Friday, April 30, 2010

Yonsei University: The First and the Best when it comes to tuition

Yonsei Universty's has been claiming to be the first and the best. Indeed the university is the first and the best when it comes to school fees. A recent news ranked Yonsei as the most expensive university in Korea.

Tuition for universities here has surpassed 9 million won ($8,117) per year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Friday. Yonsei University became the first higher learning institute to break this barrier among Korean universities charging an annual average of 9.07 million won per student.
The ministry said four-year universities here have continued to raise tuition fees over the years, imposing a heavier financial burden on parents and students seeking higher education.
University tuition across the country increased 1.29 percent this year from 2009, averaging 6.85 million won per year.
Yonsei was followed by Chugye University for Arts, which charges 8.95 million won on average.
Ewha Womans University ranked third at 8.82 million won, followed by Eulji University at 8.75 million won, Sangmyung University in Cheonan at 8.71 million won and Hongik University in Chochiwon, 8.7 million won.
Korea has 23 state and 153 private universities. Among them, 67 are located in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.
In 2009, Korea saw a total of 27 universities charge more than 8 million won, but this year the number increased to 35.
Hongik University in Chochiwon had the highest tuition rate for studying humanities, Yonsei University for social studies, Hallym University for education studies, Korea University for engineering, Sungkyunkwan University for medicine, and Hansei University for fine arts and physical education.
More details are available on the Web site (www.academyinfo.go.kr).
The ministry has introduced a school loan program, "study-now-pay-later," to help students facing financial difficulties receive long-term state education loans. Students pay them back after graduating and finding a job.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/05/117_65138.html

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fairness of State Scholarship for Foreign Students Questioned

Korean officials have ignored their own rules to pick unqualified foreign students for state scholarships in an opaque and unfair practice, apparently customary between embassies and ranking foreign government officers.
These students ― who benefit from the taxpayer-funded program because they are children of influential dignitaries from foreign countries ― have difficulties studying at Korean universities as they are not proficient enough in Korean to understand the classes.
In an ambitious move to make state scholarships international similar to the Fulbright Program, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology integrated them into "Global Korea Scholarship," earmarking 51.5 billion won ($46.6 million) to promote the program as a core project.
However, its fairness and efficiency has been called into question as Korean embassies and the education authority are providing benefits to students who fall short of the minimum standards.
The Korean embassy in Afghanistan last year recommended two children of ranking Afghan government officials even though they failed to meet the minimum qualification: a grade point average (GPA) over 80 percent necessary to qualify for the scholarship program.
The two students, identified by their surname initials "S" and "R," respectively, couldn't speak Korean when they applied for the scholarship and even now have difficulties in keeping up with courses mostly conducted in the Korean language at Keimyung University in Daegu, although they finished the six-month language training course offered by the government.
A Korean embassy document, acquired by The Korea Times, says, "(the two students) are children of high-ranking government officials and our government needs to take good care of them since they could be future leaders, considering the practices of the country."
The fathers of the students were deputy ministers of two different ministries. A brother of one of the students was also a beneficiary of the scholarship program in 2008.
A counselor at the Korean embassy in the country who recommended the two students said, "We just passed the list of applicants, selected by the country's government, to our government. We don't have enough manpower to screen students."
For its part, the National Institute for International Education (NIIED), a government agency supervising the scholarship program, said, "We trust our embassy's network and they pick appropriate students for our program."
A director of the agency also said they were unable to check the qualifications of all the scholarship students.
However, experts and college students say the government should be more careful and make the screening process more transparent for the program to be a success story. Otherwise, it may backfire, they said.
Kim Sung-han, a professor of international relations at Korea University, said it was very wrong to give favors to unqualified children of high ranking officials.
"Even private companies thoroughly screen scholarship applicants to select the best students. The government, using taxpayers' money, should not pick students recklessly," Kim said.
The professor also said that unfair scholarship programs will eventually ruin the image of Korea.
The state program doesn't require applicants to pass any exams or submit certificates of proficiency in Korean or English skills.
Last year, a total of 504 foreign nationals benefited from the program and the ministry aims to attract 700 students this year who will receive money for university tuition, housing and monthly allowances.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/05/113_65084.html

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five days of national mourning for sailors

The South Korean Navy announced yesterday that the dead Cheonan sailors will be honored in a full Navy military funeral this Thursday, April 29. The service will be observed at the Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.

In a separate announcement yesterday, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said that the day of the funeral service has been designated a national day of mourning, as are the four days leading up to the service.

The Navy also said mourning altars will be set up at military units and major public places across the nation. Ninety military units, including 10 Navy bases and 58 Army divisions, will host altars. There will be 16 public altars, including one in front of the Seoul City Hall and also in hometowns of the deceased sailors. The altars will remain in place until noon Thursday, the Navy said.

According to the Navy’s press release, the sailors will each be posthumously promoted by a rank. The Navy explained the move was to recognize the sailors’ “determination to protect the South Korean seas and their sacrifice for the country.” Of the 46 dead and missing sailors, 30 were noncommissioned officers and 16 were drafted soldiers.

Almost a month after it went down, the bow of the Cheonan was salvaged Saturday and brought to the Second Fleet Command for closer inspection. And South Korea’s military and civilian investigators tentatively concluded yesterday that the sinking of the naval warship Cheonan was caused by a powerful external blast at close range, and not a direct hit to the ship.


Five days of national mourning for sailors
By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jaejoong in a Japanese Drama

Jaejoong Hero of TVXQ is having a big break in the Japanese showbusiness. His role in the new Japanese drama Sunao ni narenakute (素直になれなくて ) as "doctor" is really amazing. He is now considered one of the most admired and popular stars in Japan, together with Japan's biggest stars. Along with Eita, Ueno Juri and Tamatestu, I really think this is something to be awed. His Japanese is even good. I may be overstating it but this is a good move for the Korea-Japan relations.

Synopsis:

Nakajima looks up to his father, who was a war photographer, but can only get a job as an assistant for gravure magazines. Mizuno is a provisional high school teacher, currently on probation. Nishimura is Mizuno's best friend, whose boyfriend has been avoiding her since she discovered she was pregnant. Ichihara works at a magazine where he is being blackmailed into sexual favours by his chief editor. Park, on Twitter, takes on the persona of a doctor, when he is actually working at a company that sells medical equipment to disinterested doctors, and at the same time, trying to take care of his younger sister.
This is a story about the blossoming friendship of five young people who were brought together by Twitter, and their journey to finding honesty with each other and with themselves (dramawiki)

Fuji TV every Thursday 22:00

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Voices of McDonald from the Philippines and Korea ^^

Chenee Capuyan, a McDonald’s restaurant employee from Davao Del Sur, Philippines, stunned celebrity judges and an audience of more than 14,000 with a powerful performance of Destiny’s Child’s “Stand Up for Love” to win the Voice of McDonald’s global singing competition.panel of internationally-renowned music industry professionals judged the final competition: Estelle, Grammy Award-winning R&B singer; Troy Carter, chairman/CEO of Atom Factory, Inc., whose clients include Lady Gaga; Walter Afanasieff, Grammy Award-winning music producer whose credits include recordings by Mariah Carey and Celine Dion; and prominent entertainment attorney Ken Hertz.

A 20 year old employee of McDonald's Korea Jin Hur from Goyang City, South Korea, took second place and received $15,000.

Jesus Molinares from Lima, Peru,landed third to win $10,000. McDonald’s executives upped the ante by adding $5,000 to the second and third place prizes after hearing the finalists’ outstanding performances.


link:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2010/04/123_64775.html

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Make Bulgogi

Bulgogi is one of the must taste cuisine in Korea. Aside from Kimchi, which is virtually present in all kinds of meals in Korea, Bulgogi also occupies a very high position when it comes to importance and popularity in Korean cuisine and to a certain extent about Korea.

Bulgogi is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BC–668 AD). It was originally called neobiani (너비아니) and was prepared especially for the king during the Joseon Dynasty

Bulgogi is made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. The meat is marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients such as scallions, or mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms or shiitake. Sometimes, cellophane noodles are added to the dish, which varies by region and specific recipe. Before cooking, the meat is marinated to enhance its flavor and tenderness.

My class went to Rinnai, a cooking school near Hongdae Station, for our Korean cultural experience. The Language Education Institute of Seoul National University has designated different cultural activities for every level. So aside from an everyday 4 hour intensive Korean class, one day is assigned for a cultural experience. Based on my observation, the activities get interesting as your level improves...lol So cooking Bulgogi is Level 3's cultural activity.
불고기 마드는 법
1. 쇠고기를 등심으로 준비한다. Prepare slices of sirloin.

2. 마늘 을 다지고 파는 잘게 썬다. Press the garlic and cut the green onions into small pieces.

3. 파, 마늘, 간장, 설탕, 깨소금, 참기름, 후추를 큰 그릇에 넣고 잘 섞는다. Put the cut green onion, pressed garlic, soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil and black pepper in one bowl and mix it.

4. 양념에 쇠고기를 넣고 잘 주무른다. Then mix the sirloin too.

5.쇠고기를 30분 이상 양념에 재운다. Marinate it for at least 30 minutes.

6. 고기를 프라이팬에 굽다. Then fry it on a fry pan.
Notes:

*양파 썰어서 넣으면 더 맛있다. You can also put onion to make it more delicious

*술을 조금 넣어도 좋다. You can also put some wine/liquor on it.

*구운 고기를 상추와 깻잎과 같이 먹으면 더 맛있다. You can also eat the fried meat with the sesame leaf or lettuce.







Some information about Bulgogi:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgogi

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's still RAIN ing in Japan!

I guess it is still RAINing in Japan. The K-pop "King" just made his comeback in the Korean entertainment industry weeks ago. It seems that Rain continously attracts his fans through his very masculine aura as you can see in his videos including the newest one, which by the way I could not relate to the story of the song.
Once again, Korean pop singer Rain wowed Japanese fans last weekend with two encore shows titled ``Legend of Rainism.''
After releasing a special album and completing promotional activity in Korea, the 27-year-old superstar flew to Tokyo and performed at the National Yoyogi Stadium. It was evident at both shows that he is still one of the most popular Korean singers on the island nation.

On Saturday, more than 10,000 fans cheered him on during the two-hour concert, with attendees ranging from six-year-olds to high school and university students to middle-aged housewives and even old ladies who attended hand-in-hand with their grandchildren.

On Sunday, the excited and grateful Rain jumped off the stage, something that was completely unpredictable, and ran to the crowds of fans to shake their hands. Security personnel instantly made their way through the screaming audience to protect anyone from getting hurt and to keep the singer from being mobbed.

Rain sang ``Sad Tango,'' a song that was released as a single in Japan, as an encore, and the cheering grew even louder. When he broke into ``Hip Song'' from his most recent album, the audience sang along to the Korean lyrics.

After the lights went out, fans stayed put, screaming, "Jung Ji-hoon," Rain's Korean name. Even after 30 minutes, the fans refused to leave, continuously shouting the singer's name and waving their glow sticks in the air.

The special concerts were organized as encore performances after Rain put on a show last August in Saitama, Japan. They were scheduled after numerous requests from Japanese fans.

Rain's special album ``Back to the Basic'' surprised adoring fans with yet more hip songs, trendy styles and distinctive dance moves. His latest song, ``Love Song,'' is a soft ballad and has topped music charts both off and online.

Making his debut in 2002, Rain has become one of the most influential singers and actors in Korea. Famous for his sweet smile and chiseled figure, he has become one of the male stars many aspiring singers and actors here look up to.

After filming his first Hollywood action flick, ``Ninja Assassin,'' last year, he has appeared in numerous interviews both here and abroad, including the most recently did an interview with CNN ``Talk Asia.''

He is currently in Korea, planning to appear on local television shows and also a drama later this year.


link: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2010/04/201_64436.html

Language Specialists Sought for G-20 Summit

To all Koreans who lived and are living abroad but have to come back to Korea for the military service, I guess this is your chance to do it in a very interesting and unique way.  If you are fluent at these languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Arabic then you better grab this chance.

Young males who are proficient in a foreign language will be able to serve their mandatory military service as police officers in preparation for the G-20 summit and other international events, the National Police Agency said Sunday.
Those selected will be stationed at foreign residences and offices as well as international airports. They will also take charge of dealing with foreigners exclusively instead of conventional police duties such as sobriety tests, suppression of protests or cracking down on large illegal events.
This is the first time police have searched for people with language skills; currently it selects people with cooking, medical, vehicle driving and video imaging skills to serve as temporary officers.
Police plan to recruit 100 people with good language proficiency.
Applicants must turn in relevant test results and certificates to prove they resided in those respective countries for a long time.

link:http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/04/113_64468.html

Koreans are uninspired in the office


If you are frequently looking at the office clock and praying its hands would move more quickly, it probably means you are unengaged and unsatisfied with your job.

According to a new study, only a handful of Korean employees are aggressively engaged in their work, while more than half go to work unwillingly because of an absence of workplace leadership.

In the study by Towers Watson, only 6 percent of 1,000 Korean employees polled were fully engaged in their work. This is a drop from 8 percent in 2007 and far below the global average of 21 percent.

On the contrary, 48 percent of workers had low enthusiasm or were completely unsatisfied, higher than the world average of 38 percent.

The study said that Korean employees were “particularly pessimistic” about the job market, with only 16 percent believing there will be more jobs in the next 12 months. Globally, 21 percent think the job market will improve.

Twenty-one percent of Koreans believe they’ll retire before the age of 50, which is higher than the world’s average of 4 percent.

The study said the reasons behind a lack of engagement by employees are an absence of strong leadership and disappointing career development, pay and rewards.

Only 37 percent of Koreans were satisfied with leadership in their workplace. The global average was 50 percent, and China and India’s satisfaction were 66 percent and 77 percent respectively.

“The employees’ engagement has a huge influence on a company’s performance,” said Ryan Park, managing director of Towers Watson Korea. “A company’s leaders need to improve communication, transparency and innovation to create closer ties with employees and also inspire.”
 
Full Story:
Koreans are uninspired in the office
by Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yuna and Mao towards a better Korea-Japan Relations?

I thought Koreans wouldn't like Asada Mao since they are so into Kim Yuna as the queen of figure skating. But I was wrong. My friend, which is a professor in SNU told me that many Koreans like Asada Mao just as how they like Kim Yuna.
Then I saw a news this morning about how Japanese people view Kim Yuna. For me it wasn't a surprise anymore. South Korea's figure-staking queen Kim Yu-na was voted the number one Korean celebrity in Japan in terms of their "feeling intimate" while her Japanese archrival Asada Mao topped the survey among South Koreans for the same category, a joint poll by South Korea's Hankook Ilbo and Japan's Yomiuri newspaper revealed Saturday.

Kim topped the poll as 50 percent of Japanese respondents picked her, followed by Lee Seung-yeop (21 percent), a baseball player, currently playing for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, tailed by Bae Yong-joon (18 percent), an actor.
In Korea, people voted Asada Mao (43 percent), followed by figure skater Ando Miki (18 percent), who has a tie with Suzuki Ichiro, a major league player.
The Internet-based JPNews, which carried the news, didn't specify how many people in the two countries participated in the poll.
In the poll, respondents were allowed to choose multiple favorites ― up to three, and celebrities are from those in entertainment and sports.
If we could find different pressing issues between the two countries, I think we can also find collaboration and harmony between them. I hope this will continue to flourish.

Link:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/04/113_64356.html

Super Junior Campaigns Against Human Trafficking

I guess this is another way to untilize the popualrity of Korean stars. This is actually a question in one of the papers in the grdauate course I took last semester. How will the government be able to utilize the popularity of K-pop stars. With tourism as the main thing in my mind I've never seen such events would also be possible for the government to take advantage of.
K-pop group Super Junior took part in a campaign against human trafficking last month in Vietnam, and coverage of their work there will air Saturday night on MTV.
The 13-member boy band participated in the music channel’s awareness raising project EXIT: End Exploitation and Trafficking. They performed in a concert held in late March and visited a women’s care center.
Some 4,500 people gathered to see the singers perform their popular numbers. Two members of the group, Lee Teuk and Dong-hae, visited Peace House, a care shelter for abused women, and delivered messages of hope.
In 2007, singer-actor Rain worked with EXIT to narrate a documentary about human trafficking. After drugs, it is the second-largest illegal trade market in the world.
The program will air at 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
Visit www.mtvexit.org for more information about the campaign.
Just like in any other campaign, I hope this will not just end as a campaign.

link: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2010/04/178_64305.html

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival

During the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival the whole town of Hampyeong is a “veritable butterfly town,” covered with butterfly-themed lights and decorations. A medley of butterfly-themed events and programs shed some lights on one of nature’s most beautiful and delicate creatures, all while providing fun for the whole family. In addition to numerous exhibition halls featuring butterflies, insects, and water plants, there is even a “hands-on” area where visitors can see and touch a variety of animals and plants!
The festival is a great opportunity for children to learn about nature in a fun, interactive environment.

Transportation
-From Seoul Central City Terminal, take a bus headed towards Hampyeong.(The bus is available 8:35, 14:30, 16:40 / est. travel time of 4hrs 20min.) From the Hampyeong bus terminal, you can either walk (10 minutes) or take a taxi (5 minutes) to the Expo Park.
-During the festival period (April 23 to May 9), Korail will run the KTX bullet train from Seoul to Hampyeong six times a day. The train leaves Seoul’s Yongsan Station bound for Hampyeong at 7:20 a.m., 9:10 a.m. and 11 a.m. It leaves Hampyeong Station for Seoul at 3:18 p.m., 5:08 p.m. and 7:18 p.m. The travel time between the two cities is about three hours. For more information, contact the Gwangju branch of Korail at (062) 525-4835 or visit www.hampyeong.jeonnam.kr/2008_hpm/hpm01/ (Korean only).

Places to Visit
Hampyeong Expo Park- the main festival venue. Here, visitors can learn about butterflies through a wide range of exhibits featuring butterflies both as fossils and as living creatures. There will also be displays featuring other insects and rare animals such as red bats.
Cheonsubyeon Park- there is a petting zoo and various outdoor activities such as traditional Korean folk games etc. ,
Hampyeong Ecological Park- Visitors to this park won’t want to miss seeing the miniature of the Dokdo islets that sits in the middle of Lake Daedong.
Korean Artifacts Museum- a three-story museum that has more than 1,000 artifacts.The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day and is closed on Mondays. Admission costs 2,000 won ($1.80) for adults and 1,000 won for children and teenagers. For more information, contact the museum at (061) 320-3853.
Mopyeong Hanok Village- is located in the Mopyeong area, where the district of Mopyeongheon was originally located during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Visitors can stay overnight in the village in one of the dozen hanok that operate as guesthouses. Most of these offer a one-night stay for around 50,000 won for a double occupancy room.

For general information about the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival, contact the Hampyeong County Office’s culture and tourism department at (061) 320-3733.

Links:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Creativity through a demonstration?

Demonstration in Korea is very rare. In my one year stay in Korea, I've only seen one "sort of demonstration" inside my school, Seoul National University. I said "sort of.." since there were very few students who attended and it seemed like the whole thing was scripted. Anyway, recently I read news about Chung Ang University student demonstration. I have 2 or 3 friends studying here. The school is said to have many students who are part of the locak Korean enterntainment industry. Some of them are Yuri and Sooyoung of SNSD. Anyway, I am not supposed to talk about it. As you can see in the picture two students are trying to put their protest banners on top of the crane. I am not sure if this is creative enough for you but I'm sure they were able to drove attention. I remember the SNU demonstration I saw was also very creative. I already explained it in my other entry though.  I think, due to the few number of students participating in rallies, the students are forced to make their demostrations creative. hehe. On the other hand, I could remember that there was an issue last year that also concerns Chung Ang University. It was around August in 2009, when the university planned to punish a group of students who ran into the university president’s office to protest the dismissal of a professor critical of the Lee Myung-bak administration. The professor was Jin Jung-gwon of German Language and Literature department. I am not sure what happened to him but it was some sort of of a big issue. 

Related article:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/08/117_50628.html

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moody’s Raises Korea’s Sovereign Rating to A1

Moody's Investors Service, one of the three major global credit ratings agencies, upgraded its ratings for South Korea by one notch to "A1" from "A2" Wednesday, citing the country's faster-than-expected recovery from the worldwide economic slump, and the government's aggressive and timely fiscal stimulus.
Improving fiscal soundness and financial market fundamentals also made Moody's the first major global ratings agency to restore Korea's sovereign rating back to its pre-currency crisis level of 12 years ago.
"The change has been prompted by Korea's demonstration of an exceptional level of economic resilience to the global crisis, while containing the government's budget deficit. The resiliency of Korea's economy was evident in its ability to withstand relatively well the contradictory forces which emanated from the global recession," Moody's Senior Vice President Thomas Byrne said in a statement issued from Singapore.
Byrne said Korea's open economy expanded 0.2 percent in 2009 from the previous year, and was likely to stage a robust recovery with a 5-percent growth rate in 2010, despite the waning fiscal stimulus.
"Additionally, the global financial crisis has not resulted in a large increase in central government debt, which remains at a moderate level, while the fiscal deficit in 2009 was relatively small. Such achievements place Korea in a favorable position when compared with most other A-rated countries," he said.



Full Story:
Moody’s Raises Korea’s Sovereign Rating to A1
by Lee Hyo-sik (leehs@koreatimes.co.kr)
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2010/04/123_64222.html

FYI: Moody's Investors Service performs financial research and analysis on commercial and government entities. The company also ranks the credit-worthiness of borrowers using a standardized ratings scale. The company has a 40% share in the world credit rating market, as does its main rival, Standard & Poor's.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black Day in Korea

If you are still single or became single when the clock ticked to April 14th, then maybe you might as well consider celebrating Black Day with your firends who are also singles.
Korea celebrates Black Day every April 14th as an answer to Valentines Day (Feb 14th) and White Day (Mar 14th). This is a Korean informal tradition for single people to get together and eat jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce) and sometimes a white sauce is mixed for those who did not celebrate White Day.

The idea is that those who did not give or receive gifts on Valentine's Day (February 14) or White Day (March 14) can get together and eat jajangmyeon (자장면), white Korean noodles with black bean sauce (hence the name), to celebrate their singledom
Of course this is also known as "Singles Awareness (or Appreciation) Day" (SAD) in other countries, only that SAD is usually celebrated on February 14, others may prefer 13th or 15th, against the celebration of Valentines Day for couples. 


related articles' links:
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/02.11.04/black-day-0407.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSEO18852320080414

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can Samsung, LG Claw Way Out of iPhone Hole?

Wherever you go in Korea right now, you would see people carrying iPhones. The used to be Samsung or LG dominated phone user population suddenly changed its taste to something not so Koreanish...Apple's iPhone.
A very interesting article today at the Korea Times tackled the competiveness of Samsung ang LG in the smartphone world as Apple's iPhone is getting more profit.  
Worries are running high that the relatively weaker smartphone lineups at Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics might dampen the overall profits of the world's second- and third-biggest handset vendors, respectively, according to market watchers and analysts.
They say smartphones produced by top-tier players such as Apple and Microsoft and the aggressive promotions even from the followers of the South Korean duo are poised as bigger threats for the bottom line in their profits.
"The outlook seems murky for Samsung's handset business. The operating profit for its telecommunication division in 2010 is expected to fall 4 trillion won due to its weaker smartphone lineups and massive promotions," a high-ranking industry watcher told The Korea Times.
"The challenging outlook is based on a weaker competitive edge for Samsung's smartphones. It has revised the sales target for Bada-embedded smartphones to some 25 million units. But that means Samsung should spend more on promotions," he added.
Bada, which means ocean in Korean, is a mobile platform developed last year by Samsung Electronics. It remains uncertain whether Bada will appeal to software developers and handset majors.
The average selling price (ASP) for Samsung phones outside the peninsula declined by 12 percent from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of last year.
Strategy Analytics (SA) forecasts the operating profit for Samsung's telecom unit to fall 8.3 percent in 2010 from 9.7 percent in 2009, which observers claim is due to less competitiveness in smartphones. Samsung's market share for smartphones was 3 percent, last year.
To water down such uncertainties and to quell concerns about its weaker lineups, Samsung was recruiting software-talent and creating necessary task force teams to build up its mobile ecosystem, though company spokesmen were mum over the latest changes.
Things are as bad, if not worse, for LG Electronics. LG doesn't have its own mobile operating system.
Analysts say the situation will worsen for the world's No. 3 handset maker as times passes unless its top decision-making executives take bold action.
SA says LG, which is looking to sell 140 million phones this year, will suffer a freefall of its operating profit to 4 percent in 2010 from 7.3 percent in 2009.
A recent survey conducted by JP Power indicated that LG was delisted from the top five in terms of consumer satisfaction in smartphones. Samsung was ranked fourth, while Taiwan's HTC was No. 3. LG's 2009 share in smartphones was less than 2 percent.
I tried asking my Korean friends why they changed their phones into iPhones, all of them said the phone is really good so it is worth it even if it is expensive.
Actually the price is almost similar with other phones in Korea so people would tend to take iPhones without minding the price.
This is something that Korean smartphone industry should think of if they want to stay on business for a longer time...

Full Story: Can Samsung, LG Claw Way Out of iPhone Hole?
by Kim Yoo-chul (yckim@koreatimes.co.kr)

Curfew Planned to Prevent Online Game Addiction


Due to the unforeseen effects of pnline game addiction in Korea,  the government the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that it would impose a "midnight curfew."
One of the highlights is restricting teenagers from logging on to certain online games with a high rate of adolescent members after midnight.
The government, however, said the rules are not legally binding, and that it will disclose more details later. Skepticism is already rising in the game industry that placing a time limit will have little effect on curbing obsessive online gaming habits among teenagers.
"PC rooms prohibit the entry of underage customers after 10:00 p.m. without an adult guardian. So many teenagers are not playing online games there after midnight," an industry watcher said. "The measures will be useless in dealing with young gamers who log on through their parents' ID."
As I mentioned inmy previou entry, more game companies will be required to introduce "fatigue systems," which impose "disadvantages" in game play when an advised playing time limit is exceeded.
But it remains to be seen how faithfully game makers will comply with the ministry's guidelines to report their practice of both systems.
Game makers will be required to conduct an ID checkup of their members on a regular basis so that teenagers do not use their parents' registration numbers to enjoy games beyond the regulated times.
 
by Do Je-hae (jhdo@koreatimes.co.kr)
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/04/117_64036.html

Baby Boomers Ill Prepared for Retirement

The baby boomer generation will begin massive retirement this year, but they are left without enough savings to do so. Baby boomers, who have played a key role in Korea's industrialization, are being squeezed between the dual responsibility of supporting their parents and raising their children, leaving themselves ill prepared for retirement.
Statistics shows that 70 percent of baby boomers provide financial support for their parents. However, their parents had not supported them enough while they were growing up. About 64 percent felt they didn't pursue as much education as they wanted, mostly due to economic problems. It was more so with female baby boomers, with seven out of 10 indicating that they didn't receive as much formal education as they had desired.
"Baby boomers are not prepared for retirement. A multiple layer of social safety nets should be prepared," the statistical office said.
Statistics showed that they are under more stress than the rest of the population, with 65.2 percent saying that they feel a great deal of pressure both at home and at work, higher than the average 60.4 percent of the whole population.

Full Story:
Baby Boomers Ill Prepared for Retirement
by Yoon Ja-young (chizpizza@koreatimes.co.kr)
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2010/04/123_63987.html

Adoption Rare for Multicultural Children

Multicultural children abandoned due to the breakup of their families are becoming a new social issue.
According to the Seoul Child Welfare Center, there are currently 10 multicultural children in their custody. The number had jumped from two in 2008 to seven in 2009.
In addition, some 10 multicultural children have been admitted to temporary child shelters in Uijeongbu and Anyang, Gyeonggi Province.
Most children in these childcare facilities are from immigrant mothers, from countries such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines, married to Korean fathers. Some multicultural families separate due to problems such as domestic violence.
These children of mixed blood face difficulty in finding adoptive homes due to social prejudices.
“Korean orphans themselves, are not easily adopted and it is almost impossible for multicultural children to find new homes,” a center official said. “Recently, a family talked about the possibility of adopting a multicultural child, but it fell through. No multicultural child has been adopted in Korea so far.”
According to Statistics Korea, 11 percent of marriages were interracial in 2008 and there are 128,000 married immigrants in Korea.
“The statistics show the inflow of foreigners is changing the demographics of Korea and we need to prepare for this change,” the official said.
Seoul City is also pushing for measures to protect immigrants who come to Korea to marry and their children.
The city government is building a center in Geumcheon District in southwestern Seoul, to assist married immigrants who suffer from domestic violence. “We organized a task force to research possible measures for supporting multicultural families, especially their disorganisation,” Cho Eun-hee, the assistant mayor of Women and Family Affairs, said.
“We hope to help married immigrants and their children settle in Korea with less difficulty.”

Link: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/04/117_63998.html

Sunday, April 11, 2010

iPhone Fever Spreads to Financial Transactions

My roommate has an Iphone and I guess he also availed some programs that are connected to financial transactions.  Over 100,000 Koreans have subscribed to financial transaction services through smartphones in merely four months after such features became available here last December.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said that around 70,000 people registered for wireless banking or stock transaction applications on smartphones last month to increase the total number to 109,000.
Observers point out that the debut of the Apple iPhone is in no small part responsible for the vehement subscription to mobile financial services. Ever since they first came to town last October, about 500,000 units have been sold.
Presently, smartphone-enabled financial transactions take place on iPhones but banks and brokerage plan to embrace other smartphones employing such platforms as Windows Mobile of Microsoft or Android of Google.
Even though the financial transactions on smartphones sound appealing, they also have a set of drawbacks including security holes ― as smartphones hold so much of their owners' data, they are feared to cause big headaches when they end up in the wrong hands.

Full Story: iPhone Fever Spreads to Financial Transactions
by Kim Tae-gyu (voc200@koreatimes.co.kr)
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2010/04/123_63996.html

New Season of Family Outing (패밀리가 떴다2)

I didn't know that there is a new season of Family Outing. The first season was so much fun so I think the new season would be in trouble making the audience laugh ^^ As expected the first three episodes were really good ^^. I guess I like the "freshness" of the new season's aura since all members are new. The members are
Kim Won-Hee-Shown as being "usually weak" (play on her name), Kim Won-Hee acts as the "female master" and moderator of the show.
Yoon Sang-Hyun-As this show is his first variety program, Yoon Sang-Hyun is known as an "Entertainment Newbie" while still familiarising himself with being funny and is usually picked on.
Ji Sang-Ryul-The oldest member of the family, Ji Sang-Ryul usually sides with Kim Won-Hee and Shin Bong-Sun
Shin Bong-Sun- Also acting as a "female master" of the show, only second to Kim Won-Hee, she enjoys controlling Ji Sang-Ryul and Yoon Sang-Hyun.
Yoona-The youngest member of the family, Yoona seems to have superior strength.
Taecyeon- Normally seen as a "beastly idol", Taecyeon is just as "beastly" in the family.
Jo Kwon- Known to be flamboyant and emotional, Jo Kwon claims to be an entertainer veteran

http://tv.sbs.co.kr/newsunday/

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Warning to Gamers in Korea!

The government is currently making its move to control and probably solve the game addiction issues that have been quite alarming to the society these days. I also have a cousin who is very addicted to computer games. I thought he was the worse but it turns out to be very mild compared to Korean gamers...
Even if South Korea touts itself as the computer games capital of the world, the industry is currently facing many changes, of course for the "benefit" of the users being mostly students.
The government's move is in connection to the shocking cases involving game addiction - including deaths by exhaustion, murder and child neglect.
It should be known the cases are getting worse like in February, a 22-year-old was arrested in Gyeonggi Province on charges of killing his mother due to a quarrel over his long gaming hours.
Just weeks later, a couple was arrested in Suwon after it was found that they had left their 3-month-old daughter to starve to death last year while they spent most of their time in a "PC bang," or computer gaming lounge.
And during the Lunar New Year holiday, a 33-year-old man collapsed in a PC bang in Seoul and died in a hospital hours later. He had been playing games at the shop for five days in a row.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is planning to announce a set of controls on Monday to combat addiction to online games and to deter people from playing excessively according to the news.
The measures are likely to be "fatigue systems," which will force disadvantages in game play when gamers exceed the advised limit for playing time. Another measure is automatic shutdown, which prevent youngsters from playing games during certain hours of the day when requested by parents, industry sources said.
"The question is, how long will the government set as the limit on playing time - three consecutive hours, or more, or less? And the decision on the methods for restricting access to underage users is also an important issue."
No matter what will happen, the government needs to do something to solve this issue. I didn't know that computer games could be a threat to one's life.

Full Story:
Game-Obsessed Korea Attempts to Save Itself
by Kim Tong-hyung

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Third of Korean Students Sleep in Class

A Tokyo-based Japanese youth research center, surveyed a total of 6,173 high school students in Korea, Japan, China and the United States between June and November, last year. The results were very interesting. The survey found that 32.3 percent of Korean high schoolers nap during classes. Japan posted the highest ratio of 45.1 percent ― the figure was 20.8 percent in the U.S. and 4.7 percent for China.
The main reason is that
"Many Korean students study late at private tutoring institutes and tend to doze off at school."
This is probably the same case with Japan.
An official said that Korean students need to undertake huge workloads to advance to prestigious universities. Even after school, they have to stay up at late.
Another cause is addiction to computergames.

Full Story:
One Third of Korean Students Sleep in Class
by Kang Shin-who
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/04/117_63892.html

Thursday, April 8, 2010

G Dragon's Controversial Concert...

This is an article written by Michael Breen. An author, former foreign correspondent and the chairman of Insight Communications, a public relations consulting company. I think all he said in his opinion are thoroughly explained. I've read many of Breen's article about Korea especially the ones about Korean Image.

When the singer G-Dragon, in his first solo performance without his group Big Bang, featured a short horror movie of himself murdering a woman and had simulated sex with a backup dancer chained to a bed, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs thought he had gone too far in front of the youthful audience and filed obscenity charges.
The subsequent interrogation of G-Dragon (real name Kwon Ji-yong) by prosecutors in February raised questions about the use of law to protect social mores in a democracy where those mores are constantly changing.
Does the interference of state authority with artists ― and a visit to the prosecutors is a message in itself ― over the moral content of their art, protect us ― and in this case, minors ― from harm? Or does it intrude on an artist's freedom and creativity and, in this way, damage society?
Isolated from the context, the performance seems shocking to parents. But the audience was young and the music they like is not about passing French exams and getting into Seoul National University. It's about teenage idealism, insecurity, rebellion, and, underlying it all, love and sex. Was it shocking to them?
In the end, YG Entertainment was fined 3 million won, for including two songs (with the lewd bits) that had been ruled unsuitable for minors when the album was released. But no charges were brought against the performer. (The DVD of the full performance comes out this month with a separate edited version for under-19s).
However, from a strictly legal point of view, G-Dragon's performance may well have been obscene. The Supreme Court has in the past interpreted obscenity as that which provokes people's sexual desire and causes the public to feel shame, therefore possibly harming people's mental and physical motivations.
If prosecutors had applied this test, interviewed the audience, and found that a majority had actually felt aroused and ashamed, a court would have had no choice but to find him guilty.
But, to return to our question, would such an outcome be desirable? More broadly, do laws designed to protect public morals work?
One thing about such laws is that enforcement is erratic and therefore unfair. Michael Jackson was not arrested in Korea, for example, when he thrust his pelvis and grabbed his crotch in a performance. Nor did the teenage children of officials at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs file a class action complaint against the minister in January when she announced that once a month she was switching the lights off at the ministry at 7p.m. to encourage officials to go home early and have sex. Given how revolting parental sex appears to most normal teenagers, the ministry's campaign to raise the birth rate could be considered offensive.
Inconsistent application, however, is not always that bad. Sometimes, you need to set an example. There are many cases in history when prosecutors could have singled out victims to protect society and its members. If, for example, Roman prosecutors had arrested the entertainment company which organized one of the first Coliseum events where Christians were mauled and eaten in public by lions, that society may not have degenerated into moral chaos, and many lives would have been saved.
On the other hand, it's clearly possible for acts in the name of protecting society to be excessive. For example, did the policemen in the 1970s who forcibly cut the long hair of young men successfully protect Korean society from moral decline, as the law intended? No. In fact, not so long after, the establishment that devised this law was rejected by the society it tried to protect.
That is not to say that long hair was not a social issue. It was. Arguments about it took place in every home in Europe and North America where there were teenagers. My father, who was a British air force officer, felt that people wore long hair to signal they rejected what was good in society. This may have been true of some young people, but for others, long hair symbolized the rejection of the pursuit money and status. For most, it was just the fashion.
Fortunately, the law in free countries stayed away from this argument because individual freedom was considered more important than hairstyles.
This was an easier decision to make in the West than in Korea. The underlying theme of western cultural history is disobedience. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, Westerners have been defying previous generations, and regenerating their culture.
Of Korean virtues, on the other hand, obedience to parents and elders comes top. Every Korean family seems to have its own unspoken stories of suffering that come from the struggle to suppress self in the interests of obedience to parents and social expectation.
But that is now changing. And as the idea of acceptable expression in society changes, prosecutors need to know when to act and when to stay still.

Michael Breen can be reached at mike.breen@insightcomms.com.
"Is Korea Interfering With Art?"
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2010/04/137_63874.html