Lilypie - First Birthday

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Park Yong Ha's suicide

Today's big news: Park Yong-Ha's suicide. He committed suicide in his Seoul family home by using his handphone charger cable to hang himself.

Anybody remember Park Yong-Ha? He was the 2nd leading male actor in Winter Sonata after Bae Yong-Jun. When I asked my professor, he told me Park Yong-Ha is very successful in Japan as a singer. From the news, it seemed like he was suffering from some sort of depression while taking care of his father who is suffering from terminal stomach cancer. He looked like a very jovial type, none of his actor friends could see it coming.

Sadly, he has the will and the bravery to die but he hasn't got the will and the courage to keep on surviving. Hope that his soul will rest in peace.

But the handphone cable part, very innovative I must say.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Good Life

Two nights stay at Gwangan-Ri waterfront high class hotel, sponsored by professor. Not too far from my university, walking there takes about 45 mins and by taxi it takes 15 mins (3300 won). The story goes like this: our student dormitory disallowed us to stay in our new rooms for 4 days and when professor heard that we had nowhere to go, he sponsored us 2 nights stay there! (The remaining nights we sneaked in and slept in our rooms...)

This is the good life...

Beautiful, full view of the Gwangan Bridge right in front of our hotel window.

Big, comfy king and queen size beds with two pillows for everyone. Warm lighting, and a TV for us to watch the 3.30am South Korea VS Nigeria match in comfort and luxury.

Night view

Took a stroll in the evening along the waterfront. I love, love the cafes in Korea!

Saw a couple taking romantic wedding evening shots by the Gwangan Bridge

Had Spaghetti alla Pollo e Peperocino with roasted chicken breast at Pasta Bianco.

It was an amazing experience. The Good Life.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Hurt Locker

It took me a few months after the Oscars to watch The Hurt Locker (Best Picture), directed by Katherine Bigelow (Best Director, first woman to win the Oscars for Best Director).

It took me so long because war movies aren't really my type. I find them long, complicated and difficult to understand, but this was surprisingly easy to watch. The main characters are few and defined, revolving around a 3-man EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team.

Plot Summary:

The Hurt Locker is an American war film about a 3-man US bomb squad, set during the Iraq War. The 3 guys are: team leader Sergeant William James, a black guy Sergeant Sanborn, and a junior guy Specialist Owen. The plot follows their tour of duty as they go around Iraq defusing bombs while facing the threat of insurgency.

What I thought about the movie (or rather, what I didn't like about the movie):

The expression "the hurt locker" is a pre-existing slang term for a situation involving trouble or pain, which can be traced back to the Vietnam War. According to the movie's website, it is soldier vernacular in Iraq to speak of explosions as sending you to "the hurt locker".

1) Firstly, I didn't like the plot because it's more like a one-man show revolving around the universe of team leader Sergeant William James, his arrogance from the beginning, his complete lack of regard for protocol, his failure as a team leader to protect his subordinates, his obsessive-compulsive-disorder and lastly, his obsession of going to war. If you get a leader like this, then all I can say is you're really in THE HURT LOCKER = DEEP SHIT.

2) I don't really like movies that are made up to be too dramatic and therefore look fake, and this is one of them. It's like CSI where 1 or 2 people can do everything from collecting evidence to interrogating witnesses to becoming the human encyclopedia of the lab. CSI is not in the Oscars, this IS. Therefore I expected the cases in this movie to be a little more realistic and a little less dramatic. Some of the fake parts include the car on fire scene which was easily extinguished with one fire extinguisher.

3) Tension built up in first part of the show was good. But second part was not good because it became a little expected.

4) Too many questions, too few answered. Don't really see a followup in the "body bomb" part.

Any comments from those who've seen this?

In a box

It's like this.
Nobody is really interested in whatever the others are saying.
Everybody wants to have their own say.
Their own opinion. Their own sad/incredulous/"I'm special"/exciting-but-nobody-really-cares story.
Everybody is bored of the other.
Everybody has their own problem.
Sometimes, some of us think aloud.
Somebody is secretly pissed at the other.
We are all living in a box and we have to stay here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Room with no view :-(

Today we had to move out from the student dormitory for four days while they disinfect the whole building.

Note to the dormitory authorities: "Do you know how inconvenient it is for us foreign students who have no other place to go?!" And the lady had the cheek to tell us, "you can go stay at jjimjilbang (hot spring house)". Goodness.

Well anyway, something good came out of it... because our professor took pity on us and booked us a stay at... dangdangdangdang!!!... a luxury hotel at GwanganRi (facing the Gwangan/Diamond Bridge)!!!!!!! OMG I can't believe our good luck... I'm so totally gonna post pictures up later... ^^

Anyway, Janice and I moved our belongings into the new room. My new room is Room 711, on the 7th floor, odd numbered room means facing another side... which has NO VIEW! :-(

View from my new room

View of the Gwangan Bridge from my old room

I am so going to miss my "Room with A View"... *sob*... I really loved that view cos it's so calming... everytime I feel sad, depressed, or stressed, I will pull open the blinds and just look out of the window, across the football pitch, to the sea, to the white Diamond Bridge with thousands of LED lights on it... and think about my room in Penang with my darling. Then I would feel calm and happy again. Also, I saw my first snow from this view... the whole place covered with white, soft, falling flakes... gonna miss it. ;-(

My new bed. The previous owners stuck the two flowers on the window.

Not too bad eh? I still managed to fit all my belongings into my travel luggage, and two big boxes. :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

拜拜,港姐!

It's so difficult to find a good friend, somebody you can really click with. I'm so lucky to meet one here during my short stay. Her name is Katie.

差不多四个月前,上初级韩语班的第一天,就认识了她。一开始老师(선생님 song saeng nim)要我们介绍自己,还有来自哪个国家。初来韩国报到的我,有点紧张的到处张望,希望可以在班上认识一些可以谈的来的朋友。中国人,越南人,印尼人有很多,一个香港的,还有两个台湾的。台湾的那两个别说了,都很拽。结果我去认识了那个名叫 Katie 的香港妹,因为大家都会说广东话的关系,就这样,展开了我们的友谊... ^^

四个月以来,很多地方都和她一起去玩过,从一开始跟一日游团去看梅花,到海边玩耍,然后一起泡夜店 clubbing,一起到南浦东,釜山大学 shopping... 还有每个星期一星期五一起上韩语课,真是从穿着很厚很厚的冬衣到夏天只穿短裤凉鞋的日子都是一起过。

她好像小妹妹似的,走路很喜欢拖着我的手,感觉很亲密。^^ 我们的共同点就是冬天的时候都穿得很少,结果一直走在路上时搂在一起喊“好冻啊!好冻啊!”她的韩语学得比我好(不是因为她比较聪明,是因为她比我多拿几课... 哈哈),所以上课她常教我,每个星期一的小测验她也会在我不会回答的时候说“아요... 어요” 教我回答... 哈哈。她还很注重美白这门功夫,每次都说我出门不搽防晒油... 真是 @_@... 除此之外,她还让我认识了很多香港的现实状况,因为... 她毕业后想要进 ICAC 工作... 哈哈哈。总而言之,跟她很谈得来,感觉像认识了很久的朋友似的。

很可惜,天下无不散之筵席,今天她完成了 exchange student semester,离开了釜山。虽然很不舍得这位朋友,但短暂的相处,让我认识一位这么好的朋友,已经很足够了。^^

她离开的前一晚,我的同房,Janice,建议我们在房间搞一个 slumber party... 结果,四个女生,吃了很多很多的零食... 肥死了~~~

上面的懒惰熊叫 kokuma,韩语意思是指红番薯,是 Katie 改名送给我的生日礼物。熊的后面有拉链,里面放了 Katie 写的一张纸条。睡衣是我们送给她的 farewell present,她比较偏爱这种 Maria 系列的颜色... ㅋㅋㅋ

This is what girls do during slumber party... manicure and take photos of their pretty nails...

After that, all the Malaysians so pei min her and celebrated her farewell at Emilia, an Italian buffet restaurant at Nampo Plaza. I had five courses.

Then today, Pearly cooked Sarawak laksa for us!! Although it really tastes more like curry mee, but I really loved it because it just feels sooooooooooo great to taste Malaysian food again!


She cooked it at her bf's university dormitory, Dongseo University, which is located on a hill. Busan is just like San Francisco. The hills are just as steep @_@


And after all that, today I finally bought my summer heels. Gladiator sandals are all the rage right now. Yesterday the sandals were selling at 40,000 won (~RM120) per pair at Nampodong, luckily I didn't buy... today I saw the exact same ones selling at 25,000won (RM75) per pair near my university. So, I got two pairs. And my handbag cost me 40,000 won also.

Gosh... the 4 seasons are making me so poor~!

Friday, June 18, 2010

FIFA World Cup live at Haeundae!

After a grueling week of final exams, finally the last paper was over! And it was the night of FIFA World Cup Korea Republic VS Argentina at 8.30pm Korean time! What makes it even more memorable was that we were in a country that qualified for the World Cup finals!

We went to Haeundae beach to watch the live soccer match (they call it soccer here). Earlier that afternoon on TV, we already saw a huge crowd of supporters gathering at stadiums, at beaches all over Korea... all wearing RED... so thrilling!!! Everybody really turned up in droves to give support to the Taegguk Warriors!

If there's one thing Malaysia should learn, events like this should be free for the public to watch... promote nationalistic spirit and sports by setting up big ass screens and live streaming for everybody to enjoy the game... and not monopolise it over Astro ESPN...

We really had fun cheering for "both" teams... ahahaha... shouting "Ohhhh~ 대한민국~ 승리의한성" (The Shout of Reds)... yes, they even have theme song for this event!... and shouting "LIONEL MESSI!" whenever Argentina scored a goal. Actually, whenever Korea managed to defend a goal the Koreans would shout like they were victorious, but whenever Argentina scored, 4 times in fact, the silence was DEAFENING... ahaha...

Too bad, in the end, the Koreans were "outclassed, outpaced and outscored"... in the words of hairdryer himself - TWM! Ahahahaha... too bad... but KOREA go!! Crush Nigeria in the next round! KOREA FIGHTING!!!

Both photos courtesy of Biao Ge's camera~

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today

Logged on to my Twitter account today and this is what I saw. So cute! I wouldn't mind it being over capacity just so that I can see this cute whale. ^^


Updates:

1) Just finished my Digital Wireless Comm. Systems exam today. It was a breeze, simply because it was open-book and we could bring our 3-page, A4 size cheatsheets. And someone is going to buy me dinner just because I gave him a cheatsheet! ^^

The exam made me think of Dr. Chuah and all the torture he put us through our undergraduate days... :P However, I kinda miss those days studying with Berry and all... yeah friends will just be a part of your life for a little while, then they gotta separate. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just be with the ones we like forever and ever?

2) Another paper to go tomorrow - Computer Security. Now this one is tougher because we can't bring in any cheatsheets. And Java is so not my cup of coffee!!

3) Finally withdrew my application for Newcastle University yesterday. So sad, if only I were richer... or cleverer, then I could have studied in UK... and experience UK study life... *sob... but oh well, guess I'm lucky enough to be studying in a foreign country.

4) Hope tomorrow comes quickly so we can go and watch the Korea VS Argentina World Cup game on Haeundae beach! But hope the weekend does not come soon cos Katie will be going off after that... gonna miss her terribly... *BIG SOB* ;-(

5) I miss bakzhang!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously miss it now that it's Dumpling Festival... I'd always taken bakzhang for granted because my lovely mom will always prepare bakzhang for me to eat and stuff my fridge with many many homemade bakzhang... but now that I'm in another country which doesn't commemorate a Chinese poet... I don't get to eat it. Bakzhang festival also makes me think of my grandma... how me and my brother loved to eat her bakzhang... especially the nyonya zhang and kaya zhang. Miss you so much, grandma. Hope you are in a better place up there.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Crazy weeks ahead

Just a short post for today. To detail down how crazy I'm feeling right now.

I saw Shirly's Facebook status today "The begin of 'Crazy' week...". Well, it's the same for me too. I have an outstation conference in Jeonju this coming weekend where I am a presenter. Rehearsal this Thursday. Digital Wireless lab on Wednesday. And 3 final exams happening next week - Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. And my final DSP assignment due on Tuesday.

Actually, I can't really take the pressure. It's tough being a student again. It's like I'm totally okay on the outside but I'm crumbling to bits inside. And nobody really knows what's happening to me. Sometimes I'm okay, sometimes I'm not. I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep well last night, but I did. Even I don't know what's happening to myself.

Feeling depressed. All alone. Nobody's here for me not even my loved one. He just disappears into thin air when I really needed him. I'm disappointed. But I know I have to go forward, with or without him. Abandonment and disillusionment. Friends really can't see what's on the inside. I wanna tell, but I don't feel like uttering a word. It's like I'm surrounded by so many, yet I'm alone, and helpless.

Go forward. Step by step. This is what I'm telling myself. People's words don't matter. They stab at me like a knife and I just gently push their hands away, covering my bleeding heart. I move forward.

**Updates!!

He had flowers delivered to my lab today. Pink and yellow gerbera daisies, my favourite flowers. :-) Thank you dearie, I know I should try to control my temper...

Korea's bouquet packaging looks like this. I don't really like the packaging - looks a bit outdated, ajumma-ish, and the poor gerbera daisies are crushed together! :-(

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wesak Day in Korea

Wesak Day in Korea was celebrated on May 21st this year, a week earlier than Malaysia. My friend YY said it's because Buddha needs to use a week riding on the cloud to get to Malaysia.

I visited the Haedong Yonggungsa temple (海东龙宫庙) with the Malaysian gang to see the colorful lantern display. From Haeundae station, we took the No.181 bus for about half an hour to reach there.

Amazing scenery. Before reaching here, the entrance to the temple looked like just any normal entrance. Then we had to pass through a low tunnel and lo and behold, this spectacular view of the temple by the sea greeted our eyes. It was so calm and serene, an otherworldly place for worship.

Rows and rows of multi-colored lanterns on display

A brief history on the temple:

Haedong Yonggungsa, literally translated as "Dragon King's Palace", is expressed to be a floating Buddhism sanctuary showing a wonderful view of dark-blue seas and breaking white water freshly touching your feet. The most merciful Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara (观音菩萨) was said to stay at such a lonely shoreside sometimes with a special representation of riding on a dragon in a flame. Haedong Yongkung Temple was named as one of the Korea Wonderful Boddhisattva Sancturaries. Located at the southernmost of East Seas of Korea, the temple was founded in AD 1376 by one of the greatest venerable monks named Naong who was advisory to King Kongmin at that time. After a great drought, he dreamed that if he founded a temple by the sea there would be abundance of rain and the nation would become stronger. So, he founded the temple at first by naming the mountain Mt. Bongrae and the temple as Bomoon Temple. However, the temple was burned down during the Japanese invasion in 1592. After 300 years, in 1930, the venerable monk Wunkang reconstructed the Bomoon temple and renamed it the Haedong Yongkung Temple.

On our way up:

Katie, me and Beelie
Katie & I
My favourite photo of the day. Beelie, Katie(from HK), me, Nana(from China) and Janice.


All of us!


Uncles are creepy

A couple of Hong Kong friends and I have come to the conclusion that some of the Korean uncles here are plain creepy.

There is a strange thing I observe here in Korea that when riding the subway or if we are anywhere outside, we foreigners must be careful not to talk very loudly. Talking loudly in a foreign language like English or Chinese here really gains us attention and lots of strange and sometimes, unfriendly stares from some of the ajossis (Korean uncles) and Korean girls. I observe that Korean ajummas (aunties) and Korean boys, though curious, do not look at us in a hostile manner.

Sometimes when we speak in Chinese, some of the Korean girls around us will start to mutter "chung guk sa ram" (means China people). Which I don't really like because 1) I am not from China and 2) they said it in a rather hostile manner. So what if I'm from China? Can't I step foot in your country?

Once me and my friend Katie from Hong Kong were speaking loudly in Cantonese on the subway. We always speak loudly cos we get so excited when we talk to each other and according to Katie, there's only 2 of us who understand Cantonese in this area so we were speaking quite freely... haha. We were standing, and then I noticed a Korean ajossi looking at me creepily from the side. I told Katie, hey, that guy is staring at me... and she gave him a killer stare! Then suddenly the uncle asked me, are you from Hong Kong? It seems that he actually understood a bit of Cantonese (at least he could count yat yee sam...)!

The final straw came last weekend when me, Janice and another HK friend Rita were taking the subway again. I was standing in front of a 70-80 year old ajossi when suddenly he asked me in Korean: R u Korean? I replied no, I am from Malaysia and he proceeded to caress my arm!!! I was wearing short-sleeve t-shirt. I quickly jumped and ran over to the next side of the train! So weird!!!!!

I attribute this kind of behavior to a kind of Xenophobia - the uncontrollable fear of foreigners. The Koreans have had so many foreigners (Chinese, Japanese) try to invade them and take away their culture. Their country is comprised only of one ethnicity, and they have this long endogamy culture of marrying within their own ethnic group. The Koreans are hard to accept any foreign culture, and their geographical knowledge of the world is so limited. I have a Masters student friend who till now cannot even place where Malaysia is on the world map. He thought that Malaysia is in Europe. Do I look European to him??? And they only support their country's products. There's a senior PhD in my lab who just bought a new Samsung laptop but was displeased with it and called to request for a change just because the LCD screen was made in Taiwan!

It is difficult for them to progress globally if they cannot open themselves to foreign culture.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The difference between Jap/ Korean cuisine

Oh gosh... so many backlogs again I don't know where to start... hmm so let me start with something which I guess is the most universally appealing - food!

Bossam (보쌈) - steamed pork

Last last Sunday, my church here treated the song & media team to a free meal - bossam - at a family style restaurant near the church. I sat with a bunch of Korean ladies who lamented to me that while Japanese cuisine was popular all over the world, Korean cuisine was still relatively unknown. I replied that was because, Korean food is so difficult and time-consuming to cook!

Some of the differences between Japanese cuisine and Korean cuisine which I can think of are:
- Japanese cuisine is more fast-food style, think: sushi-belt; whereas Korean cuisine is prepared with so many side dishes (ban chan)!
- Japanese cuisine can be served cold and easy to serve, think: sushi and miso soup; whereas Korean cuisine is usually served piping hot in soups or stew
- Japanese cuisine is easier to prepare; Korean cuisine takes longer time, the best stew is often cooked for more than 48 hours!
- Japanese sushi is so famous; Korean hui (sushi)... well, nobody even knew that Koreans eat raw fish too...
- Japanese don't eat kimchi; Korean eat a variety of kimchi and need time to prepare kimchi
- Japanese eat wasabi; Koreans eat gochujang (red chilli paste) and mustard sauce

Yeah, in Malaysia, Japanese sushi is so popular everywhere but authentic Korean food is tougher to find, and pricey... most of the Korean restaurants only serve Korean BBQ and most people wouldn't know what to order once they step foot in a Korean restaurant. But not all of Korean food is just BBQ! So, to help to popularize Korean cuisine... I opened a photo album entitled "Korean Food" in my Facebook page, to share about the yummylicious food here that is so rare in Malaysia! Album will be constantly updated whenever I eat any new food. Kekeke...

My page is here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=app_2915120374#!/album.php?aid=166968&id=528376242&ref=mf

Enjoy!