presidential election

There has been an extreme cry for change in the Korean society leading up to the 2012 presidential election. Although the election was lost, those wanting change made their voices heard. A certain circle might be pessimistic about this 2012 election because the proportion of voters in their 50s’ and over who are more likely to have an inclination toward conservatism is increasing. I do not agree with that sense of pessimism.

we should remind ourselves that 37% of conservative 50s did not select the ruling conservative Saenuri party Park, but it is equally important that nearly 34% of 20s did support her as president. Therefore we do not need to  fall into despair but  be optimistic for our future.

An important question that should be followed upon is how we effectively communicate with each other and harmonize our differences. Putting the 2012 election aside, we should shed more light on the constructive criticism to set Korea to in right direction regardless of particular factions.

“Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums. It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes .”

The ending background music of the movie implies that tomorrow comes when the people take the lead at solving social problems putting their heads together and it is necessary to take care of those less fortunate so as to create a better society.

It is the only way that <Les Miserables> will play a role as motivator of social change as well as simply consoling Koreans. Soon afterwards the future that people bring will come.

* For orginal article in Korean: (by Ingyu Kang)


01 2013

Shameful KBS, MBC and conservative newspapers’ lopsided report about the presidential election ①

[2012 Presidential election] Guerrilla column: A guerrilla column has been contributed by OhmyNews citizen journalists. There will be a guerrilla column written by citizen reporter Joo-hyun Park below. It was translated to English with a summary of the contents.

International press, totally different from domestic views

On the 20th, the Korean press hit the headlines with ‘first woman president of Korea’, on the other hand international press highlighted the fact that Koreans contributed to the strongman’s daughter becoming a president. There was an absurd happening caused by Yonhap News Agency in Korea, On the 18th, a day before the presidential election, Yonhap reported the article quoting TIME’s quote that was a contorted translation where they translated ‘strongman’ as ‘influential person’ according to the press release provided by the conservative ruling Saenuri party.

TV debate ‘missing’… electronic journalism limited to electronic display

Compared to past presidential elections, the 18th got the most disappointing rating ever for lack of policy content. There were the few TV debates that help to provide wide information such as their policies, pledges, convictions, vision and philosophy.

Unlike before, broadcasters did not aggressively suggest the TV debate to candidates and hardly ever criticized against the presidential candidate who avoided the TV debate. What’s more, it might be thought that broadcasters aided her side.

Furthermore, there has been a predominant judgement that it was the worst media coverage ever during the 18th presidential election process. Setting the conservative newspapers aside, national terrestrial broadcasters consistently covered the news which was favorable for the ruling party’s candidate.

“The news related to the 18th presidential election seemed to imitate coverage and it was just like an electronic display. There were less meaningful issues and problems brought up by the press.” Choi Youngjae said, who is a professor at School of Journalism and Communication in Hanlim University.

* For orginal article in Korean:


12 2012