Monday, August 29, 2005

Where is everyone? / 모두 어디지?

The extra-terrestrial has spawned good books, mediocre art and bad movies; provoked serious speculation and a new science called astrobiology; and triggered a 400-year religious and philosophical debate, all without putting in a single appearance.

외계인들이 좋은 책과 평범한 미술과 나쁜 영화를 낳았고 진지한 심사숙고과 우주 생물학이라는 새로운 과학을 자극하고 400년의 종교상.절학 토론을 일으켰다. 그리고 한 번도 왔음 없다.

If life exists on Earth - a nondescript planet orbiting an undistinguished star in a neither-here-nor-there galaxy in an ordinary corner of the universe - then it ought to exist on at least some other planets around a proportion of other suns in at least a selection of other galaxies. There are at least 200bn galaxies, and each may be home to 200bn stars. Even if the evolution of a sentient, intelligent, technologically-aware civilisation is rare, the firmament should still be fizzing with life.

우주 의 보통의 구석에 있는, 별 문제 아닌 은하계에 있는, 눈에 띄지 않는 별의 둘레를 도는 특징 없는 행성들 중 하나인 지구에 생명이 있니까 적어도 몇몇의 다른 은하계에도 몇몇의 다른 행성들에도 생명이 있어야 한다. 적어도 2천억의 은하계들이 있고 각각 2천억의 별이 있는지 모른다. 느끼고 지적이고 기술상으로 알아차리는 문명은 드물더라도 생명 때문에 하늘이 쉿쉿거리고 있어야 한다.

But, as Fermi's Paradox asks: "Where is everybody?"

하지만 페르미의 패러독스가 묻다. "모두 어딜까?"

Sadly... [trying to commincate across these distances,] any signal dissipates as the square of the distance. By the time you get to Pluto, it's already vanishingly faint. So you send an ultra-powerful signal as a focused laser beam. How much energy would that take? How long could you afford to transmit? How many directions must you point the transmitter to cover the whole sky? (The answer to that one is 100,000 trillion). And what chance a citizen of an alien civilisation is tuned in when your one-second message whistles by at the speed of light?

Full article here.

Still, one in 100 Americans believe they have been abducted, cue for a short lecture on sleep paralysis, which manifests itself in pressure on the chest and the experience of being taken away [- known in Korean as a "scissor dream"] ...

그럼에도 불구하고, 100중의 한 미국인은 외계인으로 유괴한 걸 믿는데 가슴에 압력과 떠나가는 경험으로 나타내는 면마비(眠痲痺)?에 대한 짧은 강의를 하여 [한국말로 "가위눌림"] ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

EFL - Hot or hotter?

Browsing a couple of new sites, I've come up with perhaps an interesting new way to practise comparitives and superlatives. Let's call it Hot or not? after the original website of this kind.

Do you remember Hot or not? It was really big a few years ago. The idea is that you upload a photo of yourself, or more probably a friend, and users rate the attractiveness of the person in the photo on a scale of 1 to 10. Ten is 'hot'; one is, well, 'not'. has a lot of super-cute little felines, especially in the section labelled "cutest kittens", and it wouldn't be too hard to print out a copy of a few of them and have learners vote on which of two is cuter than the other, and which is the overall cutest of the bunch.

For less sensitive classes (read: ones that won't get offended judging people), there are lots of pictures of guys and girls over at just waiting for your learners to tell them who's better looking than who, and who's the most attractive.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Even Good Guys have Bad Weekends

Woke with a headache on Saturday after sleeping off a number of nights of too little sleep. Dragged said headache the 20 minutes down the road to the local Carrefour supermarket as my fridge was looking empty and I have some new Korean recipes to try. (Someone who knows me very well was thoughful enough to buy me a fun cookbook for my birthday on the 12th. "The 4800won Cookbook Series: Feel-good Meals for Singles.") On the way there, my not fully cheerful mood counted a whole 16 cars parked obstructing pedestrian crossings, 6 cars turning without signalling, and 1 car and 2 motorcycles going the wrong way up a narrow one-way street. Why does no-one enforce traffic laws here?

몇 밤의 부족한 잠으로 잊어버린 후, 토요일에 일어나서 두통이 있었다. 냉장고가 비고 요리 해볼 한식 요리법들이 있으니까 그 두통 있으며 나는 20분의 거리에 있는 지역 수퍼마킷인 "까르포르"으로 갔다. (너를 아주 잘 아는 사람이 나에게 재미있는 요리책 사 줬다. "4800원 요리책: 싱글들의 기분 좋은 법식.") 가는 길에 보통 명랑한 내 기분은 16 대의 자동차가 횡단 보도들에 주차해 길을 막기도, 6 대의 자동차가 방향 지시등을 켜지 않고 돌기도, 1 대의 자동차와 2 대의 오토바이가 좁은 일방 통행로에 틀린 방향으로 가기도 봤네. 여기 교통법을 왜 아무도 집행하지 않을까?

Arrived at the supermarket with a long mental list of ingredients. (I'd had my head on straight enough to take along my rucksack and my "Go Green" fabric shopping bag as usual - even a short trip to Australia will see you as an anti-plastic bag convert.) Had an dummy spit [arguement] with the greeter, who insisted I couldn't take my shopping bag into the store and would have to leave it in a locker, then another with the checkout assistant, who insisted that I couldn't take the hand basket I'd had to use past the checkout - no, not even just as far as the lockers. How is a person supposed to avoid plastic bags in this place?

내 머리속에 쇼핑 품목 있어 수퍼마킷에 도착했다. (배냥와 "환경 보호 해라"라는 직물 쇼핑백을 가져 올 걸 잊지 않았는데. 호주에 좀 갔다 온다면 비닐 봉지에 반대해 변환시킬 거다.) 쇼핑백을 수퍼마킷에다 가면 반드시 안 돼서 보관소엔 놓아야 한다는 인사하는 사람과 작은 말싸움을 하고서, 손바구니를 계산에서는 보관소까지도 가면 계산 반드시 안 된다는 계산 사람과 작은 말싸움을 했다. 그곳에 어떻게 하면 비닐 봉지를 피한가?

I feel bad about the argueing, but perhaps I needed it.

말싸움이 안 좋지만 아마 나에게 필요했는데.

Spent a number of hours chopping, measuring, pouring, cooking and arranging... with the A/C on "turbo". Summer's just about over, but it's still so humid. Felt muuuuuch better.

다지고 재고 쏟고 요리하고 맛있어 보이도록 하며 몇 시간을 보냈는데 그동안 에어콘 "터보"라는 설정기능에 불었다. 여름이 거의 끊났지만 요즘 몹시 습하다. 기분이 많~이 조아졌다.


There are two inconsiderate idiots here in the allegedly non-smoking section of this Internet gaming cafe puffing away on cigarettes and it's making me nauseous. I'm off before I do something I regret. Why does no-one enforce the no smoking rules in these places?

벽에 이는 "금연 구역"이라는 표지 있는 여기는 남을 배려하지 않는 두 백치가 담배를 피우고 있어서 구역질이 나게 하고 있다. 나는 유감스러운 걸 하기 전엔 떠날게. 이런 곳들에 금연 법을 왜 아무도 집행하지 않을까?

Was Darwin Wrong?

I'm fed up with this "intelligent design" pseudo-science trying to roll back scientific knowledge to a hundred years BCD (Before Charles Darwin).

Darwin, as a theologist, was fully aware of how his revolutionary theory of 'evolution through natural selection' would impact on humanity's view of its place among Earth's 5 million or more living species. For this reason he delayed publishing it for two decades while he checked his facts. (Moreover, during this time, another researcher, Charles Lyell, came up with a very similar theory independently.) As such, the book presents painstakingly detailed scientific evidence (unlike the "intelligent designists") of how diversification in nature happens. The ideas presented in it are now supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and "one would be hard pressed to find a legitimate scientist today who does not believe in evolution." (National Geographic, 18th October, 2004)

Scientific evidence shows that the universe was actually formed about 13.7 billion years ago, while the Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago. The first humans date back only a hundred thousand years or so.

Yet, in a 2001 Gallup poll, 45 percent of U.S. adults said they believe evolution has played no role in shaping humans.

National Geographic published an all-encompassing special feature on "Was Darwin Wrong?" back in November 2004:

"[R]elativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The
notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by
Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence,
structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a
theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass
that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has
been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that
knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. ...

"The essential points are slightly more complicated than most people assume, but not so complicated that they can't be comprehended by any attentive person. Furthermore, the supporting evidence is abundant, various, ever increasing, solidly interconnected, and easily available in museums, popular books, textbooks, and a mountainous accumulation of peer-reviewed scientific studies. No one needs to, and no one should, accept evolution merely as a matter of faith."

And, from New Scientist and, bizarrely, the 24 eyes of a box jellyfish, here's an intriguing glance at Darwin's famous little problem with... eyes.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Marital Rape

An article on the front page of the Korea Times has appalled me. I only hope I'm reading it wrongly.

Lawyers Oppose Bill on Marital Rape

The Korean Bar Association (KBA) has opposed a bill designed to severely punish spouses committing "marital rape", claiming that it may accelerate the breakdown of the family if legislated.

"The bill may allow law enforcement authorities to excessively intervene in family affairs, resulting in family collapse or obstructing the recovery of conjugal relations," the KBA said in the statement. It also said that making a married couple’s sexual relations a matter of criminal activity is not desirable, and that current criminal laws about rape can punish a spouse for sex with violence or threat.
Why shouldn't the law be able to intervene in cases of rape?
What hope is there really of the couple 'recovering conjugal relations' after such a violation?
Does the KBA really see no difference between 'sexual relations' and 'marital rape'?
Current criminal laws may have that capability, but is it actually used for that?

The association also claimed the bill does not stipulate whether only husbands are punished for forced sex with violence or both husband and wife are. It added the concept of "forced sex with violence" is too ambiguous.
How often does rape happen 'the other way', especially in a marriage? Be serious.
As for ambiguity, how much clearer can you get? The dictionary definition of rape is "the crime of forcefully having sex with someone when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour".
"...The government did not intervene in domestic violence in the past, saying it was a family affair, but it actively intervenes now that domestic violence has become more serious," Bae Keum-ja, a lawyer, said. "If the government fails to deal with the marital rape issue in the name of protecting rivacy, a husband’s privacy may be protected while the wife's will not be," Bae said.

...not recognizing marital rape violates the equality between married women and single women, and infringes on married women's rights to have sex at their own will.
Full article here.

The following from a May article:
Marital rape had not been officially recognized in the nation until last August. In 1970, the Supreme Court ruled "rape does not exist between married couples as they agree on sexual intercourse through marriage."

Thirty-four years after the ruling, however, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced a 46-year-old who battered and raped his wife to two years and six months in prison with a three-year suspended sentence last August.
And the following is intelligent, if dated (1996 - full article):
In 1994 the nation had its first sexual harassment trial, when a young woman graduate assistant at Seoul National University brought charges against her professor for firing her when she resisted his advances. This succession of
incidents made the people aware of the reality of sexual violence and started them thinking about the need for correct sex education and the establishment of a healthy sexual culture.

Traditionally, Korean boys and girls were forbidden to sit together from the age of six. This division between the sexes was believed to be necessary for a healthy society, but on the contrary, it has prevented natural relationships among boys and girls, and distorted values and culture, making male-female relations a matter of curiosity. In a situation where no adult is providing answers to their questions, children and youth have turned to easily available pornographic videos and other materials, along with stories and rumors passed along by friends, and thus acquire distorted views about sexual matters.

And finally, this is from the US State Department's 2004 Report on Human Rights:
Violence against women remained a problem. The Ministry of Gender Equality, established in 2001, reported that more women were coming forward to report abuse. The Prevention of Domestic Violence and Victim Protection Act defines domestic violence as a serious crime and enables authorities to order offenders
to stay away from victims for up to 6 months. Offenders may also be placed on probation or ordered to see court-designated counselors. The law also requires police to respond immediately to reports of domestic violence.

Rape remained a serious problem. From January 1 through September 1, 3,914 cases of rape were reported, and 3,630 cases were prosecuted. Many rapes were believed to have gone unreported because of the stigma associated with being raped. The activities of a number of women's groups increased awareness of
the importance of reporting and prosecuting rapes, as well as of offenses such as sexual harassment in the workplace. According to women's rights groups, cases involving sexual harassment or rape frequently went unprosecuted, and
perpetrators of sex crimes, if convicted, often received light sentences. The penalty for rape is 3 years' imprisonment; if a weapon is used or two or more
persons commit the rape, punishment may be a maximum of life imprisonment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

7 in 10 Singles Willing to Marry NK Women

From the Korea Times last week:

About 70 percent of South Korean single men are willing to get married to a North Korean woman, according to a local matchmaking agency Tuesday.

45.1 percent said that NK women are not as sophisticated as their South Korean counterparts.

28.9 percent cited their "natural beauty"

13.6 percent said that they would be more obedient to their husbands

Regarding the preferred place to take a North Korean woman on a date, 24.7 percent picked an amusement park, followed by movie theater and downtown.

In contrast to South Korean male singles, female singles in the South showed less interest in a North Korean spouse. Only 13 percent of female respondents said they would get married to a North Korean man.

Full article here.

Harry (bloody) Potter

This weekend, amongst divers others things, I read (compulsively!) the first of the Harry Potter series. The American edition that's been staring at me, since a close friend started the latest one a few weeks ago. I read a few pages of it a couple of years ago and didn't think much of it, but there's nothing like a recommendation to get you to give it another try, is there.

Why the title of the book had been changed from the original The Philosopher's Stone to The Sorcerer's Stone is beyond me. According to Wikipedia's definition, the Philosopher's Stone is "a mythical substance that supposedly could turn inexpensive metals into gold and/or create an elixir that would make humans immortal". This is how it's used in the novel, too. Yet the American edition of the book (mistakenly and for no apparent reason) renames this the Sorcerer's Stone. How bizarre.

There were also references to "soccer", "bangs" and "Jell-O". (Would Americans really not understand if these were left as "football", "fringe" and "jelly"?) And certain spellings were changed, such as "centre" and "realised" becoming "center" and "realized". Again, why?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Neruda again / 다시 네루다

Poema 13 - Pablo Neruda

He ido marcando con cruces de fuego el atlas blanco de tu cuerpo. Mi boca era una araña que cruzaba escondiéndose en ti, detrás de ti, temerosa, sedienta.

Historias que contarte a la orilla del crepúsculo, muñeca triste y dulce, para que no estuvieras triste. Un cisne, un árbol, algo lejano y alegre. El tiempo de las uvas, el tiempo maduro y frutal.

Yo que viví en un puerto desde donde te amaba. La soledad cruzada de sueño y de silencio. Acorralado entre el mar y la tristeza. Callado, delirante, entre dos gondoleros inmóviles.

Entre los labios y la voz, algo se va muriendo. Algo con alas de pájaro, algo de angustia y de olvido. Así como las redes no retienen el agua. Muñeca mía, apenas quedan gotas temblando.

Sin embargo, algo entre estas palabras fugaces, algo canta, algo sube hasta mi ávida boca. Oh poder celebrarte con todas las palabras de alegria. Cantar, arder, huir, como un campanario en las manas de un loco. Triste ternura mía, qué te haces de repente?

Cuando he llegado al vértice más atrevido y frío mi corazón se cierra como una flor nocturna.


Poem 13

I have been marking the white atlas of your body with fiery crosses. My mouth went across: a spider, trying to hide. In you, behind you, timid, driven by thirst.

Stories to tell you at the edge of twilight, sad and gentle doll, so that you might not be sad. A swan, a tree; something far away and happy. The season of grapes, the ripe and fruitful season.

I who lived in a harbor from which I loved you. The solitude crossed with dream and with silence. Walled up between the sea and sadness; soundless, delirious, between two motionless gondoliers.

Between the lips and the voice something goes on dying. Something with the wings of a bird, something of anguish and forgetfulness; the way nets cannot hold water. My toy doll, hardly any shivering drops are left.

Even so, something sings in these fugitive words. Something sings, something climbs to my ravenous mouth. Oh to be able to celebrate you with all the words of joy. Sing, burn, run away; like a bell tower in the hands of a madman. My sad tenderness, what comes over you all at once?

When I have reached the most awesome and coldest summit, my heart closes like a nocturnal flower.

To here a spoken version (and for a Portuguese translation), try this link.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Learning Korean - 발음하기 어려운 문장 / tongue twisters

The first one was told to me by my students, who rolled about in stitches when I tried to say it...

▶ 간장공장 공장장은 강 공장장이고, 된장 공장 공장장은 장 공장장이다.
The owner of the soy sauce factory is called Gang and the owner of the soybean paste factory is called Jang.
[Transliteration: gan-jang gong-jang gong-jang jang-eun Gang gong-jang-jang i-go dwayn-jang gong-jang gong-jang jang-eun Jang gong-jang-jang i-da.]

▶ 강낭콩 옆 빈 콩깍지는 완두콩 깐 빈 콩깍지이고, 완두콩 옆 빈 콩깍지는 강낭콩 깐 빈 콩깍지이다.
The empty pod beside the kidney bean is the pod shelled of split peas, and the empty pod beside the shelled pea is the pod shelled of kidney beans.
[Transliteration: gang-nang-kong yeop bin kong-kkak-ji-neun wan-du-kong kkan bin kong-kkak-ji i-go wan-du-kong yeop bin kong-kkak-ji-neun gang-nang-kong kkan bin kong-kkak-ji i-da.]

▶ 내가 그린 구름 그림은 새털구름 그린 그림이고, 네가 그린 구름 그림은 뭉게구름 그린 그림이다.
The cloud picture I painted is a picture of a downy cloud and the cloud picture you painted is a picture of a cumulus cloud.
[Transliteration: nae-ga geu-rin gu-reum geu-rim-eum sae-teol gu-reum geu-rin geu-rim i-go ne-ga geu-rin gu-reum geu-rim-eum mung-ge gu-reum geu-rin geu-rim i-da.]

▶ 한영양장점 옆에 한양양장점, 한양양장점 옆에 한영양장점
A semi-western boutique in front of a semi-British boutique; a semi-British boutique in front of a semi-western boutique.
[Transliteration: han-yeong yang-jang-jeom yeo-pe han-yang yang-jang-jeom, han-yang yang-jang-jeom yeo-pe han-yeong yang-jang-jeom]

▶ 멍멍이네 꿀꿀이는 멍멍해도 꿀꿀하고, 꿀꿀이네 멍멍이는 꿀꿀해도 멍멍한다.
(pig and dog noises)

▶ 저 철창의 쇠창살은 새 쇠창살이다.
The steel bars of that prison are new steel bars.
[jeo cheol-chang-e swe-chang-sal-eun sae swe-chang-sa-ri-da]

▶ 저기 저 말뚝이 말을 맬 수 있는 말뚝이냐? 말을 맬 수 없는 말뚝이냐? 말을 못 맬 말뚝이냐?

▶ 저 분은 백 법학박사이고 이 분은 박 법학박사이다.
That guy is Baek LL.D and this guy is Park LL.D.

▶ 저기 가는 저 상장수가 새상장수냐? 헌상장수냐?

▶ 작년에 온 솥장수는 새솥장수이고, 금년에 온 솥장수는 헌솥장수이다.

▶ 상표 붙인 큰 깡통은 깐 깡통인가? 안 깐 깡통인가?

▶ 서울특별시 특허허가과 허가과장 허과장
Head of the special permission section of Greater Seoul
[Transliteration: seo-ul teuk-byeol-shi teu-keo heo-ga gwa heo-ga gwa-jang heo-gwa-jang]

▶ 앞 집 팥죽은 붉은 팥 풋팥죽이고, 뒷집 콩죽은 햇콩단콩 콩죽이고, 우리집 깨죽은 검은깨 깨죽인데사람들은 햇콩 단콩 콩죽 깨죽 죽먹기를 싫어하더라.

And a few English ones:

Betty Botter had some butter, "But," she said, "this butter's bitter!
If I bake this bitter butter, it will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter, that would make my batter better!"
So she bought a bit of butter -better than her bitter butter-
and she baked it in her batter; and the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter!

Seventy seven benevolent elephants.

Black background, brown background.

Red lorry, yellow lorry.

She said she should sit.

And from the land of the Magyars:
Legkedvesebb megegészségesedésedre!
[(One of many Hungarian forms of) Bless you.]

Öt török öt görögöt dögönyöz örökös örömök között.
[Five Turks massage five Greeks among perpetual pleasures.]

And three I learnt on the language course in Debrecen:

Gyere, Gyuri, a gyufagyárba, gyertyát gyújtsunk!
[Come to the match factory, George, let's light a candle!]

Fekete bikapata kopog a patika pepita kövezetén.
[Black bull hoofs are knocking on the pharmacy's checquered stone floor.]

Sárga bögre, görbe bögre.
[Yellow mug, dented mug.]

Ádám bátyám Uncle Adam
pávát látván seeing a peacock
száját tátván with mouth wide open
lábát rázván shaking its leg
pávává vált. turns into a peacock.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Delayed Reply No. 1

As a reply to the comment by Sebastian Koch on Korean metaphors and idioms, I know some of you out there are already familiar with the book How Koreans Talk. My copy's home in central England right now, but there's a copy at work I've been leafing through lately.

I have a feeling this is the book Sebastian was referring to: "Me han dicho, que en el Kyobo Bookstore se puede comprar un libro sobre frases hechas koreanas con explicaciones en inglés... Desafortunadamente no sé koreano." [I've been told you can buy a book on Korean set phrases from Kyobo bookstore. But unfortunately I don't speak Korean.]

Although I disagree with some of the transliterations in the book and most of the phrases come across as being rather negative, aggressive or resigned, it's a good collection. As usual though, the best way to pick up phrases/idioms like these is probably to actually talk to Korean speakers themselves.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Emmenez-moi au bout de la terre. Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles. Il me semble que la misère serait moins pénible au soleil.

from "Emmenez-moi" - Charles Aznavour

(나를 세상의 끝으로 데려가다오. 나를 신비한 나라로 데려가다오. 내게있어 비참함은 태양 아래에서 덜 고통스럽다오.)

I've always liked this song: listen.

July of '83

I love discovering other webloggers. A new one by the name of July of '83 popped up to post a one-and-a-half-word comment here a few days ago, and I finally got round to reading the blog today. Who would have thought that Existentialism, Soviet history and Seinfeld go so well together?^^

There's a provocative little extract from Nietzsche's The Wanderer and his Shadows that I love:

Hundred-year quarantine. Democratic institutions are quarantine arrangements to combat that ancient pestilence, lust for tyranny: as such they are very useful and very boring.

And I'd also like to say a huge thank-you for reminding me of one of my all-time favourite films, Isabel Coixet's eloquent and heart-breaking My Life Without Me. Yes, I love the rain, too.

Here's the link: July of '83.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

태극기 휘날리며 / Taegukgi (released internationally as "Brotherhood")

I loathe war films. They leave me feeling nauseous, frustrated and, above all, angry.

This particularly horrible Korean war film is a gesture towards the sheer sickening idiocy of war and the horrific illness of the mind that invented machine guns. And continue to dream up ever more brutal weapons.

Thoroughly steeped in irrational military violence and graphic special effects, with the occasional swing to über-sentimental flashbacks, the film tells the story of two brothers forcefully abducted into the war, and also of the millions of others (on BOTH sides of the ideo-geological divide) compelled to fight a war few of them really wanted.

난 전쟁영화를 혐오한다. 구역질 나고 좌절하고 무엇보다도 화나는 느끼게 한다.

이번 특히 끔찍한 한국전쟁 영화는 전쟁의 순전하고 넌더리나게 하는 백치 그리고 기관총을 발명한 지독한 정신중병 표시다. 그리고 더욱 더 비인도적인 무기를 계속 발명한다.

철저히 도리를 모르는 군인의 폭력과 생생한 특수 효과에 배어 있으며 이따금 몹시 감상적인 플래시백으로 바꾸며 그 영화는 전쟁에다 강력하게 납치당한 두 형제의 얘기를 한다. 그리고 거의 아무도 원하지 않은 전쟁을 해야 한 수백만 명의 사람(관념적.지리적 분리 양측이 다)의 얘기.


Since picking up a cheap Sony DVD player from Hi-Mart a fortnight ago, I've been trying to cram a few movie-watching sessions into my busy timetable. A few recent ones of note:

2주일 전에 하이마트에서 싼 DVD플레이어를 산 후에 영화볼 몇 차례 내 바쁜 시간표에다 끼워봐 온다. 주목할 만한 최근의 것:

MaRathon [말아톤] - (Korea, 2005)
A funny and very enjoyable film somewhere along the lines of Rainman or Le Huitième jour [The Eighth Day]. When a loveable autistic guy (acted with surprisingly sincerity) learns to find self-fulfillment from running and signs up for the Chungcheong Marathon, his mother sets about getting his coach into shape.

The President's Last Bang [그때 그사람들] - (Korea, 2005)
Who would've thought you could make a comedy about the assasination of Korea's dictator from 1961 to 1979, Park Chung-hee? This isn't laugh-out-loud stuff, but it does clevery poke fun at the idiocies of the era and the people involved in the killing and its aftermath. The (rather slow) storyline follows the head of the Korean Intelligence Agency and his two closest aides through that inevitable day.

"Chinese" / "중국어"

Once again, strolling the streets as is my fashion, I've noticed the plethora of signs for language institutes claiming to teach "Chinese". Is it only me that finds this remarkably odd? I've not once seen signs for "Mandarin" or "Cantonese" or in fact any other dialect spoken in that vast and populous country up north. Only "Chinese".

Chinese has seven major language groups of which the Mandarin language group forms the largest group. The Mandarin group consists of a wide range of dialects in the northern, central, and western regions. The Cantonese dialects are spoken in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, parts of Hainan, Macau, and in many overseas settlements. The Hakka (Kejia) languages are spoken in Guangdong, southwestern Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hainan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, many overseas Chinese communities, and in pockets throughout Southeast Asia.

(And that's not to mention the Xiang dialects, the Min dialects, the Gan dialects, and the Wu dialects.)

From an English-Korean dictionary:
Mandarin 베이징 관화(官話) [The standard language of Beijing]
Cantonese 광둥(廣東)어 ['Guangdong lanugage']
Hakka 하카어 ['Hakka language']

See, Korean does have words for all of them!

Or from Wikipedia:
The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文) is a tonal language and a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Although Chinese is often regarded for cultural reasons as a single language, its range of regional variation is comparable to or greater than that of the Romance languages.
China ... maintained a common written language throughout its entire history, despite the fact that its actual diversity in spoken language has always been comparable to Europe.

From a Korean dictionary:
中國語 <명사> 중국 사람들이 쓰는 언어. 중국 본토와 주변 지역을 중심으로 한민족(漢民族)이 써 오는 고유한 언어로, 고립어에 속한다.
Chinese noun. The language used by Chinese people. Pertaining to the isolating language particular to the Han peoples of mainland China and surrounding areas.

I can only assume they mean Mandarin.
In that case, where can folks go to learn Cantonese round here?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hae-un-dae Beach, this weekend / 이번주말의 해운대 해수욕장

Haeundae Beach, the St. Tropez of Korea. That is, it's nothing spectacular by way of surf, sand or scenery, it's small, crowded and expensive, but it has THE name. Only 30 minutes from central Busan on the underground [subway] and around 4 hours from Seoul on the new KTX bullet train, this has long been THE area to see and be seen during the summer season in Korea. Every weekend through the summer, people from all over the country, but Seoulites in particular, swarm in, swim around and swan back up to the capital sporting summer tans.

한국의 <생 트로페>인 해우대 해수욕장. 즉, 파도.모래.풍경에 의해 특별한 곳이 아니고 작고 붐비고 비싸지만 이름이 있다. 지하철로 부산 중심부에서 30분만 걸리고 새로운 고속철도인 KTX로 서울에서 4시간쯤 걸리는데 한국의 여름철에 무조건적으로도 보고 보일 곳이다. 여름엔 주말마다 전국 사람들고 특히 서울 사람이 몰려들고 수영하고 여름 썬탠을 뽐내어 수도에다 돌아간다.