Friday, August 29, 2008
Later, I wanted to have the transactions printed in my passbook. They still use passbooks for accounts here instead of people writing the transactions in a check register. You put the book in a machine, but not the same one used to pay bills. The machine then prints all the transactions that have not been printed yet. I could not figure out how to use the machine because it was in only Korean. I was able to use this machine to get money out with my ATM card because it could be used in English. I went up to one of the tellers and pointed to the page in the passbook. It took her a second to figure out what I wanted. I felt retarded not saying anything and just pointing. In the end, I did get the transactions printed.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Next week, I'll have a different schedule from what I have now. I'll be teaching six classes everyday and will have ten groups of students. Right now, I have eight groups of students. This term I taught the lower levels, which can be harder to teach because the students are younger and they don't understand as much English as the other kids. It's also easy to sound like a broken record. Next term, I'll have more upper-level classes.
The one lower-level class that I will teach next term, if all goes according to plan, is one that I'm teaching right now. It's our lowest level course, but there is more freedom with the methodology because the class is unique to Pusan. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep the kids' attention. Today, we played hangman at the end of class and the kids seemed to like it. The kids did not know how to play so at first it was a bit hard getting them to guess letters. After they got the hang (no pun intended) of it, they were all yelling out letters and wanted to play hangman with another word.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
- 8, 32-0 (0%)
- 7,30-1 (33%)
- 8, 31-0 (0%)
- 7, 31-0 (0%)
- 7, 29-2 (66%)
The correct answer is 8, 31. In Korea, everybody gets a year older at the start of a new year, not on the birthday. The only way that a person's Korean age matches his/her Western age is when he/she was born on January 1. Here in Korea, I am 23, even though I am 22 in the United States. When I ask the students their ages, they tell me their Korean ages. So, if a student tells me he is 10, then I have to remember that he is nine if his birthday has passed and eight if his birthday has not passed.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The results are as follows:
- Kim, Park, Chow 0 (0%)
- Park, Honda, Lee 0 (0%)
- Kim, Lee, Park 3 (60%)
- Lee, Park, Chen 0 (0%)
- Kim, Park, Cho 2 (40%)
- Shin, Lee, Kim 0 (0%)
The correct answer is Kim, Lee, Park. Chow and Chen are Chinese and Honda is Japanese. This information comes from Tongku Lee in his book Yes, You Can Learn Korean Language Structure in 40 Minutes! Kim is the most common family name in Korea. In fact, in one of my classes, there are 12 students and six of them are Kim. In Korean, the family name comes first. A person's name can be two, three, or four syllables, but most are three. The first syllable is the family name and the last two are the given name. It is impolite to call a person by just his/her given name unless that person is younger than you or is a child. You call a person by his/her full name or by his/her title and family name. Women do not change their names when they get married. The children have their father's family name.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
The results are as follows:
- Daeseong 1 (33%)
- Panmunjom 2 (66%)
- Gijeong 0 (0%)
- Chuncheon 0 (0%)
The correct answer is Panmunjom. Daeseong and Gijeong are both villages within the DMZ. Chuncheon is just a city in South Korea. Thank you to everybody who voted.
Daeseong is located in South Korea. It is known as Freedom Village. The people who live there are from families who lived there before the Korean Conflict. Its residents do not have to pay taxes and men living there are except from the two-year military obligation. Farmers in Daeseong have about 17 acres of farmland, whereas farmers in the south have about 4 acres. Women can marry into the village but men cannot because it would exempt them from the military service. Farmers in Daeseong make about $82,000 tax-free. The residents have an 11:00 curfew.
Gijeong is in North Korea and is known as Propaganda Village. There are no residents there, only maintenance staff. It is Propaganda Village because for six to twelve hours a day, propaganda about Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il is played to anybody around, with the hopes that they will defect to North Korea.
There is a lot of competition between the two Koreas. South Korea built a flagpole near the Military Demarcation Line. That flagpole is 100 meters tall. North Korea decided to build a bigger one. That flagpole is 160 meters tall and is the biggest and tallest flagpole in the world. The South Korean flagpole looks puny by that North Korean flagpole. When Seoul hosted the 1988 Olympics, the Olympics Committee gave South Korea an Olympic flag. The Republic of Korea gave it to Daeseong to show off to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea since they decided not to participate in the Olympics that year.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Wednesday, I had to get up early and go to Camp Kim in Seoul because the bus was leaving at 7:30 a.m. I had to follow a dress code and anybody who did not follow the dress code was not allowed on the tour. On the way to Camp Bonifas, our tour guide told us about the fence that was along the river. This river started in North Korea and it had a fence along it in South Korea because North Koreans would use their marine skills to get into the South. There were also white stones in the fence. The stones would fall if anybody tampered with the fence. There were also watchtowers along the river with soldiers in them.
As we got closer, there was a bridge that we had to get military clearance to pass. There were blocks set up every few meters on alternating sides of the road. We had to weave around these blocks. We we got to Camp Bonifas, a US Army soldier had to check everybody's ID. We later had to switch buses and get onto an ROK Army secured bus. We went to Ballinger Hall where we were given a briefing about the Korean War, the history of the DMZ since the war, what we must not do, and the requirements to be a soldier stationed at the DMZ. Right now, there are about 600 soldiers there. About 40 are American soldiers and the rest are ROK. All South Korean men have to serve in the military for at least two years. Most South Korean men there are fulfilling their military obligation.
ROK and US soldiers at the DMZ have to have spotless civilian and military records. US soldiers have to have above average height, size, and aptitude. ROK soldiers have to be taller and bigger than the average ROK soldier. They must also have basic fluency in written and spoken English and they must have a black belt in Taekwondo or Judo.
We went to Reunion Hall, which is right on Conference Row. The building was built so that families separted by the DMZ could reunite; however, because the DPRK will not allow its people to go there, the hall has not been used for that purpose. There are six buildings on Conference Row, each side has three and the buildings are divided in half by the Military Demarcation Line. We went into one of these buildings and I stepped onto the side that is in North Korea. There is a door there and the door is guarded by an ROK soldier and anybody who tries to go past him will be stopped.
I'll tell more about the JSA and the two villages within the DMZ after I reveal the answer to this week's question. To do so beforehand would give away the answer.
Our last stop of the day was to the Third Infiltration Tunnel. This tunnel was discovered in 1973 after a North Korean defector who had worked on it had tipped off the ROK. The entrance into the tunnel is very steep. Before going in, the tour guide told us not to go if we had asthma, heart problems, claustrophobia, arthritis, etc. The tunnel was very short. We all had to wear hard hats. There were a few places where there was some metal-pipe canopies. I hit my head a couple of times. They said that the tunnel was two meters deep, but I do not think that it was that much. The tunnel is big enough that 30,000 North Korean soldiers could march into South Korea within an hour.
The tour guide on my bus said that the PAK soldiers were the short, skinny, brown-skinned soldiers. The other tour guide said that the tunnel is so small because it was made for North Koreans. His two kids are taller than he, just like all of us. The South Koreans have better nutrition than the North Koreans and this is why. I have seen several South Korean men who are over six feet tall. Their nutrition while they were growing helped them to get that tall. I have seen adults in other countries who did not grow to their full potential because of poor diet.