Monthly Archives: August 2007

Well the Korea Times decided to publish my editorial, but changed the title to “Long-Term Need for English”

So, the original editorial I wrote in the post https://therealsouthkorea.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/a-better-solution-to-the-long-term-need-for-english/ is now published and public. It’s at this address: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2007/09/137_9355.html

**warning: this url appears to change constantly & so you may need to just google “Long-Term Need for English” to find this, if interested. Also, it’s a little long winded…so not sure if you really want to find this. 😉

Funny thing…I already have two responses to the editorial. The first is as follows from Gerard Light who appears to be a lover of the Japanese diaspora. He writes…. Continue reading

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Filed under My writings, Random thoughts

26 years ago and I’m still pissed

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chun-doo-wan.jpgmay-18.jpg

Actually, I had no idea around my 9th birthday, one of the most inhumane acts of violence and one of the most unintelligent political decisions was made in South Korea. Many Korean citizens complain about how the Japanese have taken over the country and raped their women. However, the incident in Kwangju where President Chun Doo-wan unleashed his military to kill over 200+ innocent people was even worse in my book since it was a time where Koreans killed their own brothers and sisters for what? So, they could manage the country better? So, a revolution could reverse what Chun did himself — take over the country via power? It was probably one of the most hypocritical actions Continue reading

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Filed under Korea life, Opinions, Politics, Random thoughts

I’m a machine…

Well, I don’t usually toot my own horn, but lately, I’ve been adding up all the things I’m doing daily, weekly, monthly…

Just today, a good friend of mine told me to get in touch with another fellow Internetpreneur, which I’ll coin moving forward, if not one else has claimed it yet.  This guy named Danny runs a blog called TechnoKimchi.com and gets quite a readership.  When introducing myself, I counted all the things I was doing and it came out to be this…

  • 16 different websites
  • 1/2 dozen blogs (relatively active) including this one
  • incubating about another 1/2 dozen ideas
  • reading and replying to about 200 emails a day
  • teaching from 4 to as many as 9 – 3 hour classes a week on top of prepping for them
  • creating a writing program from scratch to help kids get into some of the most competitive schools in Korea
  • working 50-60 hours in my day job helping my company recruit & manage the HR depts of the company
  • leading a group of relatively entrepreneurial middle school students — possibly creating websites on their own
  • keeping up to date with the latest online trends
  • keeping in relatively decent shape jogging and working out
  • keeping a relatively substandard social life going out a few times a month

How do I do it?  Well, I was talking to my kids today and we were estimating typing speed.  I remember in college or before that, I was clocked at about 110+ words a minute…who knows where I am these days, but fast typing helps.  Not much filtering helps too…but of course this is a bit dangerous.  My daily latte doesn’t hurt as well and the periodic exercising really does support this active lifestyle.  I also try to read as much as I can while on the subway or whenever I have downtime like even on the can when I can.  Am I crazy?  Or am I the ideal employee or entrepreneur?  Who knows…

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Filed under Entrepreneurial life, Korea life, Random thoughts, Work

Thank you Parents, Students and Won-jahng-nim-deulr

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So, I submitted the following to the Opinion/Editorial departments of the Korean Herald, Korea Times and Joong-ang Ilbo which are the 3 largest English newspapers in Korea just a few minutes ago. Let’s see if I have the same success that I had before in submitting the opinion titled “a-better-solution-to-the-long-term-need-for-english” — which was ZERO — looks like there’s more submissions than I thought or rather it shows the selective editorial power of publishers.

A little over a month ago, I called up a past coworker to ask about another old coworker in the Hagwon I used to work in. She told me she was “on leave” from work. I thought that was a bit odd given that she’s only worked there for one year. Although she may had some savings before coming here, I do know from personal experience and from many other stories from other coworkers, English teachers in Korea have the potential to make quite a bit of money. Thus, I made the quick assumption she did quite well during the year and had plenty to take the 3 months off despite the need to pay rent and her other expenses in the expensive city of Seoul — which I believe is one of the most expensive in the world.

I’ve been in the English Hagwon business for more than 3 years now. I’ve seen a lot and if you talk to all the people I’ve worked with and managed, I’ve been very fair to them. However, I’ve seen almost every single instructor I’ve worked with take trips to the Southeast at least annually, if not semi-annually, spend many nights racking up huge bills at bars, Continue reading

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Filed under Business practices, Jobs, Korea life, My writings, Opinions, Random thoughts

Chan-wook Park will go in my books as one of the better Korean directors in history

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Sympathy for Lady Vengeanceoldboy.jpg

The acting, the writing, the plot….I don’t know what it is, but after watching “Oldboy” and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance”, I’m thinking it has a lot to do with the guy who put it all together. As one review went on IMDB, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance or in Korean/Hangul, “Chinjeolhan geumjassi” had “an extremely and intelligent plot, and visually stunning cinematography.” You can find the review here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451094/

The movie isn’t for the faint hearted … let me warn you. There’s a bit of blood in the flick and many scenes that may gross you out, but like the reviewer said above, she doesn’t usually like this genre typically, but gave it one of her best reviews. I got the movie cheap at Homeplus for like 3000 won (about $3 US) and another VCD which turned out to be in Japanese with Korean subtitles…which didn’t help me appreciate that one too much. I picked this one up remembering it may be another one of Park’s movies.

Oldboy is very similar, if not better … they are both worth watching. Park was a student of Philosophy at Korea’s Sogang University in Seoul. He said, “In our lives, we have good things and bad things, happiness and pain. Life is full of pain and happiness and that’s what I wanted to show.”

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Filed under Entertainment, Korea life, Opinions, Random thoughts

a relatively ridiculous site that a student showed me…

http://weebls-stuff.com  – this is what shows you can do almost anything on the Internet and people come to it.  One of my 6th graders wanted me to check this site out. 

Some stats on this:

Estimate 378,500 visits in the previous 30 days….and 41 diggs on this. (from trafficestimate.com)

 

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Filed under Funny kids stories, Random thoughts

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…then beat ’em…

So, the old adage “if you can’t beat them, join them…” is something you may see me apply in the next 30 or so years.  I’m not a socialist and I’m not a money mongering bastard, but I realize that the financial markets and the ways we fund or support things is through money.

A lot of criticism occurs daily in terms of how “things don’t work,” but the sad thing is that very few do anything about it.  They are complainers…I used to be in that group…albeit with attempts to try to do something once in a while, but thinking it was futile many times in my life & just giving up too early in the process of trying to fix something I thought was wrong.  The other problem is that I didn’t always check to see if it really was a problem.  Kind of like my old “debating days”, I didn’t see if the system was inherently ill.  I didn’t see if things were fixing the problem or if it was a perceptual problem & that there may be a chance that the problem would get fixed.

Nevertheless, there are still some problems.  Actually, there are HUGE problems.  I was reading on the subway today (I love my subway reading time, by the way — always enlightening) and I was reading about Dr. Prathap C. Reddy in an article written by Forbes.  By the way, I don’t know a lot about Forbes, but it seems to have a right wing leaning…hard to say, but I’m pretty sure due to the owner being a huge republican.  Plus, two of the opinion pieces were talking about winning in Iraq…come on boys, I mean men…

Anyway, Dr. Reddy set up hospitals “for profit” in India 23 years ago or so Continue reading

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Filed under Altruistic, Entrepreneurial life, Globalization, Random thoughts

Facebook helping the world come together as one?

So, I reconnected with a friend and past coworker of mine in Italy a few days ago.  She invited me into her Facebook group of friends because she saw our other mutual friend/coworker’s wall (whiteboard online) where I wrote something joking to her.  Our other friend has “yet to get back to me” (hint, hint Jen ;), but it was great I posted there since I reconnected with this great person who had literally one of the biggest hearts I remember.

A few minutes before that, I was reading another post from my Indian Canadian friend who lives in France, I think married to an Italian…

I regularly talk to my friend in Sonoma Valley weekly & I’m here in Busan, South Korea.  She Continue reading

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Filed under Globalization, Random thoughts, Work

4 minutes is plenty of time for lunch (in Korea)…

OK, maybe not 4 minutes, but honestly it takes about 40 seconds for some restaurants to feed you after ordering your food here in Korea.  I’ve never had faster service in my entire life.  Everything is lightening speed unless there’s politics involved in it.  My boss just came in and said let’s leave at 7:00p to get dinner before the meeting.  He knows it can take about 30-40 minutes to get there in traffic & we’ll have 20 minutes to eat dinner.  However, here in Korea…20 minutes is plenty of time.  😛

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Filed under Humorous, Korea life, Random thoughts

Facebook pulling a Friendster?

So, I was checking out things on my Facebook page today since a couple friends sent messages or otherwise on the site.  Well, it seems to be incredibly sloooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.  I remember the old days of Friendster when it caught on fire & they just couldn’t handle all the traffic.  Funny…

Well, I’m wondering if Facebook is getting too big for their own britches.   The Ops manager is an old Amazon guy from Biz Development…maybe he may be wishing he did Ops once before he encountered what he’s having to handle now at Facebook?  🙂 

I did ping the site vs. Yahoo and a couple other sites & actually Yahoo’s latency is about 1/3 higher than Facebook, but then again, the applications Facebook has in it now are growing to be pretty large and possibly more bandwidth.  Also, I’m here in Korea…maybe they haven’t built out the redundancy for Asia yet?  Mark, you’d better get on it…you’re getting a little too popular for your own britches.  😉  (am I spelling britches right?  lol…) 

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Filed under Entrepreneurial life, Opinions, Random thoughts

A better solution to the long term need for English

Submitted to the Korea Herald, Times & Joongang Ilbo’s Opinion-Editorial departments.  Who knows if they’ll accept it, but it’s sent…

Check out these sites the following days, if you’re curious if it was published: http://koreaherald.com/oped/index.asp, http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/137_main.html and http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/list.asp?cat_code=01

I was sitting on the phone earlier today waiting for an English operator to answer my questions about where the nearest KT Plaza location was here in Busan. The message repeated over and over “The line is busy. Operator is answering another inquiry. It is a lot of inquiry. Please wait for a while.” If I were in the states, I would wonder if the manager of the customer service department was an idiot since he hired someone with broken English to record the message to thousands and potentially millions a calls a year about almost anything involving affairs with Korea Telecom. I did a bunch of research online to try to find a wireless internet provider. I constantly ran into websites that were in English, but just briefly explaining services. There was rarely a phone number I could use to see if I could use my broken Korean and figure out a solution. In the end, I gave up out of frustration.

While my troubles continue in getting some basic services here in Busan, Korean parents are paying millions of dollars to send their children abroad Continue reading

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Filed under My writings, Opinions, Random thoughts

Anti-social Koreans? It’s possible…

In a country where television dramas reign “Queen” (as opposed to “King” — women really have strong influence in this country), you would think that all that television watching and less social interaction as a result would decrease peoples’ ability to be social.  However, it won’t be all the television watching that will probably do it.  It will most likely be the way they communicate these days instead of calling each other on the phone.

From 1st graders to most 6th grades and almost every living person over the age of a middle school student, South Korea has cell phones in each of the hands of its’ consumers.  Continue reading

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Filed under Globalization, Humorous, Interesting reads, Korea life

“Send that order up to Room Sh*t, Sh*t…

“No, seriously, I want you to send it up to room shit, shit…”  So, I literally could say this when ordering food from any of the local restaurants.  Let me explain why…

I was reminded of the humorous nature of my condo unit number (“officetel” is the literal Korean name for condos) while going to the dry cleaners today.  I live in unit 1818, which is pronounced “Ship-pahlr, Ship-pahlr” if you just say “18-18” in Korean.  Continue reading

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