Have a fabulous 2012


Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Monday, February 28, 2011

LG's Cooking Portal

LG Electronics (LG)launched an online cooking portal a few months ago - providing users with over 100 recipes of flagship dishes from selected countries. Packed with useful features and expert cooking tips for amateur and advanced cooks alike, this site is designed as a guide for cooking enthusiasts in creating world cuisines in their own kitchens.

The site offers an innovative feature, Cook As You Are, in which visitors can request a recommendation by choosing specific options among six categories: Cultures, Occasions, Courses, Ingredients, Methods and Expertise. The user’s choices will be used to determine the right recipe recommendation from various cultures.

In another section of the site entitled Choose Your Kitchen, consumers can experience many international dishes -- up to 100 cultural recipes -- as well as professional cooking tips and techniques from world-renowned chefs. The recipes are broken down into step-by-step details and matched with photos to make it as convenient as possible for home cooks to bring famous international dishes to their tables.

According to Young-ha Lee, President of LG Electronics Home Appliance Company: “This portal will enable those interested in cooking to become global chefs in the comfort of their own kitchens.

To experience LG’s new cooking portal, visit http://www.lgcooking.com/global/caya/.

Web Site: http://www.lge.co.kr

photocredits@ LG.COM

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The History of the Democratization Movement in Korea

The book "The History of the Democratization Movement in Korea" is written by Myung-sik Lee, a former activist and provides a chronological history of the major events of resistance to South Korea’s authoritarian rulers, gives a sense of the scope of the movements and the many people involved, and discusses some of the lessons activists learned as they fought their battles.

A pdf of the book can be found on the Korea Democracy Foundation website: www.kdemocracy.or.kr you can also visit their English page @: http://www.kdemocracy.or.kr/sub_01/engsub_01.asp

About the book on the website:

"사업회가 한국 민주화 운동사에 대한 외국인들의 이해를 돕기 위해 The History of Democratization Movement in Korea (한국민주화운동사)를 발간했다. 이 책은 해방 이후부터 1987년 6월 민주화 까지 한국 민주화운동의 주요 사건과 역사적 사실, 그리고 87년 민주화 이후 민주주의 심화 과정과 남겨진 과제들을 외국인들이 쉽고 바르게 이해할 수 있도록 돕기 위해 기획되었다.
책의 초고는 행동하는 양심 상임이사이자 80년대 민청련과 민통련 등에서 활동한 이명식이 집필했고 민주화운동기념사업회에서 이를 재정리했다. 감수는 1970~80년대 민주화운동 시기 아시아 월스트리트 저널 등 국제언론의 한국 주재 기자로 활동했던 노먼 소프(Norman Thorpe) 현 휘트워스대 겸임교수가 맡았다. 이 책은 비매품으로 한국 민주화운동에 관심 있는 해외 인사들에게 주로 배포된다.
(문의 : 기념사업국 02-3709-7615)"

A direct link to the page with pdf downloads is:


A great book, that will give you an overview of the democratic struggle of the Korean people aganist the military regimes and it was not a bed of roses as they say!

NOTE: Can anybody please guide me on how to add links within the text...I've not been able to figure it out after several attempts in the 'older format of blogger'.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pictures of the Week!

This is what I prepared - all of them are ready to cook meals that take no more than 20 minutes( it includes preparation and cooking both).

Green Tea cake was from Paris Baguette - it is NOT home made...very nice!

Spinach is from the fields across from my campus - as the temperature is bearable and snow is melting - even the plants have started to sprout! The spinach will be weeded out by the Ajoushi (farmer) - it may have been his last crop that is sprouting by itself - it has a very sweet taste. I washed it and in 2 table spoon olive oil, I added mustard seeds and garlic and then added spinach sprouts. toss it and it was ready in 5 min. Had roti and cheese. Quick and simple!
Vegetables and fruits are delicious & juicy in Korea.

Different sorts of instant coffees that a friend brought to share with me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Migrant Centers Across Korea

Korea takes pride in calling itself a monoethnic country...but things are changing fast. In the past 30 years, there is a slow but constant increase in the number of foreigners in the country. At the moment, almost 2 percent of the entire population is foreign born which stands at a modest 1.6 million. More than 55 percent of the entire foreigners are the migrant workers - doing the 3D jobs in Korea.

Korea does not allow immigration into the country and the new trends of marrying foreigners is tackled with an agenda of integration rather than assimilation. According to a latest research, a very high percentage of Korean men are marrying foreign women mostly from China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia, Mongolia and the US.

There are about 36 migrant centers in Seoul and its satellite cities to cater to the needs of the migrants. Over the past decade, besides the 'The Immigration Control Act', Korea has come up with several other laws specifically meant for foreigners and they include:

1. Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea.
2. Act on Foreign Workers' Employment, etc.
3. Support for Multicultural Families Act.
4. Act on the Immigration and Legal Status of Overseas Koreans.
5. Basic Law on Social Security (applied to those who are married to Koreans and
obtained Korean nationality and the offspring of such marriage).

These are some of the major laws that are all available online in English.
Migrant workers both skilled and unskilled falls under a few more laws such as The Labor Standard Act, Minimum Wage Act, and so on. It is mportant to know them because the ignorance of law is no excuse!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oranges and ..

Orange and Persimmon bought from Anyang Shi on a very low price than what we get in Seoul
Recycled box of  seafood is now used for fruits

One thing that I miss the most is the oranges and the varieties of citrus fruits that we have in Pakistan such as maltas, kinno (mandarins), fruiters (tangerines), mitthay, santray, red-blood oranges, grapefruit....and there is no end. Pakistan is among the leading producer and supplier of citrus fruits in the world and currently ranks 9th.in citrus fruit production. In Korea, orange is a rare commodity - an orange(medium size and sweet)would cost about 200 rupees which is around 2$and that too on sale. For this price in Pakistan, depending on the quality and also the location, one can get up to 30- 40 oranges. Thanks to the FTAs that the prices are not as crazy as they used to be when we first came to Korea back in 2002.

Anyhow, the good news for Pakistan is that the consumers in the Netherlands would be able to buy Pakistani oranges from February 25,2011 onwards in Hanos, one of the leading store chains in Benelux specializing in institutional supplies with the support of Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC).

Though I was not planning to write solely about the citrus fruit but the subject is so diverse that I must address the “orange phenomenon”. The share of Kinno mandarin is more than 60 percent of the total citrus production in Pakistan - a world leader in Kinno mandarin. Kinno mandarin is a hybrid of two citrus cultivars — "King" (Citrus nobilis) and "Willow Leaf" (Citrus deliciosa) — first developed by H. B. Frost at the Citrus Research Centre of the University of California, Riverside, USA in 1915. Later it was commercialized in 1935. In Pakistan, Punjab Agricultral College and Research Institute introduced it for the first time in 1940 and it is now found in abundance in both Punjabs of Pakistan and India (Kinno was introduced in India in 1954).

Marketing of citrus fruit in Pakistan lacks application of many international standard practices and even though it has a comparative advantage in this crop – it has been unable to create a niche for itself in the international market with competitors like the US, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and China etc.

For many countries, these citrus fruits have been considered valuable commercial commodity to generate foreign exchange through export but because of its perishale nature - extreme care in picking, packaging, storage and transportation is of utmost importance. What is included in citrus fruits? Well, the family members are Orange, Mandarin, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Pumelos, Tangelos, Citron Kumquat, Lime and Lemon. Brazil and USA are the two giants.

The origin of Citrus is found in Asam, Khasia, China and its surrounding hilly areas. Early Chinese records show that orange was known at least 4000 years ago. It is believed that Christopher Columbus, in 1493, in his second voyage took the lemon seeds to the New World (North America).

We can also trace the importance of these citrus fruits when lemons were used as a medicine to cure scurvy - a disease that was common among sailors in the 18th Century. It was a Scottish surgeon in the British Royal Navy, James Lind who first proved that scurvy could be treated with citrus fruit in experiments he described in his 1753 book, A Treatise of the Scurvy, though his advice was not implemented by the Royal Navy for several decades.

It is also known that Captain James Cook provided lemons and limes to all his sailors and surprisingly, none of them showed symptoms of scurvy. Ultimately it was found that scurvy was caused due to the lack of Vitamin C. In the 1497 expedition of Vasco de Gama, the curative effects of citrus fruit were known when he lost 116 of his crew of 170 due to scurvy. In 1536, the French explorer Jacques Cartier, exploring the St. Lawrence River, used the local natives' knowledge to save his men who were dying of scurvy. He boiled the needles of the arbor vitae tree (Eastern White Cedar) to make a tea that was later shown to contain 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. Such treatments were not available aboard ship, where the disease was most common.

Anyhow, I can proudly say that in Pakistan, everybody, rich or poor - can enjoy oranges that are rich in vitamins and are clearly a miracle fruit!

For more on Citrus and oranges - please refer to the link below that will take you to the dissertation entitled “Marketing of Citrus Fruit in Pakistan” by Tahir Ali for his doctorate in Business Administration. Dr. Tahir – your thesis is indeed a great read!

Link: http://eprints.hec.gov.pk/1198/1/918.html.htm

Two for Joy: Hardworking and Inspiring Birdies!

We all need a Birdie in our lives!

These two Magpies in the photograph are sort of symbolic - not just that we are neighbors; we shared some very magical moments together. I remember that I found one of them lying upside down, on a very cold, windy and snowy morning - right under the tree where the nest is. I picked the bird up and felt bad that it froze to death. I brought it to my room to give her a descent burial. In 15 minutes, what I saw was remarkable - it was moving! I put her near the heater and then tried to give some water. Magpie was very scared and was constantly looking at the window – as soon as I opened the window – it flew away and sat on a tree nearby. It was an amazing day – I can Not confirm that this is the same Magpie – but they live on the same tree.

These days they are working very hard to build their nest…which is pretty huge! They are very focused, hardworking and determined - they start bringing twigs at around 7 am and weave their nest in a very technical way - this continues the whole day and they stop at about 5:30 p.m. I wish I could work like this – I really wish I could…

Magpies are related to crow and ravens. They are very pretty…with this nice, shinny, electric blue patch of feathers and I guess that they are actually very brave. These magpies in Korea are Pica sericea magpies which are considered genetically very distinct from the other Eurasian (as well as the North American) forms. Magpies are among the few species who can self –recognize themselves in a mirror – cool – they are!

An interesting link: http://www.birdskorea.org/BK-Startpage.shtml

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sammi Daewoo Pakistan

Kim Chang-il is the CEO of Sammi Daewoo Pakistan. Daewoo Bus service is very popular with frequent travels taking inter-city trips by roads in Pakistan. It is the largest road transport company in Pakistan with its presence in more than 30 cities. The Sammi Daewoo Pakistan Express Bus Service started its operation on the Motorway between Islamabad and Lahore (M-2) since 1998. It is one of the most reliable, punctual and comfortable services in transportation and has been able to set a model to other competing bus service companies. Now it has about 300 buses that are operating on different routes throughout the country, and also provides job opportunities to more than 4,000 people.

Sammi Daewoo claims that for the very first time in history of traveling services, they set standards that were associated with the airlines such as a hostess, providing refreshments and audio/video entertainment. SAMMI Daewoo has been pursuing its plan to develop nationwide network of its service covering the far off areas in near future. Their service has already been extended to almost all the major cities of Punjab, NWFP and Sind.

Recently, Daewoo has achieved another hall mark by establishing a state of the art ‘Daewoo International Standard Workshop’ and has thus far invested 5 million dollars in this new project –which is located near Lahore. This workshop is unique and the special feature is that it provides professional vocational training to the local workforce through their Vocational Training Center – which demonstrates their commitment and the unceasing endeavors of the Daewoo Express to provide more comfortable and safer services to its passengers by guaranteeing the trouble-free operation of the vehicles.

They are also making their mark as the trustworthy and efficient cargo service company operating 24/7 and connecting most of the major cities of Pakistan. Their rates are very reasonable.

Daewoo was one of the major donors from Korea and they donated 10 million rupees for the flood victims besides providing logistic help.

While visiting their website, I downloaded their monthly magazine ‘Hamari Manzilen’ (http://www.sammi.com.pk/flyer/Mag_August_2010.pdf) and to my surprise, it is one of the very good reads that shows more Pakistaniat (Pakistani-ness) than any other magazine. If I have to rate Hamari Manzilen, I will give it 8 out of 10 points. It has a beautiful green background and it starts off with portraits of Jinnah and Iqbal followed by articles on them. Thankfully, no politician on the cover and this is refreshing!

On the whole, Sammi Daewoo Pakistan is definitely an important player in building trust and strong friendship between Pakistan and Korea through its services.


photo credit@pakwheels

Belgium's "Chip Revolution"

If Belgium can do it – others can do it as well: yes. 250 something days without a government!

Belgians show that life is still possible without having “any” government.

It all started with a political deadlock following June elections last year that failed to produce a clear winner. CSM reported that despite the ongoing political crisis, residents are planning to hold a "chips revolution", honoring a favorite national dish, with various events going on around the country. Student-led demonstrations are seen as a good-humored protest against the intransigence of the politicians.

No bloodshed, no facebook, no deaths, no military – and because its sort of humorous and peaceful – it has NOT been able to get as much attention as the other events around the globe. Needless to say, there is a clear message for the people and also for the governments.

It shows that we need a small government, with a very limited role and a specific mandate. The leaders should be barred for contesting again (ever) – that is how they do it in Korea. When somebody is elected as a President – they do their best because it is the first and the last chance for them to serve the people.

Moral: We don’t need hundreds of politicians making decisions on behalf of the country and nobody knows what is going on. Total Chaos!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Australia Korea Foundation Scholarship - 2011

If you are in Australia and are enrolled at a university - you can apply for this scholarship

The Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) was established by the Australian Government in 1992 to develop contacts and exchanges between the peoples of Australia and Korea. The Foundation promotes people-to-people and institutional links covering the spectrum of Australia’s relations with Korea. This includes education, science and technology, commerce and industry, arts, the media and sport. It administers and funds projects and programs which will assist in achieving its purposes and aims.

Program Objectives- To develop a group of Australian graduates with good understanding of Korean society, politics, economy, culture and the bilateral relationship.
- To increase Australia’s capacity to engage with Korea and to strengthen Australia-Korea relations through people-to-people and institutional linkages.
Target Groups
The program will provide individual scholarships up to $25,000 targeted at the following three groups:
- Australian graduates pursuing a career in an Australia-Korea related profession and developing networks in Korea for their future careers.
- Australian graduates or honours students who are undertaking research in a field of study important to the Australia-Korea relationship.
- Australian graduates or later year undergraduates who have studied Korean to further their language skills and cultural understanding through experiencing Korea first hand.

The Australia-Korea Foundation Scholarship is open to all Australian citizens and permanent residents who:
- are currently enrolled or recent graduates of an Australian tertiary institution
- are able to supply two referee reports, one of which must comment on the applicant’s academic achievement. Further comment may be sought from referees.


Applications close at 5pm AEDT on Thursday 17 March 2011

Contact Details
Website: http://www.dfat.gov.au/akf/
Email: australia.korea@dfat.gov.au
Phone: +61 2 6261 3831
Fax: +61 2 6112 3831

The Australia-Korea Foundation Secretariat
PO Box 6060
Kingston ACT 2604

Sunday, February 20, 2011

World's Coolest Nations

It is such an interesting read. I have been some of the countries mentioned here in the list and I don't fully agree but then, we have to come up with our own list and whys and hows of it!
(please click the title of the post to read the article!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Comics or Manhwa (만화)

Comics are also called: Manhwa (만화)in Korean, Manga ( マンガ)or Komikko ( コミック) in Japanese or Manhua (漫画) in simplified Chinese.

'Manhwa' is a general Korean term for comics, print cartoons as well as the animated cartoons. It is disputed when Manhwa first appeared on the world scene – in Japan it dates back to the 12th Century. They are a common form of art since the 18th Century onwards.

Manhwa is what we grew up with. In Pakistan, our very own Pakistan Television (PTV) had for years (in 80s and early 90’s) a very strong tradition of showing these cartoons from Japan dubbed in English. That's where I had my first-hand exposure. I also remember that when I was an elementary school student, I desperately wanted to own a ‘shojo’ manga pencil case (last photograph)– it took me years to own one. Honestly speaking, these cartoons still have the power to bring me to a standstill. They still fascinate me. Old habits die hard. Really. By the way, almost all the universities have an animation department in Korea. It is a very competative program - graduates are hired right away - mainly in Korean, Japanese and American companies.

Anyhow, Manhwa is riding the Korean wave. It has a huge readership and viewer-ship among all the different age groups. It is estimated that Comics have a market of over 10 billion dollars between Korea and Japan only. I also witnessed times, when Korea banned Japanese comics into the Korean market and Japan banning Korean dramas and movies in the Japanese market - which was later resolved probably between 2002-2003. In recent years, I came across many comics turned dramas and movies. Some of them include: Full House, Princess Hours (궁)and my personal favorite a comic turned movie: ‘Hello, Schoolgirl (순정만화 / Sunjeong Manhwa;).’ Korea, like the rest of the world, is still in a grip of the American series called "HEROES" which is originally based on a comic. Everybody on a bus, subway, bus-stop could be seen watching it.

Some of the famous comic characters include: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Phantom and so on.....They are NOT heroes they are SUPERHEROES - you see!

If you are in Korea, don't forget to visit an exhibition: “Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today”
• Period: through February, 2011
• Opening Hours: 11am ~ 7pm (Closed on Mondays)
• Entry Fee: Adult 3,000 won / Student 1,500 won
• Artists: Matsumoto Taiyo, Igarashi Daisuke, Anno Moyoco, Ninomiya Tomoko
• Hosted by: Artsonje Center, The Japan Foundation
• Organized by: SAMUSO, The Japan Foundation
• Cooperated by: Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito
For inquiries, contact Artsonje Center Tel. 02-733-8945.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Seoul: Food Delivery Service

Korea is a place where meals are delivered at your doorstep-around the clock, 365 days a year. The service is FREE and it doesn't matter how many servings one orders - one or one hundred. With just one call, the restaurants send a delivery boy with the ordered food. This is something striking for a first-time visitor.
It looks something like this. The guy on the bike with a basket at the back and in that you can see the metal tiffin boxes - huge. These guys ride their bikes fast and many a times, to provide hot meals to us, have met with accidents and have even died.
McDo has also started food delivery in Korea for the past two years and are quite popular. I love the idea that in this country you think of eating something,all you have to do is to dial a number and food will be at your door in 20 minutes times. No tips, no minimum order to place - they even serve a single serving woth 5 or 6 USD, (6000 won).
A McDo Delivery guy in Gangnam on his way back...

I don't know about other places but it's about 2 years that Mc Donald's has joined the mainstream -to deliver meals at your doorstep.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On my Way....( 대보름)

Pictures of Hanboks (Korean traditional dress) etc. are taken at 대보름/Daebauraum literally meaning 'The Great Full Moon' Festival - organized by The Grad School. It is celebrated exactly 15 days after the Seolnal (The Lunar New Year)- which was yesterday. There are different traditions like having bonfire, samulnuri, cracking the nuts, eating 5 grain rice and so on. A lot of games were organized and 떡 (rice cake) were served. We also got a tooth paste as a gift! So cute!