7/13/09

Still not muddy in Seoul


I can't believe I skipped this! I was invited to attend--or participate--in the Boryeong Mud Festival. I declined, preferring to stay clean in Seoul for the weekend. I may make the news one day while I'm in Seoul, but I guess this is not what I want to be known for...

The festival runs through July 19 so you still have time to hustle to the event...

I had a relatively quiet weekend, I guess the heavy rain slowed things down. Yesterday I participated in a language exchange group with about 30 people (2 Americans, 1 Chinese, 1 German, about 20 to 25 Koreans). After about 2+ hours, we had dinner, then went drinking for a few hours at a place called 70s Radio. It appeared to be all Beatles, I guess they put on the Best of the Beatles with subtitles in Spanish.
The Long Island Iced Tea was stronger than any I've ever had. I had wanted to try Cherry Soju or Lemon Soju but they didn't sell it there. 8,000 won or about 6 dollars for the Long Island Iced Tea.

I'm not wondering over here!!!

The Korea Times ran a piece from Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee wondering about whether or not Californians are getting paid too much.

I'm not wondering over here! The tax rate in Korea is 3.3%. No sales tax. No tipping.
Koreans Curious about Secret Behind Jewish Education

Listening to Jewish friends talk over the years, they are also curious...

Anyway, there's an article in today's Korea Times featuring the Israeli ambassador to Korea pontificating about why Jews are so great at education.

The most noteworthy items:

"Children are taught to challenge everything, not to take things for granted,'' he said when it comes to education."

"A strict teacher is a bad teacher and a shy student is a bad student,'' which means teachers should not dictate to students, and students should not be shy about making mistakes and asking questions.

East meets West, on an exotic island

There's at least one way Korea reminds me of back home: organizations holding events in really nice places. The Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business on Jeju Island held a forum over the weekend on Jeju Island (which Koreans call the Hawaii of Korea). There's nothing like solving the world's problems after you've been sipping pina colada on the beach the day before.

Ohmae Kenichi gave out some tough love to Koreans and Americans at the event, suggesting that Korea and the U.S. are in for rough times, that Korean companies should focus on their core businesses rather than expanding into other sectors, that the rest of the world should stop relying on the U.S.
They almost got away with it!!!
My favorite section of the Washington Post has always been the Metro section. It is that slice of life not quite worthy of being front page news, but too hilarious to be left out of the paper.
In the Korean equivalent, the National page, we learn that two Korean "businessmen" attempted to buy a company with two forged checks. Checks forged in the amount of about $20 million.
According to the Korea Times: "The two, identified as Kim and Park, both 45, met when they were in prison in May and agreed to 'a big project.'"
Trying to pass a $20 million check is certainly a big project. But why didn't they just try to buy Seoul instead? A $20 trillion check might have at least gotten them in the door to talk with the mayor...
The funny part of the story...they almost got away with it!
According to the article: "They approached another man who was interested in taking over the target company and agreed to jointly invest in it. Providing the deposit certificates as collateral, they succeeded in signing a contract to buy management control of an unidentified Kosdaq firm for 16 billion won. However, at the last minute, the joint investor became suspicious during the process of confirming the validity and asked a legal documentation handling firm to verify the authenticity of the checks."
CJL