Thursday, December 31, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

I'm in a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand right now. Korea will enter 2010 in about ten minutes. I'll welcome it in another two hours. I've not done my gratitude lists for a few days. But here's a list of things over the last few days.

Thursday, December 31 2009
Today I'm grateful for...
  1.  ...Mum ALWAYS listening to me.

  2. ...very kind people I met from Singapore on a tour today.

  3. ...being SAFE and ALIVE here in Bangkok.

  4. ...the  warm messages / e-mails I've received from friends.

  5. family, friends and my health.

  6. ...messages of caution from friends re: Bangkok.

  7. ...SO much more, which I will blog about in detail in the next few days.

  8. gut feeling screaming at me at certain things which I'll blog about later.

  9. ...the e-mail from Hye-jin telling me she's missing me in Korea.

  10. Wi-Fi at hotel!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sex & the City 2 Trailer

Sex & the City 2
I don't know what to say about this sequel, 
except that I just can't WAIT for it to hit the big screen!

Today I'm grateful for...

Monday, December 28 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...walking to work safely in the snow!

  2. ...only teaching 3 classes.

  3. ...having time to prepare for Winter Camp.

  4. ...No-su helping me out again!

  5. ...having the courage to break the ice.

  6. ...walking home safely on the icy roads!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Sunday, December 27 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...being able to chat to my bro this morning.

  2. ...having free time to relax.

  3. ...TEFL site suggestions from DM.

  4. friends for advice/tips on Bangkok.

  5. ...witnessing the beautiful snowfall today :)

  6. ...Fistaz telling me how to do a screengrab from my iPod Touch.

  7. ...central heating - it was minus 8 today!

Today I'm grateful for...

Saturday, December 26 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...waking up feeling refreshed.

  2. ...the weather holding up while I went to Seoul.

  3. ...the kind people at the hotel I called in Bangkok.

  4. Mum for letting me use her credit card.

  5. ...having a good day in Insa-dong, Seoul.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Friday, December 25 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...being able to rest all day.

  2. ...the messages I received from friends for Christmas.

  3. ...the call from my co-teacher.

  4. ...the internet.

  5. ...the food I ate.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Thursday, December 24 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1. classes behaving - especially since I taught alone today.

  2. ...Chang-yun canceling his 3-6 class before lunch.

  3. ...the quick massages I got.

  4. ...No-su buying my ticket.

  5. ...Hyeon-jeong ordering pizza for my after-school class.

  6. ...Mrs Park sending me a Christmas gift.

  7. ...little letters and cards from my students.

  8. ...Joo-hyeon returning my IM with a call.

  9. ...Ip from Splendia getting back to me promptly after talking on the phone.

  10. ...a text from my co-teacher saying she appreciates knowing me.

  11. ...the call from Angelina.

  12. friend HYE-JIN and her husband, HONG-IL. I'll blog more about this tomorrow, but I'm so grateful for them having me over and for giving me a gift.

  13. ...Hye-jin buying vegetarian food for me.

  14. ...Yong-un for introducing me to Hye-jin and Hong-il last year on New Years eve.

  15. ....the cab driver only charging me 15,000 Won for the ride home.

  16. ...Mr Kim (my IT guy) getting out of his car to wish me & for being so lovable.

  17. ...the messages I've received from friends all over the world

  18. ...the food I ate.

  19. (and my family's) health.

  20. reading this :-) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Wednesday, December 23 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...remembering to pack winter clothes to give to a homeless lady I see everyday.

  2. of my colleagues telling me that I'm a good & kind teacher.

  3. ...the chat with FQ about my trip.

  4. ...a nice comment from FQ about my blog.

  5. ...Lilly-sam giving me extra strawberries at lunch!

  6. friend Hye-jin for trying to find tickets for me.

  7. Korean brother, No-su for booking my ticket.

  8. ...all my online friends for recommendations for hotels.

  9. ...the chat with my mum & beginning of our plan for next month!

  10. ...being able to travel anywhere (that's visa-free for now!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Tuesday, December 22 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...Mr Oh giving me permission to run an errand early this morning.

  2. co-teacher buying me a vege-milk drink.

  3. ...good veggies at lunch today.

  4. ...the masseuse giving me extra time!

  5. friends for kind and uplifting words.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Monday, December 21 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1. ...meeting awesome people on write chat this morning.

  2.  ...finding worksheets quickly for 6th graders.

  3. ...finishing 3 stories between classes.

  4. ...My friend Joo-hyeon helping me after work.

  5. ...the chat with DP!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Sunday, December 20 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...waking up feeling OK after a late night.

  2. ...having energy to go out shopping.

  3. ...texts from my friend, J.

  4. friends with travel advice.

  5. I got from the Kindergarten teachers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Saturday, December 19 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...Sun-hwa calling me this morning.

  2. ...Yu-ri sending a text telling me to dress warmly today (it was -11).

  3. friends suggesting good sites for online bookings.

  4. friend, Michael and also Darmesh for the chat.

  5. brother and Hugo sending me pics from my uncles wedding.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Friday, December 18 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...Joo-hye & Mrs Ham giving me their cellphone chargers to use.

  2. ...the energy to teach six classes alone while my co-teacher caught up on other work.

  3. ...Mr Kim, my IT guy bringing my new hard drive.

  4. friend, Hye-jin's hospitality this evening when I visited her.

  5. mum & brother arriving safely in Durban.

  6. ...the food I ate.

  7. ...central heating.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Thursday, December 17 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1.  ...the stationery store across the street from my school keeping packs of pencils for me that I said I'd come and buy this morning.

  2. 3rd graders doing well in their speaking tests.

  3. ...100% vegetarian lunch with my favourites! All the teacher's were happy that I could eat a full meal today :-)

  4. ...the AMAZING party that my Kindergarten class gave me for our last lesson of the year. They've improved so much since the beginning of the year, and I felt a bit sad to say goodbye to them.

  5. ...the Kindergarten teachers preparing the party and for giving me presents. I was really touched.

  6. after school class working hard to finish our coursebook by next week.

  7. ...the lady who owns a baby clothing/toy store who took me to her friend's beauty parlour.Turns out I actually know the friend - small world!

  8. ...the cashier at my grocery store greeting me with, "Good Evening"

  9. mum's e-mail pointing out a mistake in my previous blog post (now corrected)

  10. ...central heating. Temperatures are freezing here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today I'm grateful for...

Wednesday, December 16 2009
Today I'm grateful for...

  1. co-teacher giving me soy-milk this morning.

  2. ...being invited to the Special Needs Class Performance this morning.

  3. mum calling me (even though I didn't talk much - Sorry!)

  4. friend, Angelina calling me.

  5. ...central heating and warm clothes (it was minus 7 today!)

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Tuesday, December 15 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...being helped this morning when the ATM had my card for breakfast.

    2. 5th grade student telling me he feels happy when he sees me :)

    3. ...veggie lunch at school.

    4. co-teacher treating me after work.

    5. friends.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Bahon Ke Darmiyan from Khamoshi

    I'm going crazy that I found this song after so many years. It's from the film, Khamoshi (1996) starring Salman Khan, Manisha Koirala, Nana Patekar & Helen.  I think it was one of the reasons I fell in love with Salman Khan. It's such a beautiful movie that it will make anyone with a heart put a lump in their throat. This song has a lot of meaning if you know the storyline. Had to put it on here - for old times ;-)

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Monday, December 14 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...being able to teach my classes on minimal sleep.

    2. ...the Special Needs teacher inviting me to a function on Wednesday.

    3. co-teacher sharing her rice cakes with me.

    4. ...having the sense to actually dress warmly today!

    5. ...higher powers for making me go to gym.

    6. gym instructor distracting my stalker-student!

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Sunday, December 13 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...waking up.

    2. ...the food I ate.

    3. ...central heating.

    4. ...being able to rest.

    5. ...internet

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Saturday, December 12 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...e-mails and blog comments I woke up to.

    2. ...having an early morning chat with my brother.

    3. ...killing procrastination.

    4. ...meeting some awesome like-minded people online.

    5. ...central heating!

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Friday, December 11 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...having a fairly relaxed day at work.

    2. ...having warm clothes to wear.

    3. ...having  a good meal at lunchtime.

    4. ...someone sharing their teaching material links with me today.

    5. ...kind friends online - from all corners of the world.

    For my mother...

    Note: My mum is back home in South Africa & I'm in South Korea!

    The other day my mum left this comment on one of my blog posts: 
     you are such a great human being you deserve but only the BEST!!!
    you are my inspiration

    My immediate thought was, What?! I could duplicate those very words right back to my mum and still, it wouldn't be enough to express what I feel about her. This post is long overdue, but as they say - better late than never. So for the next few minutes, I will dedicate my time to writing about the angel in my life - my mother.

    Everyone says my mum & I look like sisters. In photographs, many mistake one of us for being the other. For me, this is a huge ego boost because I think my mother is beautiful. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting and knowing her will agree with me. If you get to know her as a person, you will soon realize that her inner beauty exceeds her outer beauty. She is selfless beyond words and her qualities make me beam with pride to be her daughter.

    She is the only person on earth who can empathize and sympathize with me about anything, anytime. Whether she's sleeping, sick or busy cooking, she will make the time to listen to me bitch and whine, cry or talk like a chatterbox that I'm known to be sometimes. Every morning when I check my e-mail I am guaranteed to read a message from my mum either wishing me a good day ahead or complimenting me on my blog.

    I've learned countless lessons from my mother - many of which I'm sure she's taught me unknowingly. I've seen her retaliate unkindness with genuine love and grace. My mother deserves not only the Best Mother of the Millennium Award, but also the Best Wife of the Millennium Award.  If one day I can be even half the wife and mother that she is, my future husband and children will consider themselves damn lucky to have me.

    I don't say it as often as I should, but I'm saying it now for the whole world to hear (read?!) - I love my mother. She has supported me through every single monumental phase in my life. Right from birth to school to university to leaving home when I moved to Korea in 2007. There were other things in between all these 'phases' in my life which nearly brings me to tears as I think of them.

    The only fault I can find in my mother is that she doesn't realize how special, beautiful, loved and appreciated she is. We shouldn't assume that she knows this. Of course, we (her family) are appreciative of everything she does, but it's so important to verbalize this. This is what I'm doing now.

    Everything I am is because of her. My knowledge of dressing, jewelry, skin care, hair care, shopping, running a household (which I'm still learning because I'm single and live alone!) and so much more is all credited to my mother. If you've been following my blog, you'd know that I've been blogging about things I'm grateful for on a daily basis. This entire post is for my mother who I'm grateful to God for.
    I love you, Mummy x

    Happy Birthday, Sean!

    One of my dearest friends celebrates
    his birthday today.  

    Happy Birthday, Sean!!

    Love you >>>THIS MUCH<<<

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Thursday, December 10 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1. not raining this morning on my way to work.

    2. ...having free time this morning to catch up with my writing.

    3. online delivery arriving.

    4. ...super fast Internet speed.

    5. ...central heating!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Wednesday, December 9 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1. co-teacher being kind and giving me snacks this afternoon knowing I'd be hungry since I didn't eat lunch - there was meat on the menu today.

    2. ...having spare time to finally get through my e-mails.

    3. uncle's words of wisdom about 'bending the rules' (see previous blog post)

    4. friend Sarah treating me to dinner after we went shopping.

    5. ...getting a ride home this evening.

    I can't turn children away who want to learn...from me!

    I have to teach 3 weeks of English Camp during the winter vacation.

    Week 1 - 3rd grade
    Week 2 - 4th grade
    Week 3 - 5th grade

    I've run many of these camps before. They're different from regular classes because I teach alone (I teach with a co-teacher during regular classes).
    Image taken from Google Images

    The class limit has always been 20 students. That's a manageable class size.

    Yesterday when I arrived at school, there were about 20 students (3rd graders) waiting outside the English classroom to hand in their reply slip to say if they wanted to attend the camp.  The final count was 22 students. 22 screaming hyper-active 3rd graders for a whole myself?! I figured I could do it.

    A little while later I heard that there were some students who were late to hand in their reply slip. Their homeroom teachers misunderstood and didn't send their students to the English class, so they got left out. So it wasn't even the student's fault!

    I felt very sorry for them, but had to be strict and say no more applications. If I kept saying "Ok, one more student", I'd have to do it again and again. Also, the bigger the class is, the less time I will be able to spend with each one individually.

    This morning I woke up thinking about how I had to reject those few students. A voice inside my head told me that I can't turn children away who want to learn...from me! I had to make a decision - should I bend the rules and allow them all in? I knew very well that I was getting emotionally involved with my work.

    It's hard to divorce your emotions from work
    when children are involved.

    I called my teacher friend on my way to work at 8am and she said that it may be hard for me since I'd be teaching alone. Still - it bothered me.  I decided that by working here in Korea as an English teacher, it's not just a job for me, but it's service I'm providing. When I arrived at work, I told my co-teacher that I will accept the other students who want to join the camp. The latest count is 29 students.

    This made me think of a passage I read in The Unmistakable Touch of Grace, by Cheryl Richardson.

    According to the ancient philosophy of Vedanta, selfless service is called karma yoga, the path of selfless work, wherein every action is offered to God as a sacrament. By doing so, it is said that one eventually attains unions with God.
    I felt so much better after I decided to bend the rules. I shared this story in a chat with an uncle whose advice I always take to heart. I feel so lucky to have mentors - all over the world. He said:

    Some personal issues arise out of this:

    1. If you bend the rules, there is always the possibility that you will be taken advantage of. Are you prepared to accept that?

    2. If you follow the rules by the book, then your personal feelings come into play and can make you feel despondent.

    3. With such a heavy load alone, what is in the best interest for you, is the question to be answered!

      and then..

    4. Your peace of mind comes first, otherwise YOU WON'T BE DOING A GOOD JOB WITH THE FEELING OF HAVING DEPRIVED SOMEONE.

    Well, I know I'm going to bed tonight feeling satisfied about my decision!

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Tuesday, December 8 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...having a lovely bunch of students in my after school class.

    2. ...being able to return various things I bought today.

    3. ...having my family just a phone call away.

    4. friend asking if I'm OK and suggesting we go out tomorrow.

    5. ...the food I ate.

    Today, my planets were anything, but aligned

    Image taken from Google Images

    As this day draws to a close, I realize how strange it was. I felt completely out of balance all day.

    This is my third winter in Korea and I still can't get used to wearing leggings and layers of clothing. It's necessary though, because temperatures drop to below freezing. You only really feel the cold when you're outside, but everywhere else - including buses and subways are heated. Still - it's the kind of cold that nearly numbs you.

    I KNOW this, yet I still opted to wear a fairly thin long-sleeve top under my jacket. When I got to work, I couldn't figure out why I didn't wear my grey waistcoat that I usually wear with this particular top.

    My classes were just average, but my first class of the day, 5-1 were almost non-responsive. They're usually pretty active, but today was just ... blah...

    It was grey outside and I had a feeling it was going to snow. Apparently it snowed a lot in Seoul, and some students told me it snowed a little bit during lunch, but I didn't see it.

    I can't find my gloves that I bought last winter, and I figured that if I was going to buy new gloves I'd buy leather ones.I decided to go to Bucheon after school to do some winter shopping.

    So not dressing appropriately was my first little blunder of the day. And then...  

    • After work I stopped at the ATM and couldn't make up my mind about how much cash I wanted.

    • My bus chip that's attached to my phone snapped off, but it's still useable. I passed a booth where a lady sells these little chips and you can load money (credit) on it to use the bus/subway. There was a pretty orange one that I saw for 5,000 Won. I bought it and loaded 5, 000 Won credit. That's 10,000 spent before I even started my shopping. My co-teacher was with me and told me after I bought it that it was a bit expensive.  On the bus, I remembered that I have another chip at home (brand new). I really regretted buying the new orange one.

    • In Bucheon, I went to the underground shopping mall at the subway station. I knew exactly where I wanted to go to buy what I wanted and needed. First thing - gloves. I didn't get the leather ones I wanted, but I spent 10, 000 Won on a new pair - quite pretty, I thought.

    • Next thing: Leggings / Socks. The poor ajuma (Korean lady) dug around for a new unopened package of leggings, but I decided not to take it. So I chose 3 pairs of knee-high socks. At the last minute, I took another pair. As I dug in my bag for money, I saw the bus chip I'd bought. Would this ajuma maybe buy it from me?! Waaahhaahaa! She looked at me as if to say "yeah right!" Well, it was worth a try!

    • Next stop - buy a scarf. There were a few pretty colours that I saw, and I couldn't decide which one to buy. I settled for a black. Thankful for the man being so patient with me

    • I went upstairs to E-Mart and saw the exact gloves that I wanted. They were 12, 000 Won. I really wanted them, but I'd already bought a pair downstairs. I bought it anyway and figured I'd return the other one.

    • When I went downstairs, the man thought I wanted to exchange it for something, but I said now I wanted to return it. I HATE doing that... but... he did!

    • Then it's time to go home. There are various queues to stand in to catch a bus to my stop. Which one should I stand in? 31-3? 38? I can't make up my mind. I settle for 38.

    • After I arrive at my stop, I decide to try my luck if the lady will take back my bus chip. After all, I already loaded money on it. I speak to her in broken Korean and ask her if she'd take it back from me. She does it with a smile :)  Daaaamn... I'm good!

    • Time to head home. I haven't eaten yet. Should I buy gim-bap (rice/veggies rolled in seaweed)? I can't decide if I'm hungry or not. I leave it and walk home.
    • At home, I notice an un-opened pack of cosmetic powder pads.  And I bought a new pack today - forgetting I already had one.
    Even while writing this blog, I battled forming sentences. While writing it, my friend Sarah called to ask if I can go shopping with her tomorrow. Here's hoping tomorrow will be a better, balanced day for me.  I'm wrapping up today and calling it a night. Love x

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Monday, December 7 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1.  ...having energy to teach 6 classes on approx 2 hours of sleep.

    2. ...good lunch at school.

    3. co-teacher being concerned about Friday's incident.

    4. ...e-mails and messages from all over the world

    5. ...reconnecting with old friends online.

    6. ...central heating / hot water - I think we take these things for granted!

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Sunday, December 6 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1. being Sunday

    2. friends

    3. family's and my health

    4. freedom of speech with my writing/blogging

    5. ...being able to start a fresh week tomorrow

    Week-end Reflections

    After what happened on Friday,I felt better after writing about it and talking to friends.

    I think I may be inclined to believe that Ignorance is Bliss. If my co-teacher hadn't told me what my principal and vice principal were talking about me, it wouldn't have phased me at all. On the other hand, I'm glad I was told. I still can't believe their audacity to speak about me being RIGHT there.

    Up to now, we've been friendly with each other - I'll continue to be respectful but I will definitely be very weary of them (my principal and vice) from now on. 

    I'm just putting it down to ignorance - on their part. And of course, life experience for me.

    This week-end was one of those that just need to be forgotten. I did nothing, even though I was totally up to doing something fun. I was let on Saturday by a friend - yet again. This keeps getting confirmed for me -

    You can't trust anyone and You can't rely on anyone.

    As a result of this, I keep to myself and may seem like a recluse to others. Can you blame me?  

    Anyway - tomorrow is Monday, and a time to hit Restart and begin a fresh week. Hope everyone had a good w-end! Love x

    Do You Remember (Jay Sean) MV

    Jay Sean's music video of Do You Remember (Sean Paul & Lil Jon)
    from his new album, All or Nothing

    Babies Trailer

    Set for release in April 2010, Babies is a movie that follows four babies around the world (Mongolia, Namibia, San Fransisco & Tokyo) "from first breath to first steps". It has stunning visuals and I can't wait to see it!

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Today I'm grateful for...

    Saturday, December 5 2009
    Today I'm grateful for...

    1. ...being able to relax since it was Saturday.

    2. ...seeing the beautiful snowfall.

    3. ...central heating - today was very cold!

    4. brother listening to me vent.

    5. mum making me see reason in things I can't.

    It snowed today!

    This morning, snowflakes fell from the sky and danced past my window. It was quite beautiful and wish I could have shared it with my family & friends. Thanks to my camera and blog, I can!

    TEDx Seoul Round Up

    TEDx Seoul – Ideas Serving Humanity
    A Great Success!

    Text and Photos by Sheetal Makhan

    On Saturday, November 28, 2009 about 270 people gathered at U-Plex in Sinchon, Seoul (South Korea) for the inaugural TEDx Seoul event. The theme was “Ideas Serving Humanity” and had a lineup of great speakers delivering thought-provoking presentations. It was my first experience to attend a TED function and I felt privileged to be one of the few foreigners to attend something that is held globally and boasts speakers like Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Bono and Robin Sharma.

    Depending on their time zones, people around the world logged in and watched the talks on live stream. Others were being kept up to date by Tweeters at the event who were updating their Twitter status'. All talks were also translated real-time from Korean to English and vice-versa.

    The speakers were: (Please click on the name to go to that page)

    Seongbom Kim and Hyejin Jeong :General Doctor
    Bill Dresselhaus : Professor of Product Design
    Dongwon Hong : Art Director
    Kevin Kelly : The Next 5000 days of the web
    Jihoon Jeong : Medical Engineer/Futurist
    Chi-bok Song : Copywriter
    Changwon Kim : Web Industry Expert
    Eungyul Lee : Magician
    Jonathan Zittrain : Social Theorist
    Yeonho Oh : CEO of
    Doojin Hwang : Community Architect
    Jaram Lee : Pansori Performer

    More about TEDx Seoul

    “Ideas Serving Humanity” was the tagline used for TEDx Seoul. It speaks about the virtue of serving people and creating value for the greater good. The event worked on a voluntary basis and was about the art of giving attention as opposed to crying out for it. Stated on the website, “It is about proactive love, unconditional giving and recognizing the beauty around us, which can only be created when one realizes one’s own inner abundance.”

    What is TED?

    TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.” The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creative’s, philanthropists — is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

    What is TEDx?

    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At TEDxSeoul, where x = independently organized TED event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events including the one in Seoul, are self-organized.

    The organizers of TEDx Seoul ~ Fantastic team!

    A week later, organizer of the event, Hahnseok Ryu says that he is happy about the great success of TEDx Seoul, even though it was the first event of its kind in Korea. For many who were involved, it was their first time and it was done on a voluntary basis. He hopes that people got to know each other and share their inspirations from the talks, as he believes this is what ultimately leads to social change.

    He quotes Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” as he talks about being part of the positive impact that TEDx Seoul has clearly had on its attendees.

    The youngest
    attendee at the conference was a middle school student, So-jung Lim who travelled to Seoul from Daejon for the day. In keeping with the core message of TED, “Ideas are worth spreading,” Lim says that she learned that, “an idea is completely useless when you just keep it to yourself.”

    Like many others, including myself, she is already waiting in eager anticipation for the next event to be held.

    This was also published on The Seoul Times

    *Extra information taken from TEDx Seoul.

    Seungbom Kim and Hyejin Jeong - General Doctor

    Seungbom Kim and Hyejin Jeong are General Physicians that comprise General Doctor, situated in Hongdae, Seoul. They delivered an interesting presentation about using design to acheive an intimate doctor-patient relationship. They have reconstructed a clinic into a café with an attempt to reconfigure their tools, environment and communication to create the most human-oriented medical experience.

    Patients often go into a clinic with pre-conceived ideas of a general consultation with a doctor, which Kim & Jeong regard as “old communication.” By transforming their clinic into a café, this can be turned into “new communication.” Instead of waiting in a clinical-like waiting room before seeing a doctor, patients are able to read books or play with the clinic’s pet cat while they wait to be attended to.

    The medical practice is ultimately based on “humans helping humans” but with the increasing use of machinery and impersonal interaction between doctor-patient, this element has been lost. General Doctor aims to bridge this and strive towards a doctor-patient relationship that is primarily based on intimacy and communication.

    Think about when you visit your doctor. He/she asks you questions about the nature of your illness or pain, how long you have had it for, what you have eaten over the past few days, if there are any medical complications in your family and many other things. We spend quite a while telling the doctor all this information, but as General Doctor says, “No matter what story the patient tells, it is not written down in medical history.” The doctor only extracts certain words of the patient that he needs to write down. To counter this, General Doctor considers that patients record their own notes about their conditions, therefore allocating a full 30 minutes per patient.

    The duo should be commended for their innovative ideas to transform what is usually a scary experience for a child to visit a doctor into something that seems like they are playing. One such idea is their stethoscope doll – a doll that actually has a stethoscope in it, so that a child needs to just hold the doll to their chest and the doctor can go about their job.

    Bill Dresselhaus - Proffessor of Product Design

    Bill Dresselhaus is a Joint Invited Professor of Product Design and Mechanical Engineering at Hongik Univeristy. He is also a former lead designer at Apple.

    As stated on the TEDx website:

    “Bill has conducted many successful workshops in design thinking and process with a variety of groups ranging from learning-disabled high school students to Korean business professionals."

    Bill is passionate about using design as the action response of caring for others. He believes that, “design is a natural, innate human need. It must foster and develop in everyone for designing a better world.” He goes on to say that, “It is now the task of design educators and trained designers to facilitate and coach that revolution with education design experiences for all ages.

    Dongwon Hong - Art Director

    Dongwon Hong is an art director who specializes in design and claims that Hangul (Korean type) is his obsession. From the beginning of the 20th century, Koreans have experienced great progress with IT technology. Hong delivered a fascinating presentation on the design of keyboard layouts and the intensity of each finger we use when typing on a keyboard. We use our second and third fingers with our thumb the most as these fingers have been “assigned the most text.” Think about how we are now using our thumbs more than ever when texting from a mobile phone.
    Hong asked the audience to hold their hands up and try to move each finger individually. For many, the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger could be moved quite easily, except for the little finger. He also made the point that, “If you were falling off a cliff, you wouldn’t use the little finger” as he tried to make the point that we seldom use the little finger when typing.
    He believes that there will be an opportunity in the near future that we can develop a new cell phone layout. For newer generations, we would need a new way of typing Korean characters. He touched on how Koreans have adopted the western keyboard layout without making many changes to it.

    Kevin Kelly - The next 5000 days of the web

    There was a TED video presentation by Kevin Kelly. He is the co-founding executive editor of Wired Magazine and the former editor of Whole Earth Review. Kelly’s presentation was titled, “The next 5000 days of the web”

    “We’re creating ONE MACHINE,” Kelly emphasizes as he talks about computers, hand helds and other gadgets which we can’t seem to live without these days. He believes that by 2040 the web will exceed humanity in power and that all our cameras, microphones and cars will ultimately be connected to this “one machine” he talks about. He goes on to say that “the web is a black hole, sucking everything into it.”

    Kelly spoke about the numerous social sites available on the web where we are always having to tell them who we are and who our friends are. We shouldn’t have to do this and he believes that we should carry our relationships around via these networking sites.

    You have to be OPEN to having your data shared which is a bigger step than sharing your webpage.” Kelly also says that, “Total personalization requires total transparency.”

    We are a transforming culture. We can’t imagine ourselves without the alphabet and writing – a technology that has changed our lives. Our dependency on these things are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, we should embrace it.

    “So – the next 5000 days: It’s not going to be the web and only better, it’s going to be something different. Firstly, it’s going to be smarter, it will anticipate what we’re doing – in a good sense. Secondly, it will be more personalized. Thirdly, it will be more ubiquitous in terms of filling our environment. We will be in the middle of it. All these devices will be portals into that. It’s a One.”

    According to Kelly:

    There’s only One machine.
    The web is its OS.
    All screens look into the One.
    No bits will live outside the web.
    To share is to gain.
    Let the one read it.
    The One is us. We are in the One.

    Here is the video presentation:

    Jihoon Jeong - Medical Engineer/Futurist

    Jihoon Jeong is a medical engineer and futurist who believes that expanding thoughts and sharing them with one another are ways of making this world a happier place to live. Jeong says that human beings emit the energy that opens up a new future. It is so powerful that it will speed up a new era of innovation.

    What is social web? Jeong asks. It is the connection of people. The social implementations of this kind of interaction results in things like Twitter Parties There was a Twistval that was held recently where people were able to make donations. This resulted in about $250,000 being donated to Ethiopia. This proves how social networking sites have positive aspects to them.

    Chibok Song - Copywriter

    Chibok Song is a copywriter and was the campaign manager for the former South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun. When creating an ad, Song asks himself, “What is the essence – of the product, the consumer, the situation?” By working through this question, Song has created successful ad campaigns for Hite Beer, SK, Hyundai credit card, Samsung automobiles and the successful 2002 presidential campaign for Roh Moo-hyun.

    Song speaks of The Law of Universal Magnetism, saying that every being has magnetism that can attract other beings. “Once you are drawn to the magnetism, you will change yourself.” Whatever other people do or however the world changes, you will still be attracted to that being, because once you are exposed to the charm of one being, you will also get magnetism.

    You need communication to convey the new truth,” says Song. He believes that, “If you want to communicate to change, you must remember the subject doesn’t contradict itself.” You then have to change the angle. When you view a subject form many different angles, you form a deeper appreciation.

    Chang W Kim - Web Industry Expert

    Chang W Kim is a web industry expert, blogger, and conference organizer. He dedicates himself to introducing web innovations of Korea/Asia to the world, through his blog (Web 2.0 Asia) and his contributions for various global media including CNN.

    Chang says that, Today, the US is all about the virtual goods, but Koreans are used to this from the 90s. He went on to say that Cyworld (a Korean social networking site) precedes Facebook by 5 years.

    Chang impressed the audience with various statistics, one of them
    In Korea, 47% of Internet users download 55 movies a year illegally.

    He touched on the big news that the iPhone is coming out in Korea very soon and joked by saying, ...finally at least we're beating Qatar! The iPhone has apparently been nicknamed the next month phone!

    Chang ended his presentation by saying that ...with iPhones and Twitter [being used increasingly in Korea], Koreans are giving a chance to global services.

    Eungyeol Lee - Magician

    Eungyeol Lee is an award-winning magician and the first Korean to win the FISM World Champion of General Magic.

    Taken from the TEDx Seoul website:

    “At the young age of 21, he became the first Korean magician to perform abroad. In 2003 he was the winner of the World Magic Seminar held in Las Vegas, and in 2006 he was first Asian to place first at the World Magic Olympics. Since then he has been awarded countless major prizes proving the potential of Koreans on the global magic scene.”

    Lee had the audience sitting at the edge of their seats during his performance on stage. He draw a picture of a bird on a canvas which he “turned into” a real parrot that flew into the audience. It flew back to him on stage and was placed in a “time machine” where it came out a third of its size.

    This was a hit with the audience:

    Jonathan Zittrain - Social Theorist

    There was another TED video presentation, this time by Jonathan Zittrain who is a social theorist. His presentation was titled, “The Web as random acts of kindness” which touched on issues about the Internet being made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.” 

    Here is the video presentation: