Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our past, too important to lose!

CAE writing practice :)

I was given this specific topic to write an article in my writing class and it should be done in 40 minutes. That's why I can't deny this article isn't well-written, but I want to share this with those who are learning English like me. I think it'd be quite helpful for CAE students in particular.

You have had a class discussion on why it is important to preserve the past. Now your teacher has asked you to write an essay giving your opinions on the following statement: 'We should spend more money on preserving our past - it is too important to lose.

Write your essay in 200-260 words.

Our past, too important to lose

It is said that knowing our history is so important that we should make more efforts to preserve our past. But is it really necessary to do so?

On the one hand, there are some people who insist that we have already spent enough money and would rather invest in more practical fields such as education or medical services. Supposing we had developed new technology with the money, we would have improved our lives more. Or it may have been better to give away that money to charities since we can immediately see how wisely the money is spent. Moreover, we have not got any useful result from preserving out past, although a great deal of money and time were used. We are living in the present and going to the future, not the past. That is why they say it is a complete waste.

On the other hand, it is widely thought that the past reflects us who are living in the present and shows the future as history has repeated all the time. For this reason, if we are aware of our past well, we can get a better understanding of the way we live and think, and prepare for what will happen in the future in order not to make mistakes again which caused problems before. Furthermore, our past is not only ours, but also our future generation’s. Just because it does not seem important for us at this moment does not mean that they will not need to know about the past. It would be a vital resource for them.

It seems to me that it is absolutely necessary for us to preserve our past, because there are more things in life than simply being practical. Therefore, I agree with the statement that we should spend more money on preserving our past – it is too important to lose.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happiness is a state of mind!

CAE writing practice :)

I was given this specific topic to write an article in my writing class and it should be done in 40 minutes. That's why I can't deny this article isn't well-written, but I want to share this with those who are learning English like me. I think it'd be quite helpful for CAE students in particular.

The people producing your college magazine want to make it more interesting for everyone, and have asked students to submit an article for the next edition with the following title: Happiness is a state of mind!

You decide to write an article, explaining what you think makes people happy and how they can achieve this.

Write your article in 220-260 words.

Happiness is a state of mind!

Are you happy? It's quite a difficult question to answer straightaway in deed. How about this one?: 'Do you think you would be happy if you were the richest, the most good-looking, and the most popular person in the world?' According to an article I read, money, beauty, and popularity have little to do with happiness which you wouldn't expect.

However, there are some things happy people tend to have in common. Those things are not 'wealth' to allow them to buy whatever they want, 'appearances' to attract people, nor 'fame' to make others look up to them. In fact, happy people consider an expression of their appreciation and positive outlook as the crucial keys to their happiness, which means it's not from the outside, but from the inside.

Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates what they possess and sees things around them in a positive way as happy people do. Then, how can we be happy if we're not that sort of person? It's said that the way we think and act can change when we make an effort.

It's no exaggeration to say that we are all finding our happiness. Then, here's the answer: happiness is up to how you think and feel, because it's just a state of mind.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where are the Korean Royal Family?

The biggest issue here is the UK Royal Wedding these days. I turn on the TV whenever I'm in the kitchen, and I've already watched the same wedding ceremony nth times. 

Then, I got to wonder what had actually happened to the Korean Royal Family. My history teachers used to say they'd all died.

Is it true?
The answer is NO.

I searched all the sites for the truth and what I found out was most of descendants of the Joseon Dynasty ruler had lived unfortunate, unhappy, and miserable lives since the Joseon Dynasty had perished, just because they had royal blood. 

> Yi Seok, Prince of the Joseon Dynasty

> Yi Won, the formal head of the Korean Imperial household

> Yi Jin, Princess of the Joseon Dynasty

Nevertheless, there are still some descendants as you can see the pictures uploaded above, trying to preserve the Korean royal culture in their own ways. That doesn't mean that they have an ambition to recover their power again, though! They insist that this is one of the ways to preserve the Korean heritage and it'd be more meaningful and persuasive if one of the descendants of Emperor Gojong, the last King of Korea, explains the history in Gyeongbokgung, the royal palace of the Joseon period, for example.

As long as what they do plays a symbolical role, I'd agree. Moreover, I believe there's something only they can do as royal descendants but it should be limited to something relevant to Joseon history.

Anyway, I feel like I get to know about Korea more thanks to this :)


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yuna Kim - World Champs 2011 FS 'Homage to Korea'

Yuna Kim's 'Homage to Korea' in World Champs 2011 FS!

Am I the only person who thinks this performance is deeply moving? Is this just because I'm a Korean? It's very impressive that she performed to the Korean traditional folk song 'Arirang' as an expression of her appreciation to all Koreans, who cheer for her all the time! That's why the title of this music is 'Homage to Korea'.

She's always stunning and beautiful, but especially in this performance, she's more gorgeous. I can't help being proud of her. Thanks, Yuna♥

Homage to Yuna Kim!

Should Koreans maintain the Cherry blossom festival?

Watching of cherry blossom was introduced to Korea during Japanese rule. The festivals continued even after the Japanese surrendered in WWII, but have been contentious, and many cherry trees have been destroyed because they were seen as symbols of the occupation. However, there has been considerable confusion about the origin of the cultivated Japanese cherry trees and the differences between them and native Korean trees. Certain trees at Seoul's Gyeongbok Palace were cut down to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Japanese surrender in World War II. Although Cherry blossoms are already indigenous to Korea, Japan had planted trees on sacred and offensive locations in the Palace. Once the offending trees were cut down the festival continued with the indigenous trees. The cherry blossom festival at Gyeongbok Palace is one of a number of such festivals across Korea and is prominently advertised to tourists.

In 1933, the Japanese botanist Koizumi Genichi reported that the Japanese Sakura (Somei Yoshino) originated on Jeju-do island (Quelpaert). In 1916, Ernest Henry Wilson had thought that "Japanese Sakura (Somei Yoshino)" was a crossbreed of the wild species of Japanese Sakura ("Edo higan" and "Oshima zakura"). In 1991, Professor of Tsukuba University Iwasaki Fumio reported that "Japanese Sakura (Somei Yoshino) originated around 1720-1735 by the artificial crossing in Edo (Tokyo)." Recent studies conducted on the comparison of Korean and Japanese cherry blossoms concluded that the two trees can be categorized as distinct species, but the Korean species apparently has not yet been given a scientific name.

- Wikipedia

Recently, I happened to think about the Korean cherry blossom festivals. 

Not only do Koreans enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom, but we also like to take part in lots of events, watch many performances, feel the lively atmosphere in the festivals, I presume, as my friends and I do. Oh, I miss having typical Korean street food in snack stalls..! And I still have a portrait which was painted 15 years ago by a street painter in the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival. I mean the festival is now more than just a festival - it's very important culture that we enjoy as it is. We think that it's natural to visit a cherry blossom festival in spring - it's kind of a way we celebrate spring coming!

I won't deny that there are some arguments about whether we should maintain these festivals which are considered as the vestige of Japanese colonial rule and it's true that the Japanese government made cherry blossom tree-lined streets in Yeouido and Jinhae. On the other hand, it's also said that there's no problem at all that we're enjoying OUR flowers. Many species of the cherry blossom that are now very popular in Japan originated from Korea unlike it's thought all kinds of them are from Japan. Traditionally, we used the cherry blossom as timber, not as decoration, though.

In my opinion, we should preserve the festivals as we've done. Although they were started not by ourselves, it's already become a part of Korean cultures now. I just hope that it's maintained in the Korean way, not following how Japanese do. To be honest, I have no idea about how the Japanese cherry blossom festivals are, but I assume that they aren't that different from Koreans do since it first began in Japan.

I left Korea just before cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and regretted not having been in Korea at that time. If I'd known that I wouldn't be back to Korea for a few years, I'd have put off going abroad.

I miss Korean cherry blossoms! T_T