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Taking Down Samsung’s No Union Policy: The Samsung Electronics Service Union

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-09-22 16:40
Taking Down Samsung’s No Union Policy: The Samsung Electronics Service

On July 29th, The International Strategy Center’s Policy and Research Coordinator Dae-Han Song and Communications Coordinator Hwang Jeong Eun met with Sunyoung Kim, the chair of the Samsung Electronic Service Union for the Yeongdeungpo District in Seoul of the Korean Metal Workers Union to talk about the union’s struggle and their trailblazing as the first union recognized by Samsung.

Can you give us a brief background to the Samsung Electronic Service Union?

We started the union because of the harsh working conditions. Sometimes, we might work 12 to 13 hours a day, and still not make the minimum wage. You might come to work on Saturday or Sunday from 8 to 6 PM and come out on the minus. Why? Because you didn’t get paid, but you still had to pay for lunch and gas. You even had to pay for your own training from Samsung. In addition, our work is dangerous, whether it is installing air-conditioning, or climbing a wall, or working with live electricity. Despite these dangers, the company doesn’t provide any safety equipment. We have to wear neckties even when working with moving parts. They force us to wear dress shoes even when working on a roof in the rain. Why? For the sake of maintaining a clean and professional image.

How can a person work 12 to 13 hours a day and not even get paid the minimum wage?

It’s a system based on commission. There is no base pay. You are basically a freelancer. You come in to work, and if there is work you work if there is not then you just stay in the office. However, while a real freelancer can decide whether or not to show up to the office, we have a specified clock in and clock out time. When there is work, we just keep working. In the summer, there’s a lot of work: air conditioning, refrigerators. So, we just keep on working until everything is done. Not only is working such long hours exhausting, it is also exhausting doing so in the summer heat. Sometimes you don’t get home until 12 AM and can’t even rest on the weekends. That’s when we make our money that carry us through the fall, winter, spring when there is little work. In these off seasons we might sometimes just get one or two calls in a day and since we get paid by commission, if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.

You have to at least pull off 5 or 6 jobs a day to make 1.5 million (about $1,500) a month. And that doesn’t include gas, your tools, your training which you have to pay out of pocket. I’ve worked at Samsung Electronics Service for about 15 years. So, in some ways, I am part of the upper echelons of the workers. I made 50 to 60 million won a year on average. So, the pay was enough. I worked hard and worked until late. I also accumulated a lot of know-how and developed relationships with customers. But, I was part of the minority, maybe I fell within the 15 percent of highly skilled and experienced workers. The rest, they are not in the middle, they are all at the bottom. There is no middle in this system. There are those that make a lot and those that don’t make enough. Those on the lower levels make about 20 million a year. That’s why the conditions are so poor.

The commission system pits us against each other. If I finish my work just a little faster, then I can finish two instead of one. The majority don’t have enough steady work. There’s not much one can do, other then parcel out one or two of my assignments to them. The company is unwilling to take responsibility for these workers.

When you are organizing a union, you have to build worker solidarity, but the system itself creates competition among the workers. Did that make it difficult to organize?

If we look at our system, we can see that it breeds selfishness. In the Yeongdeungpo branch, we originally organized 80 workers. But, it collapsed and only 24 members remain. The owner of the service branch planted the seeds of doubt: “Do you really think you can beat Samsung?” “Just do your work properly.” “I’ll give you more work if you quit the union.” “I’ll give you less work if you don’t.” So, 70% of the union members dropped out. When Choi Jong Beom killed himself, it had a huge impact on us. Before, we were just a Kakaotalk (a smartphone messaging application) union, but after his death those of us that remained began to meet in Seoul. So, while there weren’t many of us left, our union grew stronger. While we might be a fraction of what we were in the beginning, we are stronger now than before.

What are your demands?

At first we were demanding that we be made into Samsung regular workers. Samsung was directing us, training us, so it just made sense that we would be working directly under them. Now our demands are just improved working conditions. Being an engineer, fixing things with my hands, was my childhood dream. But, the company only cares about using us to make money. We want Samsung to appreciate and nurture our skills. That means paying us decently. We are asking for a basic wage in addition to the commission. Ultimately, we want to move towards a fixed monthly wage. Workers get stressed not knowing how much they will make in a particular month. Also, we want people’s skill and experience to be acknowledged. Right now, there is no difference given between a one year or a twenty year worker. They are treated as the same. After the collective bargaining, about 50% of our problems have been solved.

Where is the struggle right now?

When we went back to our service centers after concluding an agreement, the owners of the service centers say they will not recognize the union. They refuse to honor it. Under the agreement, if workers bring their receipts for gas, cell phone usage, for their meals, then the owner needs to reimburse them. The owners refuse to recognize this and just say, “We paid for it already. I’m going to keep paying you as I did before.” So, we are struggling against the branch owners. But ultimately, this isn’t about the branch owners, it’s about Samsung who is directing them.

What’s next?

So right now we have about 1,600 Samsung Electronics Service union members. Previously, we had about 6,000. Many left because they are afraid of what the company will do to them. So our focus will be to organize them. It hasn’t yet sunk in, but people around us tell us we should be proud that we, subcontracted workers, broke Samsung’s 76 year union-free history. I think it is these people that stood in solidarity with us that played a huge part in our victory. Many of them are more experienced union organizers, and we are a new union, so these seniors give us guidance on where we should go, how we should organize workers and the non-unionized centers. On August, we are going to organize the non-unionized centers.

Have things improved?

So according to the collective bargain agreement, the company needs to follow the labor laws. That means that if we work over 40 hours a week, we should get overtime. We are supposed to get paid holidays. And as I mentioned before, the company should refund 100% of the costs of gas, parking, equipment, cell phone, and leased cars. We also won a basic 1.2 million won a month wage. But, the best thing is that the owner can’t unilaterally change work policy: he has to negotiate with the union. They can’t just take us for granted. I mean all this should just be the given.

So what’s still missing?

The first thing is that we don’t yet have a 100% fixed wage. The second one is that the collective bargaining agreement contains vague and difficult to understand wording. We are an inexperienced union and because we rushed the negotiations, there is a lot in the contract that is vague and up for interpretation. That’s what we were struggling for in the 40 day occupation at Seocho and what we are fighting for at the branch level now: a more clear collective bargaining agreement.

How can people in Korea or abroad help?

I learned that there are 10 million irregular workers. In the case of Samsung and LG, they are a world class corporation, but in their pursuit of profit they outsource and sub-contract. This wouldn’t be a problem if they paid decent wages and created a stable system. But that’s not the reality. Companies like Samsung are shiny and nice on the outside, but the inside is different. When I tell people about the working conditions that I face, they ask me, “Are you telling me that there are still companies like that?” I want to tell the world about the conditions we face working in these corporations so that we can stop them guard our rights. I want to be a dignified worker that can proudly wear the company logo on my shirt.

Now because of our struggle, those that install internet for SK, or LG U+ they are also awakening to the injustice of their situation. They are realizing how similar and unjust their work is which does not guarantee a basic wage. I want to let those in Korea and abroad know our conditions so that we can improve them.

solidarity stories
from  International Strategy Center’s media chapter
Home     About    Events    Participate    Resources    The Team

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean Convenience Store Food! GS25 Spaghetti & Meatballs

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-09-22 13:19
Korean Convenience Store Food! GS25 Spaghetti & Meatballs

Some Korean interpretations on international foods are perfectly fine, especially in recent years. The number of burger joints is increasing, and with it, the quality. In this part of the peninsula (in Gimhae, a short lightrail journey back in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea), I can be sitting in front of a hot, delicious plate of fish & chips in about an hour.

The Sherlock Holmes in Seomyeon, Busan. The best fish & chips I’ve had in South Korea.

A good cup of coffee is not hard to find (coffee in general is very, very not hard to find. But, that does not necessarily equal quality).

And then there are international food choices that are… not exactly perfectly fine? I guess it depends on whom you ask and what threshold for “It’s not that terrible” to “dear God, make it stop” your constitution may be located. No matter, one thing that should be universally agreed upon is some of these interpretations are often interesting.

Potato salad on a sandwich, anyone? Thousand Island dressing in a burrito? Corn on pizza? I don’t care what some of my friends said when I bitched about that last one a while ago. They grew up in places where you could only get Pizza Hut and Domino’s. I grew up in New Jersey. Ignorant jokes about my home state can be filed in the comments section.

While 2014’s food selections are better, the choices more robust, it’s still not hard to find something that’s a little not quite right. A great place to start are South Korea’s ubiquitous convenience stores. Whether it’s a CU or GS25, 7-Eleven or Mini-Stop, you’re covered at any time of the day or night.

This one is a block away. This is one of two CU branches in my apartment building. This place just opened up in my living room. Just kidding, I grabbed these three photos from the internet because I don’t feel like going outside and taking photos.

Recently, I had about three hours to kill before meeting friends for Gamjatang (here, in fact. I recommend it). I had just finished work and was hungry enough that the thought of waiting another three hours to eat was not delicious. So, I did what anyone in a similar position would do: I went my nearest convenience store.

And bought this.

GS25’s finest. “Italian” spaghetti and meatballs.

What would I find when I opened up the package, thrust the contents (in their probably not safe for microwave container) into the microwave and zapped them to life? Check out the video at the top of this post to find out, my cherubs.

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether with the Fall Blog Festival

Englishbridges - Sun, 2014-09-21 04:31

mp3 here

Sun Sep 21 Learning2gether participated in the 10-hour Fall Blog Festival

The Fall Blog Festival (FBF) is a one day blog festival event showcasing bloggers, their work, and valuable tips for blogging for reflective practice, work with students, business and other reasons. This event takes place online on WizIQ, on September 21, 2014.  Highlights include: Why blog, background to blogging, influential bloggers, getting started, and best practices and challenges involved in blogging.

Vance Stevens at the Fall Blog Festival Flipping the flip: Organizing students around a wiki and training colleagues to do likewise

Recording: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/2092922-fall-blog-festival-organizing-students-and-teachers-around-a-wiki

What was this about?

This session demonstrates a wiki developed for my classes over time that colleagues in my teaching context started collaborating with, and how I created a wiki to help my colleagues create their own, in such a way that it modeled how learning can be facilitated through a wiki

This presents a wiki that’s suddenly found traction with my colleagues where I teach. I’d like to talk about (1) how we use it to collaborate on the course we teach in common and (2) because I don’t want to be the constant go-to person for materials they create, how I have started a wiki to train colleagues to put up their own materials, at http://kbzpd.pbworks.com

Some time ago I organized my contribution to teacher training where I work around a blog http://toolkit4learning.blogspot.com. This presentation will be linked from that blog, illustrating some different affordances between blogs and wikis which allow each to work together in blended pedagogical and professional learning environments.


Join #learning2gether at the Fall Blog Festival: http://www.wiziq.com/course/53478-fall-blog-festival
Sun Sep 21, 10 hours from 11:30 GMT
Selected events in WizIQ
– noon GMT ELT for Peace with Dr. Doris Molero
– 1300 GMT Susan Hillyard – sharing a life’s work on Blogspot
– 1400 GMT Vance Stevens – Flipping the Flip
The latter is about organizing students around a wiki and training colleagues to do likewise. The session demonstrates a wiki developed for classes over time that colleagues in the teaching context started collaborating with, and how the presenter created a wiki to help his colleagues create their own, in such a way that it modeled how learning can be facilitiated through a wiki
– The model wiki: http://kbzpd.pbworks.com
– Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/vances/fall-blogfest2014
All are welcome. Find connection and time links here: http://tinyurl.com/learning2gether

The above announcement posted at …

Sun Sep 21  Susan Hillyard sharing a life’s work on Blogspot

Click here to access the class and its recording


Earlier this week Sun Sept 14 – Learning2gether with ELTAI 2014 Post-conference Webinar


Sun / Mon Sept 14 / 15 IHAQ #16




Sep 2-14 ConnectedCourses Pre-Course


Looks like F.U.N. http://youtu.be/XS3GssVNdXw

Streamed live on Sep 2, 2014 – “You’re not on the edge unless  you’re falling off it” – Howard Rhinegold

Jim Groom, Alan Levine, and Howard Rheingold will talk about the how and why of setting up your blog for Connected Courses http://connectedcourses.net/


Ongoing through Sun Oct 5 HSLMOOC14 on WizIQ

Healthy and Sustainable Living MOOC free online course September 1 – October 5, 2014.

The Mon Sep 15 1700 GMT event of Marie-Hélène Fasquel Experimenting with the flipped classroom has been postponed

Because the presenter has moved to Nantes and does not know when she will have reliable Internet

E4.123-0145: Experimenting with the flipped classroom
Marie-Hélène Fasquel
15. 09. 2014 – 19:00h – 20:30h
Zugangslink: http://webconf.vc.dfn.de/flippedclassroom
Info: http://v.gd/MHFflipped

This is part of a series of webinars offered by Saarland Landesinstitut fur Padagogik und Medien (LPM) in various European languages; schedule and recordings here: http://tinyurl.com/aufzeichnungen. If it’s a first time registration, please send along the name of your school, university, institute, etc. to JWagner@lpm.uni-sb.de   

Mon Sep 15 Gaming in Education begins, ends Fri Sep 19

Gaming in Ed, September 15th – 19th, 2014

The inaugural Gaming in Ed conference is a great opportunity for you to share about what gamification looks like in your classroom, library, or household. Conference strands include Game-Based Learning: How to Use Games in Educational Settings, Games & Assessment, Connecting Educators With Game Developers: Make Your Voices Heard, Students as Content Creators & Game Designers, Research on Game-Based Learning, and Professional Development. Share your experience with game-based learning with an audience of game developers and peer educators!


A sampling of sessions:

Thu Sep 18 Minecraft as Self-Directed Learning and a Community Development Tool


Links to other Learning Revolution Events Sep 17 Mobile tools and strategies

Sat Sep 20 Doris Molero on VenTESOL





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

An Insider’s Guide to BIFF

Koreabridge - Sat, 2014-09-20 17:18
An Insider’s Guide to BIFF

An Insider’s Guide to BIFF    
Printable PDF Version 

Planning Your Schedule

Choosing Your Films

    Read the Guide
    What country is it from?
    The “Guest Visit

How to Buy Tickets

    On-line Purchase
    Busan Bank Purchase
    Same Day Purchase
    Exchange Booths

By Matthew Sidgreaves 

(with contributions from Sarah Hansen and Michele Bourner)

It’s that time of year again when the Busan International Film Festival rolls into town and for once Busan is truly the most dynamic town around. If you’ve never experienced it then you are missing out. Whether you call it BIFF or PIFF, the film festival is without doubt the number one event in the Busan calendar and there is a palpable buzz and energy around the city. The event is truly international with big name stars, directors and a huge media circus all amassing in Busan. So take full advantage of this amazing opportunity; pick out some films, enjoy and be part of the BIFF experience.

The following guide is aimed at first timers and the casual festival goer. I hope that it helps you get the best out of the festival.

Planning Your Schedule

This is probably the easiest bit because if like me you work for a living there are only going to be certain times you will be available to see films. The opening weekend is when most will do the majority of their movie viewing. It’s possible to watch four or even five films in a day, but this can be extremely tiring. It’s important to not burn yourself out and leave time to do important stuff such as rest and eat.

If you are watching back to back films ensure that you leave yourself enough time to get to the next screen or theater. Fortunately, with the building of the new BIFF Cinema Complex, most of the films are in cinemas that are close to one another.

To get from the BIFF Cinema Complex to the nearby Shinsegae CGV and Lotte Cinemas in Centum City allow at least 15 minutes walking time. Both CGV and Lotte are on the top floors of the stores so you will have to factor in waiting around for elevators. If you are more than fifteen minutes late for your movie you will often be denied entry. 

There are also four other locations that are showing films this year: two of the locations, the Sohyang Theater and the Community Media Center, are very near to the BIFF Cinema Complex. The other two are the Haeundae Megabox and the Busan Megabox located all the way across town in Nampodong, so play close attention to the screening venue when selecting your films. You don’t want to suddenly find out that you have to get from Haeundae to Nampodong in 15 minutes! Even getting from Haeundae to Centum City in a short amount of time can be quite a challenge. The subway is the best option and is usually quicker than a taxi. There is also a shuttle bus service available that runs every 10 minutes from outside the Megabox building in Haeundae to Centum City and the BIFF Cinema Complex. How long it takes is totally dependent on traffic and it also makes stops at all of the major hotels, so don’t rely on it if you are in rush.

Choosing your Films

Choosing the right films is the key to having a good festival. A lot of excellent films will be shown, but there will also be plenty that will leave you bewildered, bored or even suicidal! So doing your research, for the most part, is going to pay off.

The BIFF program can be daunting. This year’s program boasts 314 films from 79 countries with 98 world premieres and 36 international premieres. So how to choose?

Read the Guide

There are short synopses of all the films on the BIFF website: http://biff.kr.  There is also a BIFF Ticket Catalogue, which is available from all branches of Busan Bank. The catalogue should be available on Monday, Sept. 22 or a PDF version can be downloaded from the website here:

The write-ups often can differ greatly depending on the reviewer or translator; not all were created equal. Most of the write-ups are decent and give a fair reflection on what the movie is about. However, in the past, there have been some reviewers that have written massive spoilers giving away important plot lines and even the ending. Unfortunately, there is no way this can be avoided, so it’s up to you if you still want to see it. Also, there are times when the synopsis and the actual movie you end up watching seem to bear absolutely no relation to each other, but that’s part of the fun of the festival! It’s also worth comparing the on-line site and the ticket catalogue because sometimes they can have two entirely different synopses from different writers.

What country is it from?

Some countries just seem to have a proven track record when it comes to film making. Any film from a Scandinavian country is always a solid bet; most of the time you are pretty much guaranteed hilarious, bizarre or just plain depressing. Countries with a successful domestic film industry, such as Iran and India, are also always worth consideration because production values are normally high. If you’ve never seen a Bollywood film then this is your perfect opportunity.

Korean movies are, of course, the most widely represented at the festival. They can also be some of the hardest to get tickets for because Koreans like to watch Korean films! With so many Korean films showing there will be a myriad of genres to choose from; from the melodramatic to thought provoking and sometimes quite shocking films. If you’ve ever seen any of the films from Korean heavyweight directors such as Park Chan Wook (Oldboy), Kim Gi Duk (Pietà) and Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder) then you will know that Korea produces some of the finest films in world cinema today.

Japanese movies can be quite a mixed bag. But what they do excel at is the screwed up, bizarre and just plain weird! It’s a genre of movie that is quite unique to Japanese cinema and can be quite the experience. So if you find yourself reading the synopsis of a Japanese movie and end up saying, “What the Heck!!”, or words to that effect, then go see it. For fans of animation and Japanese Anime there are usually several films showing. From the family friendly to head scratching disturbing, so choose carefully if taking the kids! (And also note that children under the age of 6 will not be permitted into screenings.)

When it comes to European and North American movies there is often the advantage that many will have already been shown at other film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance and therefore will have already been reviewed in the industry press and on websites. It’s best not to read the full review though, as it may contain spoilers; usually scanning the introductory paragraph and conclusion will suffice. The BIFF guide also tells you which films were in competition and the winners at these other film festivals. Tickets for these films are often in high demand, but most have multiple screenings during the festival week. However, many of them, especially the English language films and many of those from established film making countries, such as France, get wide releases after the film festival season has finished, so there is often the chance to see them later.

This year’s festival has a special “spotlight” on films from Bangladesh, Iraq and Lebanon because films from these countries have been ignored in the past. There is also an “In Focus” category this year which is showcasing “Georgian Women Filmmakers” and “New Turkish Cinema”.  The fact that the film festival organizers are highlighting films from these countries hopefully means that they have been selected carefully, so they might be worth considering.

Of course there are a ton of other countries I haven’t mentioned, so don’t only go by what I’ve mentioned above. The key is to go with your gut when reading the synopsis and trusting in the person who wrote it. If it seems good, then it’s worth trying to see.


If you are watching a film that doesn’t have English dialogue then make sure it has English subtitles. The vast majority do, but there are always a few that don’t. If a film has the letters “KK” or “KN” next to it on the schedule, it means there are no English subtitles.

The Guest Visit

The guest visit (coded as GV on the schedule) is a unique opportunity to hear the director and sometimes the actors speak about the film after it has finished screening.  It usually involves the director talking about their movie and then a question and answer session with the audience. Personally, if there is a guest visit for a film I’ve chosen I will try my best to see it, as it can help explain, clarify, enhance and at times, totally change your perception of the film you’ve just watched. However there are a few provisos to a guest visit that you should be prepared for:

Beware of having no English translation, especially for Korean movies. Sometimes they will ask if anybody wants an English translator, so take advantage if you can.  Usually though, either the director speaks English or there are both English and Korean translators who do alternative translations. Some translators are absolutely brilliant at their jobs, but there are others who are just plain terrible. Even if there is no translation, it’s sometimes worth staying, you can always leave if you have no idea what is going on!

Beware the “Over Zealous Korean Film Buff”! Guaranteed there will be at least one at every guest visit you see. They will spend minutes rambling on giving their own personal analysis of the film, often at the bemusement of the director, without really asking any questions at all, but if they do it will normally fall into the next category.

Beware downright stupid questions from the audience. The festival audience are usually a very knowledgeable and amiable bunch and quite different from the cinema goers you get at your regular Korean cinemas. However there will always be the dumb question, it can be quite funny and embarrassing in the same instance!

Finally, guest visits seem to be added and be cancelled frequently. Visit the Notice section on the BIFF website for up-to-date information on the GVs: http://www.biff.kr/artyboard/board.asp?bid=9611_05

How to Buy Tickets

Once you have your chosen your films then the fun starts: Trying to buy the tickets.  To maximize your chances you have to be available to buy tickets on the first day they go on sale and at the first moment they go on sale. Tickets for some films are sold out in minutes and for the opening and closing films often seconds.

The opening and closing film tickets go on sale at 2 p.m., September 23.

All the other tickets go on sale at 9 a.m., September 25.

 For purchasing tickets the day they go on sale and up to the start of the festival, your two best options are to buy them online or to buy them in person at a Busan Bank branch.

On-line Purchase:

This is by far the easiest, quickest and best method. BIFF uses the on-line Korean portal Daum.net to sell their tickets. http://biff.movie.daum.net/.

In the past number of years, to buy tickets online you MUST have a credit card. It can be international or domestic, but it MUST be a credit card. Check cards may not work. Also, if you’re using a non-Korean credit card, be aware that the payment will be processed slower than a domestic card, so using a Korean credit card is best.

On the ticketing website, look to the right of the page and you will see two options: “Native Resident Ticketing” and “Non Resident Ticketing”. For those of us with Alien Registration Cards, it is possible to sign up as members and use the “Native Resident” option, however the registration site is all in Korean and you will have to use the Korean ticket purchase portal if you choose this option. The “Non Resident Ticketing” sales site is all in English and no pre-registration is required, so it’s much easier to just use the “Non Resident” option.

You need to enter your e-mail address and a 9-digit PIN when first entering the site and any subsequent visits thereafter. You MUST remember the email address and PIN you use in order to access your tickets throughout the festival. There is no confirmation email sent, so it’s on you to remember what information you use to access the site.

Tickets for the opening and closing films can only be bought online—and they sell out in roughly 45 seconds!! So, you have to be online, ready, and fast with your mouse to get them. There’s usually a team of 4 of us trying to get tickets for the opening and closing tickets and most years we end up with a couple for the opening and a good amount for the closing. If you fail to get tickets in the first minute of sales, don’t despair yet. For the opening, keep trying the website right up until the day before the festival. People will return tickets and if you're online when they're being returned, you can win. Your other option, which I've used many times in the past for opening night and closing night tickets, is to show up at the theater around 5:30 or so and buy tickets off scalpers. You'll pay more than the 20,000 per ticket, but you'll get your ticket. Closing film tickets are much easier to get, relatively speaking. Just keep visiting the ticketing website regularly and chances are you will get lucky.

When it comes to actually purchasing the tickets for the rest of the festival, you are going to need your wits about you. But there are several tactics you can use to increase your chances of success:

The first thing you should do is make a list of your movies by CODE NUMBER. The code for each film can be found on the screening schedules immediately after the showing time and can be found below the film summaries. It’s a three-digit number and it’s what you’ll want to use to book your films—not the film titles. Also, after entering the code number in the code box on the ticket purchase website, ensure you click the “Search” button on the site. DON’T hit Enter on your keyboard as this defaults back to the opening movie and it will show as being sold out.

Once you’ve made a list of the codes of the movies you want to see, I recommend the following:

1. Purchase the tickets for films shown on the weekend first. These are the tickets that sell the quickest because for most people, it’s the only time they have free. There are also two national holidays this year during the festival which will also create high demand. The first is the first Friday, October 3 and then other is the following Thursday, October 9.

2. It’s stating the obvious, but try to purchase the movies you want to see the most first; if they happen to be on the weekend then good luck. If they are showing on a workday, especially during the daytime, then you probably still have a good chance of getting them if you drop them down the list a little. Not always though! I’m usually left unsuccessful and disappointed about not getting tickets for at least one of my top choices every year. Note also that the films in the “Gala” section also sell out really quickly, so if you have your heart set on seeing one of those, it should be at the top of your priority list.

3. If there are two or more of you wanting to see the same movie then pool your resources. You can only buy two tickets per film at a time, but if planned correctly you can vastly increase your chances of success by deciding who is buying what. Divide up your list between you. If there are some movies you both really want to see then both try for these. (See the next point).

4. If there are more than two of you buying, don’t be scared of buying too many tickets for the same movie. You can always return any excess tickets and get a full refund before the festival starts. If you return them after the festival starts you are charged a 1,000 won fee.

5. Have back up movies. Purchase them last, but it’s better to have tickets for something if you don’t get your first choice.

5. Be prepared for the on-line ticketing system to hang and sometimes crash. If nothing seems to be happening after selecting your movie, then start again.

6. If you get to the “Select your Seat” screen, then you are halfway there. However, especially on the first day of sales, hundreds and sometimes thousands of people are trying for the same movie and there might be someone else selecting the exact same seat as you. For whatever reasons, Korean buyers seem to go for the seats at the front and middle first, so by choosing seats further back or aisle seats you will increase your chances, but if the system hangs after selecting your seats, somebody beat you to the punch!

7. If you get to the payment screen this usually means you’ve succeeded, but not always. Be very careful entering your credit card details. Make a mistake here and you have to start all over again.

8. If you don’t get your tickets not all is lost. Many people cancel their tickets before and during the festival, so it’s always worth clicking through your films you missed out on whenever you have the time. For some reason a lot of these returns are made late at night, so try then. It’s also worth looking at the schedule again and seeing if there is anything else that appeals to you.

NOTE: Tickets for all films are available for on-line purchase up until the day before the screening of the film. This also applies to returning and refunding tickets. If you wait until the day of the film you will not receive a refund. (If this does happen, see the “Exchange Boards” section below).

Busan Bank Purchase:

The Festival has only relatively recently offered online ticket purchases, so in the past, all tickets needed to be purchased through Busan Bank (at a teller, at an ATM or via phone banking). Some BIFF ‘old-timers’ prefer buying their tickets via a Busan Bank teller to risking using online purchasing (in previous years, the online ticketing was TERRIBLE. Since switching to the Daum ticketing portal, though, it has become significantly more reliable!). If you’re more comfortable buying tickets from a person, much of the advice in the “On-Line Purchase” section stands.

1. Make a list of your codes and write them in order of priority.

2. Again, you can only buy two tickets per film at one time. If you need to buy more than 2 tickets, repeat the code lower in your list. Sometimes the teller will notice the repeat and refuse to sell you two more, but more often than not, that ruse works.

3. Once you get to the teller, give her your codes, cross your fingers and hope that (a) she wins on most of your shows and (b) her computer doesn’t crash (in the past, crashes at the bank were the norm).

4. You will have to pay for your tickets in cash and once they’re issued. Credit cards are not accepted.

 If you failed to get tickets to the films you wanted to see in the madness of first-day sales, don’t despair. There are other ways to get tickets.

Same Day Purchase:

The festival holds back 20% of all of the tickets for same day purchase—EXCEPT for films showing at the Haeundae Megabox and Nampdong Busan theaters. This is great for those that are not free when the tickets go on sale on-line. However, you need to be up very early to be there when the box office opens to have a chance at getting the films you want to see.

This year, same-day purchase box office locations are at the ground floor (likely outdoor) box office of the BIFF Center and the outdoor Shinsaegae Box Office. They start selling the held-back tickets at 8:30 am. On weekends and holidays, I recommend being in line by 7:30, especially if you want to buy tickets for more than one show. Earlier is much better, though. At 7:30 there will be large lines, but remember, there are hundreds of films being screened each day and the people in line can only buy 2 per film—the chances of everyone wanting to see the same films are low-ish.

That being said, if you’re not an early bird there will still be tickets available for something on the day. Large boards are set up outside and inside all the main screening venues telling you what is available. (They cross out movies as they are sold out). However by this stage you are often getting the dregs of the festival, although you might stumble upon a gem!

Exchange Booths

The absolute last option for scoring tickets the day of the screenings is the ticket exchange booths that are set up outside every theater. A BIFF rule is that you cannot get a refund for a ticket on the day of the screening, but stuff happens and sometimes people end up with tickets they can’t use. Look for volunteers camped out at little tables in front of white boards. If someone has a ticket they want to get rid of, they bring it to the volunteers who record the title of the film (almost always in Korean) and the code on the whiteboard. If a show you want to see is on the board, talk to the volunteers and pay them for the ticket. They will then send a text message to the person who left the ticket who then goes to pick up his/her money. It’s a neat little system-and sometimes you can get lucky!

One final point: Respect the volunteers. The film festival would never happen if it wasn’t for the scores of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that BIFF is a success. Most are university students who are looking to interact with foreigners and give their résumés a little boost! They do a fantastic job and as said, without them there would be no festival. So if things aren’t going your way, try to keep this in mind.  

Please note that all of the above purchasing information is based on previous years' festivals and therefore could be subject to change. I also take no responsibility if you pick a bad movie! Enjoy your festival.

About the Author:

I saw my first BIFF film in 2002, the only film I saw that year. Since then it has become a bit of an obsession, to put it mildly! For the entire ten days of the festival I spend pretty much every spare minute I have watching films. The amount I see each year varies, but it’s usually in double figures. It can be tiring and other commitments in life often take a back seat, but it’s also an amazing privilege that such an event is held here in Busan. Being able to see so many films from so many different countries is quite staggering. For the rest of the year I rarely place a foot in a regular movie theater, so when BIFF comes around I take full advantage of this unique opportunity afforded to me.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

ELT Live - Mobile Tools and Strategies for ELT

Worldbridges Megafeed - Thu, 2014-09-18 13:01

58:46 minutes (26.9 MB)


ELT Live#3
Mobile Tools and Strategies for ELTSeptember 17, 2014
  Download mp3


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Chat Log Below

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ELT Live - Mobile Tools and Strategies for ELT

EdTechTalk - Thu, 2014-09-18 13:01

58:46 minutes (26.9 MB)


ELT Live#3
Mobile Tools and Strategies for ELTSeptember 17, 2014
  Download mp3


Links Mentioned

Chat Log Below

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed


Englishbridges - Wed, 2014-09-17 06:38
Forum Category: Social - Love, Dating, Friendships Discussions



Good Friends Are Good for You


Just Between Friends


Research: Human friendships based on genetic similarities beyond the superficial

The Importance of Friendship

5 Things You Can Learn About Friendship From Oprah and Gayle

Friendship Quotes



Can Men and Women Be Just Friends? | The Science of Love (subtitled)

The Importance of Friends for Women Over 60


Discussion Questions

  • Who is/are your best friend(s)?  Why are you so close? In what ways are you similar or different?
  • What do you think are the most important ingredients of a lasting friendship?
  • How long does it take to become a ‘best’ friend?
  • How would you categorize your different groups of friends?
  • What are the most enjoyable or meaningful things you do with your close friends?
  • What’s the difference between old friends and new friends?
  • Do you enjoy the process of making new friends? Do you think you make new friends easily?
  • Do you argue with your friends sometimes? What about?
  • Have you ever been betrayed by a friend?  Have you ever betrayed a friend?
  • What do you remember about your elementary school friendships? high school? university?
  • What do you think is different about friendships among men, among women, and between the two?
  • How does having a boyfriend or girlfriend affect your friendships?
  • How would you describe the difference in your feelings for friends vs. your feelings for family?
  • Do you think there are cultural variables to friendship?  How is friendship someone from your culture different from a friendship between someone who is not?
 Link to Sites/Articles: Good Friends Are Good for You
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Hanging Out in Hyehwa

Koreabridge - Wed, 2014-09-17 04:10
Hanging Out in Hyehwa Once the center of Seoul's art and music scene, Hyehwa is a neighborhood bursting with creativity and youthful energy. The area is situated in the northeastern part of the capital and is also known as Daehangno, a nickname derived from dehag, or "university," because of its close proximity to a number of learning institutes.

Over the past decade, Hongdae has garnered the reputation of being Seoul's SoHo, lessening Hyehwa to a mere a notch in the history of the city's culture boom. Today, it remains off the radar to most tourists and is even overlooked by locals. Nevertheless, it remains to thrive as Seoul's theater district- with over 80 independent theaters showing performances on a daily basis- and is brimming with diverse, inexpensive eateries, eye-catching cafes and greenspaces to boot. The neighborhood, while seemingly typical on the surface, is one of surprises. It just takes a bit of digging to discover them.

Caffeine is an essential component to the start of any day and the best place to get it in Hyehwa is b2project. Part cafe, part gallery, this cozy space is a haven for both coffee lovers and design aficionados. Enter the first floor, place your beverage order and take in the cafe's tasteful decor. Colorful paintings adorn the walls and quirky lighting fixtures hang from above, while miss-matched chairs and tables create a comfortable environment for studying or reading a book. Before you go, take a look at the gallery downstairs, which features an array of modern Scandinavian furniture. If you've got money to burn, you can purchase the wares on display, which start at a whopping one million won ($1,000USD).

Now that you're properly energized, follow the signs up the hills to Naksan Park, one of my favorite places to get a bit of fresh air in the city. The park itself offers some incredible views of downtown Seoul from the city's fortress wall, but the real highlight is the collection of sculptures and murals that decorate its paths that wind into the low-income residential area of Ihwa-dong.

The urban art, a beautification initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is unique in that rather than being a contrast to the dilapidated buildings that line the streets, it blends so that it appears as if the installations and paintings are at one with the spots they occupy. In my opinion, the decrepit characteristics combined with the personalized art make this part of the area far more charming than the affluent but sterile neighborhoods south of the river.

Wind your way back down to Hyehwa Station for lunch. Hidden on a side street in a renovated hanok is Zzimmani. This quaint yet modern restaurant serves up tasty Korean fare and offers some fantastic lunch specials. Everything on the menu is good but the moksal barbecue deopab (BBQ rice bowl), a mound of steamed rice covered in juicy, charcoaly meat and greens, keeps me going back on every visit to the area. The entrees are served with loads of fresh unlimited banchan (side dishes), which include a chicken salad, atypical of a Korean spread. An added bonus is the ridiculously cheap price: each set costs about 7,000 won ($7USD)!

Zzimmani's duenjang jiggae (bean paste soup) with fresh and healthy sides.

No trip to Hyehwa would be complete without shopping. The neighborhood is cluttered with cheap clothing shops, most of which carry the same trends sold in Dongdaemun, but are far more organized. The downfall is that many vendors won't allow you to try on their wares before you buy them, but it's worth asking, anyway. Whenever I visit Hyehwa, I make a trip to 10x10, a multi-store that sells just about everything. The focus of the shop is on design and many of the lifestyle products for sale, which include clothes, bags, jewelry, candles, kitchenware and stationary, are designed by Korean artists. There's even a florist and gift-wrapping center in case you're shopping for someone other than yourself. But where's the fun in that, right?

My favorite 10x10 products have to be the travel goodies... everything you could possibly need for your next trip is here!
If you happen to visit Hyehwa on a Sunday, make your way toward Hyehwa Rotary for a taste of the Philippines. Many Filipino expats gather here, usually after mass at Hyehwa Catholic Church, to congregate, pick up hard-to-find snacks from the motherland and gorge on specialties such as pork adobo, lumpia (egg rolls) and pancit (Filipino noodles). The Filipino Market is small and the seating for the food stalls is limited but I've always been one to love sharing a table with strangers and this market is no exception. I also had one of the vendors hand-feed me one of her famous empanadas on a previous visit, a testament to the warmth and hospitality Filipinos are known for.

As the sun begins to set, street performers abound and one of the best places to see them in action is outside Hyehwa Station, Exit 2, or Marronnier Park. Recently renovated, the park is a nice open space that often hosts free performances and concerts. Weeknights are a bit calmer and the location is a peaceful place to relax after a long day of wandering.

There's no shortage of nightlife venues in Hyehwa and my all-time favorite hangout is Jazz Story, an obscure music bar. Shrouded in metal work, it seems as if a very talented and creative blacksmith had a heyday with the interior of the palce. Yet, for as industrial as the metal intends the bar to be, velvet-covered chairs, shelves of vinyl records, and clusters of candles create a cozy, romantic atmosphere. Drinks aren't anything to write home about, and there's a 5,000 won ($5USD) cover, but the live music performed by Jazz Story's house band every night of the week beginning at 8:30 (or 8 on Sundays) is more than worth it.

A newer favorite is Mix & Malt.  Opened only a few months, this homey bar uses fresh ingredients- many of which come straight from their garden- to concoct some of the best cocktails in the city. In addition to the classics, Mix & Malt also has some signature and seasonal specialties on the menu, like the Elderflower Mojito (11,000 won, $11USD). Presentation is also superb. Because so much effort is put into each drink, they take a bit longer than usual to make it to your table, so be prepared to wait. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself, from board games to a shuffleboard table. On the second floor, there is a fireplace... a feature I will definitely be returning for in the fall.

Mix & Malt's Elderflower Mojito and Hibiscus Mojito... perfect flavors for the summer. (Photo: Mix & Malt)
After a few rounds at Mix & Malt, you can easily catch the last train at nearby Hyehwa Station, or hail a taxi, as there's always one passing by. Either way, it's certain that you won't be gone for long. Hyehwa has that effect, and with the increasing trendiness of areas like Hongdae and Itaewon (and as such, increasing crowds), Hyehwa is convenient, enjoyable and comfortable alternative hang-out.

More Information (See Map Below)

b2project Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsoong-dong, Dongsung3-gil 6-6 (서울시 종로구 동숭동 동숭3길 6-6) Telephone: 02-6369-2900

Naksan Park Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsung-dong, San2-10

Zzimmani Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Myeongnyun 4(sa)ga, 117 Telephone: 02-744-6262

10x10 (텐바이텐) Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsoong-dong 1-7 (서울특별시 종로구 동숭동 1-7) Telephone: 1644-6030

Hyehwa Filipino Market Address: Seoul Jongno-gu Hyehwa-dong 58-2 (종로구 혜화동 58-2) Hours: Sun 9am-5pm Payment: Cash only

Marronnier Park Address: Seoul Jongno-gu Dongsung-dong, 1-124

Jazz Story Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, DongSoong-dong 1-138 Telephone: 02-725-6537 Hours: Daily, 5pm-late

Mix & Malt Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Changgyeonggung-ro 29-gil, 3 (종로구 창경궁로 29길 3) Telephone: 02-765-5945 Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30am-2am; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-3am; Sun 7:30am-2am

Disclaimer: The above information is accurate and correct as of September 17, 2014.
Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching, unless otherwise noted. Content may not be reproduced without authorization.

Seoul Searching

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Getting Drunk in Korea: Your Guide to Korean Alcohols

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-09-15 13:36
Getting Drunk in Korea: Your Guide to Korean Alcohols

You might not think of Korea as a nation of drinkers, but they sure do love their alcohol. Not only does the nation have a lot of different alcohols, but when they’re out on the town, they revel in mixing them together. Honestly, you’ve no idea how far down the warren the rabbit can stumble.

Somaek (소맥)

Anyone that’s ever visited Korea should be familiar with Soju, the nation’s favourite distilled rice liquor. The people here love it, and there is almost no occasion when the serving of soju is inappropriate. At around 19% proof, its strong, almost medicinal taste is often compared with vodka. Indeed soju is to Korea what vodka is to Russia. The cavalier mixing of this beloved intoxicant with beer (maekju, 맥주) creates an entirely new, yet still utterly Korean brew know as Somaek. The mixing of these two drinks is surprisingly delicious and, obviously, rather potent.

Makgeolli (막걸리)

Given its sickly off-white appearance this rice wine tastes nothing like what you might expect. It’s sweet and tangy and comes served in a large communal pot, which is then dished out into separate drinking bowls. The more prudent drinker will often dilute Makgeoli with lemonade, which makes it all the fizzier. You can also find its cousin Dongdongju (동동주), which is slightly less sweet and occasionally contains small chucks of rice.

Baekseju (백세주)

This slightly bitter tasting potation is made with ginseng, ginger, cinnamon, and all manner of herbs. Baekseju, translating as “100 Years Rice Wine,” is said to have alchemical properties that aids in the reaching the ripe old age of 100. It’s a little more expensive than other Korean rice-wines, therefore thrifty drinkers mix baekseju with soju forming Ohshipseju (오십세주, 50 years rices wine). It won’t make you live as long but it is lusciously inebriating.

Bokbunja (복분자)

This delicious little tipple is as close to western wine as Korea gets. Instead of grapes this sweet and fruity vino is produced from mountain berries and is quite the favourite of young ladies. The drink also proves popular with guys, as it is said to be a potent aphrodisiac.

Cheonnyeon Yaksok (천년약속)

The official toasting drink of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) of 2005 in Busan, Cheonnyeon Yaksok, or “Thousand Year Promise” in English, is a fermented mushroom alcohol special to Korea. It’s slightly sticky, sweet and comes with a pleasing aftertaste.

Brief Korean Drinking Etiquette

As with just about every social encounter in Korea, there are a panoply of social rules to observe, especially if the occasion involves co-workers or elders. As a foreigner, however, you should be fine to smash any and all taboos with near-complete impunity.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that Koreans rarely pour their own drink. Usually the youngest person at the table will do the honours, holding the bottle with both hands. Men quite often pour with a straight back and one hand flat across their chest. Should the person pouring your intoxicant be older then accept it with both hands on the glass.

Gonbae! (Cheers!)

A note from the Editor-in-Chimp: This article was originally posted here on Travel Wire Asia. Go and check them out too if you like.

The post Getting Shitfaced in Korea: Your Guide to Korean Alcohols appeared first on Monkeyboy Goes.


InstagramsFacebook Monkeyboy Goes: Monkeying around since 2010 


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

IHAQ#16 - More questions about set up of a course or project website

Worldbridges Megafeed - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:25

44:19 minutes (20.29 MB)


I Have A Question#16
September 14, 2014 

Featured Question:
Jen has more questions surrounding the set up of a course or project website. While there is likely no "perfect" platform or solution, we contemplate important needs and key decisions.


Links Mentioned

Connect with us on..

   Twitter:  @eduquestion    #ihaq
   Google+:  EdTechTalk Google+ Community
   Facebook: EduQuestion  EdTechTalk

Chat Log Below

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IHAQ#16 - More questions about set up of a course or project website

EdTechTalk - Mon, 2014-09-15 01:25

44:19 minutes (20.29 MB)


I Have A Question#16
September 14, 2014 

Featured Question:
Jen has more questions surrounding the set up of a course or project website. While there is likely no "perfect" platform or solution, we contemplate important needs and key decisions.


Links Mentioned

Connect with us on..

   Twitter:  @eduquestion    #ihaq
   Google+:  EdTechTalk Google+ Community
   Facebook: EduQuestion  EdTechTalk

Chat Log Below

read more

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether with ELTAI 2014 Post-conference Webinar

Englishbridges - Sun, 2014-09-14 16:05
Learning2gether met on Sun Sep 14 1000 GMT with Post-conference  webinar ELTAI 2014

The webinar started in WizIQ, recording at: http://go.wiziq.com/2tsw 

Eventually Vance Stevens joined in WizIQ and guide participants there to join a Google Hangout on Air (HoA) 

This special Learning2gether event was a part of the post-conference of the 9th International and 45th Annual ELTAI Conference – http://eltaiconferences.com/WEBINAR_14.html

ELTAI is the English Language Teachers’ Association of India, Rajasthan: Jaipur Chapter (An Associate of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language [IATEFL], U.K.)

POST CONFERENCE WEBINAR Coordinators: Dr. Ashok Kapil and Dr. V.Anitha Devi

Instructions for joining the Hangout (you can join directly in the HoA or you can watch and listen to the stream)

If you wish to join directly, you need to

  1. Log on to your Google (e.g. Gmail) account
  2. Put on your headphones or ear buds
    (If you have no headset please listen to the stream. Sound from speakers creates echo in the Hangout)
  3. Click on the link to launch the HoA
  4. Activate your mic and webcam (optional)
    1. Unmute your mic when ready to talk
    2. Please mute your mic when not talking.

If you wish to listen on the stream, you can do so in any of four ways

  1. You can visit http://webheadsinaction.org/live (here you will also find a Chatwing text chat)
  2. You can visit the Google+ event page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c07nnb1ffl76k3ljflejink7nlo
  3. You can watch on YouTube directly: http://youtu.be/g4AkV7W28n8
  4. You can watch via the video embed below:

Vance Stevens touched on Learning2gether http://learning2gether.net/about and ways we could connect with Indian educators in the way we met  Anitha Devi through Webheads (Learning2gether is an extension of Webheads). The plan is to

  1. meet at WizIQ, where everyone will be for Dr. Sanjay Arora’s presentation
  2. explain how to move either to Hangout or to follow the stream on YouTube, as per the writeup here:
    Stevens, V. (2013). Tweaking Technology: How Communities Meet Online Using Google+ Hangouts On Air with Unlimited Participants. TESL-EJ, Volume 17, Number 3, pp. 1-16. Available: http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej67/int.pdf (also at http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume17/ej67/ej67int/).
  3. move to Hangout on Air (links to be provided shortly; as per instructions at http://webheadsinaction.com/live)


This is also a yesteryear and future experience.





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Eating 해장국, ‘Hangover Soup,’ While Sober

Koreabridge - Sun, 2014-09-14 12:41
Eating 해장국, ‘Hangover Soup,’ While Sober

Tom Gates of The Red Dragon Diaries and I are joined in our second food video collaboration (check out the first one, LIVE OCTOPUS, here) by our good friend, the lovely and talented Jookyeong, for a lovely meal of Haejang Guk, also known as “Hangover Soup.” It’s definitely not just for eating after a night of hard drinking!

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

How Koreans Can Stay Safe in the Philippines

Koreabridge - Fri, 2014-09-12 18:39
How Koreans Can Stay Safe in the Philippines  

Six months ago, I wrote a post as a reply to an article I read in The Korea Times entitled “Philippines Turns into Death Trap for Koreans”. The article talks about the growing concern among Koreans living in the Philippines after news of the death of a Korean student who was abducted in Pasay City hit the headlines. Prior to the tragic news, there had been a number of crimes committed against Koreans living in the Philippines that has brought trepidation to the Korean community.

In September 2011, a 59-year old Korean businessman named Hyun Hur was shot and killed, while his Filipino driver was wounded after they were attacked by two men on a motorcycle along Ortigas Avenue. In March of last year, the lifeless body of a Korean man, identified as Kim Ji-hun, 38 years old, was found inside a water tank at a condominium inParanaque. He was last seen in the morning of March 26 running barefoot outside the condominium unit he shared with his Filipina live-in partner. In April, another Korean died and two were injured in a shooting in Angeles City. The victims were all businessmen involved in currency exchange  and were believed to be carrying a lot of cash with them at the time of the crime. In 2013, 12 Koreans were reportedly shot or stabbed to death, but to this day, the suspects remain at large.  According to the Foreign Ministry, 44 percent of 160 murder cases of Koreans residing abroad happened in the Philippines. This year, there have already been reports of nine Koreans murdered from January to July and two cases of abduction.

It’s no surprise that according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Philippines is the most dangerous country for Koreans in 2013, with a total of 780 crimes committed against them.

A recent article from The Korea Times says, this the first time since 2011 that crime rates against Koreans in the Philippines outnumbered those in China where there are more Koreans visiting every year.

The data compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that the number of crimes against Koreans in the Philippines stood at 128 in 2009, 94 in 2010, 774 in 2011, and 628 in 2012.The figures in China were 1,024 in 2009, 944 in 2010, 731 in 2011 and 759 in 2012.

Crimes in the Philippines last year included 13 murders, 12 robberies, 678 thefts, two rapes, nine abductions, 12 physical assaults and 10 frauds.

 An average of 15 million Koreans traveled overseas each year, while another 2.6 million Korean nationals live outside the country, according to the government. It also said the number of Korean tourists to the Philippines this year hit 1.16 million as of Aug. 29, up from 830,000 in 2011.

Twenty five percent of the 4.7-million tourists who arrived in the Philippines last year are Koreans. Most of them are students who have come to the country to learn English. Korean parents send their children to the here to learn English, because the tuition fee is more affordable compared to other English-speaking countries; nevertheless, it offers the same high quality English language education. As the number of Korean residents grew over the years, many Korean entrepreneurs started businesses here that cater to fellow Koreans. Now you can find a lot of Korean restaurants, grocery stores, shops, salons, hotels, academies, churches and other Korean-owned businesses anywhere in the Philippines. In Angeles City’s Korean Town alone,  there are about 150 business establishments owned by Koreans.

The cost of living in the Philippines is cheaper than in Korea, so some Korean families settle here to enjoy a more affluent lifestyle. As my husband puts it, the savings of a typical “salary man” in Korea can go a long way in the Philippines. This is also one of the main reasons why retirees from Korea, who are on fixed pensions, come to live here. Some Korean residents in the Philippines are missionaries; some are employees of big companies owned by Koreans.

Although Koreans still top the list of foreigners coming to the Philippines, the number of Korean visitors dropped this year. Obviously, some of them no longer feel safe in this country… and we can’t blame them. To be honest, when my husband decided to start a business in the Philippines and stay here for a year, I was concerned for his safety. My apprehension doubled when several shootings targeting Korean businessmen occurred in my hometown.

I used to tell Koreans good things about the Philippines every time they ask me about my country… and yes, there are so many wonderful things about this country and its people that a foreigner will learn to love… but is it safe for Koreans? Is it safe for outsiders? Now I don’t think that I can say yes, because the truth is, even Filipinos don’t feel safe in their own country anymore. There is just too much criminality and injustice that the leaders can’t iron out.

Though the Korean Embassy in Manila has already expressed grave concern over the increasing number of crimes against its citizens and sought the help of the Philippine government, no “real” solution has been enunciated. I am not trying to dissuade Koreans (or any other foreigners) from visiting the Philippines, but I would like to remind everyone who comes here to be MORE vigilant.

Here are some ways a Korean can stay safe in the Philippines:

  • If you are a first-time tourist or a solo traveler, stick to your itinerary. It is best to have a qualified tour guide or a friend to show you around.
  • Avoid going to unfamiliar places, but if you really have to go to a place you have no idea about, let’s say, you are looking for an adventure and you’d like to go backpacking, NEVER do it alone. It is much safer traveling around the Philippines (or anywhere in the world) in groups or with a friend… and as they say, the more the merrier.
  • Make friends with Filipinos you see on a regular basis, like a classmate or a teacher in school, an office mate  a church mate  etc., NOT just anybody you have met on-line, in a bar or at the mall. Filipinos are known and loved for their amiability and hospitality, but sometimes these can be used as lure by swindlers. I know most Koreans would rather have Korean friends to hang out with than socialize with the locals, but having a trustworthy Filipino friend can help you understand Philippine culture better.
  • If you are coming home from school late at night, have a friend walk you home, or ask a family member or your guardian to pick you up. Avoid taxis or tricycles if you are by yourself. If this isn’t possible, call someone you know; give that person the plate number of the taxi or the tricycle that you are riding. Let the driver know that you are informing someone of the vehicle’s plate number or make the phone call while inside the vehicle, so the driver can hear the conversation. That way, he won’t do anything foolish, because he knows he won’t get away with it. This may be offensive to drivers who don’t have any hidden agenda, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Flashing your smart phones and expensive gadgets in public places is a big no-no. In Korea, you can use your phone anywhere and no one will give a damn, but if you do that in the Philippines, you will be attracting thieves.
  • If you are withdrawing a huge amount of money from the bank or changing your foreign cash to peso, make sure that no one is following you. Have someone assist you, so this person can act as your second pair of eyes.
  • If you are withdrawing money from the ATM, use ATM’s with assigned security guards or one that is within the bank. ATM’s in the mall are no longer safe because of scammers posing as shoppers. My sister almost fell victim to a modus operandi while she was withdrawing cash from an ATM in a shopping center in Angeles City, but good thing she knows better.
  • Be wary of strangers who are too friendly, for instance, those who offer you free stuff or promos. They could be scammers, too.
  • Avoid crowded places and packed public transport. They are magnets for pickpockets. My brother-in-law and his wife, both Koreans, have been in the Philippines numerous times, but it was only two years ago when they encountered pickpockets in the mall, and they don’t even know how it happened! Nearly 600 USD was stolen from them. Last year, my husband and I were victimized by sneak thieves, too. We were riding a jeepney on our way home. One of the passengers sitting in front of us asked my husband what time it was. Oblivious to what the man was really trying to do, my husband answered him. After a few stops, the man and another passenger sitting next to my husband got off. Later, my husband realized that his wallet was empty.
  • Do not get wasted outside your home. If in Korea you can get drunk, sleep anywhere and remain unscathed, here in the Philippines, you will only endanger your life if you do that.
  • Don’t make enemies here, especially among your fellow Koreans. This year, a Korean was kidnapped and killed by a fellow Korean in Cavite. According to the investigation, the victim, Yang Kwang Sung and his companion, Jeong In Seong, double-crossed their employer, Shin Beom Sik. With the help of his Filipina live-in partner, Shin hired Filipinos to abduct, beat up and shoot the two Koreans. Jeong survived the ordeal. Shin and his live-in partner are in police custody, but authorities are still looking for three others involved in the crime. Last year, the arrest of some of the members of a Korean kidnap gang in the Philippines made headlines. The group’s modus operandi was to offer their services as tour guides to fellow Koreans who want to visit the Philippines, and after gaining the tourists’ trust, they would kidnap them and ask their families for ransom.


From Korea with Love



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Busan to Seoul, a journey on Korea’s Cross-Country Cycling Road

Koreabridge - Fri, 2014-09-12 07:17
Busan to Seoul, a journey on Korea’s Cross-Country Cycling Road

It’s 07:30 and my alarm is chirping away at me. Time to drag myself out of bed, eat breakfast in a hurry, shower and go to school. Just another work-day. But, wait! It’s Saturday, why am I up at this unwelcoming hour? That’s right, you’ve decided to spend the Chuseok public holiday cycling across a whole country…

Day 1, Saturday 6th of September: 211.9km



I trundled across the bridge connecting Hadan, my home, and Eulsukdo, an island in the mouth of the Nakdong River. Eulsukdo is many things, a poorly protected bird sanctuary in the ever-developing river estuary area, a private tennis club, a multi-purpose exercise complex and also the beginning (or end) of Korea’s Cross-Country Cycle Road. On this particular Saturday morning the bleak river-mist was lingering with a slight autumnal chill and intermittent light rain was dampening the pavement under my wheels. I took a picture of my bike next to the engraved stone marking the beginning of my adventure and stamped the back of my bus ticket home from Seoul (the certification centre at Eulsukdo was out of stock of trail passports). The beginning of the trail is quite familiar to me as I have run and rode along it numerous times over the three years I have lived in the area and despite bumping into a few Ultimate Frisbee friends near Hwamyeong, who were on a similar journey, I made quick work of zig-zagging amongst the early morning weekend cycle path ‘traffic’. As I left the city limits and flew past southern Yangsan the path cleared and I was soon cycling ahead of the pack (presumably there would be many people attempting the same route).




A shade over four hours had elapsed and the first 100km was already in the bank, the path out of Busan is mostly flat, long straight stretches hug the riverbank and are only briefly broken by a few detours along a tributary river and through a few small village roads. The sun was out now, the mist having burned off progressively and the rain having abated a long time ago. At this point my first problem arose. Food and drink. My water bottle was empty and two Gatorades were long gone, I did have an oatmeal bar but that had been hastily munched 20km ago. I needed to refuel. There had been no shops on the route so far and I was relieved to roll into a small village on the opposite side of the river to Namji. There were no viable lunch options, just a bunch of river fish restaurants but I thought that the old lady outside her own convenience store would have some snack bars and some drinks. When I produced my debit card she shook her head and I learnt my first lesson, cash rules in the countryside. I spent my last 1,000원 (50p) on two bottles of water and rolled on.


Outside Namji I hit the first real hill as the path wandered away from the river briefly and into the rice-paddies and farmland. The hill was ridiculously steep and the path had given way to dusty and rocky dirt, more dangerous than the ride up was the ride down and my brakes got their first real test. After a few river crossings, another steep, but fairly short hill, and a further 45km I finally found somewhere to buy some food at Hapcheonbo. I have never been so delighted to see a chain convenience store than when I rolled across the bridge from the west bank to the east bank, I even gave out a slightly aggressive shout of relief. After purchasing enough water and gatorade for the day I sat down on a picnic table outside and had some noodles, cookies and an ice-cream. A little later a well-cycled Korean man rolled in and we chatted about our journeys and he enjoyed a little giggle at my expense as I recounted my personal drought.

After Hapcheonbo I made my first navigational error. The trail signs appeared to invite me to travel over another sharply steep and poorly surfaced mini-mountain and where the end of the descent appeared to rejoin the river bank I somehow confused the trail signposting and I headed inland. I was bewildered to see the six sharp towering points of the Hapcheonbo bridge reappearing in my horizon and it was then that I realised I had circled around the base of the small mountain I had just unnecessarily climbed. The cost of my mistake was an extra 11km and my second snake encounter of the day (Snakes, equally dead and alive were a frequent occurrence during the trip).

Having just made one mistake the last thing I wanted to do was make another, but this is exactly what I did. At another bridge crossing further up the river the signposts appeared to invite me to cross the river, and technically I was still on the right path when I did, (many parts of the trail can be ridden on either side of the Nakdong River) however I was now about to embark on a 12km mountain bike path. As I suffered on the rocky, sandy, muddy mountain bike trail, bordered by ditches, trees and drop-offs, dipping and falling over insanely steep inclines and narrow tight corners I gazed longingly across to the very visible east river bank and the smooth snaking path. As I reflect, I remember passing the surprised luminously adorned old man who I met at the convenience store (he must have passed me as I took my unnecessary detour a few minutes earlier) and him ringing his bell several times as I began to cross the bridge. What I had thought was friendly bell-ringing was probably a ‘where are you going you idiot’ bell ringing.

My bike and I survived the mountain bike course, my narrow racing tyres scampered for grip a few times and I nearly came off when I hit some sand at the bottom of a decline. The light was beginning to fade and I made a concerted and committed effort to get to Daegu. The last 10km of trail threaded through some riverside reeds and I  managed to miss out on a stamping booth and ultimately I decided to just not bother collecting them, especially without having the passport.

I reached Daegu just after darkness descended and my final blow came in the form of a puncture as I navigated my way to a motel area on the west side of Daegu in Horim-dong. I checked into the very plush but reasonably cheap Wave Motel and fixed my puncture in the bathroom. Feeling famished I walked across the road and had samgyeopsal by myself. The lady owner informed me the minimum order was a serving for three people (this is common in barbecue restaurants) and I told her in my broken Korean that would be perfect. She and a few of her friends, the only other diners, were interested in the reason for my appetite and I explained my trip. Seeing how bushed I was she sat down and cooked the food for me at the table. A pretty good end to a grueling but ultimately successful day.

Day 2, Sunday 7th of September: 136.0km


I took a bit of a lie-in and headed out around 10:00, a local cyclist helped guide me back to the trail in the morning and although my legs were feeling a little fatigued I soon found my rhythm on the ride out of Daegu. For the first 30km or so I rode with a young Korean lad on a very fancy racing bike and without speaking a word we somehow managed to organise a complimentary slip-streaming effort. We sped along the tarmac pathway and disturbed a sunbathing viper, well he did as he ran over it. I think he didn’t see it to be fair and he looked a little surprised as his tyres briefly jumped. Another snake to add to the roadkill total. After passing another of the numerous Nakdong river weir system and bridges we parted company and I pressed on ahead. The path was quite generic during the morning and the monotony was only dispersed by frequent stops to ensure I was fully stocked on water and Gatorade, (which I was now sick of drinking) the sun was out in full-force today and I didn’t want to be caught-short again.

I stopped for lunch at Nakdong-ri and the kindly owner gave me some dried persimmon to boost my energy as he accompanied me in the shade and quizzed me on my nationality, age etc… and gleefully informed me about the hilly section ahead of me. I consumed a refreshing ice-cream and left him behind to deal with an SUV full of excited children.

True to his word the next 30km were hilly, the cycle path often gave way to roads with light traffic and I weaved across the contours of the terrain and over the river several times. It was during this time I noticed my chain was a little dry and I was considering getting some oil when I had a chance, but being the first actual day of the Chuseok holiday, as well as a Sunday I felt my chances would be limited, especially with no settlements in sight. Oddly enough there was a bicycle museum shortly after Gyeongcheon Bridge and despite the grounds being packed with kids on hire bikes it appeared the workshop was closed. I carried on, hit a really hilly, dusty gravel section and my front derailleur promptly collapsed into the chain ring.

This was a problem, and as I tried to fix it with my minimal multi-tool and a pathetic adjustable spanner the problem became greater. Even a couple of lads heading in the opposite direction couldn’t help me and I decided the only course of action was to walk, and coast the downhill sections when possible, back to the bike museum. 4km later in the searing heat I arrived at the bike museum and explained my situation to a receptionist, she took me to the mechanic, a slightly uncomfortable young man who explained to me they only fixed punctures. At this point I could see into the bike hire workshop and perfectly visible was a bike stand and a ton of tools, with no other options at my disposal I essentially verbally forced my way in. He eventually came round and even helped me with the tricky process of resetting the derailleur height, tension and alignment and as we both sweated and pulled on cables and loosened and tightened parts an old man came along and ensured he criticised everything we did.

With a generous spray of oil and to the relief of the mechanic and myself I returned to the trail and re-did the 4km of rolling forest hills. The following 35km were a pleasant burn through rice-paddies and along open and clear riverside paths. I sped along with a little unease, frequently glancing between the suspicious signposting and my untrustworthy derailleur.

Shortly before I rolled into Moongyeong City I had passed two western riders and as I sat by the riverside park in Moongyeong City contemplating if I should carry on or pick out a motel from the ones I could visibly see behind a train station they also stopped close by. Looking at their very professional equipment I thought it may be a good idea to seek their advice and after looking at my smartphone map app and their Garmin computers we all came to the conclusion that here would be a good place to stop for the day as there was a major mountainous section ahead that would be best left for tomorrow. After rejecting one grumpy lady’s motel we checked into another one. After taking a shower and bumping into PVL, a friend of some friends that I have met a few times, and who had ridden with Dan and Kelly the previous day for a short while, we headed out to eat some dinner. At a dalkgalbi (spicy chicken and veg) restaurant they shared their experiences of riding all over Korea and I was grateful to get some good information on some of the trails ahead. After a plentiful meal and some good company I was delighted to get an early night.

Day 3, Monday 8th of September: 181.3km



Dan and Kelly planned to leave at the crack of dawn but I was much happier to sleep until around 08:00, I bumped into PVL again in the motel lobby, he was having problems trying to find somewhere to get breakfast, we exchanged numbers and said if we were in the same town later we would grab some dinner.


My first call of business was to purchase plenty of drinks and some sunscreen to protect what was now a badly scorched neck and set of knees. I rode the short way back to the path and set off into some lush farmland areas that led to an ever increasing and ominous mountain range. I was now on the Saejae Trail and had left the Nakdong River behind me yesterday. The Saejae Trail is notable as it crosses Moongyeong Saejae Provincial Park which is part of a series of mountainous parks that form a distinct ridge dividing the country in half. The 100km Saejae Trail is highlighted by the 5km long and 550m elevation climb of the Bakdudaegan Ihwaryeong Pass, after 30km of gradual incline, snaking between fields, riversides and small valleys I hit the climb head on. With the distance of the last two days hanging in my legs I was impressed that I manged to climb over the pass without taking a break, at the top of the pass I was congratulated by a young German lad who was heading the other way and took some mandatory self-pride photos. The descent was smooth on the wide twisting tarmac road and I was only fearful of my brakes giving out when they made the occasional disgruntled squeal. Another steep but slightly shorter 3km climb followed and after that the road eventually steered itself out of the mountain valleys and into scorching hot Chungju. Today was the main Chuseok holiday day, the route was noticeably quiet and I mostly encountered families who were out at the roadsides to tend to their families mounded graves, a traditional aspect of Chuseok holiday festivities.


Chungju marked the end of the 100km Saejae Trail and this is where I joined the Namhangang Trail (South Han River). This was a big psychological boost, the big climbs were behind me and the Han river of course leads to Seoul. At a quiet bike trail cafe just after leaving Chungju I grabbed some dumplings and water from a kind lady and her family who also shared some of their Chuseok holiday treats with me and then set off along the scenic trail north towards Yeoju and hopefully to Yangpyeong where I wished to spend the night.

Although I was hurting a little today, a culmination of the previous two days efforts and the mountain climbs in the morning, the consistent pathways and lack of significant elevation after the mountain pass ensured I rode at a good speed throughout the afternoon. Coupled with a day of no mechanical issues and some more considered navigational choices using both signposts and Naver Maps (a Korean version of Google Maps) I really enjoyed my afternoon spin to Yangpyeong and arrived just before the sunset. The scenery along the South Han River was at times breathtaking and the suns low late evening light highlighted the horizon and river waters beautifully.


In Yangpyeong I took a diversion from the path into the town centre and despite being rejected by one grouchy motel lady who did not want my bicycle inside I soon found one nice lady who did. I showered and bought myself some oven roasted chicken from a nearby take-out and refueled while watching Skyfall on a movie channel.

Day 4, Tuesday 9th of September: 56.1km



If it wasn’t for my mishaps on day one and my mechanical issues on day two I think I would have reached Seoul the previous evening. In the end I had to finish the last 56km on Tuesday morning. I had considered carrying my journey onto Incheon originally, but now that I wasn’t collecting the stamps for the passport there seemed little point to cycle 60km just to see the depressing brown estuary waters of Incheon. I left Yangpyeong around 08:00, as I had gone to sleep so early the previous evening, and this meant I completed my journey at 10:30 at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Stadium. The morning began in fine fashion as I zipped along an old railway line, flying along the tunnels burrowing their way under small valley peaks.

As I approached Seoul the trail noticeably grew busier, local riding teams were out in their team colours and inexperienced riders and random pedestrians did their best to meander and wobble in front of me. After all I had been through the previous days this was probably the most dangerous section! It was also here that I was overtaken  by someone for the first time, four times in fact! The journey was not a race but I was delighted at the pace I could keep along the way, especially considering I was on a cheap Korean version of a hybrid bike.

By the end I completed the journey over three days and two hours on the fourth morning. With the help of today’s modern smartphone tracking apps I can tell you this was a total of 26 hours 20 minutes and 54 seconds of riding time covering 585.3km at an average speed of 22.2kmh and climbing 6276m. Good, average or bad I don’t know but I’ve never felt a greater sense of achievement.

Having a good chunk of spare time remaining on the holiday period I scooted over to an area of Seoul near DongSeoul Bus Terminal where I would depart the following evening. I checked into a motel near Konkuk University on the edge of a lively area and spent the afternoon and evening with my Korean friend Dia, most of which I spent feeding food to my famished body.

I enjoyed a true holiday lie-in until 11:00 the next day, I checked out of the motel and the kind lady locked my bike in a store room while I went off to meet Luke, a friend from when I lived in Changwon. We both played football for the same team a few years back and we visited Japan two summers ago. We spent the afternoon catching up in Itaewon, a popular foreigner area which has fortunately now left a better memory on me than the last time I visited there a few years back. We had a decent burger at Gecko’s and had a few pints in the afternoon sun at the Crafthouse and Magpie Brewing. We grabbed the subway, Luke went off to work on his thesis and I cruised my bike along the busy Seoul pavements to the express bus terminal. I shoved my bike in the storage area under the bus and chatted to a lovely old lady from Daegu for twenty minutes before the bus set off. Just to crown a perfect trip the bus pulled into Nopo station in Busan early and I caught the last subway home rather than having to cycle 20km across the city at midnight.

What a journey, what an adventure, if you are reading this thinking about if you should take this cycling trip I implore you to do it.

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Busan International Shakespeare Festival @ Dalmaji Amphitheatre

Koreabridge - Thu, 2014-09-11 01:33

From: https://www.facebook.com/events/688601611195586

Join Shakespeare in Busan and cities around Korea for an afternoon of merriment, monologues, and music!
Busan, Daegu, Masan, Jeongup, Gwangju, and Ulsan have come together to bring you the best of the Shakespearean entertainment for Busan's fifth annual Shakespeare in the Park event. Performances will be in English with a couple Korean pieces. 

Come on over to Dalmaji Amphitheatre on September 13th at 3 (come earlier to get a good seat)! Bring a picnic! Bring wine! Bring friends and a blanket to sit on! 
Just hop in a taxi and tell them 'Dalmaji, Alexander Restaurant'.

Act 1
-Ryan Estrada
Othello (Act 1, Scene 3)
-Director and Performer: Jeong Hyeok Jin
Dogfish (written by Ryan Estrada)
-Director: Ryan Estrada
-Performers: Indy Randhawa, Michael Uchrin, Kerry Maher, Suzanne Farrell, Kim Hyun Sook
Madness of Hamlet
-Director: Victoria Anderson
-Performers: Tammy Louise Rak, Rachel Mikolajczyk, Stephanie Seaman
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
-Director: Jeffrey Schoenfeld
-Performers: Jeffrey Schoenfeld, Lawrence Kent
Bitter Sauce
-Director: Carrie Heeter
-Performers: Carrie Heeter, Michael Uchrin, Holly Ive Bartkowiak


Act 2
Titus Andronicus (Act 2, Scene 5)
-Director: Benjamin William Slater
-Performers: Patrick Sanders, S
Othello (Act 5, Scene 2)
-Directors and Performers: Indy Randhawa, Carrie Heeter
The Tempest (monologues) 
-Director and Performer: Juli Johnson
A Midsummer Nights Dream (monologue)
-Director and Performer: Holly Ive Bartkowiak
A Midsummer Nights Dream (Act 3, Scene 2)
Directors and Performers:

Busan International Shakespeare Festival @ Dalmaji Amphitheatre
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Chuseok Blues

Koreabridge - Wed, 2014-09-10 14:58
Chuseok Blues


Last night, I was reading an article about fake casts for daughters-in-law in Korea who want to avoid Chuseok chores. According to the article,  the fake casts sold like hotcakes. Women wear them on Chuseok and pretend that they are injured, so they won’t have to help around the kitchen. One may ask, “Why do these women resort to deception just to shun house work?’ I may not have the gall to wear a fake cast and lie to my parents-in-law like these women, but I am one of the many myeonuris who dread Chuseok chores.

Chuseok (추석: Thanksgiving Day) is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea when families visit their ancestral homes and gather to share ceremonial feasts, but for a myeonuri (며느리: daughter-in-law) like me, Chuseok is more of donkey work than a celebration of gratitude for a bountiful harvest. I don’t mean to sound so negative aboutChuseok, but when this holiday comes, it’s impossible to enjoy my days off because of all the chores that I have to do.

Chuseok holiday period lasts for three days, but this year, it is from September 6 to 10. Imagine five days of agony! It’s not that myeonuris work continuously all those days, but we just can’t get over the so-called “daughter-in-law holiday syndrome” until Chuseok is officially over.

Lucky for me, I am NOT in Korea, so this year, I was able to evade all the chores and the stress that come with Chuseok. All I had to do was to call my parents-in-law in Korea and greet them.


Because Chuseok is a big celebration, there is a lot of food that needs to be prepared. My husband comes from a traditional clan, so the women in the family are the ones obliged to do all the work in the kitchen, while the men play Go-stop, watch TV or enjoy their chitchat. As much as I loathe the chores, which I know are not that much compared to othermyeonuris whose families perform ancestral memorial rites, I hate the fact that women do all the tedious work while men have all the fun.

The unfairness of Chuseok preparation as illustrated here (SOURCE: The Korea Blog)

Our Chuseok chores begin the day before the actual celebration. We wake up early and go to the eldest uncle’s house to prepare the food for the next day. Most mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law work together, but my Omonim (mother-in-law) is always busy with her business, so she never comes to help. My husband has many uncles, so their wives, the oldermyeonuris, do most of the cooking, while my sisters-in-law and I, the younger myeonuris, help with the preparation and do the cleaning. I always volunteer to cook jeon, because it seems to be the easiest thing to do… and I like arranging them nicely on a tray once they are cooked. Mind you, I’m not talking about frying four or five kinds of jeon for a small family. It’s for the whole clan! It takes me the entire morning to finish the task. After tidying up the kitchen or washing the dishes, I’m free to go… but NOT really free, because there’s work that needs to be done in the house, too.

Jeon, also known as Korean pancake, is served as an important food for jesasang (제사상) or ceremonial table setting for ancestral rites.


As Christians, we don’t perform ancestral rites on Chuseok called charye (차례), so we don’t have to prepare an elaborate ceremonial feast. In the morning, one of my husband’s uncles, who is a pastor, leads worship. After that, the women will be busy in the kitchen. The men are served breakfast. Abonim (father-in-law) and the uncles get to eat first, and they always have the best seats in the house. Omonim and the aunties rarely eat together with their husbands. I’ve noticed that the older women are more concerned with refilling their husbands’ bowls than minding their own food. This isn’t the case with me and my sisters-in-law. We eat at the same table with our husbands. (Sometimes it’s our husbands who serve us. ^^)

Maybe because we are much younger, we have learned to do things differently. We cater to our husbands, but at the same time, we take care of our needs. Servin

g the elders, however, is A MUST.


Myeonuris are expected to stay in the eldest uncle’s house for the whole day. We take our lunch and dinner there, but most of the time, we cook, serve and clean. In the afternoon, the men go to their ancestors’ graves to pay respects, while the women chat a little or take a rest.


Ceremonial table setting for charye with many Korean traditional food (SOURCE: The Chosun Ilbo)




    My first Chuseok wasn't so bad. I was interested in learning how to cook traditional Korean food, so I didn't mind working in the kitchen... but when I was left to wash tons of dishes by myself, I felt like crying. My husband must have known how upset I was, so he came to help me. The aunties teased him, because he was the only man in the kitchen. That is probably why he stayed away from the kitchen from then on.


Last year, my in-laws decided to have our own Chuseok gathering in the house besides the one annually hosted by the eldest uncle's family. I didn't fancy the idea, because it meant more house work having two gatherings in one day, but what can a myeonuri do? I have two sisters-in-law who also help with the chores, but their responsibilities begin with setting the table and end with putting away the dishes. They never stay too long in the house, I guess because they know what awaits them when the party's over. It's usually the eldest son's wife, the older myeonuri, who has to do most of the work, but in my husband's family, it's the other way around. My husband is the youngest son, which makes me the youngest myeonuri, but we live with the in-laws, so most of the older myeonuri duties are given to me.



The truth is, my Chuseok chores are nothing compared to those of other myeonuries. Some myeonuris I know spend days making Chuseok preparations, while mean mothers-in-law constantly hound them. I am grateful for my Omonim, because she doesn't pressure me. My husband's relatives are kind, too... at least this is a consolation.

Some myeonuris have to endure hours of travel time to get to their in-laws' home provinces only to work like slaves in the kitchen. My husband's paternal relatives live nearby, so we don't have to travel far. What gets me is the work load and not being able to spend the holiday as I please.

Before marriage, I was told that foreign wives are usually given less work, since Chuseok is something new to them, but I never believed that. I have always known that being a foreigner does not give any daughter-in-law in Korea an excuse for failing to fulfill her duties as a myeonuri, especially on important family gatherings when all eyes are on us. Foreigner or not, married women in Korea are bound by the traditional role of an obedient and diligent daughter-in-law.

Now that Chuseok is finally over, let me congratulate my fellow myeonuris for making it through another year of "forced labor". I know that most of us rarely get thanks or thumbs up, but everyone knows that Chuseok won't be possible without our hard work.


From Korea with Love



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Learning2gether with Post-conference webinar ELTAI 2014

Englishbridges - Wed, 2014-09-10 13:59
Event Date/Time: Sun, 2014-09-14 10:00Primary Audience: Language Educators (Teachers)


Learning2gether Sun Sep 14 1000 GMT with Post-conference  webinar ELTAI 2014

This special Learning2gether event is a part of the post-conference of the 9th International and 45th Annual ELTAI Conference


ELTAI is the English Language Teachers' Association of India, Rajasthan: Jaipur Chapter

(An Associate of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language [IATEFL], U.K.)


POST CONFERENCE WEBINAR Coordinators: Dr. Ashok Kapil and Dr.V.Anitha Devi

Date: 14 September 2014

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ELT Live#3 - Mobile Tools and Strategies for ELT

Englishbridges - Wed, 2014-09-10 13:33
Event Date/Time: Wed, 2014-09-17 12:00Primary Audience: Language Educators (Teachers)

Sept. 17 1200GMT, 9pm KST
Global Times:http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20140917T21&p1=594&ah=1

Topic:  We're back on the air to discuss all things mobile - apps, strategies, hardware. 

Tune in live at http://englishbridges.net/live

Please post any questions, thoughts or resources below.  If you're interested in participating, please contact me. 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Ray Rice and Domestic Violence

Englishbridges - Wed, 2014-09-10 11:53
Forum Category: Current Events (News, Social/Political Issues) Discussions

Ray Rice is an American football player.  On February 15, 2014, Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer were arrested and charged with assault after a physical altercation in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Celebrity news website TMZ.com posted a video of Rice striking Palmer in an elevator, apparently knocking her out, and then dragging her body out of the lift. The Ravens issued a statement following TMZ's release of the video, calling Rice's domestic violence arrest a "serious matter". The matter is being handled by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

For the incident, Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season. The criminal charges were later dropped after Rice agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling. In a news conference announcing longer suspension lengths for future domestic violence incidents, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he "didn't get it right" in deciding Rice's punishment.

On September 8, 2014, TMZ released additional footage from an elevator camera showing Rice punching Palmer. The Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice's contract as a result. Shortly afterward, Goodell announced that Rice had been suspended from the NFL indefinitely.


  • What punishment do you think is appropriate in this situation?
  • What role do you think the video should play in determining punishment?
  • Should consequences for professional atheletes be different than for others?
  • Was it acceptable for TMZ to publish these videos?
  • Should Janay's wishes in this situation affect legal and/or professional consquences?
Link to Sites/Articles: Ray Rice cut by Ravens, suspended by NFL indefinitelyRay Rice’s wife is the one and only victim in their disputeTMZ says Ray Rice video 'one of biggest stories' it has ever done Ray Rice’s Wife Posts Statement on Instagram Defending Husband, Attacking MediaRay Rice on Wikipedia
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by Dr. Radut