Have a fabulous 2012


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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Halal Choices for Lunch in Dongdaemun at Exit 5!

 콩나물밥or Bean Sprouts with rice

Kimbab: Ask for salad, Yanche(vegetable) or Tuna Kimbab

 냉면 or Cold noodles made with buckwheat and the dish has spring onions, cucumber, hot chillie paste and ice cubes (not my favourite)!

 멸치우동 or Anchovies and seaweed noodle soup!

 Cold bean sprout noodles!

Another version of bean sprout rice!

Halal burger and Pizza in Seoul, YES!! in Dongdaemun Exit:5

The prices for the Korean food are the cheapest here in Dongdaemun, same dishes will cost 3 to 4 times higher in Insadong area and portions are small. The photos are taken on the main street outside Dongdaemun Station, where we have malls, outlets, main supply line for almost everything! Get out of exit no:5...and just roam around the place. You wil discover treasures, really!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Eid Nauroz Mubarak!
It's Nauroz, so I wish everyone in Iran, Nothern Pakistan, Parsis in India, Central Asians and  all those celebrating it around the world - a great day.
While living in Gilgit, we used to have an official holiday on Nauroz..
The UN in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it as a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years
If one happens to be in Kazakhsatan,Turkmenistan etc. one can see people jumping over small bonfires.
It's celebrations are very much the same as Eid or Seolnal.
Happy Nauroz to all.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tourist Survey on Intersting Aspects of Korea

Cosmojin Tour on Thursday said in a straw poll of 384 tourists, 48 percent named plastic surgery as the aspect of modern Korean culture they found hardest to understand.
Koreans' Plastic-Surgery Obsession Baffles Tourists Tourists cite the obsession with plastic surgery among Korean women as the most puzzling characteristic of the country's contemporary culture.

"Many tourists who visited the Gangnam or Itaewon districts of Seoul tell their tour guides that Korean women are beautiful but ask why they look and dress the same," said a Cosmojin Tour staffer. "For many foreigners, who value individuality and uniqueness, it seems surprising to see Koreans so obsessed with plastic surgery to boost their appearance."

According to the survey, 27 percent of tourists were also for some reason puzzled by trash bins in public bathrooms, and 16 percent cited the penchant for high heels and inserts to increase height.

But they were impressed by the fast Internet connection speed as well as round-the-clock food delivery services, reverence toward older people and the omnipresence of karaoke rooms.
Among inconveniences, the biggest was tour guides pressuring tourists to buy goods in a particular store on their itinerary. "We need to train professional tour guides as we greet more than 10 million tourists into Korea each year," the tour company owner said.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TV actresses to stand trial for drug abuse

Park Si-yeon: she looks like an addict
Four female celebrities, including top TV actress Park Si-yeon, have been indicted on charges of illegally taking the psychotropic drug propofol, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The celebrities allegedly took the prescription drug for reasons other than its intended purpose up to 100 times at several plastic surgery and dermatology hospitals in the Gangnam district in Seoul, they said.

Park and two others ― Jang Mi-inae and Lee Seung-yeon ― will stand trial without physical detention for allegedly receiving unnecessary treatments at hospitals to get the drug, which is commonly used during routine surgeries, they added.

Another actress, Hyun Young, has been summarily indicted for the same charge, they said.

Prosecutors said they have also indicted two doctors practicing in Gangnam on charges of illegally using or administering propofol to patients, including these celebrities.

The probe was prompted after a local obstetrician was arrested in August last year on charges of injecting his girlfriend with propofol, causing her death. The doctor then disposed of her body.

Propofol, a powerful anesthetic commonly used during routine surgeries, was responsible for the death of U.S. pop star Michael Jackson.

Experts say propofol abuse is growing because unlike other hospital sedatives, it is quick-acting and rapidly leaves the system. It is also known as a “milk injection” because the color of the drug resembles milk.

Source:Yonhap News

Monday, March 11, 2013

Discover “Seoul’s Traditional Markets” with the Open Top Double-decker Bus

On 22nd February the open top double-decker bus tour of Seoul’s traditional markets kicked-off.

This Seoul traditional market tour course will provide free and easy tourists the opportunity to experience everyday life in Seoul and discover the hidden beauty of Seoul. Above all, this will promote traditional markets as a quintessential tourist attraction incorporating the shopping, culture, food, household items and fashion of Seoul. For instance, at Gwangjang Market one can browse the traditional hanbok alley, and take in the unique atmosphere of the market while savoring the market’s specialty bindaetteok (mung-bean pancake) and makgeolli.

Saw this bus in Dongdaemun(동대문 역)

Seoul’s first “open top double-decker bus” will enhance the tourist experience when visiting traditional markets. There are plans to make this Seoul’s representative tourist attraction. One open top double-decker bus and two normal double-decker buses will ply the traditional market course at 35-minute intervals.

In addition to the Traditional Market Course, the Seoul City Tour Bus will cover five different routes including City Circle Course, Night Course A, Palace & Cheonggye Course, and Night Course B. The Seoul City Tour Bus (Palace & Cheongye Course) will be plied by the normal double-decker bus. It is hoped that the open concept and unobstructed views will help bring the tourists closer to the different sights of Seoul, and provide a more authentic experience with the opportunity to feel the changes in the weather with each season.

The Seoul City Tour Bus Traditional Market Course will start from Dongdaemun Doosan Tower and take 105 minutes to cover Seoul’s major traditional markets including Bangsan, Junbu Market, Namdaemun, Insadong, Gwangjang Market, Sungin-dong Dokkaebi Pungmul Market, Seoul Yangnyeong Market, Majang-dong Livestock Products Market, Sindang-dong Junang Market.

※ Seoul City Tour Bus Traditional Market Course (105 minutes)

Dongdaemun Doosan Tower (start) – Bangsan, Jungbu Market, Lotte Young Plaza (Sogong-dong, City Hall, Deoksugung) – Seoul Station Platform 6, Namdaemun Market – Myeongdong – Jongak, Jongno, Youth Street – Tapgol Park, Insadong, Nakwon Shopping Center – Sewoon Electronics Market, Jongno Jewelry Street – Gwangjang Market - Pyeonghwa Fashion Market – Dongmyo, Sungin-dong Dokkaebi Pungmul Market – Seoul Yangnyong Market (Gyeongdong Market, Cheongnyangni Fruit Wholesale Market – Majang-dong Livestock Products Market – Sindang-dong Jungang Market – Dongdaemun Doosan Tower (end)

Tourists can not only choose the time and place to start their tour and hop on and off at will, there will also be guide provided in the five languages of Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese and French.

Tickets valid for the whole day are priced at around 10,000 (Adult 12,000/Children above 6, High & Middle School students 8,000).
This is comparably cheaper than city tours in other cities and promises to provide an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

Additionally, to help develop the traditional markets into attractive tourist sports, walking tour courses featuring the unique story of each market will be developed around the market vicinity in cooperation with the Traditional Market Merchants’ Association of each traditional market. This will feature sights such as the oldest store of the market, recommended food stalls and shopping items, and many more cultural experiences that can only be found in Korea.

With the aim of enhancing Seoul’s tourism products, Seoul City Tour was selected to operate the “Seoul City Tour Bus” from 2000, developing City Circle Course and Cheongye/Palace Course, and Night Course A/B after consultation with the public. Presently, selected private enterprises are able to receive license to operate without putting down a deposit.

Tel: Tradition Market Route (1544-4239), Existing Routes (02-777-6090)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chinese Language: A New Obsession in Pakistani Schools

Heiwei: Chinese language teacher in City School ( a private school) in Islamabad. The most interesting part is that students have NO desk though the monthly fee is 300 USD minimum.

When Misbah Rashid taught Chinese 30 years ago, few signed up. Today her department has more than 200 Pakistani students, increasingly attracted by the prospect of an affordable education and a job.
For decades, a foreign education was the reserved for the richest who'd go the West but Rashid’s pupils are mostly middle class. Ambitious and academic, they lack the means to afford an American or British education and so they sign up for Mandarin Chinese at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) in Islamabad.

Some of them hope to get a job with a Chinese company in Pakistan. Others will go on to further studies in China, which offers around 500 scholarships a year and cheaper fees.

A course in China costs a few thousand dollars a year, compared with the tens of thousands of dollars US and British universities charge.

“Nowadays as Pakistanis, you may not be as welcome in all other countries as we were a few years ago,” says 18-year-old Ali Rafi, who applied to study economics at Shangdon University after visiting last summer.

“But when we went to China, there was one major difference in that we felt at home, the people always welcomed, honored us and everyone was really pleased when they heard that we were Pakistani.”

Rafi studies at City School, one of the private schools in Islamabad that has started to offer Chinese lessons to children as young as 12, who sing in Mandarin under the watchful eye of their teacher, Zhang Haiwei.

If everything goes well, the classes will be rolled out across the school’s other 200 branches in Pakistan. And other private schools are doing the same.Pakistanis complain about the difficulty of getting visas and of the suspicion their nationality can arouse among those who associate Pakistan with Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, particularly in Britain and the United States.

The British government issued 20 per cent fewer student visas in 2012 than the previous years.
The US mission in Pakistan supports the world’s largest US government-funded exchange program, sending over 1,000 Pakistanis on fully funded educational programs to the United States every year.

The independent Institute of International Education says 5,045 students from Pakistan studied in the United States in 2010-11, but that the number has declined steadily since 2001-02 after the 9/11 attacks. There is also considerable resentment of US policy, including the “covert” use of armed drones to carry out attacks in Pakistan on militants which has increased anti-Americanism.
On the other hand, Chinese investment, China’s reluctance to admonish Pakistan in public, its rivalry with India and status as an emerging global superpower give it considerable goodwill.

China’s growing presence in Pakistan speaks volumes.Pakistan’s main trading partner is still the European Union (EU), but trade with China reached $12 billion last year, up 18 per cent from the previous year, hence coming at the second place.

China is also Pakistan’s main arms supplier. Beijing built two nuclear power plants in Pakistan and is contracted to construct two more reactors.Last month, it also took control of Pakistan’s strategic port of Gwadar, which through an expanded Karakoram Highway could connect China to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the world’s traded oil.

There are an estimated 10,000 Chinese living in Pakistan which is one of the highest number of foreigners from any country (about 2.5 million Afghan refugees  live in Pakistan). According to Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing, around 8,000 Pakistani students are already studying in China and thousands more are preparing to join them. “In Pakistan we have more than 6,000 Chinese students. However, we have maybe about 50 teachers. We don’t have enough teachers from China. Some people found it dangerous so they don’t want to work here,” Haiwei, a Chinese language teacher in Pakistan said.

Friday, March 8, 2013


All sort of events are taking place with the start of Spring.
If you are interested in taking part in any of the acticitives then simply click the llink below in the Event Calendar issues by SGC.

Date Event Host
March 6 Ceramic Hand Painting Class Seorae
March 8 Cooking Class (Spring Herb Bibimbap) Yeoksam
March 8 Professional Business Counseling Yeouido
March 8 Sagunja Class Seorae
March 8 Animal Pen Making Class Seorae
March 8 Volunteer Activity Itaewon
March 11 Korean Language Class Registration Ichon
March 12 Eco-tour to Zoo Itaewon
March 12 Hanji Crafts (Bedside Cabinet) Seorae
March 12 K-Pop Dance Class Seorae
March 13 Traditional Music Class (Janggu) Seorae
March 14 Patchwork mirror making Yeoksam
March 14 Hanji Crafts (Bedside Cabinet) Seorae
March 15 Hanji Craft Itaewon
March 15 Sagunja Class Seorae
March 16 Volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital Yeoksam
March 16 Walking Tour to Seonggyungwan Yeoksam
March 18 Volunteer Activity Itaewon
March 19 Sagunja Class Seorae
March 19~ Korean Language Class Itaewon
March 20 Traditional Music Class (Janggu) Seorae
March 21 Volunteer Activity Itaewon
March 21 Ttukbaegi Painting Class Yeoksam
March 21 Hanji Crafts (Bedside Cabinet) Seorae
March 22 Korean Cooking (Bulgogi & Kimchi) Itaewon
March 22 Sagunja Class Seorae
March 22 Cooking Class (Macaron) Seorae
March 25 Volunteer Activity Seorae
March 26 K-Pop Dance Class Seorae
March 27 Traditional Music Class (Janggu) Seorae
March 28 Movie of the month ‘The Man from Nowhere’ Itaewon

_ Seoul Global Center: (02)2075-4180
_ Yeonnam Global Village Center: (02)6406-8151~3
_ Itaewon Global Village Center: (02) 2199-8883~5
_ Ichon Global Village Center: (02) 796-2018
_ Seorae Global Village Center: (02)2155-8916
_ Yeoksam Global Village Center:(02)3453-9038~9
_ Yeongdeungpo Global Village Center: (02)2670-3800~7
_ Seongbuk Global Village Center: (02)920-3462~4
_ Gangnam Global Business Center: (02)6001-7240~2
_ Yeouido Global Business Center: (02)6137-9830





University Orientation for International Students

  • The Seoul Global Center will be visiting universities in Seoul to provide international students with the orientation program before a new academic semester begins. The orientation session is aimed to offer useful information for both newly arrived and already residing students on a wide range of issues necessary for living in Seoul, such as transportation, mobile phone, national health insurance and real estate. At the session, students will be provided with an opportunity to learn about various cultural and educational programs offered by the Seoul Global Center and the city government such as the Seoul International Student Forum, the Seoul Town Meeting, and the Foreigners’ Flea Market events. The schedule for March is as below.
    Date Time Universities Students
    March 2 (Sat) 16:00 Sogang University Undergraduate students
    March 4 (Mon) 10:00 Seoul National University Exchange students
    10:50 Seoul National University Graduate students
    March 4 (Mon) 13:50 Seoul National University Graduate students
    16:00 Seoul National University Exchange students
    March 5 (Tue) 15:00 Hansung University Undergraduate students
    March 15 (Wed) 14:00 Hansung University Undergraduate students

    *Please note that the above-schedule is subject to change.
    *For more info: (02)2075-4180 or hotline@seoul.go.kr

Itaewon's New Face!

A number of foreign tourists visit Itaewon for shopping and food as it is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seoul. Itaewon is an international district with different cultures mixed together, creating a unique atmosphere. However, the neighborhood used to get a little bit of negative reputation as the heart of the nightlife with bars and clubs.
In recent years, the area went through a major shift and it did change a lot. Itaewon is now emerging as a new hangout for the young who are always keen on the new trend since a flagship store dealing high-end fashion opened in the area. The street between Itaewon Station and Hangangjin Station earned the nickname ‘Comme Des Garcon’ street after the upscale flagship store opened here. The street stretches from Comme des garcon to the IP Boutique hotel is creating a lot of buzz nowadays, and stylish and unique restaurants and cafes are springing up, adding a great vibe in the new cool neighborhood.

Next to the avant-garde high-end boutique store is a narrow alley that leads to a private museum which is owned by one of the major conglomerates in Korea. It is ‘Leeum’ Samsung Museum of Art which boasts a rich collection of art works, from Korean traditional art pieces including some national treasures to modern pop art installations. The first masterpiece at the museum visitors will see is the famous sculpture of two gigantic spiders ‘maman’ made by the artist Louise Bourgeois. Maman was created as a tribute to Bourgeois's own mother. The French-American artist is known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art and her famous spider sculptures are found in many cities like Ottawa and Tokyo including the first one at London's Tate Modern museum. The Museum Complex itself is a grand masterpiece. It’s made up of three buildings designed by three internationally renowned architects, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas.

Another landmark for art buffs in the neighborhood is Blue Square, the largest performing art hall in Korea. The theater is dedicated to musicals and performances and the world’s famous musical Phantom of the opera and Arsene Lupin are playing at the moment. The street is expected to live up to the expectation of the art lovers as another performing arts theatre will be built here by 2013.

A feast for eyes and ears is enjoyable but the most pleasant feast is to satisfy your taste buds. With dozens of restaurants serving a variety of international cuisine in the area, the International Food Street was formed in a back alley off the main road. There are quite a few restaurants specializing in certain type of foreign food across the city, but Itaewon is the place where you can find authentic tastes from many different cultures and regions such as Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In addition, it is one of the few places you can find halal food as Itaewon is home to Seoul Central Mosque.
For those who are looking for fine dining experience, luxurious restaurants present a paring of excellent food and atmosphere. In Itaewon, you can soak in the ambience of a European café appreciating contemporary art by European artists at the same time, or taste healthy organic desserts that fulfill your cravings for the sweet at a stylish French bakery.
With a unique vibe and colorful personalities, the new hotspot in Itaewon is attracting more visitors including international tourists by word of mouth. Go out experience the city's coolest new hang-out before everyone discovers it!

Flea Market on March 17th. 2013

The Seoul Global Center’s has been hosting the Foreigners’ Flea Market to help expand exchange between foreign residents and Seoul citizens and encourage the recycling of used goods, and the first flea market event for 2013 is scheduled to kick off in March.

Come and join us in this spirit of sharing! To sell goods, there is no participation fee, but you must register in advance. Voluntary donations will be accepted and given to charity organizations.

The flea market schedule for March is as follows:
☞‘No-traffic Day’ Flea Market at Sejong Street

  • Date : March 17 (Sun.), 2013 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Place: Seoul Folk Flea Market
         (Sinseol-dong Station, Subway Lines 1 & 2, exit #6, 9, 10)

☞Seoul Folk Flea Market
  • Date : March 30 (Sat.), 2013 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Place : between Gwanghwamun and the main Sejong street intersection
         (Gwanghwamun Station, Subway Line 5, exit #2, 3)

How to Register?
    * The above-schedule is subject to change without notice.
    * Please be advised that the event may be cancelled in case of rain.
    * More detailed information about the event will be available on the website http://global.seoul.go.kr

Monday, March 4, 2013

아빠! 어디가?: A Korean TV Program

"Where are you going, dad" or "아빠! 어디가?" is a Korean TV Program that airs on Sunday night. It revolve around 5 actors accompanying one of their kids and leave as a team on a holiday.

This program is very engaging since the families have to deal with various situations that they encounter while traveling to far flung places.

 The cutest kids among them is 준수 (top right) but all of them are great. The oldest among these kids is Minkuk (second row:middle). He cries on almost every situation. 

If you haven't watched him then give it a try, I'm sure you will like it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Temple Stay

Lotus Lantern International Buddhist Meditation Center organize various activities including lectures, workshops, meditation sessions and temple stay etc. I first visited this center in 2003 when a professor with whom I was taking a course "Introduction to Korean Buddhism" asked us to visit this center. This center was located in a Hanok (a traditional Korean house) in Bucheon near Insa-dong at Anguk Station, exit no:3.

It's first director was a Bengali Monk named Buddah Datta aka Ilbo Sunim,  who studies Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Korea at the Dongkuk university. He is well-versed in Korean, English, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Urdu. A huge number of people used to visit this center on Sunday evenings.

Later on, this center was moved to Ganghwa Island near Icheon and of course, not many people could go there that often. When they offered their first temple stay in 2005 at Ganghwa, I told my friends from Germany and Mexico and they took a 2 nights 3 days trip for 20,000 won only.

Ganghwa Temple Stay is one of the famous temple stay programs in Korea.

If you are visting Korea and want to experience temple stay then go for Ganghwa. For more information about the program, please visit the center's website at http://www.lotuslantern.net/ or call (032) 937-7033.

The fees vary from W20,000 to W50,000. Inquiries can also be made to the Incheon Center for International Cooperation and Exchange by visiting its website (http://www.icice.or.kr) or calling (032) 451-1800.

Michelle Wie Gives Up Korean Citizenship

Michelle Wie and Greg Norman

According to a news, Korean-American golfer Michelle Wie has relinquished her Korean citizenship.

According to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security on Tuesday, the former prodigy gave up her Korean passport last Thursday and opted for U.S. citizenship.

Wie, who was born in Hawaii in 1989, had held dual citizenship and listed as her hometown Jangheung, South Jeolla Province, the birthplace of her grandfather, a former professor of aerospace engineering at Seoul National University.

At present, Wie is studying at Stanford.

One of the unique features of Michelle Wie is her height which is 6 feet and 1 inch. (6.1 feet or 185cm).

1 in 5 Boys Born in Korea Now Will Never Marry

I doubt the news but Chosun Ilbo had this news below. By the way, it can't be proved   scientifically but anyhow, what can be done in this regard. ..

 One out of five Korean boys born now will never marry, and one in four who do marry will end up divorced, according to a projection by Statistics Korea.

The agency in a report on Wednesday forecast that 20.9 percent of boys and 15.1 percent of girls born in 2010 will live their entire lives single. The reason for the lower projected rate for women is that there are fewer of them, which makes it more likely for them to find a mate.

Statistics Korea extrapolated from data from the past and current trends.

The chances of staying single are rising. For boys, the figure rose from 15.1 percent to 20.9 percent in 2010, and for girls from 9.1 percent to 15.1 percent.

"More and more people are getting married later on in life and a growing number choose to stay single, boosting the chances of people remaining unmarried until death," said a Statistics Korea official.

The chances of men being widowed stand at a mere 17.3 percent but the chances for women at 61.7 percent, because women have a higher life expectancy and husbands are still usually older than their wives.

The chances of couples divorcing are also very high. The projected divorce rate for boys born in 2010 is 25.1 percent and for girls 24.7 percent, up three percentage points each compared to 2000. 

Among those who divorce, 58.1 percent of men and 56.1 percent of women are forecast to marry again. "As more and more people feel less need to marry, there has been an increase in the number of divorcees choosing to stay single," the Statistics Korea official said.

Only 3 percent of widowers and 0.8 percent of widows are expected to remarry. The chances are low since they are usually widowed in their twilight years.

Overall, some 14 percent of both boys and girls are forecast to marry more than twice in their lives.

Source: Chosun Ilbo

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Seoul Motor Show to kick off on March 29

Seoul Motor Show 2013 will kick off an 11-day run on March 29 at KINTEX in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province. Organizers said Wednesday the ninth show will be the biggest event ever, aiming at drawing about 1.2 million visitors.

“This will be the third largest auto show in the world in terms of venue size and number of visitors,” Huh Wan, secretary-general of the Organizing Committee for Seoul Motor Show, said during a news conference at Lotte Hotel Seoul.

The biannual show will take place at both KINTEX Hall 1 and Hall 2, which has been newly completed.

Huh said the show will host various sub-events such as an international technology seminar, car design contest and environmentally-friendly car test drive.

Under the theme of “With nature, for the people,” the event will be participated in by 331 firms from 13 countries including automakers and parts suppliers.

All five domestic brands _ Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and Ssangyong _ will display their latest vehicles during the show, and a wider range of imported automakers including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW/MINI, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Ford will also be represented.

It will showcase nine world, 15 Asia and 18 Korea premiere vehicles during the event. A total of 15 concept cars as well as 34 environmentally-friendly vehicles will also be on display.

The organizing committee will also invite about 15,000 foreign buyers to the show where an after-market special section will be featured.

Officials said this will be also a good chance for local parts makers to showcase their products to foreign automakers.

Ticket prices are 10,000 won for adults and 7,000 won for elementary and secondary school students. Visitors can have 2,000 won discount with online purchases at ticket.auction.co.kr from March 4.

Park Si-hoo on TV all day!

Actor Park Si-hoo returned home after nearly 10 hours of questioning by police on Friday over allegations that he sexually assaulted a 24-year old aspiring actress last month.