Monday, February 25, 2013

The first lady Park opens new era of female leadership

"Opening a New Era of Hope"

My fellow Koreans and seven million fellow compatriots overseas,

 As I take office as the 18th-term President of the Republic of Korea, I stand before you today determined to open a new era of hope.

 I am profoundly grateful to the Korean people for entrusting this historic mission to me. I also thank President Lee Myung-bak, former Presidents, dignitaries who have come from abroad to celebrate this occasion, and other distinguished guests for their presence.

 As President of the Republic of Korea, I will live up to the will of the people by achieving economic rejuvenation, the happiness of the people, and the flourishing of our culture.

 I will do my utmost to building a Republic of Korea that is prosperous and where happiness is felt by all Koreans.

 Fellow citizens,


 The Republic of Korea as we know it today has been built on the blood, toil, and sweat of the people.

 We have written a new history of extraordinary achievement combining industrialization and democratization based on the unwavering “can do” spirit of our people and matching resolve.

 The Korean saga that is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Han River” was written on the heels of our citizens who worked tirelessly in the mines of Germany, in the torrid deserts of the Middle East, in factories and laboratories where the lights were never turned off, and in the freezing frontlines safeguarding our national defense.

 This miracle was only possible due to the outstanding caliber of our people and their unstinting devotion to both family and country.

 I pay my heartfelt tribute to all fellow Koreans who have made the Republic of Korea what it is today.

 Fellow citizens,

 Throughout the vortex of our turbulent contemporary history we always prevailed over countless hardships and adversities.

 Today, we are confronted anew with a global economic crisis and outstanding security challenges such as North Korea’s nuclear threat.

  At the same time, capitalism confronts new challenges in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

 The tasks we face today are unlike any we have confronted before. And they can only be overcome by charting a new pathway by ourselves.

 Forging a new path is seldom an easy task.

But I have faith in the Korean people.

I believe in their resilience and the potential of our dynamic nation.

 And so I pledge to embark on the making of a “Second Miracle on the Han River” premised on a new era of hope hand-in-hand with the Korean people.

 I will usher in a new era of hope whereby the happiness of each citizen becomes the bedrock of our nation’s strength which in turn  is shared by and benefits all Koreans.

Economic Revival

 My fellow countrymen,

 Today, I would like to propose a new way forward fostered on a mutually reinforcing cycle of national advancement and the happiness of our people.

 The new administration will usher in a new era of hope premised on a revitalizing economy, the happiness of our people, and the blossoming of our culture.

 To begin with, economic revitalization is going to be propelled by a creative economy and economic democratization.

 Across the world, we are witnessing an economic paradigm shift.

 A creative economy is defined by the convergence of science and technology with industry, the fusion of culture with industry, and the blossoming of creativity in the very borders that were once permeated by barriers.

 It is about going beyond the rudimentary expansion of existing markets, and creating new markets and new jobs by building on the bedrock of convergence.

 At the very heart of a creative economy lie science technology and the IT industry, areas that I have earmarked as key priorities.

 I will raise our science and technology to world-class levels. And a  creative economy will be brought to fruition by applying the results of such endeavors across the board.

 The new administration’s Ministry of Future Planning and Science  will be tasked to lead the emergence of a creative economy in tandem with this new paradigm.

 People are the nucleus of a creative economy. We live in an age where a single individual can raise the value of an entire nation and even help in rescuing the economy.

 New opportunities to serve their country will be opened to numerous talented Koreans thriving across the global village. And to those who are equally enabled at the home front, efforts will be enhanced to allow them to become convergence leaders imbued with creativity and passion as pillars of a future Korea.

 In order for a creative economy to truly blossom, economic democratization must be achieved.

 I believe strongly that only when a fair market is firmly in place ,can everyone dream of a better future and work to their fullest potential.

 One of my critical economic goals is to ensure that anyone that works hard can stand on their own two feet and where, through the support of policies designed to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises, such businesses can prosper alongside large companies.

 By rooting out various unfair practices and rectifying the misguided habits of the past which have frustrated small business owners and small and medium-sized enterprises, we will provide active support to ensure that everyone can live up to their fullest potential, regardless of where they work or what they do for a living.

 It is precisely when the major players in our economy come together as one and pool their strengths that we can bring happiness to the people and enhance our nation’s competitiveness.

It is on this foundation that I will breathe new energy into our economy and realize a “Second Miracle on the Han River” that culminates in the happiness of the Korean people.


Happiness of the People

 Fellow Koreans,

 No matter how much the country advances, such gains would be meaningless if the lives of the people remained insecure.

 A genuine era of happiness is only possible when we aren’t clouded by the uncertainties of aging and when bearing and raising children is truly considered a blessing.

 No citizen should be left to fear that he or she might not be able to meet the basic requirements of life.

 A new paradigm of tailored welfare will free citizens from anxieties and allow them to prosper in their own professions, maximize their potentials, and also contribute to the nation’s development.

 I believe that enabling people to fulfill their dreams and opening a new era of hope begins with education.

 We need to provide active support so that education brings out the best of an individual’s latent abilities and we need to establish a new system that fosters national development through the stepping stones of each individual’s capabilities.

There is a saying that someone you know is not as good as someone you like, and someone you like is not as good as someone you enjoy being with.

 The day of true happiness will only come when an increasing number of people are able to enjoy what they learn, and love what they do.

 The most important asset for any country is its people.

 The future holds little promise when individual ability is stifled and when the only name of the game is rigid competition that smothers creativity.

 Ever since childhood, I have held the conviction that harnessing the potential of every student will be the force that propels a nation forward. 

 Our educational system will be improved so that students can discover their talents and strengths, fulfill their precious dreams and are judged on that bases. This will enable them to make the best use of their talent upon entering society.

 There is no place for an individual’s dreams, talents or hopes in a society where everything is determined by one’s academic background and list of credentials.

 We will transform our society from one that stresses academic credentials to one that is merit-based so that each individual’s dreams and flair can bear fruit.

 It goes without saying that protecting the lives and ensuring the safety of the people is a critical element of a happy nation.

 The new government will focus its efforts on building a safe society where women, people with disabilities, or anyone else for that matter, can feel at ease as they carry on with their lives, no matter where they are in the country.

 We will build a society where fair laws prevail rather than the heavy hand of power and where the law serves as a shield of justice for society’s underprivileged.


A Flourishing Culture

 Fellow Koreans!

 In the 21st century, culture is power. It is an era where an individual’s imagination becomes creative contents.

 Across the world, the “Korean Wave” is welcomed with great affection that not only triggers happiness and joy but one that instills abiding pride in all Koreans.

 This is a result of a foundation created by the convergence of both tangible and intangible heritages of five thousand years of Korea’s cultural splendor as well as our spiritual ethos.

 The new administration will elevate the sanctity of our spiritual ethos so that they can permeate every facet of society and in so doing, enable all of our citizens to enjoy life enriched by culture.

 We will harness the innate value of culture in order to heal social conflicts and bridging cultural divides separating different regions, generations, and social strata.

 We will build a nation that becomes happier through culture, where culture becomes a fabric of daily life, and a welfare system that embodies cultural values.

 Creative activities across wide-ranging genres will be supported, while the contents industry which merges culture with advanced technology will be nurtured. In so doing, we will ignite the engine of a creative economy and create new jobs.

 Together with the Korean people we will foster a new cultural renaissance or a culture that transcends ethnicity and languages, overcomes ideologies and customs, contributes to the peaceful development of humanity, and is connected by the ability to share happiness.


My Fellow Koreans,

 Happiness can only flourish when people feel comfortable and secure. I pledge to you today that I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation.

 North Korea’s recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself.

 I urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions without delay and embark on the path to peace and shared development.

 It is my sincere hope that North Korea can progress together as a responsible member of the international community instead of wasting its resources on nuclear and missile development and continuing to turn its back to the world in self-imposed isolation.

 There is no doubt that we are faced today with an extremely serious security environment but neither can we afford to remain where we are.

 Through a trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula I intend to lay the groundwork for an era of harmonious unification where all Koreans can lead more prosperous and freer lives and where their dreams can come true.

 I will move forward step-by-step on the basis of credible deterrence to build trust between the South and the North.

 Trust can be built through dialogue and by honoring promises that have already been made. It is my hope that North Korea will abide by international norms and make the right choice so that the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula can move forward.

 The era of happiness that I envision is one that simultaneously unlocks an era of happiness on the Korean Peninsula while also contributing to ushering in an era of happiness throughout the global community.

 To ease tensions and conflicts and further spread peace and cooperation in Asia, I will work to strengthen trust with countries in the region including the United States, China, Japan, Russia and other Asian and Oceanic countries.

 Moreover, I envision a Korea that shares more deeply the travails of others while also contributing to the resolution of key global issues.


President Park Geun-hye, center, speaks during her visit to the South Korea-United States Combined Forces Command (CFC) in Yongsan, central Seoul, Feb. 22. From left are Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, commander of the 7th U.S. Air Force; U.S. ambassador to Korea Sung Kim; Gen. James Thurman, commander of the CFC; Park; Gen. Kwon Oh-sung, deputy commander of the CFC; Kim Jang-soo, nominee for the presidential office of national security; and Defense Minister nominee Kim Byung-kwan. Korea Times photo by Kwon Yong-suk

Fellow citizens!

 Today I assume my duties as the 18th-term President of the Republic of Korea. Let me assure you that I will journey with the people who have bestowed this tremendous responsibility upon me to truly open a new era of hope.

 The responsibility for governing the nation falls on the shoulders of the President, and the fate of the nation is determined by the people. I ask for your strength and support as we take the Republic of Korea on a new path.

 We stand on the threshold of a new era where our nation and people must walk in unison and where the nation’s development and the people’s happiness jointly form a virtuous cycle.

 The success of our journey hinges on mutual confidence and trust between the government and the people, and their ability to move forward in partnership.

 I will earn the trust of the people by ensuring that our government remains clean, transparent and competent. I will endeavor to shed popular distrust of government and strive to elevate the capital of trust.

 I humbly ask for your support, wherever you may be, not only in the service of your own individual interests, but also in answering the call of the common good.

 In the needy days of our past, we shared with each other whatever we had. Even in the midst of their hardship, our ancestors had the generosity of mind to leave aside a few persimmons for the magpies during the harvest season. We are a people that had long led a life of communal sharing.

 Reviving that spirit once again and building a society flowing with responsibility and consideration for others will allow us to be confident that a new era of happiness that all of us dream of is truly within our reach.

 Such a spirit will offer a new model for capitalism that is in search of a new compass and set an example for addressing the uncertain future that confronts our world.

 I ask that you place your trust in me and my government, and join us along the path to a new future.

 Let us all work together towards a new era of happiness and hope, so that we can all become partners in another miracle or a new chapter in the “Miracle on the Han River.”

The era of woman leadership has dawned. President Park Geun-hye took the oath Monday to become the first female head of South Korea.

It is something that even global powers with by far longer history of modern politics have yet to achieve such as the United States and Japan to name a few.

Her feminine stewardship is expected to mitigate gender inequality, which has been incorporated into the highly patriarchal society where female leadership was not seen over the past millennium.

The last woman who governed Korea was Queen Jinseong of United Silla in the late ninth century. In the sense, she will go down in history by being elected to the presidency.

However, it will depend on her governance during the next five years whether historians will remember the new president as an outstanding state head.

She is facing tough missions in the male-dominated society _ Korea ranked 108th in the World Economic Forum’s 2012 gender-gap rankings. Around it were Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Included in her lengthy duty list are to deal with recalcitrant North Korea, a self-proclaimed nuclear power, protracted economic slowdown, rising household debt, regional standoffs in politics and the widening economic gap between rich and poor.

Her cornerstone assets are experiences in Cheong Wa Dae. The daughter of authoritarian President Park Chung-hee was the acting First Lady for five years after her mother was killed by a botched attack on her father in 1974.

Before her father was assassinated in 1979 by a security chief amid disputes on whether the authoritarian regime should continue, Park was known to play a crucial role in top decision making process.

After beginning her political career in 1998 by winning a parliamentary election in Daegu, she showed solid stewardship as a conservative politician when her parties were in trouble.

Of concern is her secretive style, watchers say. She has been under fire for a lack of communication skills as she overly stressed prevention of information leaks on the new appointees rather than their eligibility for the senior jobs.

Some even criticizes that Park does not have big interest in gender equality as shown by the fact that only two women are named as Cabinet members or senior aides at Cheong Wa Dae, less compared to previous male presidents.

They claim that her emphasis on the topic in the presidential campaign was just political rhetoric aimed at winning the close race.

Time will tell.

What and how she will grapple with such tasks will decide whether she will be able to join the ranks of such respected woman leaders as Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, and Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving U.K. prime minister in the 20th century.


Tall tasks


Among lots of difficult missions for Park, observers point out that topping other things off, she is tasked with integrating the society whose gulf continues to widen in various segments.

The conflicts between the haves and have-nots are ever aggravating. Troubles of minorities and social underdogs worsen including non-regular workers or kids from multiracial families.

The December presidential election last year, where Park beat her main competitor by a small margin, amply demonstrated the deep-rooted regional antagonism did not show signs of waning.

Plus, demographic antagonisms seem to be on the bud as young generations tended to vote against her, who garnered 51.6 percent of the ballots to liberal challenger Moon Jae-in’s 48 percent thanks to almost unanimous support of senior citizens in their 50s and 60s excluding Jeolla Province, the strongholds of the main opposition party.

Frustrations and grievance have widely sprung up of late among the country’s youngsters, who regard themselves as victims of a slumping economy and the social polarization.

Indeed, the youth unemployment rate has rocketed in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008 and many of the jobs available are non-regular ones of which remunerations and job security are relatively weak.

“Park has multiple missions. She is required to help the socially weak as well as embrace young generations to address social conflicts. She has to take care of the 48-percent of those who voted against her,” Prof. Shin Yul at Myungji University said.

Economic hardships are by no means easier than political difficulties as the annual growth rate of the national output has sunk below the 3-percent level and the number of new jobs is expected to decrease to around 300,000 this year from more than 400,000 last year.

The surging household debts is another headache as an increasing number of homeowners become “house poor,” who suffer setbacks due to depreciating house values as they borrowed much to purchasea house at a time when the real estate market offered boons. 

Recent surveys show some have already fallen to the category of underwater borrowers, who caused the financial distress in the United States in 2008.

Diplomatic obstacles are also challenging including how to grapple with rising threats of North Korea, which launched rockets last December and carried out a nuclear test this month in both cases against the UN resolutions.

Park’s predecessor Lee Myung-bak discarded the decade-old “Sunshine Policy” of engaging Pyongyang to turn to reciprocity-based principle but his North Korea policies are evaluated to fall apart.

With very few solutions available, Park is expected to struggle in taming the impoverished Stalinist country.
 Source: The Chosun Ilbo 

First Full Moon of the Year an Auspicious Occasion

The first full moon of the lunar year falls on Sunday, a special day known in Korean as Daeboreum.

In earlier times, Koreans thought of the moon as something precious and sacred. In its waxing and waning, they saw a pattern similar to the typical agricultural cycle, and one that symbolically mirrored how seeds are sown, grown into plants, then returned to the earth to start over.

The moon is also a symbol of light that chases away the darkness. As such, Koreans of bygone eras saw the first full moon of the year as a very auspicious event, and enjoyed the day with traditional activities and special food as they prayed for an abundant harvest and the continued good health of their families and loved ones.

Typically, the day would begin with the cracking of chestnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, ginko nuts and peanuts, as these were seen as being good for the teeth and a tonic to ward off boils throughout the year. People would match the number of nuts cracked to their age, and they were supposed to bite them in one go using only their molars.

Then they would eat breakfast, which would be served with seasonal vegetables and ogokbap, a bowl of rice mixed with five grains such as millet, sorghum, and red beans.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pork belly cooked with onions

Dry cooked pork belly

Dry cooked pork belly with onions

Here is the simplest way to cook pork belly (Sam-Kyup-Sal 삼겹살) Korean style.  In Korean cuisine, pork belly is usually either boiled in water or cut into thin slices and grilled. When boiled in water, ginger is mostly used. In addition, people have been adding Korean Soy Bean paste, coffee grinds, onions, garlic… all sorts of ingredients to make it taste better. I tried coffee grinds, soybean paste, .. just about everything. However, when my mother-in-law cooked this dish for me recently – it was the best tasting Sam-Kyup-Sal ever!

4 servings, approx 1 hour needed
  • 2 lb pork belly
  • 1 large onion (2 medium onions)
  • 10 green onions or scallions

onions for pork belly
1.onions in pot
  • Cut the onions into 1/2 inch thick slices so that you have enough onion slices to cover the bottom of a thick iron or good quality pot that does not burn easily

pork belly on top of onions
2. pork belly on top of onions
  • Cut the pork belly into 2-3 inch wide pieces and put it on top of the onions. The picture shows the skin side up but you can lay the meat skin side down if you do not wish to have the meat side too burned.

Green onions on top of meat
3. Green onions on top of meat
  • Clean the green onions or scallions and cut it in half. You should have enough green onions to cover the meat. If you can, save the root end of the green onions, clean it well and also add it to the pot. The green onion used here is much bigger and wider than the green onions you get in the US. But the smaller green onions should not make too much of a difference.
  • Turn the heat to medium high and cover the pot. Let it cook for few minutes (10 min or so) until you smell the onions burning a bit. So you may wonder.. no water? no oil? No worries..You will get the fat dripping from the pork belly so you actually don’t need any additional liquid.
  • Now lower the heat to low and cook for about an hour until the meat is cooked thoroughly. Pictured below is when the pork is fully cooked. The onions looked burnt but it’s ok. You are not going to eat the onions but just the meat. You can test how well the meat is cooked by piercing the meat with a chopstick or fork. If the chopstick or fork goes in without too much resistance and if there’s no blood, it is completely cooked.

pork belly fully cooked
pork belly fully cooked
  • Take the meat out of the pot, let it sit for few minutes. Discard onions. Cut the pork into about 1/4 inch slices (thicker or thinner however you like it) . Eat the pork with one of the following condiments:
  • soy sauce and vinegar (초간장)
  • ssam-jang (쌈장 ) – recipe already posted

  • saewoojeot
    saewoojeot – fermented shrimp
    sae-woo-jeot (새우젓 ) – this is a salted and fermented tiny shrimp–tastes fabulous with pork!
  • kimchi
Be sure to buy good quality pork belly. If available, 흑돼지삼겹살 (black pig pork belly) is a great choice. Along with the condiments, I recommend you eat this pork with rice, lettuce wraps (see ssambap) and kimchi.

The credit of this wonderful recipe goes to "JinJoo Lee", and can get more detail from the original source



BBC Airs Documentary on Making of Korean-Pop Musics

A K-pop documentary produced by the Chosun Ilbo has garnered attention overseas as it was broadcast by BBC World News on Saturday. The British broadcaster showed a shortened version of the 82-minute documentary "9 Muses of Star Empire," which premiered at the 2012 International Film Festival Amsterdam, to introduce viewers to Korean popular culture.

The production is an interesting piece that can explain Korean entertainment to people from overseas, said Fiona Forouzanian of the BBC.

The up-close film explores the year-long training a group of ordinary girls go through to become stars, their conflicts with managers and problems encountered by producers.

The work competed in the music category at the Amsterdam festival last year and has been invited to a separate documentary festival to be held this year in Australia and New Zealand.

Audiences around the world have reacted well to the film, according to Kim Min-chul, one of the producers, as it tries to portray the universal human desire for success and fame through the idol industry. It will be shown at cinemas in Korea before being aired on television.

Wow Gangnam Style' Goes Postal In South Korea

Gangnam Style' Goes Postal in Korea

A set of stamps celebrating Psy's "Gangnam Style" success will be released on Monday at 22 post offices in Seoul.

In one series of six, Psy is depicted doing his signature horse-riding dance in pop art fashion.

On back are the singer's autograph and a QR code linking to the "Gangnam Style" video on YouTube that catapulted the rapper to international fame.

/Courtesy of YG Entertainment /Courtesy of YG Entertainment
/Courtesy of YG Entertainment /Courtesy of YG Entertainment
/Courtesy of Korea Post /Courtesy of Korea Post

Rare photos of past Korean society shown in Japan

“Friends”  by Japanese photographer Takumi Fujimoto taken in 1970s-’80s in Korea are to be seen at the Korea Cultural Center in Tokyo from Jan. 16 to 31.                                                     / Courtesy of National Folk Museum of Korea

Two old men, dressed in traditional Korean garb, face the camera, one performing what seems like a traditional dance move, are seen against the sea off Jindo, South Jeolla Province.

Japanese photographer Takumi Fujimoto captured during the 1970s and ’80s what he saw as exotic and rare scenes that revealed humanity. Fujimoto first came to Korea in August 1970 when diplomatic and cultural exchanges between Japan and Korea were rare, and Korea was undergoing a drastic social transformation. He was mesmerized by the strange country, and since then he has visited Korea over 50 times to depict the ordinary lives of Koreans with his affectionate eyes.
“Dongcheon Village Near Gaya Stream”

He donated 46,377 photos carrying images of Korean society to the National Folk Museum of Korea in 2011. The museum held an exhibition titled “Daily Lives of Our Recent Past, 1970s-1980s” in August to celebrate his donation.

Now his photos went on to show in Japan to bridge the cultural gap between the two countries. 
“Yeongdeung Festival”
His photography shows how Korea has changed rapidly from an agrarian society to an industrial one through dynamic images. The collection portrays scenes of daily Korean life such as women selling in traditional markets arguing with those trying to steal their customers.

Thatched houses in Dongcheon Village in South Gyeongsang Province and women selling fish in Busan in the 1970s and a carnival show on a bus roof during the Gangneung Dano Festival in 1986 and other various rural and urban images and agricultural and port cities are captured in Fujimoto’s photos. His shots have historical significance as such images cannot be seen anymore as most of them have already disappeared.
“Bus Stop”
Fujimoto’s affection toward Korea was inspired by his father who admired Yanagi Muneyoshi (1889-1961), known for his deep affection for Korean ceramics and folk arts. His father was influenced by books written by Muneyoshi about Korean crafts.

Since he first came here, the photographer has explored diverse regions such as Yeongju, Andong, Gimcheon and Hapcheon to portray folk arts and artisans that continue past traditions.
“School Girls”
The exhibition in Japan will feature photos of folk arts in Seoul’s Insa-dong, the southwestern Jeolla Province and the southeastern Gyeongsang Province in the first section while the landscapes of Korea showing traditional homes, folk beliefs and festivals are in the second. The third part will display photos that reveal the energy and spirit of Koreans.

“In the 1970s and ’80s, the two countries didn’t know each other very well due to deep-rooted historical and political conflicts although they are geographically close. This exhibition will offer an opportunity for the Japanese audience who are accustomed to only modern Korean society to help them better understand Korean history and culture through sharing the photos,” the museum said in a statement.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Irregular periods, is it safe for women ?


Karen is a 28 year-old woman who is slightly obese. She had had periods every two or three months since she started menarche. She felt lucky not having annoying menstruation every month like others. During her teenage years, she went through tough times being teased over her acne and facial hair. She actually had a lot of hair on her belly and back, not to mention her arms and legs. In her first summer vacation in college, she gained 13 pounds over three months. Her period did not come for nine months. Since then, she has been having periods once or twice a year.

Karen’s story may sound familiar to some readers and many must think it is not a big deal to have an irregular period. However, it can be a huge deal.

Karen went to see a gynecologist when she had irregular spotting. Her gynecologist told her she had polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common condition associated with chronic anovulation, affecting between four to six percent of young women. Normally one or more eggs are released every month. In PCOS, fully grown eggs are not released but form small cysts in the ovaries, which lead to irregular periods. As the male sex hormone increases in some women with PCOS, they may develop male-like characteristics such as acne, hair on the chest, belly and face, and hair loss on the head.

You are probably thinking “So I have irregular periods, acne, and a lot of hair. What is it going to do to me?”

In fact, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are at increased risk of endometrial cancer, obesity, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

The risk of developing endometrial cancer (cancer in the lining of uterus) may be increased three-fold in women with PCOS. If you skip periods for a long time, you are exposed to prolonged estrogen retention. Estrogen constantly stimulates the lining of uterus, predisposing abnormal growth. For women who do not have plans for conception, hormone contraceptives protect against endometrial cancer and help the restoration of a regular menstrual cycle.

The strong association between obesity, sex hormone imbalance, diabetes mellitus, and menstrual abnormalities emphasizes the importance of life style modification in women with PCOS. At least half of women with PCOS are obese and obesity aggravates metabolic disorders. Eventually 10 percent of women with PCOS develop diabetes mellitus by the age of 40, which is three- to seven-fold increased risk compared to women without PCOS. Dyslipidemia is the most common metabolic abnormality observed in nearly 70 percent of women with PCOS.

The first best treatment for obese PCOS women is weight loss. Even a small reduction in weight, between two to five percent, can produce improvements in metabolic and reproductive function. For a 150-pound woman, it is just seven pounds. Weight reduction helps restoration of the sex hormone balance which decreases acne and body hair. It also improves ovulation, thereby increasing pregnancy rates with less miscarriage chance. By losing weight, you get prettier and more reproductive.

Many women consult their doctors on what kind of food is good for a diet. The huge diet industry presents various attractive diet secrets including protein only, low fat, lemon detox, and many more. Medically speaking, low caloric intake is more important than the specific composition of the diet. Focus on eating less rather than contemplate over the selection of diet.

Not all women with PCOS are obese and need weight reduction, but thin women with PCOS are also at higher risk of metabolic diseases compared to women without PCOS. Therefore, all women with PCOS should be screened for diabetes, blood pressure, waist circumference, and lipid profile.

Take notice of irregular periods. It can be the signal of a potential health risk.

Meteorite explodes over Russia, more than 1,000 injured

A meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.

People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt the shock wave, according to a Reuters report from the industrial city 1,500 km (950 miles) east of Moscow.

The fireball, travelling at a speed of 30 km (19 miles) per second according to Russian space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail that could be seen as far as 200 km (125 miles) away.

Car alarms went off, thousands of windows shattered and mobile phone networks were disrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteorite explosion, a very rare spectacle, also unleashed a sonic boom.

"I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it were day," said Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains.

"I felt like I was blinded by headlights."

The meteorite, which weighed about 10 metric tons and may have been made of iron, entered Earth's atmosphere and broke apart 30-50 km (19-31 miles) above ground, according to Russia's Academy of Sciences.

The energy released when it entered the Earth's atmosphere was equivalent to a few kilotons, the academy said, the power of a small atomic weapon exploding.

No deaths were reported but the Emergencies Ministry said 20,000 rescue and clean-up workers were sent to the region after President Vladimir Putin told Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov to ease the disruption and help the victims.

The Interior Ministry said about 1,200 people had been injured, at least 200 of them children, and most from shards of glass.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cartoon classics become cultural heritage

From left, “The Scroogy Old Man” (Gobau) by Kim Sung-whan.

Classic Korean comics have been registered by the Cultural Heritage Administration.
The Korea Manhwa Contents Agency said that it is the first time to include the historic cartoons “The Rabbit and the Monkey” by Kim Yong-whan, “Searching for Mother” by Kim Jong-rae and “The Scroogy Old Man” (Gobau) by Kim Sung-whan as cultural heritage.

“This designation has significance in that comic material, which has been marginalized in cultural sectors, has come into the spotlight,” Oh Jae-rok, head of the agency, said in a statement.

Once registered as a cultural heritage, the items are subject to proper utilization and preservation under government guidelines.
“Searching for Mother” by Kim Jong-rae have been registered as cultural heritages.
                   / Courtesy of Korea Manhwa Contents Agency and Korea Times file

“The Rabbit and the Monkey” (1912-1998) is based on an original literary piece by Ma Hae-song (1905-1966) and first published on May 1, 1946. Kim was admired by other cartoonists of his time for his poignant satire. As the nation’s oldest comic book, it used animal characters to personify humans. It criticized the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule of Korea and expressed the author’s wish for the liberation of the nation through the symbols and metaphors.

First released in 1958, “Searching for Mom” is set in the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), portraying a boy named Geum-jun looking for his mother who was sold as a slave. The epic cartoon satirizes devastated, corrupt society after the 1950-53 Korean War by likening it to the Joseon era. It was a sensational work which printed 10 editions until 1964, becoming the nation’s first bestselling comic book.

“The Scroogy Old Man” was the longest-running comic strip in Korea which ran from 1955 in major daily newspapers. It references important academic and historical values in the study of modern history.

The agency aims to make other rare comics material part of the cultural heritage in order to create a richer understanding of the genre.

Gwangjang Market: Seoul's quirky foodie paradise

Yuka Suzuki, 22, smiled from ear to ear as she looked around the Gwangjang Market in Jongno, Seoul, two days before Seollal or Lunar New Year’s Day and shared her happiness about the food and the market.

The Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional outdoor marketplaces in Seoul, does indeed provide a memorable scene that would be unforgettable to foreigners: People sitting in air-tight comfort on the endless rows of food stalls in the middle of the marketplace and joyfully devouring the hundreds of options they have in food and drinks.

The market has a special place in the hearts of Koreans too, who can’t stop coming to this friendly and playfully chaotic place that doubles as a heaven for food lovers.
People sit shoulder-to-shoulder at a food stall at Gwangjang Market in Jongno, Seoul, enjoying food, drinks and friendly conversation with their companions.                                            / Korea Times photos by Yun Suh-young

Overview of the market 
The market is always bustling with people and the crowd was especially large on the Friday before the Lunar New Year’s holidays began.

The long lines of people buying ``bindaetteok,’’ or fried Korean pancakes, and ``mayak’’ (drug) gimbab, or small seaweed rolls nicknamed for their addictiveness, was comparable to the giant parking lot that has become of Korean highways.

While the market has always been popular, the recent airing of a television documentary that highlighted the daily realities of the merchants here has further elevated its status as a leisure destination.

 “It was fun to recognize the shop owners who I’ve seen on television. It made the visit more interesting,” said Yoo So-yeon, a visitor in her 20s. 

On television, the market was described as warm, lively and, to borrow an expression Koreans frequently use, ``human-like.’’ When visiting in person, the market is even more of an upbeat experience.

Here, the energy and optimism of the hard-working shop owners seem contagious. Whether it’s the gathering of friends, families or total strangers squeezed side by side in their favorite food stall, the overall atmosphere of the market always seem high-spirited. It’s where people can arrive alone but never be alone, sharing their happiness, worries and dilemmas over light-hearted rounds of soju.
A shop owner flips “bindaetteok,” or fried Korean pancakes, in a sizzling pan.

Food galore

The market offers a broad range of items for shoppers, from clothing to household tools and machinery, but it’s always the food that stands out most.

The dozens of food stalls packing the central road of the market cook most of their food on the spot and visitors will find the sizzling sounds and delicious smells stamped in their memories for some time.

Some of the popular delights are bindaetteok, mayak gimbab, kimchi mandu, or steamed dumplings with meat and kimchi. More familiar Korean street food like tteokbokki (rice cakes in red-pepper sauce), soondae (Korean version of blood sausages), kalguksu (flat-noodles), jokbal (pork hocks) and hoe (raw fish) are also available.

The most popular food seems to be bindaetteok and the versions they sell here is famous for its crunchiness and rich flavor of mung beans, kimchi and bean sprouts that are all mixed in with the batter. This heart-stopping pancake pairs perfectly with makgeolli, or Korean rice wine.

It’s also a delight to watch the seasoned bindaetteok masters mix and fry the batch on the spot. Mung beans are ground with the traditional grinding stones, ``maetdol,’’ seasoned with salt and mixed with other ingredients before dumped upon a long and generously oiled frying pan.

Bindaetteok cost 4,000 won in all eateries. The two most famous bindaetteok eateries in the market are Soonheenae Bindaetteok and Bakganae Bindaetteok.

They are back to back, but visitors may confuse them to be one shop. In one of the many bindaetteok eateries, you might be lucky to find a drawing by director Tim Burton who scribbled on the wall of one of the shops when he visited here in December. The character resembles that from his movie “Corpse Bride.”

Bindaetteok used to be called “binjatteok” which means “pancakes for the poor.” While these types of pancakes were indeed popular for low-incomers during tougher times when they weren’t able to splurge on rice or meat, they now carry weight as a modern-day delicacy.

Another iconic Gwangjang Market food is the mayak gimbap. This small version of the ubiquitous seaweed roll consists of simple ingredients ― the seaweed skin, rice, reddish and carrots. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, though, and these rolls become magic in the mouth.

There are two major mayak gimbap eateries at the market although they can be found in almost all stores for their wide popularity. The Monyeo Gimbap is the wonjo, or the original, where the mayak gimbap was first started. It’s 500 won more expensive than in other stores just because it’s “the original.” But some find the non-original ones to taste better. The Jeukseok Mayak Gimbap is a rival, and it’s cheaper at 2,000 won.

The kimchi mandu is another recommended snack there. The Wonjo Kimchi Mandu offers the “original” spicy kimchi dumplings. The color of the mandu there is redder than others and is more transparent, meaning the red fillings can be seen through the dough skin. The mandu is made on the spot and steamed immediately after taking an order, a reason why they are so chewy and delicious. The mandu cost 5,000 won per plate.

An interesting fact is that the market sells no other types of mandu. It’s because several shops copied the original shop when it became so popular among customers, according to a merchant there.

One other interesting fact about the market is that it has so many “wonjo”s or shops that claim they are original, so it’s up to the customers to choose their own eatery depending on where they feel like eating.

How it began

The market is over 100 years old. Its birth dates back to 1904 when the Eulsa Treaty, or the Korea-Japan Protectorate Treaty was signed in the 14th year of King Gojong’s rule during the Joseon Kingdom.

Because Japan started to dominate the management of Namdaemun Market, several private investors decided to bring up the Korean market with their own money. They bought the land of the current market site and with 100,000 won in cash, they established the market.

The name Gwangjang comes from the location of the market situated between two bridges in Cheonggye Stream _ Gwanggyo and Janggyo. 

It became the first permanent market in Korea. At the time, markets were opened on two, three, five, or seven day intervals. In its early days, it mainly dealt with agricultural and fishery products but later grew to become one of the largest markets in Korea selling many other product categories. It now sells a variety of other products including clothing, beddings, home appliances and others. Visiting the non-food zone may also be interesting for first time visitors.

The market has over 5,000 shops with 20,000 employees in a 42,000 square-meter site. An estimate of 65,000 people visits the market every day.

Although the market is situated inside a building, it is basically an outdoor market because the eight entrances are always kept open even during the winter. So bundle up before heading there. But don’t worry about eating out in the cold. Most of the seats there are equipped with electric pads to keep your bottom warm.

One other thing: Don’t forget to bring cash when visiting the market because they might get angry at you if you hand them a card after eating a 3,000 won worth snack. Most of them don’t receive cards.

How to get there:

Take subway line no. 1 and get off at Jongno 5-ga and go out through exit no. 7 or 8.

Opening hours:

The eateries and food section opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m. The fashion apparel section operates from 9 p.m. through 10 a.m. the following day.

For more information, visit or call 02-2267-0291.

The History of Chilled Buckwheat Noodle Soup

Many people regard mulnaengmyeon, the buckwheat noodle soup served in a chilled beef broth with pickled radish, sliced Korean pear, and a hard-boiled egg, as the specialty of Pyongyang, and bibimnaengmyeon -- noodles flavored with a spicy red pepper sauce -- as the specialty of Hamhung Province. But the two cold noodle dishes are actually categorized according to their place of origin. Mulnaengmyeon noodles are made of buckwheat and bibimnaengmyeon noodles out of corn starch.

Chilled buckwheat noodle soup dates back hundreds of years. In a book about seasonal customs titled "Dongguk Sesigi" written in 1849, the chilled noodle dishes from Pyongan Province are described as the best to eat in the winter. The popularity of the dish can be attributed to the difficulty of rice farming in the north due to the harsh climate.

Noodle dishes became a favorite food to satisfy midnight cravings for northerners, who ate dinner early in the evening as the days became shorter.

It became popular in the South in the early 1920s. At that time, it was mainly sold in Seoul's Nakwon-dong and Gwangyo neighborhoods. It became more widespread after the Korean War when refugees from the north headed south. According to a popular comic book, "Shikgaek" or "Le Grand Chef" by cartoonist Huh Young-man, the soup was considered a high-end gourmet dish during the early 1960s when a serving of bulgogi (barbecued beef) cost W60 and a noodle dish W35.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gotye, Mumford and Sons Take Top Honors at 2013 Grammy Awards

The British folk rock band Mumford and Sons has received the top award of album of the year at the Grammy Awards for its recording Babel. The music honors in Los Angeles late Sunday were shared this year by industry veterans and independent artists. Mumford and Sons earned the Grammy for best album. The group performed its hit "I Will Wait" at the annual music gala. Mumford and Sons lost the Grammy for best rock album to The Black Keys, which won for the album "El Camino." The Black Keys took Grammys for best rock performance and best rock song for "Lonely Boy." The Belgian-Australian musician Gotye took the Grammy for record of the year for "Somebody That I Used to Know," performed with New Zealand artist Kimbra. The song also brought the pair a Grammy for best pop duo, and Gotye earned the Grammy for alternative album for "Making Mirrors." The pop-rock trio Fun was named best new artist, and their hit track "We Are Young," performed with Janelle Monae earned the songwriters' award of song of the year. Backstage, member Andrew Dost said the group is not new to the music scene, but is new to the Grammys. "After years and years of touring, you start to think this is cool, but that's a different world that we'll never really be a part of. And so for us to be here tonight and for us to take a couple home is just a very special, incredible feeling," said Dost. Taylor Swift performs at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 10, 2013. /Reuters Taylor Swift performs at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 10, 2013. /Reuters Kelly Clarkson won the Grammy for best pop vocal album for "Stronger." Clarkson got her start on the TV talent show "American Idol" and went on to become a major singing star. So did Carrie Underwood. She won the Grammy for best country solo performance for "Blown Away." Backstage, Underwood said she grew up loving country music. "I love that world. I love the people in it. I love making country music that I feel like anybody can get into, no matter what kind of genre you listen to," she said. "I just want to make good song, sing good songs, write good songs." The Zac Brown Band won the Grammy for best country album for "Uncaged." The British songstress Adele won for best pop solo performance for "Set Fire to the Rain." She says competition was tough, with Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry and Rihanna in that category. "I just want to send big love to the other girls and all of us females doing this, because we work so hard, we make it look so easy," said Adele. Most Grammys were handed out before the award telecast began, including the Grammy for best world music album, which went to the late Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Latin jazz musician Arturo Sandoval earned the Grammy for large jazz ensemble for his tribute to jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, called Dear Diz. Backstage, Sandoval said the jazz genre has inspired him through five decades. "I never lost the enthusiasm. I kept my desire every single day to practice, to improve, to write new music, like I am at the beginning of my career," said Sandoval. "I've played music for 54 years, but for me, it's like I started last week." Rappers Jay-Z, Kanye West and the electronic musician Skrillex each earned three awards.

Count your calories during holidays

Han Bok-ryeo, president of the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, displays a Korean traditional royal table for Lunar New Year’s Day in this file photo. The holiday fare, however, makes people gain weight.       / Korea Times file

It is the Lunar New Year’s holiday when people are excited to see relatives and friends. However, the long holiday involves some health risks.

The biggest problem is that people can easily gain a kilogram or two if they don’t watch how much they are eating. Ha Jung-baek, a salaried worker in his 30s, recalls that he would gain two kilograms every Lunar New Year’s holiday, and Chuseok, or the Korean version of Thanksgiving. He complains that as he is conscious that he is somewhat overweight, he takes care not to overeat. He usually has only a bowl of “tteokguk,” or rice cake soup that Koreans traditionally eat on the holiday, accompanied by some “namul,” or seasoned vegetables, and some fruit as dessert, which doesn’t seem to be too much in calories. Where, then, do the two kilograms come from?

Prof. Song Hong-ji at the department of family medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital says that the extra kilos come from the pieces of rice cake that people grab bites of and the cups of “sikhye,” or rice punch, that they sip, while loitering among relatives.

“After the holidays, we see many people visiting the obesity clinic at our hospital complaining that they gained weight though they skipped meals. However, it often turns out that they had more snacks such as rice cake and fruit than usual though they didn’t have full meals,” Song said.

The holiday table is in fact full of dishes high in calories: a bowl of tteokguk has 463 kcal, a piece of “galbijjim,” or steam cooked rib, has 143 kcal, and a dish of “japchae,” or sauted vegetables with noodle, 191 kcal. People often watch out when these foods are on the table but they rarely pay attention to snacks that they have in between: a piece of “dongtaejeon,” or pollack pancake, for instance, has 88 kcal, and a tangerine has 50 kcal while 100 grams of “hangua,” or Korean traditional cookies, has 470 kcal, exceeding that of a bowl of boiled rice. A cup of “sikhye,” which is usually considered as a health drink, has over 200 kcal. When summed up, the traditional snacks enjoyed without much thought are more detrimental than a full-course meal on this special day.

“Once you overeat, there is no special treatment. You have no option but to wait until the food gets digested, feeling short of breath. You may try digestion pills, but you should know that they are hardly effective,” Prof. Cho Be-long at Seoul National University Hospital said.

The professor said that people should make a conscious effort to prevent overeating, decreasing exposure to food and allocating more time for physical activities such as sports or games. Such a conscious effort is critical due to changes in holiday culture here. In the past, the holidays involved a lot of physical activities, visiting relatives in neighborhoods or playing traditional games such as kite flying or “neolttuigi,” a jumping game. These days, however, many are playing games on smartphones or watching TV, or playing “hwatu,”a card game involving gambling. Such sedentary activities, however, consumes little energy. An hour’s drive, for instance, consumes only 41 kcal.

The professor advised that helping with the household choirs will not only help people burn calories but also relieve housewives of burden and stress. Taking children outside and playing traditional games with them will perhaps see people being remembered as good parents or uncles or aunts.

Safe driving

As tens of millions of people head to their hometown, traffic accidents are bound to increase. Cho recommends that people with a hot temper or those who have had traffic accidents before should consider using public transport in the traffic chaos of the holidays. If public transportation is not an option, however, they should make sure to start in advance so that they don’t have to hurry. “The risk of car accident increases if you drive for more than two hours in a row. Hence, you should take a rest for 10 minutes every two hours,” Cho said.

He also stressed ventilation. “As the inside of the car is stuffy, you should ventilate frequently. Especially when you are using a heater, use the ventilation and open the windows often.”

One should also take enough sleep before driving a long distance. When you feel sleepy, you should switch with someone else to drive and take a short nap.

Drunk driving is also a huge problem in a country that is somewhat lenient to drunks. “We should build up an atmosphere where people would stop anyone who is trying to drive drunk,” Cho said.

“Most people will have happy holidays, but we should keep in mind that accidents do happen. Prevention is not really difficult, but those who fail to prevent them will suffer big damage,” he added.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Korean Fashion Mania : Vanity conquers all

A woman holding a designer handbag crosses a street in this undated file photo. Many Korean female consumers crave designer bags with the belief that the high-end accessories, fake or genuine, make them appear richer than they actually are.                                                                         / Korea Times

Many Korean women have red hot love affairs with designer label handbags.Even I used to endorsed when I was at Seoul .  Regardless of their income levels, they crave high-end luxury bags in order to satisfy their obsessive vanity and make a social statement.

Sensitive about how they appear to others, they want to decorate themselves with expensive accessories. The mocking moniker of “three second bag” for Louis Vuitton, one of the most popular designer bags here, reflects the fixation for luxury bags ― it’s called a “three-second bag" because it can be seen every three seconds on the streets of Seoul.
The women are defined by what they carry on their shoulders.

Jun, a 27-year-old freelance teacher, is obsessed with buying designer bags in a belief that having one will make her appear to be special or different from others.

“I think accessories best represent who I am and bags are a fashion item that expresses my personality,” Jun said. “Sometimes I just forget how many bags I have in total. I just buy them whenever I feel like it without worrying about my financial situation.”
She has accumulated around 90 bags over the past six years, including some given from ex-boyfriends and her parents as birthday gifts.

“I have always been very straightforward with my previous boyfriends. When they ask me what I want for my birthday, I say ‘a designer bag’ without any hesitation. I know it is expensive, but I would never date guys who cannot afford to get me these bags. End of story,” she said.
Jun has 10 Hermes Birkin, 20 Bottega Veneta and 30 Chanel bags, each of which costs at least 8 million won or over. She got some of them when she went on a trip to European countries and Hong Kong.

“I travel a lot, at least twice a year. I mostly visit European countries because I can find many exclusive limited editions there at lower prices. I don't care much about money anyway,” she said.

Stupid but can’t help it

People on low incomes also can’t resist the temptation to buy designer bags to burnish their image, even if it means spending more than their monthly salary and having to take out loans.

Kim Jin-sook, a 31-year-old office worker, earns about 1.5 million won ($1,400) per month, but half of her salary goes toward saving to buy a new designer bag. She hardly eats out or enjoys other leisure activities.

“The price of a women’s designer bag starts at 2 million won, which seems a bit too much when I think about how much I earn. But to be honest, it is the only joy in my life ― it has always been and always will be,” Kim said.

Kim started saving money when she turned 18. This was when she first got to know about many different international fashion brands from her friends.

“My high school friends in my class had at least two Louis Vuitton or Gucci bags. So I always envied those from wealthy families because my family was going through financial difficulties at that time. So I decided to save money and buy bags by myself,” Kim said.

She said the number of handbags they own is a kind of competition among her friends. “Whenever I meet my friends, I try to carry and show off a new one every time. I know it’s stupid but I just can’t help it. And all the women will know what I am talking about,” Kim added.

Many female consumers say they want to have luxury bags because they believe the bags will make them appear richer than they actually are.

Yoo Ga-young (alias), a 28-year-old factory worker in Ansan, earns 1.5 million won ($1,400) per month, which is comparatively lower than white-collar workers’ monthly salary.

Yoo says she doesn’t want other people to know about her income level, so buys designer bags to look like “rich.”

“I always try to save money. I don’t eat expensive food. I don’t drink coffee either. When I am home, I even don’t turn on the light and the boiler to save money,” she said. “I am doing this is because I have to make monthly payments for the designer bags I bought with credit cards.”

She said she buys designer bags because people tend to judge other people’s social status according to the brands of handbags or clothes they hold and wear.

“If somebody has a Chanel bag, people will immediately notice that she is rich. It is like women’s pride. That is why people, including me, cling to such bags and clothes,” she said.

Male victims of craze for designer bags

Choi Joon-seok, a 29-year-old salesman in Seoul, has a sad memory regarding a designer bag. Referring to this experience, he calls himself a “victim of a sophisticated fraud.”

Two years ago he was dating his girlfriend who was then a university student and five years younger than him.

“I just fell in love with her although it hadn’t been long since I started dating her. I wanted to do everything to make her happy,” he said.

He said the girlfriend’s birthday fell just a month after they started dating.

“Ahead of her birthday, I asked her what she wanted me to buy for her birthday present. I was ready to buy her anything that she wanted,” Choi said.

“At first, she just smiled and said she didn’t need any gift, which made her appear to be even lovelier. I kept asking her what she needed, and finally she answered: a bag made by Mulberry.”

He just jumped to the department store to buy her such a bag.

“I had to buy it through a six-month credit card installment plan because it cost as much as my monthly salary. When I thought about her happy face, money was no problem at all,” he said.

But, as soon she received the gift, his girlfriend disappeared without a trace.

“I couldn’t understand why that happened to me. I tried to phone and text her a million times. I even went to her house and school and waited for her. But, all those things were useless,” he said.

He said he realized soon that she approached him for the purpose of getting a bag because he was earning money, while she was just a student.

“When I realized that all of her words of love were lies, it was all a letdown. Even after breaking up with her, I had to keep paying off the monthly installments, which made me feel so stupid,” he added.

Immature society

Chungang University sociology professor Shin Kwang-yeong pointed out that the abundant self-glorification and narcissism apparent in Korean society is a clear example of how immature the society we live in currently is.

The professor said many female Korean consumers showcase “The Veblen Effect,” which refers to the phenomenon that the higher the cost of an item is, the more people want to buy it.

“Koreans are very sensitive to praise from others. In a sense, it is good because it makes people behave well toward others, but it can also be problematic because it can arouse ostentation," said Shin.

He said such conspicuous, blind and irrational consumption behavior reflects the immaturity of our society.

“There is awareness that the designer bags can make people appear to be different from others in Korean society. We need to put more value on personal character or ability than on appearances,” he said.

Recipe for slow and steady diet

“Myeolchi Jumeokbap”- Rice ball with fried anchovies


You will need 2/3 of a bowl of cooked rice, which is approximately 140 grams, 1/4 sheet of dried seaweed, some sesame oil and sesame. For “Myeolchi Bokkum,” or
stir-fried Japanese anchovies, you will need 15 grams of tiny Japanese anchovies, 1/3 of a tablespoon of “gochujang,” or Korean traditional red chili-pepper paste,

1/3 teaspoon of “mulyeot,” or starch syrup, and some chopped garlic and vegetable oil.

Step by step

1. Cook rice and cool it. Then mix it well with sesame oil and sesame.

2. Put the Japanese anchovies in sieve and shake to get rid of dust and powder. Grease the pan with oil and stir-fry anchovies.

3. Mix gochujang and chopped garlic to make sauce for fried Japanese anchovies. Put it in the pan with the fried anchovies, and lightly stir-fry them again.

4. Add 4/5 of the fried Japanese anchovies of step 3 to cooked rice and mix them.

5. Cut the dried laver in 1 by 6 centimeters strips.

6. Shape the mixed rice and anchovies into a ball, in form and size appropriate for eating. Roll them in the dried seaweed, and put the remaining 1/5 of the anchovies
on the roll for decoration.
Nutritional facts
Carbohydrates 52g

Protein 1g

Fat 4g


The “Mulyeot” should be added to fried Japanese anchovies after turning off the gas as it can harden the “Myeolchi Bokkum” when added to it too early.

This is an excerpt from “500 calories diet” by Kim Hyung-mi, director at the department of dietetics at Severance Hospital, and CJ Freshway, published by Cypress.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Manipur's lady become youngest VC

IMPHAL, Feb 2: A Manipuri lady has become the youngest lady vice-chancellor of a university in India.
Vice-Chancellor of Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University of Jaipur, Dr Thoudam Prabha Devi has become the youngest lady Vice-Chancellor in India besides being the first ever lady who holds the high profile post from Manipur. The 40-year old lady is the daughter of Th Brajamani Singh of Naharup Makha Pat Awang Leikai of Imphal East district.

She joined the private University in 2008 as a professor and was finally chosen as the Vice Chancellor of the same after getting promoted initially to the position of Dean.
The lady started her teaching career from Nirmalabas High School, Imphal and then after few years she started teaching in many colleges and universities including Baptist College at Nagaland and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi.

Meanwhile, Dr Thoudam Prabha Devi said she had passed out her 10th standard from Tamphasana Girls’ Higher Secondary, Imphal Dr Thoudam Prabha Devi and pre-university degree from Modern College.
She took the degree of BCom and MCom from Osmania University, Hyderabad and Manipur University respectively as well PhD from the later university.

Contented, Dr Prabha Devi revealed that the university she currently works emphasize on women empowerment through higher education.
Starting from this year, five ladies from Manipur who deserve the essential criteria but cannot afford to learn would be allowed free of cost to study at the university every year through her contact. It is also a very safe learning place for women with affordable fees, she added.