Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moving This Blog Page to KeopiJuseyo

Due to an unforeseen overlook on my part about learning the language, I had inadvertently created a (funnily) "incorrect" name for my blog.

Thus I have rectified it by moving the entire blog to a name directly reflective of the perspective the blog is coming forward from and into.

So kindly head over to:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Droptop and Blacksmith Restaurant - IU's drama

Currently I am up till episode 23. Against the backdrop on the drama, these food places keep appearing since IU was working in the Blacksmith Restaurant (supposedly Italian food). And DropTop Cafe where the "players" keep meeting up or having a drink. I don't know where is the sundaeguk restaurant near her home.

Anybody knows where does IU do the hike to collect spring water? It is supposed to be walking distance from her home, since she went with her grandma and mother and elder sister Hyesin.

Why current mind with respect to the drama: 어떻게
What's going to happen next?! What will happen when IU finds out her real mother is the teacher?

Wow: this is a drama that perhaps everybody in Korea has watched it diligently, according to the census ratings, TV ratings report in Wiki.

This is perhaps my fourth or fifth Korean TV drama series. The first one was by Ha Jiwon, "Secret Garden". That got me started seriously thinking watching Korean drama will surely improve my understanding and learning process of the language. I watched another Ha Jiwon's drama "King 2 Hearts" in HD. It wasn't as fascinating due to the fact the story was part comedy, part serious (I like the types of show Ha Jiwon involves in usually about patriotism and unification), part black ops, part sad drama/romance. So it was strange for a scene Ha Jiwon was so sad and disappointed and crying, then another scene soon after, she is making her funny usual way.

This is a sample of what she does best, from 100 Days With Mr Arrogant (내사랑 싸가지 ) :

Today was Lesson 2 Level 0 at Kongbubang

Today was Lesson 2.
It was mainly revision since the actual teacher wasn't here. But we got up to the "final consonant" section, and also a good revision of the "w" sounds.

It was perfect. Cause one word that is 100% teochew appeared. What is "sin"? 죄 (ju-aey) I previously had written some discovery of similar words from Korean and Teochew and compiled them haphazardly based on discovering it, there and then, and whenever I had good internet to update. So I guess I will port them over or tidy it up. It's currently still there are: ""

Kongbubang's FB Group page:

Lessons are 1000 Won for cost of material/rental/volunteer, Saturdays 4pm.

After the lesson, I walked to Yongsan Electronics Market but it was quite a disarray and many shops closed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IU is Lee Sunshin

After learning more hangeul, I am able to decipher some interesting facts about my current favourite Korean drama. When the hallyu craze set forth along Thailand in 2004, I was still busy with my online work in the internet cafe, whereby I had just 2-3hours max (due to laptop battery life in those days), but I can't stop noticing the people in the cafe were listening and watching Korean movies, drama, songs. This Thai cafe attendant, she kept singing some songs and now I remember them: I Think I (by Byul).

The last 1.5 days, the internet was down. (see previous post)

So I have been watching several episodes of "You Are The Best, Lee Sunshin". (I am not using the Soon Shin transliteration cos it's very American ie. using common words like "soon" to replace actual translation. The reason is, soon (pun not intended), you'll end up mixed up in the mind still thinking in English words. E.g. when you see "sundae" you will think it is a sweet dessert).

So "Sunshin" is better. Similarly this happens alot in Thai transliteration whereby it messes up your language learning. Like "kao paad puu" (rice fried with crabmeat) becomes the very wrong "cow pad poo".

IU aka Lee Sunshin

Due to some restrictions by KBSWorld, they only allow a slather of "10 minutes" preview of each episode. I was making up the drama by my own imaginative drama to connect the dots of the next 50 minutes per episode, and some basing on flashbacks of the next episodes. Deconstructing the episodes backward to fill the gaps!

I am at Episode 19 now. Still waiting for IU's debut. Oh, Lee Sunshin's debut music video with "K-O-K".

Another new fact: Lee in Korean is just "i" ie. "이"

Miracle in Room No 6

Here are some photos of my room. Simply great. I get lots of shelves, wardrobe, hanging bar, strong bed, WiFi and LAN, fridge, TV, mirror. I found a stack of clothe hangers on the top "recycling section". I guess many students move in and out. And some just left their still in good condition stuff for others to use.

Top shelve with small packets of "kim"
(seaweed/laver like 6 thin slices per pack weighing 2 grams)
Some Koreans just take it and slab some rice and eat as a snack or meal

Fridge with Cheonyeon cider bottles and bokbunjajoo wine (red bottle)

WiFi and LAN was down for a day ALT soloution

The WiFi and LAN was down for a day plus. The alternative remedy was to tap into some free WiFi signal to have some temporary respite from the drought of bits and bytes.

I used an Aztech WL556E Repeater combo to get some B20 (bits 2 O instead of H20 got it?).

Since it is very weak signals all around, I used several methods. When one fails, I changed to the other. Else I go for a walk.
First method: Using Repeater mode by scanning a best open signal and repeating it. This mode can restrict by MAC address, so if I only wanted MY devices to get the signal boost, I can.

Second method: set as a bridge. Bridging another WiFi signal, then using the LAN port to draw the bits onto my laptop. This will render the other devices netless. But at least I could still continue to do real stuff on the laptop.

Deciphering Monster Baby Setue

Walking the walk around Hongdae, and eating mainly convenience store food (kimbap, dosirak), it came across me that there should be western fast food ie. burgers and fries. I saw the attractive local joint called "Lotteria". It's brightly coloured and have similar use of colour scheme like other fast food burger joints. It's not Lottery - topia. (from Insectopia).

Meandering the small roads to the supermateu that I frequent, I came downwards to the subway area and found on the corner a Burger King shop.

I was impressed by the menu layout. The "Hero Set" is priced within a set of dosirak's price. Between 3600 and 3900 KRW.

But my language skills are not at a comprehensible conversational level yet. Level Zero according to Kongbubang. (see Kongbubang label)

So today, after I got my internet running again, I was determined to break at least part of the code. I saved up the receipts and began to do it.

The first receipt was the one I wasn't liking so much. It turned out to be: Dalrim Seteu. (

The next, is "Monster Baby Seteu". (몬스터베이비) I wouldn't have thought of that creative name. There was a (C) next to the Monster Baby word, and initially thought it was "Set C". It is the copyright logo!

So with that deciphered, I cross search online using the Korean scripts instead of previously searching "Burger King Menu Korea" that ended up results from Insectopia.

Wow, I found a treasure trove of the King's ransom. Burger King's own fan club. It is or not, the photos don't lie. Specially taken photos, updated with the brilliant menu that I can only see in the Burger King's counter top yet ashamed to want to take a photo of it since there is a long queue and staff were wondering why a "Korean" man couldn't read well. Is it a guy from "Miracle in Cell No 7"?

The link:
By: (Bromilife)

This card was for me.
How to use it? Points, discounts?
Plus a wet-towel compliments of Burger King Hero Set.

Coffee cafe Korean culture

It is an amazing fact that there are possible 1 million coffee shops, cafe, stands, kiosk, club in Korea. My attempt to count them today justifies that number. Just north of Exit 9 across to road OFF the Hongdae area towards Worldcup-ro/Jandari area, I thought of just taking a walk when it wasn't too hot.

Within minutes of walking, there is a CU convenience store. Then up appears a Kona Beans Coffee Shop. This is swanky upscale looking coffee shop. Beautiful interior and bright lighting, thoughtful arrangements of the wooden chairs and seats.

Walking into the street behind the main facing one, there appears small "sole proprietorship" owned cafes. But they are as immaculate and beautifully decorated as these big chained shops. Nice wooden settings, well arranged seating, illuminated lighting, complimentary wifi. Prices are similar from 2000 Won to 5000 Won. There's no policy of "time's up" or "you shouldn't linger here too long". They love you to be seating there all there even with just one cup of coffee.

Looking at the smaller establishments, it seems some are subtly more quiet, without patrons. My mind thought of finance. Is it possible to survive and make decent profit, what with (likely) high rental cost? Comparing similar setting in Malaysia, or Thailand, a little coffee space would have cost thousands. What with the designer boutique look of even the smallest joint?

Here are some photos (using Xperia L since I didn't bring my camera out today) of the coffee culture in Korea. It is everywhere. Every street corner there is one.

And a rhetorical quiz: how many coffee cups should a cafe sell to break-even per day?

PlayCafe Sketchbook - creative name, art people will love to hangout here

Inside and making use of the triangular space.
No space is wasted. Lighting, chairs, minimalist flooring, and always clear glass.

Small kiosk built on the side of a building.

This cafe has ample of car-park space.
Big glass, bright lights, cosy seating.

Indoor and outdoor, still bright lights, glass.
There was only 1 customer inside.

The customer was seating at a corner.
Likely engrossed in the free wifi.
Clean furniture. And clean cafe counter. So many things, yet so tidy.

Another outdoor seating coffee cafe. There is surely 1 million coffee cafes in Korea.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learn Hangeul from crazy little things

Today is Hangeul Day. To a Korean eye, hangeul scripts are as natural as eating rice.

Your WiFi usually is secured with some AES encryption and/or TKIP? These are 128 bits encryption and would take 50-100 years to break using brute force attack. So imagine, now we need to learn some basics of Korean to be able to un-encrypt the Korean scripts to able to read signs and logos and coffee shop menus! So it's going to be fun when you think of it this way.

Here are some pictures of daily Korean life, crazy little things (that people usually disregard or discard):

Let's decipher this encrypted code.
1) First there are two words. First word is 2 blocks.  
2) Next word consists of 3 blocks, left and right, and then 1 underneath. 
3) First word: first letter is (almost) "l" sound and the next is "a" sound.
4) Next word: first letter is "m" sound, next to it is something "yeo" sounding. Remember when there are two lines, the sound will start with "y" added in the front? The bottom part is "n" sound.
5) Put them together, "la" "m-yeo-n". You get "ramyeon". Apparently the "l" letter will sound more "r" when it is the first consonant, but will sound very "l" when it is somewhere in between or ending of a word. Such as "hangeul" 한글

Tomorrow is Hangeul Day

Hangeul Day is a public holiday in Korea. It is the day to celebrate the creation of the super-unlocking codes of the Korean hieroglyphic system.

To explain to the lay person: Imagine ancient Egyptian wall paintings with dozens of similarly drawn symbols of animals, vegetables, cats, and finally there is a true meaning  to decipher. We get Indiana Jones or someone from the Mummy movie to decode it.

What if these codes are already unlocked? All you have to do to understand is to piece the puzzles together. The make it simple, usually the blocks of code are now arranged either 2 pieces per word or 3 pieces.

Another analogy or storyline is this. During the ancient times, the actual scripts used by the Middle Kingdom (zhong guo) and lands around the region is called hanja, or hua wen. It is essentially mini drawings of mountain (山 - doesn't it look like a mountain?), fish, people, objects, three-drops-of-water, etc. The ruler from the Joseon region thought of simplifying these for the commoner. In ancient times, most people are serfs or farmers, there's not much chance of education. So he cleverly devised a unique simplified system, that can be adapted and learned by common people in zero time. Hence, the creation of Hangeul.

Normal traditional hanja (chinese scripts) will take at least 5 years to master 20 000 words to be sufficiently proficient in the language, reading, writing, and dissemination of knowledge. Since each "mini drawing" is almost unique to each other, essentially a lay person would have to master 20 000 different paintings. 20 000 divide by 5 years, then 365 days, it means on average of mastering just 10 words a day, you need 5 years to master all of them.

So back to Hangeul, the scripts are now in blocks of 2 or 3. It's no more painting though it still does looks like that at some point. But essentially it is a soundless (no phonetics) system, flattened (instead of skeuomorph). 19 consonants and 10 vowels are building blocks.

To put it into practise, after deciphering the alphabets (minus the w sounding ones) mostly I can now read very slowly sentences, signboards, menus, or Kakao messages.

My T-Money card with Hangeul

Sunshin IU wanted to give her teacher red bean fish snacks (bunggeoppang...

Scene from IU's TV drama. Featuring the bungeoppang. Fish shaped red bean paste snack.

In my hometown Muar (Mapo), we have something similar too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hongdae Treasure Hunt this Sat 12th Oct

After not sleeping so early last night due to a very strong Khawah "rich mocha chocolate" coffee, my brain was in a storm, and when it settled I had to finally piece the project together. It was quite positive, I was able to put them in words plus the background setup.

After putting the finishing lines, it seems I had slightly forgotten my other schedule on Saturday, my Korea Level 0 class at Kongbubang. Finally checking the exact time, it is still fine since the class starts at 4pm. The treasure hunt should have been completed by 2:30pm.

Date: 12th Oct Saturday
Time: 1pm to 2:30pm
Meeting spot: Exit 9 of Hongik University Station, but walk straight for 10-15 metres away from the crowded entrance (KFC side), and cross to the Olleh shop.

Things to bring: 2 USED coffee cups; e.g. the ones from the convenience stores like "Khawah, French Cafe, Baristar".
Bring 1000 Won for materials, prize, misc.
Bring smartphone/camera. Perhaps pen/paper but since people use their phones to write, I guess it might be redundant.
Some goals: make friends since we'd be placed into teams. Team dynamics is a good space to show communications skills, leadership, orientation, getting to know people.
Purpose and Theme: will be revealed(!)

Winner: gets special mystery prize
Others: too will get some consolation
And everybody: will win new friends!

Join here:
Event page:

BONUS: After the event, since it's Hongdae area, the participants can group to go for food, barbeque Korean style (galbi-jib), have a coffee in the 1024 cafes in the whole area, or plan for some night life, drinking, jamming, appreciate some street art, take photos. Talk. Tons to do with ample of bonus time!

EXTRA From past experience:
The previous Treasure Hunt (Scavenger Hunt) some of the shortcomings was it was packed with finding many stuff and hardly getting to know the people, plus the time used was rather long. The list of items was comprehensive to start with, but then it became a battle to finish it (cos the winning team got some free meal). But with the Sword of Damocles task, our team didn't really interact but just going to find objects and taking photos of it. One guy even had a super awesome pro camera. Heavy stuff. And he was adamant to win.

BUT, it was all ended with a vague way of calculating the winner, and seems the whole effort wasn't reciprocally fun. My teammates were great people. But we didn't have much time to mingle. There was a dinner afterwards to reward the winning team; it was a bit too crowded to make conversations. And everyone's energy level was disappearing.

ANYWAY: let's have fun and make new friends for this event

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Playing Risk 2210AD Boardgame Changcheong dong

We had a fun little time playing board game, RISK 2210 A.D. in this world of fast internet, Xbox One, Android and IOS games, going back in time to play "traditional" yet complex games is a fun journey of real life interaction. Through the game, we battled some global warming temperatures by adjusting window and airconditioning, fought flu virus, using traditional ointment, enjoyed grapes, talked about EPL, ordered "chinese" take-away that does delivery by motorcycle right to your doorstep and will collect the dishes the next day.

Looks like from a game I used to play.
"Ancient Art Of War" by Broderbund.
(aka. Sun Tzu's L'art de la Guerre).
Has any of you played or heard this game before?

Very colourful board and pieces.
Enjoying the ultra-long introduction and rules.
Was so eager to start some battle!

Black is the new black.
Chinese-style black bean noodles.
Onions, meat(pork/beef), green peas and lots of black bean sauce.
Always fashionably tasty.

The winner gets the box of kimchi I brought over.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Welcome to KoppiJuseyo - Coffee Please Korean Style

Now today is the "official opening day" of the blog.

Welcome and 안녕.
Feel free to write any comments, suggestions, questions.
Even send some requests.

Using Canon SX40 and my signature "Happy Dog" postcard.
At Coffee Me Up.

Learn Korean at Kongbubang today Lesson 1 Level 0

Even though I have some idea of the alphabets, vowels and consonants, I have had some difficulty with the vowels in the "w" range, ie. the complex vowels. So this afternoon, I head over to the Gal Wol Centre near Sook Myung Women's University to attend a Korean class by the team "Kongbubang".

‘Hanguel Kongbubang’ literally means Korean study room in English.

  • Some of you, if you have stayed more than one month, you might have heard of some names ending with BANG, such as Norae-bang and Video-bang. Bang means a room in Korean. A room is a private place where you feel comfortable, as you already know. 

Their website is:

Firstly, during the registration or enrollment process, the facilitator assigned me to Level 1 after giving me a quick pop quiz of my reading ability.

During Level 1, I told the teacher about my self-learning and thus unorthodox method that resulted in not yet mastering the "w" or complex vowels segment. I could read normal writing mostly slowly and fine. He was adamant for me to sit on and continue. While thinking if I never made the vowels correctly, PLUS the double "Lower" consanant segment basics, I might confuse myself even further. So within minutes, I decided I should do the unthinkable and look for "Level 0". It's not "O" Level as in GCE, but Level Zero!

It was on the top 6th floor, and actually the view was great. The room was very hot due to the sunlight and a hot sunny day, plus the window panes were directly letting sunlight through. The teacher was Kim Hyang Mi.

We started the basic, vowels, fine here. Korean scripts are a very structured hieroglyph. Double lines then you add a "y" sound. So for example a word with ka, becomes kya, when there's double lines on the vowels.

Next 10 minutes were about the complex vowels. Usually these tricky chips are sounding in the vicinity of "w". "Wa", "wae", "wae" (again? Yes if you watched KWOW there's the episode that explains the usage), "wo", "we", "wi", "ui".
KWOW: Learn Korean 2 Alphabets, Basic Consonants and Vowels

We continued until double consonants and finally ended with a 10 point quiz.
There were about 8 people in the class.

Original Level 1 class setup

View from Level 0 class.

Great city scape. Sook Myung Women's University area.

The big tower on the mountain -Nam San.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Koppi Juseyo officially launching tomorrow

Besides the initial encouragement from Kul, I made a point to make a good blog with content. Some blogs I wrote previously either succumb to the vortex of some blackhole, or the thief of time coming over and grabbing the materials by the throat.

This time, my strategy was to put up at least a week's worth of articles. Then only do an "official launch", thereby inviting others to come and enjoy it.


Korean toddler at the Grand Children's Park.

My favourite fish ice cream.

Changdeokgung images - architecture of a Korean palace

Enjoy the photos!

A different more complex kind of politics

After meeting with several Korean artists, we talked a bit about politics. Korean politics. And they asked about mine side of the story, plus views about Korean politics.

In a short concise manner, I really respect the positives in the management of the Korean country. So roughly the management is the politics of it, and the people. While I do understand some dis-satisfaction with certain elements, and subsidies and pensions.

So the other coin is the complex politics where I come from that they want to know a bit about. It is a religio-politico-race complex kind of predicament that was quite astonishing to their ears. The saving grace is the vast variety of food and perhaps sports.

Not dwelling into the chambers of Political Science, here are articles you can read about and find out more:
Rising polarisation:
I believe we Malaysians are now living in a much more polarised country where race, religion and politics are concerned. The politics of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat has sharply divided the nation. The "Allah" and forced conversion issues brought religion to the forefront of daily conversations and show rising intolerance. Malay rights group Perkasa and others have removed any pretension or embarrassment to take extreme and bigoted views of race.

Affirmative action that distances people by religion, called bumi-putera system whereby citizens are not given same rights, e.g. having to pay 10-20% more for housing.

Snatch theft deaths:
A 70-year-old woman slipped into a coma after she sustained head injuries during a snatch theft involving two men at Jalan Gajah Berang here last Friday.
State CID chief ACP Raja Shahrom Raja Abdullah said the woman, from Taman Asean Malim, fell and hit her head on the road, and was now at the Malacca Hospital's intensive care unit.
The victim was walking with her sister about 10.20 am when two men on a motorbike snatched her handbag containing RM50," he said at a press conference here Tuesday.

Exponential rise in shooting (gun) crimes:

Everybody is hanguk saram (힌국사람). Everybody is equal.
BUT: in Malaysia, some are more equal than others.

Local Foreigner Project Seoul

This afternoon, my program was to join a project titled "Local Foreigner Project" Seoul, organised by Kim Soon Young, from team Playmakes.
I'd like to invite those who are interested in making and sharing your story while living in Seoul to our 'I'm a Local Foreigners Story' 1st workshop! 

I am curious to know how foriegners percieve this place and what you're pursuing and doing here. I was also a local foreigner when I'm abroad, and I could find myself looking at the culture differently with my own perspective. I realized that when we live abroad, we tend to have our unique stor,y being a local and foreigner at the same time. 

I'd like to invite all friends from different nationalitys to meet and to find how you guys' life like here. In the workshop, Playmakes will provide a Local Foreigners' Treasure Kit to document your daily life during your stay in Seoul. 

The meetup location was at a fine coffee house named "Coffee Me Up", a cosy coffee house operated by owner Kim Dong Wan. FB page link:

When I arrived, there was a mini interview going on by the organiser, with another participant Elsa from Taiwan. The photographer/videographer was Choi Kyoung June.

Will wrote in detail in my next post. Here are some photos.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Meetup with artist Lee Yun Jung aka FeelYes

From a previous post.

We had a great time sharing about life experiences. Our similar "great big trip" - her France trip was one of her dream planned 10 years ago. We talked about how to use the basic camera to replace the unavailability of a scanner. We talked about politics that are from our perspective. We discussed about postcard, how to get people involved or wanting to write a postcard.

I talked about setting an "artist hideout" whereby it's more than just a guesthouse or homestay. But allowing the chance for an artist (be it painter, musician, writer, yoga teacher, illustration, script writer, photographer) to stay and have enough space to sort out their creativity. Then they eventually could publish, present, make an exhibition at the place itself. She said positively eventually it could be a "must-go-to-place"!

Even talked about the Last Life In The Universe scenario of the "coffin therapy", whereby the participant(s) is to have a solemn reflective time thinking of their life, their last day, and beyond. It's quite a psycho-analysis or self-psychology, break-through psychology, and a bit of art and discovering one's self. Interesting? I can't write more, because it's still work-in-progress.

Back to the NESA cafe, we were served some Korean traditional snacks too! Look at the plate. Plus since we say for over 1.5 hours, the owner came and offered another round of fusion tea.
NESA Space Designers: the address I cannot be 100% but it's around Wausan-ro 29da-gil. (there are several similar sounding alley, the change is just the "da" to "ma" or another sound)

For creative ideas, illustrations, postcards, painting:

She wanted to use the regular camera to "scan" her creations in France.
The problem: There seems to be a curvature/vignette when taken too close.
Solution: Instead of going near, set the camera far yet on a straight plane.
Take the shot.
Then re-crop!

Good view from the top. Cosy environment.
Night view of NESA.

Hi Seoul Fest Oct 2013

Yesterday while walking in the Changdeokgung and Insadong area, I decided to walk to the place I stayed previously Somerset Residence to read some "business news" and taking some photos there. Then I made a point to continue towards Gwanghwamun area. Even though I've been to Gyeongbokgung, the area directly in front of it, the waterfall, statue of King Sejong and Yi Sun Shin are the ones I've missed out.

It's officially Autumn. 

Upon reaching the area, there were some performance on a makeshift stage towards the west of the statues. I was given a leaflet. This is Hi Seoul Fest October 2013. Apparently for the Autumn session. There are 4 festival per year. Wow! So much celebrations going on top of the public holiday which was National Founding Day.

In the leaftlet, one particular section I am interested is the "Off Program".

Hi Seoul Festival 2013 launches "Off Program" which is for the artists participating voluntarily and communicating freely with audience".

Among the ones I find amusing and might want to watch:
The water fight show (too old war): Non verbal performance showing the hostility and conflicts among people through water fights. By "The theatre feel-tong". (5 Oct, Sat, 4pm, Cheonggye Plaza) Chyeonggyecheonro, Cheonggye 3-ga.

Bibap: Highlight performance of "Bibap", a non-verbal performance based on using the Korean traditional meal, bibimbap. By "Persona Inc". (5 Oct, Sat, 13:30, 15:00, 17:30, Seoul Plaza, Seoul Citizen's Hall)

Somerset Residence courtyard

Very peaceful surrounding.

Performing Gentleman routine.

King Sejong (Sae Jong Dae Wang)