Sunday, November 25, 2012

35,000 Lanterns Brighten Cheonggye Stream

A lantern festival is being held in the Cheonggye Stream area until Nov. 18.

The annual festival features a dazzling array of 35,000 lanterns along a 1.5 km stretch of the stream. They are lit daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The lanterns are presented according to four major themes including Seoul Fortress.

Singapore, the Philippines and Japan are participating in this year's festival to showcase their unique and exotic lanterns.

For the first time, the festival is displaying 200 promotional lanterns emblazoned with the names of stores situated near the stream, as well as messages wishing for the revitalization of the local economy.

Visitors can buy traditional Korean lanterns at discounts of between 20 and 50 percent compared to regular market prices.

Weight Watchers Should Avoid Too Much Dried Fruit

Demand for easy-to-store dried fruit is growing as single households proliferate in Korea. Supermarket chain E-Mart said sales of dried fruit rose 1.9 percent between January and October to occupy 9.8 percent of all fruit sales.

But experts warn that nibbling dried bananas, persimmons, cherries, mangos and raisins all day can lead to excessive calorie intake.

Dried fruits have high sugar and calorie levels as the water dries out and nutrition, fiber and vitamins increase. A fresh persimmon weighs about 160 grams and has 70 kcal, but a dried persimmon weighs just one-fifth of a fresh one at 32 grams but has 76 kcal. Much the same is true for other dried fruit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


 21 November 2012 9:00 am - 30 November 2012 9:00 pm at Hapta Kanjeibung, Imphal

The Manipur Sangai Festival is an annual calendar mega-event of the Government of Manipur spearheaded by the Tourism Department that seeks to showcase and promote the finest of Manipur’s arts & culture, adventure sports, indigenous cuisines, handloom & handicrafts, fine arts, indigenous games & music and various other niche products to a regional, national and global audience. This Tourism Festiva
l is held from 21st to 30th of November every year with the main event at Hapta Kangjeibung/Palace Ground, Imphal.

Although many editions of the Festival have been celebrated over the past few years, the Tourism Festival has been renamed as the Manipur Sangai Festival since the 2010 edition. This has been done to showcase the uniqueness of the Sangai or Brow-Antlered Deer found only in Manipur at the Keibul Lamjao Floating National Park in Loktak Lake and to further promote Manipur as a world class tourism destination.

During the Festival, the rich culture and mystique dances of Manipur are showcased at the fully air-conditioned Culture Auditorium. Indigenous Fashion Show, Rock Show and Traditional Musical Night are held at the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT). Adventure Sports activities like trekking, caving and Para-sailing all over Manipur are promoted through various agencies most importantly Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association. More than 300 Stalls and a Food Court showcasing and marketing the indigenous arts & culture and various native cuisines are promoted at the Palace Ground. Indigenous Games like Mukna (Wrestling), Yubi Lakpi (Rugby), Arambai, Kang, etc. are promoted at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. The modern game of Polo (Sagol Kangjei), which owes its origin to this small State, is also vigorously promoted during the Festival. Moreover, over the years stalls and cultural troupes from other States of India and various other foreign countries especially from the ASEAN countries have been perpetually encouraged to participate in this grand Festival.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

E-Pao Picture Gallery Manipur Sangai Festival 2012 Awareness Campaign

Manipur Sangai Festival 2012 Promotional and Awareness Campaign Programme by Royal Riders, Manipur at Imphal Hotel, North AOC.
 Coutresy: gallery

Manipur Sangai Festival 2012 Awareness Campaign Programme by Royal Riders at Imphal Hotel :: 03 November 2012

Salute to Mr Armstrong for his remarkable work.

I have taken out the entire article form "The Times of India", a stunning story of one man initiative to brighten the whole mankind ! I personally salute to you Mr. Armstrong . It is quite fascinating to learn about his journey from small town boy of Tamenglong district to Delhi and then to IAS. I am not only your big fan but other peoples too. May your project be successful. And also wish for your future endeavor.
 It is a great shame to Central and Manipur govt .

"Naga IAS officer builds 100-km road in Manipur 

without government help"

IMPHAL: Villagers of Manipur's Tousem sub-division in Tamenglong district are a busy lot these days. At least 150 of them on a daily basis are clearing away a thicket with their machetes and daos. Some are lugging away heavy branches of recently felled trees; and others are operating bulldozers and earthmovers to give themselves the "best Christmas gift ever".

Theirs is one of the remotest corners in the country, where the India shining story has not yet reached; but the villagers are part of modern India's most ambitious road project embarked upon by one man, a young Naga IAS officer, without any funding from the government.

A 2005 graduate from St Stephen's College in Delhi, Armstrong Pame is the sub-divisional magistrate of Tamenglong, his home district, and the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe. He has, of his own volition, begun the construction of a 100-km road that would link Manipur with Nagaland and Assam. Incidentally, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 101 crore in 1982 for the construction of this road, but for some unknown reason the project never took off. "Last December, then Union home minister P Chidambaram visited Manipur and asked what happened to the road.

The state government declared that it would be 'done soon', but nothing moved on the ground. Then in June-July this year, there was an outbreak of tropical diseases like typhoid and malaria. It takes two days for anyone in the village to make it to the nearest hospital on foot in the absence of a motorable road. Hundreds of patients had to be carried on makeshift bamboo stretchers, but very few made it to the town alive.

Also, town doctors were unwilling to come to the village because of its inaccessible terrain," Pame told TOI over phone from Tamenglong.

Perplexed and frustrated with the situation, the officer decided to reach out to doctors in his friend circle. A woman friend agreed, and Pame promised to sponsor her stay. "She treated over 500 patients and conducted quite a few minor surgeries. Many lives were saved in this way; but I realized how perilously poised the situation was in the absence of a road. That was the catalyst," Pame said.

To construct an all-weather, motorable road in an area untouched by the progress made by Independent India in the last six decades was an uphill task. And with no help coming from the government, Pame turned to his family and well-wishers.

"Armstrong and I grew up in a village in Tousem amid a lot of hardships. Our father was a schoolteacher and had a limited income. We used to walk down to the district headquarters—about 60km away—and carry 25 kilos of rice back home. It used to take us four days to go and come back and the rations used to last for two weeks. When we came to Delhi for higher studies, we would survive on biscuits for days without enough money to buy food. The remoteness of our village ruined its economy; and we knew that unless there was a road, there would be no development. So, when Armstrong proposed to undertake the venture, we all threw our lot with him," said Jeremiah Pame, an assistant professor at the Delhi University and elder brother of Armstrong.

"My wife and I donated our one month's salary, Armstrong paid five months' of his, and our mother paid our dad's one month's pension of Rs 5,000. Our youngest brother, Lungtuabui, recently started working. He donated his entire first month's pay for the project," he added.

The family together pooled Rs 4 lakh to start the project. They hired a bulldozer and bought two earthmovers. "But it was not enough; we needed more. So, we turned to Facebook. We created a page, seeking donations, and the response has been overwhelming. In the last three days, we have received Rs 1.2 lakh from friends all over the globe, with contributions varying from Rs 50 to $1000. And they are willing to contribute more," the young bureaucrat said. "The villagers, too, have contributed as per their capabilities: some are providing food and accommodation for the workers; some are supplying fuel for the earthmovers. They have also provided manpower for the project. We did not have to engage a contractor with so many people volunteering to shoulder that responsibility," he added.

Donation centres have been set up in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Shillong and Dimapur and NRIs from Canada, USA and the UK have been sending their contributions for the project christened as Tamenglong-Haflong Road. A monolith will be erected once the road is completed and names of all donors will be inscribed.

The road will form a tri-junction with Nagaland and Assam over the Jiri River before entering the Dima Hasao district (formerly North Cachar Hills district) of Assam. Construction began in August this year, but stopped midway due to the rains. It resumed in September, and so far, work on 70km has been completed.

"Work moved at a swift pace because there were dirt tracks already; but laying the next 30km will be difficult as it is covered by dense forest. Nevertheless, we hope to complete the project before Christmas," said the young officer named after famous American astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Indian Revenue Service officer Gaigondin Panmei is the commissioner of customs for the northeast. He believes the road can do wonders to the economy of the district as a whole and Tousem sub-division in particular.

"Tousem is the most backward sub-division in Tamenglong district; but it is also the place where the best oranges are grown. We have an orange festival in Manipur every year, but most of the time the local produce fails to make it to the fest due to its inaccessibility. Medical care, too, is in a bad shape because of this. Once this road becomes operational, it would open up the market for Tousem, and that would, in turn, bring prosperity to the people. But yes, it would be very essential to maintain this road. The builders will have to figure that out, too, but the progress of the road has been impressive so far," Panmei said.


Up-Comminf fest at Korea

Festival Calendar

* Seosan Chrysanthemum Festival
Nov. 1-11
Gaguri, Gobuk-myeon, Seosan, South Chungcheong Province

Seosan is located on the west coast and is a good place to grow chrysanthemums because of its mild weather. Various chrysanthemums and wild flowers are currently in full bloom in the 100,000-square-meter Hannongwon garden. Programs include an exhibition of more than 10,000 chrysanthemum products from 200 varieties, a handicraft exhibition and performances of traditional folk games. Visitors may also taste food and tea made with chrysanthemum flowers and buy local specialties including rice, garlic and dried red pepper at discounted prices.

For more information, call 041-660-2498 or visit the Web site at

Festival Calendar
* Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival
Nov. 21-25
Geumgang Bird Park, Gunsan, North Jeolla Province

Visitors will have the chance to take field trips to observe migratory birds up close, see movies on migratory birds and enjoy cultural events, symposiums and exhibitions. Guided bus tours will also be available. The bird watching corridor (known as "Tamjohoerang" in Korean), built on the embankment of the Geum River, is the only facility of its kind in Korea. Children can also learn about the ecology of birds at Napo Cross fields.

For more information, call 063-453-7213 or visit the event's Web site at

Festival Calendar
* Seoul Lantern Festival
Nov. 2-18
Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul

From Nov. 2 to 18 the Cheonggyecheon Stream in central Seoul will become an extravaganza of light and water with about 30,000 lanterns embroidering the Autumn nights. Visitors will enjoy many more lanterns than last year, with the exhibition starting at Cheonggye Plaza and stretching a 1.3-km section of the stream to Gwansugyo Bridge. During the festival, visitors can expect to see lanterns made by artists from such foreign countries as China, Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand, as well as local citizens. Programs will include lantern-making and an introduction of the lanterns and festival in four languages -- Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese. Visitors will also have the chance to enjoy traditional Korean music and other performances.

For more information, call 02-3788-0882 or log on to 

Korean Movies Find New Recipe for Success

A series of successful domestic films at the box office hints at the changing face of Korean cinema. "The Thieves," which was released on July 25 amid great expectations with its heist movie plot and star-studded cast, has attracted almost 10 million viewers in only three weeks. "The Grand Heist" also drew one million moviegoers earlier this week despite its lack of rave reviews.

The trend has been developing since the start of the year. Domestic films drew 44.17 million spectators in the first half of 2012, up 34.6 percent from the same period last year. This even beats the previous record high of 41.48 million viewers in the first half of 2006.

In total, 18 Korean movies have now drawn more than one million viewers each so far this year, compared to 16 over the same period in 2011 and 13 in 2010. So what is the driving force behind this trend?

◆ Diversification of Genres

Local moviegoers used to prefer comedies or action movies, but these days their interest is spread more evenly across the genres. Although romantic comedies and melodramas were in the past regarded as unlikely to score a huge hit at box office here, "All About My Wife" and "Architecture 101" attracted more than four million viewers each this year. Meanwhile, "Unbowed," a courtroom drama based on a true-life incident, proved its commercial success by selling 3.42 million tickets.

"Ten years ago, moviegoers were divided into two distinct types: people who like Hollywood movies, and those who like Korean movies. But as many people have become familiar with a variety of genres of American movies and dramas, local audiences tend to prefer domestic films that contain elements of Hollywood genres tailored to Korean tastes," said film critic Jeon Chan-il.

◆ Star-Studded Casts

"The Thieves" has 10 lead actors, while "The Grand Heist" has 11. Even melodramas and romantic comedies, which used to rely on one leading actor and actress, now often have three or four actors in starring roles. At the same time, it is increasingly common to see major stars play supporting roles.

"In the past, many viewers were attracted to movies based on their plot, but now they like character-oriented movies with a good story. Movies that have many leading characters or supporting characters with distinct personalities are also getting popular," said Kim Ho-sung, CEO of production company REALise.

◆ Mature Audiences

As producers have raised the target age group from teenagers and people in their 20s to those in their 30s and over, movies are naturally attracting a more diverse audience.

According to ticket sales data for "The Thieves" compiled by Korea's largest movie site Maxmovie, 26 percent of those who watched the movie were in their 20s, 40 percent were in their 30s and 31 percent in their 40s. In the case of "Architecture 101," 24 percent were in their 20s, 45 percent in their 30s and 28 percent in their 40s. The bulk of viewers who went to see "All About My Wife," or 45 percent, were also in their 30s.

The combined number of spectators in their 30s and 40s now far outstrips those in their 20s, and this demographic can be seen as playing a leading role in Korean movies' raging success at home.

More Young Singers Migrate to Movies

From top, Kim Dong-jun, Kim Jae-joong and Im Seul-ong From top, Kim Dong-jun, Kim Jae-joong and Im Seul-ong 
Idol singers no longer seem satisfied with merely appearing on stage and in TV dramas. Recently, more idol group members are getting involved in moviemaking, with Kim Dong-jun of boy band ZE:A currently receiving the most attention for his supporting role in "A Company Man," which was released on Oct. 11.

Viewers have heaped praise on the 20-year-old for his movie debut, posting comments on local movie websites about how he was able to acquit himself well in both action scenes and those that require emotional depth. They say he deserved more on-screen time beyond that of a supporting role.

"Code Name: Jackal," starring JYJ's Kim Jae-joong, and "26 Years," starring 2AM's Im Seul-ong, are scheduled to be released next month. Both singers started their acting careers with TV dramas before expanding into movies.

Choi Seung-hyun, better known as T.O.P from the boy band Big Bang, who drew attention with the movie "71 Into the Fire" in 2010, is now playing the male lead in a new movie. Meanwhile, ZE:A's Hwang Kwang-hee and BEAST's Yoon Doo-joon were cast in supporting roles in the light-hearted movie franchise "Marrying the Mafia 5."

Shin Dong-ho of U-KISS and FT Island member Lee Hong-ki will also appear in films that are now in production.

Movie and music industry insiders describe this as a win-win strategy as producers can draw on the singers' popularity for promotional purposes, while young stars can take their careers in an exciting new direction. Acting also offers the implicit promise of greater longevity career-wise compared to singers' flash-in-the-pan success.

"It's hard to find suitable actors who can play a character in their late teens or early 20s because young actors in that age range are usually either inexperienced or highly paid stars. This is one reason why we look to idol singers," said one local movie producer.

"As many idol singers shift to movies, local entertainment companies are considering adopting a professional actor training system," said a staffer at JYP Entertainment.

However, some fear the gambit may fail if the singers, whose acting talent is largely untested, fail to perform convincingly on the silver screen as this could frustrate and ultimately alienate moviegoers.

Lim Sang-yun, who directed "A Company Man," said that since idol singers have been trained in a systematic way from early age, they often prepare thoroughly and stand out in auditions. "Kim Dong-jun was cast because he had prepared very well for his audition. Every blank space in his script was filled with notes," he added.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Idol Fans Express Love with Custom-Made Boxed Lunches

As fans have become more active in expressing their affection for popular stars, the market for special boxed lunches is enjoying a boom. Sending costly lunches to their idols is becoming a hot trend, and industry insiders say the market is now worth W20 billion (US$1=W1,091), up 50 percent from a year ago.

Idol groups' fan clubs, which mostly comprise middle and high school students, make up the bulk of demand, and prices range from W150,000 to W200,000 per set. Eel, tteokgalbi (Korean beef grilled as patties), salmon and shrimp usually constitute the main dishes, along with fresh fruit, a fancy cake and a flask of tea.

"Prices often go up because several fan clubs for the same idol group compete to send nicer boxed lunches," said the manger of a company that makes the boxed meals. "They don't just send them to group members, but also send cheaper sets costing between W20,000 and W50,000 to backup dancers and staff."

As money appears to be no object for some star-crazed fans, sets costing in excess of W1 million have also appeared on the market.

According to lunch-box maker Suji Kim Art, actor Joo Sang-wook of the TV drama "Special Affairs Team TEN" has received at least one worth W2 million, while Kang Ho-dong, Park Gun-hyung, Son Ho-young, U-know Yunho and Jang Keun-suk have all been sent packed meals worth around W1 million each. The company said it has also had orders for W500,000 boxed meals for Kang So-ra, Cha Seung-won and Im Tae-kyung.

The basic ingredients for these are, predictably, higher grade, including lobster, eel, pine mushrooms, abalone, various raw fish and yellow corbina. Whiskey or wine costing hundreds of thousands of won a bottle are also usually tucked inside. The food is often organic, and each case features a caricature of the star or starlet hand-drawn on it.

"Individual fans who order these super-expensive boxed lunches are usually professionals, such as professors, designers, lawyers or stock brokers," said CEO Kim Su-ji. "Most of them are women in their 30s and 40s, and even in their 50s and 60s."

K-Pop Contest, Health Clinics, Parades Make Changwon Festival a Hit

One of the largest and most versatile festivals in South Gyeongsang Province, dubbed the "Changwon Festival" in the city of the same name, ended on Sunday.

Inaugurated in 2007, the annual event has established itself as one of three major festivals of the southeastern city along with its cherry blossom festival in April and chrysanthemum festival in October.

The whole city was in a festive mood during the two-day event, which was packed with entertaining programs including a street parade and cultural performances.

On the first day, a number of song and dance contests and a concert with a magic show took place. On the sidelines of the main event, medical services in cooperation with local clinics and universities provided visitors with useful tips on improving their health.

They have offered the service every year as more Koreans develop an interest in adopting healthier lifestyles, and have received positive feedback about the event in previous years, according to an official with the city's community clinic.

In the evening, following an opening ceremony attended by some 2,000 local residents and tourists, a street parade took place for two and a half hours from 5 p.m. with over 6,000 performers in 50 teams marching along the 1-km route.

This year's festival was designed to show the city's past, present and future, said Lee Mal-soon, a city official. Changwon will strive to revitalize the regional economy through its three major festivals and other events, she added.

Meanwhile, a K-pop contest that was staged on Sunday proved a huge hit, luring over 15,000 spectators. In its second year, it featured 15 teams selected through preliminary screenings in32 countries from an initial batch of 50,000 applicants.

Popular K-pop bands such as TVXQ, FT Island, Secret and MBLAQ supported the event by showing up and performing one or two songs.

Itaewon to recognize 'food street'

A large kebab is seen at the booth of a Turkish restaurant during the Itaewon Global Village Festival, central Seoul, last month. The ward office will designate a food street in the tourist district where restaurants selling food from around the world are gathered. / Courtesy of Yongsan-gu Office

Itaewon, a tourist district in central Seoul, will have a street dedicated to foods from all around the world.

The Yongsan District Office governing the special tourist zone said Thursday it will designate the area behind the Hamilton Hotel as a world food culture street.

The envisaged designation, pending administrative support is expected to improve the area’s facilities, which has emerged as a hot place for world cuisine lovers.

“The number of visitors there has grown rapidly in the last few years. With restaurants offering about 30 countries’ cuisine and related shops, the infrastructure for such a special street is already set,” an official of the district office said.

The area will be vehicle-free on weekends. “A huge number of people visit there, especially during dinner time on weekends. Visitors have difficulty getting around the congested area, worsened by vehicular traffic. People therefore have to endure the drudgery of meandering through the choked streets,” the official said.

He said in a meeting with merchants and restaurant owners in August, they suggested banning cars in the area from 4 p.m. to midnight from Friday to Sunday. “We plan to implement the ban during the first half of next year after discussing the issue with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the police.”

The ward office is also devising other ways to provide more parking spaces, including encouraging visitors to leave their cars at the parking lot of the office building which is only minutes away from the entrance of Itaewon near Noksapyeong Station.

The measure will help to free up space on pavements. There also be a provision of maps, guideposts and other systems providing information on the area’s restaurants.

More cultural events are also planned to promote the food district, including intensive promotions to run parallel with the Itaewon Global Village Festival. Restaurants there have already promoted themselves by participating in the annual festival, with the latest one held on Oct. 12-14.