Friday, September 13, 2013

The World’s First Smart City

Did you know that the world’s first smart city is being built next to Seoul? Songdo, is set to be completed by 2015 on reclaimed land from the Yellow sea and will include millions of wireless sensors and microchips that will include everything from your refrigerator letting you known when you run out of a certain food to your bathroom mirror showing you your physical health information. It incorporates the best of major cities around the world and thus has a canal, a central park, the ocean, a huge bridge and stunning towers. The central park is particularly interesting because it is designed so every resident can walk to work in the business district in less than 15 minutes through it. The city sits 3.5 hours by plane from 1/3 of the world’s population and only a 15 minute bus ride from the world’s top ranked airport, the Incheon International Airport.

For more information:

Man-made island on Hangang soon to be opened to public

Published : 2013-09-12 16:40
Updated : 2013-09-12 18:14
Floating Island on the Hangang River

Seoul City and Hyosung Group signed an agreement Thursday to normalize an artificial resort island on the Hangang River that has been idle for two years due to corruption and contract irregularities.

The city government said Floating Island, called sebitdungdungseom in Korean, would partially open within the year before entering full-fledged operations next year. It will be run by FLOSSOM, owned by Hyosung, for 30 years and then transferred to the city.

The 20,382-square-meter landmark was built in September 2011 as part of former Mayor Oh Se-hoon’s Hangang Renaissance Project.

Located near the southern end of Banpo Bridge, the 139 billion won ($128 million) manmade island consists of three sections for conventions, art exhibitions and recreational activities.

Its opening was suspended as the city failed to find an operator and construction of its bridge was delayed.

The closure was prolonged after the city’s inspection under Mayor Park Won-soon uncovered in 2012 that its private developer and city officials violated construction procedures and contract regulations and intentionally overestimated the construction costs.

Seoul Metropolitan Government and the largest investor, Hyosung, recently reached an agreement to revise the contract rules.

The operator agreed to shorten the term of its free use of the facility to 20 years from the original 30 years. It will pay fees for the remaining 10 years.

In return, the city will inject into the project a 9.2 billion won penalty imposed on the company for the delayed operation. The sum will be used to increase facilities and services for the public.

“By reactivating the operation of the island and enhancing the aspects for public good, (the city) will try hard to make it an attractive spot for both Seoul citizens and foreign visitors,” Mayor Park Won-soon said.

When Floating Island was temporarily in operation in 2011, it attracted 2,000 people a day on average.

Performances, exhibitions and water leisure sports will be available after the remaining interior work is completed by next year, the city said.

By Lee Hyun-jeong

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yongin zoo elephant mimics Korean: study

Angela Stoeger (left) and Daniel Mietchen record the vocalization of Koshik, an elephant at the Everland Zoo, which mimics Korean. (Yonhap News)

Children talk to animals at the zoo all the time, but one gregarious Asian elephant talks back.

Koshik, a 22-year-old male elephant, can imitate at least five Korean words and does so in a very creative way: by sticking his trunk inside his mouth.

“Koshik is capable of matching both pitch and timbre patterns (in human speech),” said Angela Stoeger of Austria’s University of Vienna, who led the study on the “talking elephant.” The study was published Friday in the online edition of science journal Current Biology. Koshik currently lives at the Everland Zoo in Yongin, 50 kilometers south of Seoul.

According to Stoeger’s team, Koshik is able to “speak” five words: “annyeong” (hello), “anja” (sit down), “aniya” (no), “nuo” (lie down) and “joah” (good). The zoo claims he can say two more words, “ajik” (not yet) and “ye” (yes).

By sticking his trunk in his mouth, the animal imitates the words “in such detail that Korean native speakers can readily understand and transcribe,” researchers said.

The team conducted an experiment where 16 native Korean speakers listened to 47 recordings of Koshik, and were asked to identify what he was saying. The participants were not told about Koshik’s ability. The results “largely confirmed” the claims about Koshik’s talent for Korean.

The researchers found no evidence, however, that he understands the meaning of the words.

Elephants have been known to mimic sounds. African elephants have been known to imitate the sound of truck engines, and a male Asian elephant living in a zoo in Kazakhstan was said to speak words in Russian and Kazakh, but those cases were never scientifically investigated.

The researchers suggested that Koshik may have learned to mimic words in order to strengthen social bonds with surrounding humans.

Mya Thompson, an elephant vocalization expert who did not participate in the study, said Koshik’s ability seems to have been driven by a social connection with the trainer.

Koshik was the only elephant living at the zoo for about five years in his youth, with only people for company during an important phase for bonding and development.

By Yoon Min-sik

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Missing You

Title: 보고싶다 / Missing You
Chinese Title: 想你
Also Known as: I Miss You
Genre: Melodrama, Romance
Episodes: 20 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2012-Nov-07 to 2013-Jan-10
Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 21:55


This drama is a melodrama that will portray a story of a teenage couple who fall in love and get painfully separated, and then meet again as adults by playing game of love hide and seek.
Han Jung Woo (Park Yoochun) has been a homicide detective for 2 years and he is looking for his childhood love. Lee So Yeon (Yoon Eun Hye) is a fashion designer and often dream of Han Jung Woo searching for her…
Meanwhile, Kang Hyung Joon (Yoo Seung Ho) is a cold-hearted, charismatic fund manager, who tries to take revenge on Han Jung Woo because of the troubled relationship within their family.


Main Cast
Yoon Eun Hye as Lee Soo Yeon
Kim So Hyun as Lee Soo Yeon (young)
Park Yoochun as Han Jung Woo
Yeo Jin Goo as Han Jung Woo (young)
Yoo Seung Ho as Kang Hyung Joon
Supporting Cast
Do Ji Won as Hwang Mi Ran
Jang Mi In Ae as Nam Eun Joo
Jun Kwang Ryul as Nam Eun Joo’s father
Yoo Yeon Mi

Production Credits

Director: Lee Jae Dong

Screenwriter: Moon Hee Jung

‘Gangnam Style’ follow up single to be mix of English and Korean

Psy fans can expect new moves following the comical horse dance with Psy’s soon-to-be released bilingual track. In a recent interview with CNN, the “international singer” announced that his next single will be half in Korean and half in English.

There had been a lot of debate about whether or not Psy’s next song would in Korean or in English. It was reported that his agency, YG Entertainment, suggested he keep his songs in Korean, but Psy later announced that he was planning to produce a song in English.
K-pop breakout star Psy is featured on the cover of Nov. 3 issue of Billboard Magazine. (Billboard)

Psy cleared it up when he said in his latest interview which aired on Friday, “It’s half Korean, half English, so I kind of united them together. And it has another dance move. I cannot predict that it’ll be stronger than the horse, but still, I’ve got a really nice feeling about the choreography.”

He also revealed that he does not anticipate the new single, which is expected to be released before the end of November, to top “Gangnam Style.”

“I am not going to try to beat ‘Gangnam Style,’” he said. “I cannot beat ‘Gangnam Style,’ I don’t think so.”

Whether or not Psy’s next song will become another international sensation, his horse riding dance move has already landed him the cover of the latest issue of Billboard Magazine which will be published on Nov. 3. The cover story titled, “How the K-Pop breakout star harnessed the power of YouTube, SNL and more to become music’s new global brand,” hailed the rapping phenom as a “ready-made star.”

By Julie Jackson (

Monday, October 22, 2012

Skills, jobs and growth: Let’s tell the world about Korea’s success story

As the economic crisis continues to squeeze budgets worldwide, the severe lack of youth skills is more damaging than ever. The world’s youth population has never been larger, but one in eight young people is unemployed and over a quarter of them are trapped in jobs that keep them on or below the poverty line.

What should we do to help these young people? South Korea’s experience over the past 40 years offers many lessons, as the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, “Putting Education to Work,” points out.

The report, which is the major global survey of progress toward international education goals, focuses this year on the urgent need to invest in skills for youth ― and holds up Korea as an example of what can be achieved. In developing countries, 200 million people aged 15 to 24 have not even completed primary school and need alternative pathways to acquire basic skills for employment and prosperity. Those who face discrimination and inherited disadvantages, such as young women, the poor, those in rural communities and ethnic minorities, are the worst affected.

So what lessons can Korea’s experience offer? The report answers this question by looking at the stark contrast between Korea’s progress and that of Ghana.

In the early 1970s, Ghana was at a similar starting point to the Republic of Korea, but it has lagged far behind since then. The Republic of Korea began to expand its secondary education system rapidly in the 1970s, but in Ghana secondary education stagnated for another 30 years.

Ghana’s lack of progress in education was partly the result of economic problems. But it was also because of insufficient investment in education or linking of economic planning with skills development policies. In the early 1980s, Ghana’s spending on education was less than 2 percent of GDP per capita, compared with around 4 percent in the Republic of Korea at the time.

Even though Ghana embarked on education reforms from 1987, the quality of education and its relevance to the labor market have remained poor. Technical and vocational education has not been well enough linked with the economy. And although access to education has expanded, by 2008 almost one-third of those aged 15 to 19 were still not making it through lower secondary school, with some not even completing primary school.

Since the 1990s, Ghana’s economy has started to grow faster. By 2010, it had achieved a growth rate of 7.7 percent. Most employment is now in small enterprises that pay low wages. But unlike in Korea, these companies have only recently begun to benefit from government support to foster skills development.

There are many reasons why Ghana’s economic success has not matched that of Korea ― and other East Asian “miracle” economies ― since the 1960s. But the short-sightedness of economic reforms that failed to invest in skills for the future economy must take some share of the blame.

A key message from Korea’s experience is that states must play a key role in matching skills supply to demand. Given how extensively and rapidly skills needed to be transformed as East Asian economies moved to higher value-added goods and services, it is doubtful that market forces alone could have done the job.

Another conclusion is that the global scale of the skills challenge is great ― but so is the wealth of global knowledge that can be mobilized to meet it.

Korea’s success means that it is now among the top 15 aid donors offering their knowledge about skills development to poorer countries that are in dire need of reducing their skills deficit ― and in doing so, helping them to tap into the enormous potential that their rapidly growing youth population represents.

The dramatic speed of Korea’s success was highlighted on Oct. 9 when the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. Mr. Ban has just launched a global initiative, Education First, aimed at promoting the transformational power of education. He presented UNESCO with a copy of a natural science textbook published by the agency that he had used as a child in post-war Korea in 1956.

Across the developing world, there are millions of children and young people who need the kind of support that Korea’s government gave its own people in the difficult decades after the Second World War. Let’s encourage governments in those countries to do the same for their people ― and let’s offer them everything we know about how to turn skills into jobs, growth and prosperity.
Pauline Rose

By Pauline Rose

Pauline Rose is the director of the Global Monitoring Report published by UNESCO. ― Ed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The 'other'

Sazan M. Mandalawi

The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi

It's not always about 'I' it can also be about 'them'

Earlier this week I met a young woman, she had abandoned a great job -- which paid well, too -- and a princess-like lifestyle because she didn't feel inner contentment. She left behind everything she had, from a large house, to a credit card that was limitless and three vacations a year to saving up money to buy shoes -- "not because they look good on my feet, but because I need them," she explained to me.

Now, living in a shared house and only having a small room, her volunteer work in an initiative to spread awareness about giving back to society, she says, is giving her all the happiness she wants. She says she feels liberated when she does something good for the community.

This gives me flashbacks and makes me think of home. I remember in one of my last nights in Erbil we were at Le Capital, with its beautiful seating area. Breathing in the summer evening air to the sound of replica waterfalls is definitely a lovely night out, in what was once the "other Iraq" but today even that doesn't fully reflect the fairytale story of Erbil.

What you often notice at these places is the small portion of society (which by the way is normal anywhere you go) who can enjoy the luxuries of life more than others. So, it is not surprising to see expensive cars lined up outside these cafes, like seductive models in a swimwear fashion show. Anything older than a 2000 model will seem out of place.

Nokia? Who uses those these days? In this part of Erbil, it's all about iPhone, it is "I" everything.

My dear reader, as globalization has played its game and we have developed at such speed, Erbil has put its toe into the waters of becoming a developed capital city. I must admit it is living up to the standards of the name "capital city," as well.

Today, we are actually hearing the name of our city on BBC, Al-Arabiya, CNN and other international media (even if it is only for a matter of seconds) for reasons other than politics, and conflict.

Seeing Erbil grow at such a pace, I cannot help but be worried for this generation and future generations, too. We need to start to give our young people a sense of responsibility to the community, of giving back and being part of society.

From a young age, students in schools and university must be familiar with volunteering and community work. This will, in turn, allow them to always think of the "other." It will build within them the compassion to think of others first and then to help others.

We live in a society that has a large gap between the rich and poor; the well-off younger generation needs to have a role in the lives of the less privileged. There is a lot our young people can do -- from visiting orphanages to working in shelters, teaching in illiteracy classes for seniors to social initiatives, such as planting trees to fundraising events. This all begins from school and built upon in a person's secondary education life.

It hurts me to see a group of young people live the ultimate life, while another group must suffer every day to put food on the table every night. Knowing our flourishing future, from today, we need to start to plant the seeds of compassion and thinking of others within our next generation's youth.

Kurds have experiences and have suffered too much to become a careless nation. We were, and always will be, people who sympathize with others. Kurds are generally people who would prefer their next door neighbor to have dinner before them. I just hope this side of the Kurds remains while everything else in our surroundings is changing.

I hope we teach our young it's not always about 'I' it can also be about "them."

Korea as a Good Model of Women Policy

As the number of Korean women who entered the main stream of society increases, other countries in Asia started to have interest in women policy of Korea. Recently, there was a meaningful workshop where the other Asian countries can learn about Korean policy on women. Let’s take a look.

Gathering to Learn Korean Language

<2011 KWDI Workshop on Capacity Building for Women’s Policy of Cambodia and Indonesia> (Source: Korean Women’s Development Institute)

30 people including Cambodian and Indonesian government officials and Ngo members attended workshop on Capacity Building for Women's Policy sponsored by Korean Women's Development Institute to learn women policy from Sept. 18th to Oct.1st. They participated at lectures, discussions and site visit under the three themes on capacity building on; policy, economy, women rights and violence.
The Buddhist country, Cambodia and the Muslim country, Indonesia have different cultural background, however, since 2000s they are actively working on the policy on gender equality. But women's social status is still low due to the poverty, poor education, and conventional man chauvinism. What were the impressions that the experts from these two countries got from Korea?

(Source: Korean Women’s Development Institute)

for justice democracy are speakers today.this is the first time  to korea for both of them and they were very impressed by women's liberation movement history and women's policy.mukti apprciated hospitality saying"it is the first time for me to be herebut seoul is wellknown city in indonesia.korea is emerging as an economic superpower in the world.i'm looking forward to be here".pakpahan was interested in korean women's policy and she said korea abolished the head of the family system and korean women's liberation movements are even if it is a small result.

What is the Most Important Issue in Women’s policy in Tow Countries?
 Mukti: “As Malaysia and Indonesia share the same language and religion, Indonesians are very popular in Malaysian labor market. Currently, about 1.2million are working in Malaysia. However, since the exploitation and fraud got worse, Indonesian government banned the export of labor force until the Malaysian government guarantees of proper working conditions.”
Pakpahan: “The biggest issues among Indonesian women are health, finance and education. Indonesia has the highest maternal mortality rate in Southeast Asia, which is very urgent matter to be fixed. Most of women are working as maids in Indonesia or in other countries. Their working conditions and payments are very poor because the domestic law cannot protect them. It was all resulted from the gender inequality in education. While the percentage of the female students in primary school is quite high, in higher educational institutions the percentage gets pretty low.”

Bring Know-how to Their Countries

(Source: Korean Women’s Development Institute)

Mukti: “In Indonesia we also do the research on women but most of them depends on Ngos or university laboratories, so we need a professional institutes managed by the government. The most impressive thing of Korea was the statistics of adult magazines. When I go back to Indonesia I’ll strongly suggest the same one to the senate.”

Pakpahan: “I agree with the importance of the statistics and want to develop many indicators to apply to the policies for women. Also when I visited to one of the Korean Women's Hotline center, I got an idea about establishing the one-stop service centers that connects the sexual violence victims to consultants for supporting. I will suggest it when going back.”

There is an expression like this, “The women-friendly country is indeed a developed country.” Now, Korea is becoming a good model of high techniques and advanced policies. A good and comfortable society is not built by a specific person but by every single one of us. Isn't it the first step of world peace to make the weak including women happy?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Accessories for Women in Joseon Dynasty Era

People want to have a better look and show off their charms by wearing new clothes and trying a new hairstyle. Well, there is nothing like accessories to complete the ‘better’ look. Every decorative itemsitem, such as hats and mufflers, can be called accessories.
Today, we will go through the favorite accessories of Korean women in the Joseon Dynasty era. Hair ornaments, bracelets, rings and necklaces. They wore different ornaments by season, occasion and age. In addition, each accessory has its own story. For example, when family gets separated, they share each ring from a pair of rings, garakji. When husband died early, wife buried a ring of the pair with him and she kept the other to commemorate him. For that reason, garakji used to be made as a pair and actually bigger than present one.
Let’s take a look at the accessories of women in the Joseon Dynasty era.

Earring: The Symbol of Class

Rings were the first ornament in history. In certain countries of Asia, people considered it like a charm and kept it very carefully. They were also called eesik, eedang or eehwan. Many gold crowns and delicately made-ornaments were excavated from many graves of the Three Kingdoms period. We can guess the metalwork technique of the era was very sophisticated and detailed. There are three types of earrings; simple, dangling and showy. The earrings of old times were made of gold, silver and bronze, but unfortunately the number of the earrings from Goryeo dynasty are very few.

Did you know that men used to put on earrings in the past? The typical example is Hwarang in the Silla kingdom. They used to wear earrings as a symbol of youth and ability. According to the Annals of the Joseon dynasty, prince Yangpyeong put on big earrings when he was nine (in 1513) and it was common for prince to put on earrings back then. However, the earrings became unpopular since the Confucianism pervaded the whole country in the Joseon Dynasty era. Even the King Seonjo officially announced that it is the most undutiful thing to put on earrings because piercing is hurting the ancestrally inherited body. According to some recent studies on the era, scholars insist that the regulation was resulted from the economic crisis caused by importing too much gold and silver for earrings from China. 
Eventually, the men’s earrings were disappeared after King Seonjo era and women only put on earrings in wedding ceremony. For this reasons, the design of the earrings in Joseon dynasty became very simple.

Garakji: A Pair of Rings of Engagement

Garakji means a pair of big rings. It was also called “Jihwan”. Garakji appeared from the Joseon Dynasty era. It was only for married women. If a woman put on only one ring in her finger, it means she was a single. Only married women could put on a pair of rings, which means harmony with her husband. The idea came from the Confucianism

The history of exchanging rings went back 4800 years ago. In 16th century, the Tudor dynasty believed that the blood vessel of the 4th finger of left hand is connected to heart, and they put on wedding ring on 4th finger. Since then, it became customary in most countries. 
Garakji was mainly made of gold and silver but other materials were also used, such as lacquer, jade, quartz, green jadeite, amber, pearl, and copper. 
In Joseon dynasty, noblewomen and royal family put on different materials of rings by season and occasion. Gold rings from Oct. to Jan., silver lacquer rings from Feb. to Apr., jade or quartz rings were for Dano festival and regular lacquer rings were from dog days, boknal, to Sep. All of them were for having a natural and harmonious look, which are influenced by the formality of clothing and four seasons.
Garakji was not only a love token but loyalty to the country as well. During Japanese invasion of 1592, a gisaeng, cultured women entertainers in the Joseon Dynasty era, called Nongae, hugged Japanese general and jumped down to the river, wearing 10 rings. Jinjoo local government designated Aug. 8th as the “Nongae Day” and has hosted many special events and donated hundreds of silver rings engraved "euiam", which is the name of the rock she stepped on before jumping into the river, to supporting center.

Norigae: Accessory for Every Class

Norigae is a perfect accessory for women’s Hanbok. It is widely loved by all classes, from royal family to common people. Norigae was the most popular ornament during the Joseon Dynasty era, while the other accessories like necklaces and earrings became unpopular. 
There is no historical record on norigae. For your information, the Hanbok during the Silla kingdom and the Goryeo dynasty era doesn’t look like the one in these days. Instead of norigae, it was customary to hang pocket filled with gold bell or scent in the belt. Later in Joseon, they were replaced into the new born accessory, norigae. During the era, norigae was hung in the breast-tie of Hanbok. People wore more gorgeous norigae for royal functions and big festivities. Noblewomen used to inherit it to generation after generation.
Norigae is consisted of ttidon, string, but also paemul(jewel), knot and sool(tassel). Ttidon is a tie to connect jewels and it is supposed to be hung in the breast-tie. Gold, silver, white jade, green jadeite and coral were used to make norigae. There are square, rectangular, round, flower and butterfly shaped ttidon. According to the number of jewels of it, it was called oijul-norigae or danjak-norigae(single jewel) and samjak-norigae(three jewel). 
Red, blue, yellow, pink, green, light purple and deep purple colors were used to make sool(tassels). Besides, some of norigaes were embroidered with a rhino horn, lotus flower, and herb that was belived to bring an eternal youth. Norigae represented not only the social status but also the wishes of women and ideologies for abundance, longevity and good luck.

Binyeo: A Traditional Hairpin for fixing ladies’ chignons

Binyeo is an ornamental hairpin used to hold a hair bun in place. We can still see old ladies wearing binyeo in countryside. Binyeo is classified into two kinds; a Jam and a Chae. Jam is a normal stick-shaped binyeo and Chae is a tong-shaped binyeo with decorations. Binyeo was allowed only for married women. The jewels, woods, animal horns and bones were used to make binyeos.