Have a fabulous 2012


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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Choi Sung-bong: Already a Star (Korea has got Talent- TV show)

Choi  participated in 'Korea has got Talent' - a TV Show and has become a household name overnight. Ran away from orphanage due to beatings at the age of 5 and spending the rest of  his life on streets, subway stations and bathrooms...his voice took Korea by surprise. His video has over 10 million hit and is considered a favourite to win the show.
His story is sad and hard to believe nevertheless,  he has plenty of talent.

Wish him the best!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Foreign Food Mart (Halal Store), Itaewon: Indian/Pakistani Grocery Store

When we moved to Korea in 2002, there were only three grocery stores in Itaewon and due to monopoly they were quite expensive too. I will introduce you to a store that you MUST VISIT if you are a vegan, a Muslim or someone into Indian or South Asian cuisine.

In 2003, Foreign Food Mart (specialized in Halal/Vegetarian) opened its door for the expat community in general and Muslim expats in particular in Itaewon area, Seoul/Korea. Visit their website before going there to have a rough idea of what you can find there. This store was bigger than any other store of its kind selling Indian/Pakistani masalas (assorted curry powders & Herbs) with trusted products of National (Pakistan) Haldiram (India) and Shan Foods (Pakistan) alongside other brands. Halal beef, mutton, chicken both boneless & otherwise are readily available here and the prices have been the best one can get in Korea. Imported fish from different Asian countries are also readily available. You can also find frozen parathas, roti, chapaties, nan, pita bread etc.

This store has built up its reputation, service, deals & trust over the years. All the embassies from Muslim countries solely buy their meat from Foreign Food Mart.

Spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits, cheese, yogurt, fresh curry leaves, coconuts, papayas - in short, all that you can think of is sold here.
Life has become much easier due to this store. Foreign Food Mart is located in Itaewon - which is 5 minutes walk from exit 3 of the Itaewon subway station and by turning right from the fire station signals on your way to the mosque - you will see this store.

Foreign Food Mart (FFM) also has a sister restaurant (Foreign Food Restaurant) a few meters from the grocery store. It has a very decently priced buffet (eat as much as you can) for 15USD from Fridays to Sundays. I liked their Pakoray (vegetable tamporas/ Ttuikim in Korea). Out of 5 points, I'll give them 2.5 points, they need to work a little bit on service and quality both.

Back to Foreign Food Mart's staff, especially Lakshmi (from Nepal) is a great help for first timers, though he is super busy but I never saw him frown...he is always smiles, very cordial and is a fantastic person. These guys never haggled in changing the groceries even after weeks - which is not an easy task even in our own countries. Since it has a huge clientele, their products are freshly supplied.

Foreign Food Mart is not only specialized in Indian/Pakistani food products but they have a very good supply of Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian,  Filipino, French, American, Italian and Middle Eastern food products/groceries too. They also have fruits from all over the place so check it out at least once.

Vegans and vegetarians in Seoul MUST visit Foreign Food Mart and I'm sure their trip will be worthwhile. It is a heaven for Vegans.

For halal groceries, meat, spices....all you have to do is to visit this store in Itaewon.

No matter where you are located in South Korea, they have a delivery service and an online shop as well. Buy your groceries online and they will delive them to any location inside Korea. You do NOT have to come to Seoul.

Visit their elaborate website HERE for delivery.

How to buy from Foreign Food Mart, Itaewon, read HERE.

How to get to Foreign Food Mart, see below:

137-8, Itaewon Dong, Jungen Building
Yongsan Gu, Seoul, South Korea
Mobile : 010-5784-4585
Tel: 82 (02) 793-0082
Fax: 82 (02) 793-0086
Email: foreignfood_mart@yahoo.com,
Web: http://www.foreignfoodkr.com

What is the best buy:

Cheapest International Calling card are sold at Foreign Food Mart, Itaewon.

Best Kernal Basmati Rice (long grain/aged rice).

Lentals and achars/chutneys.

Sharbat concentrates.

Tamarind, Dried/powdered mango, Sarsoon ka tail (oil) as well.

Kafir/Yogurt & Cheese.

Cottage cheese, fresh Basil, corroander, ocra (Bhindi or lady fingers), Karaylay (bitter cucumber) can be found here. ;D.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pakistan Floods: 1st Anniversary

Almost one year ago, Pakistan saw the worst ever floods in its 80 years history that clamied over 2000 lives, 20 million people (equal to the entire polulation of Sri Lanka or Madagaskar) were displaced and one fifth of the whole country (area equal to the size of the United Kingdom) was under water. According to a UN report, nearly 2 million homes were destroyed or damaged and over 2.2 million hectares of crops lost and Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General - termed it as a slow moving Tsunami.
The rough estimates for reonstruction of basic infrastructure was estimated at 10 billion dollars.

One year on - people are still living in makeshift tents, lives have been devasted, family members or bread-winners dead. In one interview a woman flood victim shared her experience and told her story that though everybody has been suffering but for women in particular life is worst - they have to do parda (veil) and at the same time, minimum fascilities at the camps have made it one of the most difficult experience in her post floods life.

Many of these women have spent their whole lives within their small, closed communities/villages but now, that floods have brought them on the road - life
is really tough with no sanitaion, no bathrooms, clean water or medical checkups. Even after a year, there are no schools for the children affected by floods. With the handful of belonging that is their whole world, it is hard to understand for them - why aid has not yet reached them & their conditions have gone from bad to worst. Some areas have got help but a few others have been completely ignored.

Pakistanies have galantly worked to help the victims - but it is such a mega disaster that government's take on that will bring change - if any!

In an interview to reuter CARE Pakistan’s Country Director, Mr Waleed Rauf, said, “With heavy rains forecast for the next few weeks the likelihood that Pakistan will have another flood disaster is very real, and once again women and children will bear the brunt of it as they are the most vulnerable and marginalized."

He further said that“Donors, the government and international organisations need to continue to support both recovery and disaster risk reduction efforts in Pakistan to prevent a reoccurrence of last year’s crisis.”

Monsoons are around - there have been alerts for this years' rains as well. I wonder what measures have been taken by the government to lessen the hardships of already battered victims of the last years floods.

Photo credits@Boston Globe

Student Friendly Shopping in Seoul (Part-2)

Last time I wrote about DAISO- Korea here. I think that another spot for students who struggle with their budget is HOMEPLUS and EMART- (이마트). They are the largest retailers in South Korea with 127 stores across the country. A subsidiary of Sinsaegae Stores (of Samsung).

HomePlus and Emart - have also specialized in 'all that you need' stores. Prices are good, sales are very frequent on both food stuff and other products...and one can find just about everything there.

My most memorable event was the one when I saw a rice cooker of medium size sold for only 22,000 won, which otherwise, sells for 55,000 won(55USD).
Don't forget to give these stores a try!

Part -3 of Student Friendly shopping will deal with 'On the Street and Shopping at KIA's Bongo Trucks' ( frequently seen loaded with garlic, onion, melons and other fresh produce and yes, a loud speaker - that can drive anyone crazy with it's recorded message: manul chun won, yong phal chun won, sundu bu: chun won [1000 won] - driven by usually very upset ajjoshies...that is the cheapest among all - so dont miss it...^^

TIP: After 8:30 p.m, every day, Homeplus further discounts ready -to-use food products and vegetables :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Buzz Korea & Participate in a Memorable Seoul Tour!

Under the auspicies of Buzz Korea (KTO), a trip is scheduled on August 17th 2011, which will include music & dance, ssam (Korean wrap of rice & grilled meats in lettace leaves) and last but not the least Bukchon Hanok Village Tour.

Event sounds fantastic...all you have to do is to go to Buzz Korea website & apply!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HEAVY RAINS in Seoul ( pictures of the day)

It was muggy and in early afternoon - everything turned dark....heavy, black clouds were all over and we witnessed one of the heaviest rain, thunderstorm, & frequent lightening for hours and which is still going on...almost non-stop!

It has been raining for past 24 hours...

Most of the places even in Seoul are underwater, flooded and emergency has been declared. Even Hangang River has overflown!

Prayers for all the residents...drive safe!

Photocredits@ Prof. Han, Chosn Ilbo, Hankyoreh, Korea Times

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Student Friendly Shopping in Seoul: DAISO- Korea (Part-1)

Korea is becoming a shoppers paradise - one main reason is the quality and design of things 'made in Korea': good & unique. It is interesting to note that while in Korea, things made in Korea are relatively more expensive. It is a long debate as to why Korean things are sold at much higher rate in Korea - I'd rather focus on my post!

In case you are a student - who moved with only 20 kilos of FREE baggage allowed, with or without a scholarship and less opportunity to bring with you the basics such as your tupperware, mugs, plates, forks etc - then what are the places, stores and neighborhood that you should NOT miss during your stay in Korea. Well, the list can be long as Korea is full of huge stores, shopping malls, subway underground malls, university neighborhood shopping districts, Truck stores and traditional markets to name a few. My pick of the day is Daiso - Korea...where one can spend hours, can literally find just about anything you need in your life and be totally happy...

Daiso (다이소) is the same as the Dollar Store in the US or a 100 Yen Stores in Japan or IKEA of Sweden...actually hybrid of all these three is DAISO-다이소! Price range is 500 won-8,000 won.

Daiso Korea

Daisō (ザ・ダイソー) is the largest franchise of 100-yen shops in Japan owned by Daiso Sangyo Corp. (株式会社大創産業, with headquarters in Hiroshima Prefecture). Daiso has a range of over 100,000 goods, of which over 40 percent are imported goods, many of them from China. Daiso sets itself apart from other 100 yen shops by purchasing directly from manufacturers in very high volume, a strategy often compared to Wal-mart.
My shopping @ Daiso last week: rice bowls, scrubbers, lock and glue, olives

DAISO Korea has a full fledged website and Daiso online shopping option too, which I just found out while writing about Daiso. The website says that they have weekend sales on many products for up to 20% off. This is great when we have free delivery!!

Last week I bought myself these sleepers for only 1.5$ (USD)or 2,000 won (Rs.120). - good for the continuous rainy weather - very light & comfortable - it won't break heart while disposing off things. This Hello Kitty bag is so cute - for 30,000 won shopping - you can have one for free. If you have just moved to Korea ...a set of Bowls and plates in all varieties and shapes can be found here in this store.The list of their BestSeller 100 is here.

Hence anything related to household can be found in Daiso stores which are littered all across Korea...in subway stations, every dong(neighborhood), sometimes in Lotte Mart, Doosan Tower, National Assembly subway Station as well as Sadang, Sinchon, Myeongdong, Anguk, Seoul Station - simply put: think of a place and you will find one!

A three story Daiso that I saw in Anyang Station was very cool & the one at  Eungam station had a great and unique selection of goods that I haven't seen at any other Daiso...

By the way, another thing that stands out about Daiso is that you can even buy souvenirs here at a relatively low price than other places or almost the same price as you may find in wholesale markets as Namdemun and Dongdaemun souvenir centers. My recommendation is for expats in Korea is: visit Daiso - on and off - they have stationery's sections, household, makeup, souvenirs - just about everything at a relatively low price.

If you have recently moved to Korea and if you are a new student here just do NOT miss to take a trip at the nearest Daiso of your neighborhood. I hope that while looking for your DAISO you will discover and enjoy new secrets of Seoul or Korea and will love it!

Great Mountains International Music Festival (Gangwon-do)

The 8th Great Mountains International Music Festival is kicking off on July 24 and will run for 21 days, ending on August 13 in Ganwon-do South Korea. This festival will be held in at the Alpensia Resort in Gangwon Province and showcase musical performances from some of the most famous.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Illumination” and will feature performances of music from Mozart, Chopin, Schubert and more.

There will be 27 different programs including student concerts, children’s concerts and a special concert for local residents.

The participants include well-known violinists Todd Phillips and Robert Diaz and cellist Karine Georgian, along with rising stars like pianist Son Yeol-eum, violinist Shin Hyun-su, and violinist Kwun Hyuk-joo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seoul Station: Old and New

Photo by the author (19-4-2011)

Seoul Station is one of the most important and the oldest railway station in Korea and one can catch a train for most cities and provinces. It has KTX (bullet train), AREX (subway service between Incheon Airport and Seoul), Regular Train services, subway service (Line 1 and 4), and express bus services to almost all the suburbs of Seoul as well as different regions.
Sometimes, newcommers to Seoul are confused to locate Seoul Station because we have the newly built station and a few hundred meters away is the old building that used to serve as the railway station in olden days in Bongrae-dong with a very distinct architecture. I remember that my brother and cousin were lost and confused in 2006 - when they wanted to take a KTX (high-speed train) to Daejon and went to this old Seoul Station building and called me and said that there is nothing but locked doors and a rather abondoned building.

Photo by the author (19-4-2011)

Seoul Station opened in 1900's, it previous names were: Keijo (Gyeongseong Station) in 1900,- this name was changed to Namdaemun Station in 1905. When Seoul's name was changed from Hanseong to Gyeonseong in 1910 - during Japanese colonization- the name was reverted to Gyeonseong Stationin 1915. It was finally renamed Seoul Station in 1945. The Building has a beautiful architecture and was originally designed by a Japanese architect.

Photo Credits @ Hankyoreh (English)

After years of neglect - this building made it to the list of restoration projects ( that will end in 2014) taken up by the Ministry of Culture. Old Seoul Station's restoration project that started in 2009 is already complete before its scheduled completion on Aug. 9 with a budget of about about 20.12 million dollars or 21.3 billion won. At some point in the future, this building will be restored back to its original purpose - Train Station, that is.

Photo credits @ Ministry of Culture (Korea)

Currently, the station will be reborn into a cultural event hall named "Culture Station, Seoul 284". The state-run Korea Craft and Design Foundation (KCDF) reported that the two-story station, representative of modern architecture in South Korea, will be reborn into a culture complex with its original exterior. I'm looking forward to its inaugration in August.

Anyways, if one has to do railway reservation online to go to different areas of Korea click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011


These are some of the images that I uploaded on FB and with 24 hours 60 people have seriously asked me how to get to these places?

All these photos are from Baltistan by the natives or long term residents of this area - and no wonder that they are breathtaking...the question that we seriously have to ask is, whether we have sincerely tried to do justice to tourism in Pakistan?

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, generating an estimated 11% of global Gross Domestic Product(GDP), employing 200 million people and transporting nearly 700 million international travellers per year – a figure that is expected to double by 2020 accroding to one report. I spent my teens in Giglit and lived there for over two years. Though I have travelled extensively, the scenic beauty of Pakistan in general and Northern areas in particular is outstanding.

Around the world, many countries, big and small, developed and underdeveloped are exploring tourism to earn hard cash and soft image. If we look at Pakistan, almost half of all the Top 100 highest mountains of the world are in Pakistan. Gandhara, Taxila and Buddism can bring millions of dollars a year. Indus valley civilization, Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Silk Road are all in Pakistan....however, nobody highlights it. We, as a nation, have failed misreably to explore this industry. I remeber that I met climbers from Austria, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Japan in 1990s while living up North and for a long time, my sole passion was to become a mountaineer...inspired by these men and women - travelling thousands of miles away on foot, bikes, jeeps and otherwise. Whoever visited once - left the place with a strong desire to come back again. Now when I look back - it really breaks my heart.

Pakistan's most scenic places are economically very weak & tourism can be the industry that can bring a sea of change for the region and its people. It is about time that Gilgit-Baltistan's people and its beautiful culture must meet the world at large!

If we look at Maldives, Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji and Vietnam - we will notice that the main source of their GDP is tourism. The tourism industry makes important contributions to the economies of developing countries, particularly to foreign exchange earnings, employment, and GDP.

How can we not coordinate with different agencies within the government, private sector, NGOs, local communities and private citizens? How can we ignore such a vital industry and let people suffer for generations to generations & are waiting for miracle to happen. How can we NOT globalize Pakistani Tourism and bring it to the world. Answer is simple: Reconsider Pakistan as a 'Tourism Country' rather than anything else. Focus of our Pakistani government must be the betterment of its own people ... it is about time that we act on sustainable development through sustainable tourism in Pakistan...which is one of the recent approaches to tourism.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

TOUCH KOREA & BUZZ KOREA : An Interesting Opportunity!

I have a Korean language exam 2 days from now and here I am...enjoying TOUCH KOREA interactive site and clicking & listening to the stories about Korea on a rainy day. This project is introduced by the Korea Tourism Organization (KNTO) within I BUZZ Korea auspicies- where bloggers and social networking sites are used to share their experience, opinions and life in Korea with friends and family. TOUCH KOREA is an interactive game - register, log in and just be a part of it. One can read and virtually particpate and contest Korea's unique features, games, musical instruments and even eat Bulgogi & win a return ticket for 2 people to Korea as an Event No:2. This was indeed an intersting game, my favourties were: Green Tea, SSam, B-Boys, Hangul, E-rum (name), Gayagum, Hongdae Dance Floor, Seoraksan, Korean Currency and last but not the least Archery (the best!!! I got 49 points out of 50) :-)!!! Information about all these was precise and great! This must be a part of a course.. Introduction to Korean studies ...an an ice breaking formula for introducing Korea to foreign students...and I bet that they will fall in love with it! Maybe I will try that..once I go back home to teach about Korea in my country.

Their Event 1 is simple: register and just "BUZZ KOREA" and win an iPAD 2 or i Tunes gift card worth 25 USD. I guess, it will be more fun with more participants and one will surely know how kind Lady Luck is with them!

Procedure is extremely simple and it is always fun to be part of something...that one is passionate about!

So all you have to do is Buzz Korea and experience Korea by visiting their site at:http://www.ibuzzkorea.com/eng/lets.php

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Good News" from Pakistan?

While taking a Korean language course this summer, we all had an assignment to share a piece of "NEWS" from our country with fellow students. Project seemed easy & in 30 minutes we had to come up with the most recent news & do a presentation. As we all know that Pakistan has more than its fair share of BAD NEWS in almost all the spheres of society and economy but still I thought, I must highlight a "story of hope".

When I looked up into our major Pakistani newspapers - I realized that 'news' to them is something that must have the following key words: accussed, killed, deaths, bombs, terrorism, taliban, army, military, suicide attacks, rape, distruction, disaters, disengagement, kidnapped, ransom, harrassement, confrontaions and the list goes on...!

There was NOT a single story covered by Pakistani media that I could throw in a category of "hope, reconciliation, unity, nationhood or nationalism" - it was extremely frustrating! I looked at Pakistan's country profile on BBC News website and I found the words: domestic political upheavels and regional confrontations.

By chance a fellow classmate/friend stopped by, who is also a professor at the University of Philippines (UP) and he asked what I was working at? He offered me to help & when both of us started our search for a 'good news' which equates to something inspirational or about hope...well, we almost failed...he said that his country also has a lot of problems and so have all others but the extent to which Pakistani media is covering it & the gross pictures and filming of the event is definitely detrimental for the country per se.

There is no dearth of 'goodnews' in Pakistan but I wish that media had given it the importance, it rightly deserve. These stories are insiring but of course are not sansationalizing (media's priority). I wish I could highlight the stories of bravery of all those men, women and families who have battled catstrophic floods in Pakistan last year, which resulted in the deaths of thousands, more than 20 million people were directly hit and one fifth of the country was under water. There was no hope, no home and no answers for these people and they were quoted over and over again that their only hope is God!

Pakistan has to muddle through these tough times because there is no other way out. Doing so won't make us the first country ever....there are many other countries who have gone through rough times but their people stand united and media covered stories of hope. Media's constant coverage on issues affects our hearts and minds and in turn, impact our lives and lifestyles! In my opinion, there is a heavy responsibily on print and electronic media to do "responsible journalism". We desperately need some constructive, inspiring and moving stories that are always takng place in the midst of disasters when men and women are challenged to the core! I think that it is about time that Pakistani media should let go their obsession with 'Breaking News Phenomenon'.....it has broken the back of our nation and each and everyone of us!

By the way, I chose a story of a woman from Punjab, who has been given a small piece of land in Barani areas and highlighted how her life has changed in many ways.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

International Rock Festival (Busan, South Korea)

12th Busan International Rock Festival will kick off on August 5th(Friday). The venue is Samnak Riverside Park. Their slogan is: Samnak (Music + People + Nature) which is to be organizied by the Committee for Busan Culture & Tourism Festival & the sponsors are Busan Metropolitan City. The festival will continue for 3 days with an eventful closing ceremony on August 7th.

This festival started in the year 2000 and a lot of countries besides Korea have participated in it such as, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Britain, USA, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Russia, China, Poland, Norway, Canada and Italy.

The lineups accumulate acts of various genres such as rock, metal and indie. Busan Rock Festival has a FREE admission policy. This festival enjoyed a total crowd of 100,000 two years ago...and the number is fast increasing!

Update: Minimum Wage to Rise 6% in 2012

Government, labor and management representatives have agreed to set the country’s hourly minimum wage at 4,580 won ($4.3) in 2012, up 260 won, or 6 percent, from this year, reported Korea Times.

The agreement came after many months of wrangling.

Earlier, I wrote about it here!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pet Sitting in Seoul and Animal Qurantine for Bringing Pets in South Korea


A friends' friend was very worried because she was leaving for Europe for a month's long vacation and had to find somebody to take care of her "really shy" cat. I was contacted because I have a keen interest in anything related to cats and dogs such as: rescuing animals, feeding stray animals, taking chained dogs by permission of their owners and taking them for walks, helping people to find homes for their pets while on vacation, arranging pet sitters (usually amongst student community that is willing to pet-sit) and even finding friends or acquiantances to transport cats/dogs to the US or Canada where I myself frequently visit.  All these services are free of cost.

I remember that many of my friends who wanted to bring in or move out of Korea with pets have suffered due to the lack of information in English. I was very lucky that during my rescue efforts and then search for a vet - led me to a very kind hearted vet, who has great passion for stray animals. Dr. Seo is exceptionally good in his job and in speaking English too. I have known him since 2007 and many times he did not even charged me for treating these abondoned/rescued animals.

So anyways, besides contacting me, you can leave your request at forums of Craiglist, Seoul Global Center, Korea4Expats and Work and Play in Korea. I have observed that the interests in cats in Korea has been coniniously increasing at a fast pace. In 2002, it was NOT easy to find cat related products easily but it has changed. I think that people like Lee Hyori (singer/actress)and a few others have played an important role in that and also in awareness towards adopting abondoned animals.

Long story short, now that we have vacations in Korea - some of the forums that I will highly recommend where you can find a pet sitter include Animal Rescue Korea and the Seoul Craiglist. These forums have been an excellent source of exchange of information on issues covering animals in general and pets in particular.

Issues such as where to find a right vet clinic with English speaking staff, Quarantine Policy of Korea on animals, clinics providing travelling documents for pets as well as finding homes for the abondoned animals, people volunteering at the shelters in and around Seoul, Asan and Daejon etc.go to the websites I mentioned.

Some of the important sites for pet owners are:

National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS).

South Korea's Policy on Bringing Pets and Qurantine Rules

One extremely important thing that is happening in Korea is the "new rules" that will come into effect from December 1st, 2011: which include microchip indentification to be implanted in animals' body & rabies shots (it has always been mandatory), number of animals without prior report is 4 or less and one day at of stay at the quarantine clinic of the Incheon Airport for tests etc. :-(

Note: Microchip should be an internationally standardized product such as ISO 117874/11785.

For more information call NVRQS at:82-31-467-1700

Prevention of Animal Mistreatment report at their hotine 1797

Basics of Having a Pet by Shannon Heit

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free Concert in Seoul

"An Encounter with the Sounds of Korea and Russia" will be organized by Korea Foundation on July 21, 2011 (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m.
Admission is free with prior registration by email or phone between July 13 - July 18th, 2011.
Email: kfcenter@kf.or.kr
Phone: 02- 2151-6520

Monday, July 11, 2011


I heard on radio that in the morning Chungcheong-nam do had 500mm of rain follwed by another 300mm in the afternoon. The city is flooded and the situation is alarming. Green houses are under water. One farmer said that they have lost all their crop!

The forecast is that the rain will continue until Wednesday. So far, 12 people have died and many more have been injured.

Amost all of Korea is under heavy rains - tomorrow, 250mm of rain is expected in Seoul and surrounding areas, temperature has fallen to 19 degree Celcius.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


The Boryeong Mud Festival 보령머드축제 is an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, Chungcheongnam-do - around 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998 and now this festival attracts about 2.5 million visitors to Boryeong. Boryeong mud is rich in minerals and good for one’s skin. The high quality sea mud is famous enough to make mud cosmetic products such as mud packs, mud soaps, etc.
When you go to the festival, don’t forget to bring a spare set of clothes and your bath toiletries. Once you get there, it will be hard not to get muddy. The top attraction is the mud sliding, full of fun and thrills, where you are covered completely in mud. You may romp around with your friends in the mud tub, which is good for your skin.
If you are interested in buying quality mud cosmetic products, they are available at the mud cosmetic exhibition for a reasonable price.

This year the festival dates are: July 16 - 24, 2011

Admission/Participation Fees: Free

Festival Website

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Photo Exhibition of our Friend...

.... he really has a keen eye - Mr. Kim Ou Seon!
His one day exhibition took place yesterday - uncovering the secrets of our campus!
Beautiful pictures!

South Sudan: A New Country

Sudan is divided into two countries, North Sudan with its capital Khartoum and South Sudan - a new addition in the list of countries - has Juba as its capital. South Sudan is the 193 rd country recognized by the UN. The best part is, Northern Sudan is the first country to accept its new neighbor. The south's independence follows decades of conflict with the north in which some 1.5 million people died.

Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, a referendum was held on independence, which was favoured by more than 99% of voters.

The new country is rich in oil, but one of the least developed countries in the world, where one in seven children dies before the age of five.

Unresolved disputes between the north and south, particularly over the new border, have also raised the possibility of renewed conflicts. A new law passed by the National Assembly in Khartoum has withdrawn Sudanese citizenship from all southerners.

The UN refugee agency (UNCHR), has urged both governments to prevent statelessness.

This event has made afresh the division of India and then, the division of Pakistan. All three of us - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are doing O.K...actually, Pakistan must work a bit hard - to restore peace with itself. We must find a common cause to work for and with other entities within Pakistan. We have to pull ourself out of the labels such as: the most dangerous; corrupt; unstable and ....bla, bla, bla....in the world!

Last but not the least: Congratulation South Sudan and South Sudanese citizens on this special / historic occassion - wish you prosperity, progress and peace!

For details read here at NYT.

LOMOGRAPHY: What is this?

While doing my posting on Seoul 16th Photo Contest, I thought I should do a post on Lomography. While talking to a few friends from Japan - I got to know about Lomography - because they were my first source to it!

Lomography is the commercial trademark of Lomographische AG, Austria for products and services catering to the Global Modern art community of Lomographic photography. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia.

In 1991, the Austrian founders of Lomography discovered the Lomo LC-A and bought the exclusive rights from this Soviet company. As the company states, they were "charmed by the unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry" images that the camera produced. Their motto is: Don't think, just shoot!

According to Lomograpgy dot com:

You might be at a garage, in the woods, on an Airbus, in the Hammam, at work, on the Fujiyama, or in bed with breakfast when it hits you. Your trigger finger start trembling, your eyes become hungry, your soul is burning for images. You grab your LOMO LC-A, click, ahhhh, click, now it's better, click. Then it happens; the unstoppable Lomographic desire to document your surroundings overwhelms you and won't let go. And nor will you: you're feeling Lomography and life starts pulsating.

This definitely makes me think if this is the camera I want or I just stop deleting my blurr photos.. :-)

For details visit: http://www.lomography.com/

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