Natureade Total Soy Weight Loss Shake Review

Naturade, Total Soy, Weight Loss Shake, Chocolate, 1.2 lbs (540 g) - iHerb
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Rating: 4.5/5

I ordered Natureade Total Soy Weight Loss Shake for the first time about a year ago from iHerb at approx S$20 with some hesitation. I’ve tried protein shake of another brand before, and 1) the chocolate flavor was too sweet for me 2) I had to increase my water intake to prevent constipation.

My main reason for choosing this protein shake was because it was sold at iHerb, which seems to sell organic, healthier products. I spent some time browsing through reviews of products sold at different websites, not wanting to suffer from scary side effects of low quality protein shakes I’ve read about on the news.

The day this protein shake was delivered to my house, I scooped a full spoonful of the powder into this iHerb blender bottle:

iHerb Goods, Blender Bottle with Blender Ball, Green, 28 oz
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and added some white milk.

By the way, if you use the iHerb blender bottle, you’ll have to close the white lid real tight until there’s a sound! Or you’ll have to share some of the protein shake with your floor 🙂

The shake tastes quite good, like a slightly thick chocolate drink. (It doesn’t taste as good with water)

Every individual has a different body type so I can’t say this applies to everyone, but personally I haven’t experienced any side effects (eg constipation) for the 1 year I’ve been drinking this protein shake.

Basically my take is that this protein shake’s a pretty good substitute for a meal!

My 5 favorite Korean Vloggers

With all the fast-paced and eye-catching video clips out there, it’s nice to watch slow-paced, calming vlogs once in a while. Here are my 5 favorite Korean vloggers I’d like to share with you!

1. day지현 (150k)

Park Ji Hyun (born in 1996) is a graduate of the Waseda University (Japan). She appeared on “Heart Signal Season 3” (2020) and on the first day, already made all the men on the show fall head over heels for her.

When I saw her in episode 1, I was amazed by her beauty- I can only imagine how the men of Heart Signal would’ve been awestruck by her!

After Heart Signal came to a close, Ji Hyun created a YouTube Channel. In her vlogs, she shares with her viewers how she spends time cooking (she’s a great chef), studying, working out and going out with friends.

Instagram: jeehyun._

2. Ondo (1.03m)

Ondo (real name unknown) is a vlogger who started out vlogging because she just loved taking photos and videos in her free time. Her vlogs are calming and aesthetically pleasing. Most of the vlogs show her cooking, going to work and spending time with her cat.

Instagram: on_do__

3. 로하Roha (518k)

Roha is a housewife in her 20s who’s equipped with incredible household skills- from cooking to arranging household materials and a fashion sense that makes her subscribers wonder what are the clothes she’s wearing.

Her vlogs make me want to whip up a meal of Korean cuisine and serve it on a beautiful platter!

Instagram: bemybela

4. 바라던 바다 BADACHANNEL (subscriber number unknown)

Born in 1999, Ha Ba Da is only 21 but she’s already graduated from uni (enrolled when she was 17 after home schooling) and started her own company!

She doesn’t upload her vlogs according to a regular schedule, but when she does update her channel, she shows herself at work (#CEO!), going out with friends, going to the salon and occasionally posts Q&As too.

Instagram: bada_ha

5. Jihyunkkung (1.44M)

Jung Ji Hyun is a fourth year uni student. In her vlogs, she cooks, goes to school, does part time jobs and meets up with friends. Her videos are simple yet popular- she already has a whopping 1.44 subscribers as of now!

Book “The Confidence Game” good quotes

I bought and read “The Confidence Game” by Maria Konnikova a few days ago. It’s an insightful and easy to read book that explains the psychology of con artists, and delves deep into how they manipulate victims’ emotions. (FYI this book was awarded the 2016 Robert P. Balles Prize by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry)

The Confidence Game - The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It  Every Time by Maria Konnikova – Canongate Books
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Maria Konnikova is a 36 year old Russian-American writer who has a B.A. in psychology and creative writing from Harvard University and a Ph.D in psychology from Columbia University. She’s written other books like “Mastermind: how to think like Sherlock Holmes” and “The Biggest Bluff: how I learned to pay attention, master myself, and win”.

If you’re interested in behavioral psychology, this book would be a really fun read for you! Here are some great lines from the book that I’d like to share:

Maria Konnikova (Author of Mastermind)
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~ * ~

“Persistent immoral behavior can be thought of as an alternative evolutionary strategy that can be beneficial at low rates in society. By lacking the emotional experiences that serve to deter immoral behavior, and by using deception and manipulation, individuals may be able to successfully cheat their way through life.” 

There’s another word for this calculated- inbred, even- nonchalance. Psychopathy, or the basic absence of empathetic feelings for your fellow human beings. It’s nonchalance brought to a biological extreme.

…con artists…are they just slightly more devious versions of our more conniving selves? …just a simple matter of degree?

When psychopaths experience something that would shock most people…their pulse stays steady, their sweat glands normal, their heart rates low …failed to engage the same emotional areas as non-psychopaths when making difficult moral decisions.

Narcissism entails a sense of grandiosity, entitlement, self-enhancement, an overly inflated sense of worth, and manipulativeness. 

A narcissist will do everything necessary to preserve his image. 

It is possible…to possess all the tents of the dark triad, and then some and still not turn to con artistry.

Psychopaths, narcissists, and Machs may be overrepresented in the grift, but they are also overrepresented in a number of other professions that line the legitimate world. 

..genes load the gun; the environment pulls the trigger. 

A single traumatic event or a baseline of stress at home or at school could both, in theory, interrupt normal development and make the psychopathic traits you were genetically predisposed to more likely to assert themselves… 

For most people to go from legitimacy to con artistry, three things need to align: not just the motivation- that is, your underlying predisposition…but alongside it, opportunity and a plausible rationale. 

The behavioral norms of a company, culture or setting- how it is and isn’t acceptable to act- must be communicated clearly and unequivocally. When they aren’t, it becomes too easy for those on the cusp of fraud to take the next step. 

…cognitive load may come from many other areas, not just deceptions. Even with microexpressions, there is no surefire way of knowing whether someone is actually being untruthful. 

Some were obvious…gullibility, a trusting nature, a proneness to fantasy, and greed were perceived to be the traits that set victims apart …As it turns out, a good con artist will upend all of these expectations. 

When it comes to predicting who will fall, personality generalities tend to go out the window. Instead, one of the factors that emerges is circumstance: it’s not who you are, but where you happen to be at this moment in your life.

People in debt, in fact, are also more likely to fall for fraud that’s completely unrelated to finances, like weight-loss products. 

…it’s often hard to calibrate your reading of social cues in a new environment, especially when that environment is unlike any you’ve previously encountered. 

Risk taking and impulsivity need not be stable aspects of our personalities; they are intimately tied to where we find ourselves emotionally at any given point. 

Con artists are often the best marks because they think themselves immune. And that false sense of immunity extends to victims more broadly: the better protected you are and the less likely you think you’ll be a victim, the more you’re apt to lose if a con artist can find a way to earn your trust.

That’s what grifters are particularly good at: looking at a sea of faces and finding the one, who at this point in time, would be the perfect mark. 

“Most people are intuitive psychologists in their daily lives- wondering why people think or behave as they do.” 

There’s…”ordinary personology”. We look at basic physical features, like gender, age, and height, at facial structure, at skin tone, at body language…at clothing. 

…mind perception- being able to tell what others feel, what they desire, what drives and motivates them. We listen to their words and their voice, read their gestures and their tone, infer between the lines to get a sense of their inner world. 

But practically, we remain superbly egocentric in all our judgments. 

People, however, are far from being a homogeneous mass. And so, when we depart from our own perspective, as we inevitably must, we often make errors, sometimes significant ones. 

…”egocentric anchoring”: we are our own point of departure. We assume that others know what we know, believe what we believe, and like what we like. 

Those who were better at reading threatening cues also felt worse about their partners and marriages by the end of the study. The less accurate actually came out ahead- as did their relationship satisfaction. We never learn to expert people-readers because that expertise can backfire spectacularly. Why form accurate judgments when the inaccurate ones make our lives far more pleasant and easy? 

…one central factor that can override most shortcomings and make us far more accurate at figuring out who someone is and what makes her tick: motivation. People who are motivated to be accurate, whether financially or personally, suddenly become far more adept at reading faces, bodies, and minds alike. In one set of studies, people in powerful roles failed spectacularly at reading others. 

He was using lines that would fit almost any job description, and dilemmas that most any youngish woman in the earlier stages of her career would most likely ask herself. Who doesn’t worry about the future of their career path? Who doesn’t think these days that their industry is in a state of flux? Who hasn’t thought about leaving it all behind? 

When it comes to ourselves, we employ a fine-grained, highly contextualized level of detail. When we think about others, however, we operate at much higher, more generalized and abstract level. 

…con men don’t just want to know how someone looks to them. They want to correctly reflect how they want to be seen. 

We are more trusting of people who seem more familiar and more similar to us, and we open up to them in ways we don’t to strangers: those like us and those we know or recognize are unlikely to want to hurt us. 

When we like someone or feel an affinity for them, we tend to mimic their behavior, facial expressions, and gestures, a phenomenon known as the chameleon effect. 

In one study, seeing someone once, however briefly, even with no further interaction, made people more likely to agree to something later asked of them… 

They had changed…”from hostility to the Black Bag to curiosity and finally to friendship.” The Black Bag hadn’t done anything, said a word, or interacted with a single student. 

…could exposure without conscious processing accomplish the same thing?  

Zajnoc called it the mere exposure effect: familiarity breeds affection. And affection is a fount of the personal information so essential to the successful put-up. 

We like it when feel someone knows the “real” us. 

All a con artist needs is to do his homework. 

But then he made one slip too many, and fell as quickly as her rose, to be replaced, in short order, by the next miracle worker. 

…even as he perfects the put-up, he knows how to make us even worse at reading social cues than we normally are….put up the mark all the while making sure he can’t do the same thing right back. 

Things that trip us up…include pressure- time, emotional, situational- and power. When we’re feeling pressure, we grow far less able to think logically and deliberately. 

There’s nothing a con artist likes to do more than make us feel powerful and in control: we are the ones calling the shots, making the choices, doing the thinking. 

That way, he could glean all he could from them, and they, in turn, would be too flattered to scrutinize him too closely. 

…people who were reminded of money, even in passing, ended up paying less attention to others, and, indeed, wanted to put more distance between themselves and others. 

…the marks, in a certain respect, come preselected. Just by walking into the parlor, you’ve shown yourself to be open to belief and suggestion, and you’re obviously searching for an easy answer to your problem or situation. 

The bad grammar and seemingly implausible notes: those aren’t from stupidity. They’re actually well thought out beforehand. Scammers have learned the hard way that notes that sound too legitimate hook too many fish, making the weeding-out process incredibly costly. Now only the true sucker falls for the pitch. 

Conveniently forgotten were the instances where he had real power to do harm. 

Each put-up is tailored for you, so while you may understand its operation in general, in your particular case you are unlikely to see it coming. 

“…but if my mind, which has been so keenly trained for years to invent mysterious effects, can be deceived, how much more susceptible must the ordinary observer be.” 

They don’t mess with just any beliefs; they mess with the deepest beliefs we have. 

…the most intelligent among us succumb all too easily. 

Governing our reality are two systems, one emotional, one rational. And the two don’t follow the same rules. 

If you accept that those types of instant judgments are essential to our continued survival as a species, you, in a sense, accept that feeling precedes thinking. 

How we say something ourselves, even if we’re asked to do in the absence of any genuine emotion, can often boil over into how we ned up feeling. Merely smiling or frowning, for instance, changes the pattern of blood flow to our brains …a psychological change in our emotion that can come quite close to mimicking the genuine artifact. 

…we can frame experience in two ways: propositional and narrative. Propositional is the part of thought that hinges on logic and formality. Narrative, on the other hand, is more like a story. It’s concrete. It’s imagistic. It’s personally convincing. It’s emotional. And it’s strong. 

The best confidence artist makes us feel not like we’re being taken for a ride but like we are genuinely wonderful human beings. 

The con artist, after all, often gets what he wants without ever having to ask. 

We believe because we want to. Con artists are just there to spin the yarn. And even when we think they’ve told their last, they have the uncanny ability to resurface. 

Pathological liars lie for no reason at all. For them, lying is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or may point to a deeper psychopathy. 

Pathological liars lie for no reason at all. For them, lying is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or may point to a deeper psychopathy. 

…she crossed a social taboo. An area so rife with emotion that to lie about it would be to betray our trust in humanity…because of the power of emotion, such taboo ruses are far from unique in the confidence game; many a play revolves around the topics that no one would dare question. 

It’s a quintessential Machivaellian dilemma. Do the ends justify the means? 

The way I process the information will be colored by my emotion all the same. 

….affect heuristic: we make decisions based on whether we feel that something is “good” or “Bad”, without much conscious analysis. 

…affect pool. We then act not just based on the current moment but based on the associations with all the prior moments like it, be they good or bad. 

…any emotional arousal will cloud our judgments to some extent. It makes us unthinking and it makes us unthinking and it makes us malleable. 

Arousal can compel us to act against our long-term interest- because, in the immediate term, we suddenly can’t quite tell the difference. The most primitive parts of our brain take over the rational. 

In those moments, you’re less likely to deliberate, more likely to just say yes to something without fully internalizing it, and generally more prone to lapses that are outside the focus of your immediate attention. 

Some people don’t see the signs of fraud, true, but he felt, this couldn’t be the fundamental reason. If it were, there wouldn’t be nearly as much diversity as the victim pool.

It was…a question of visceral influence: greed, hunger, lust, and the like. 

…ignore scam cues that may be obvious to others not so overwhelmed by desire. 

It’s not always enough to make us emotional; you have to think ahead and tailor the approach with the eventual touch (the actual moment of fleecing the mark) in mind. 

Irrational fears trump rational reasoning. 

The single most persuadable type of driver: the one who had just experienced a wave of relief following anxiety. 

…more likely to give money to a stranger asking for a donation after they’d heard a police whistle when they’d been jaywalking. 

Fearmongering knows no expiration date. 

…all persuasive strategies could be categorized into two types. The first, alpha, was far more frequent: increasing the appeal of something. The second, omega, decreased resistance surrounding something. 

…can convince me of something by making me want to approach it and decreasing any reasons I might have to avoid it. 

The funny thing is…the approach worked even if the person doing the requesting the second time around was someone else: doing a small favor seemed to open the door to being nice, generally speaking. It’s one of htthee reasons con artists work in gangs. 

…one of the elements that make us more vulnerable to persuasion is our desire to maintain a good image of ourselves. We want to behave in a way that’s consistent with the image we’ve created. 

…if I’ve helped you before, you must be worth it. Therefore, I’ll help you again. 

People who were approached with a that’s-not-all story…were more likely to buy into it than those who heard the great offer right away. 

Disrupt-then-reframe attacks the evaluative part of the process: we don’t have a chance to give a proper assessment because each time we try to do so, the situation changes. 

A request for a tiny amount of money legitimizes you in the eyes of others. 

If you’re looking for a tiny donation…not the type of person to go all tricksy on me. 

Pose something as unique or rare, and takers will line up where there used to be none. It works for goods. It works for information. It works for almost anything. 

We often obey power reflexively, without ever quite stopping to reflect on why we’re doing what we are and whether it is, in fact, something we should be doing. 

The Internet…made establishing a trustworthy identity far simpler than it ever has been. All you need to do is create a firm social media presence- the more accounts, the better… 

….the order effect…is but one of the many elements of decision architecture- how information is presented to us- that can get us to make decisions in a very precise way, and not necessarily in a way that corresponds to our stated preferences. 

In many cases, our choices aren’t based on some innate preferences. Instead, they are constructed at any given moment by a combination of situational factors. 

Evolution of K-drama female leads

Photo credits. Lee Da Hee in “WWW” as Cha Hyun

Cha Hyun works at “Baro”, a fashionable and trendy search engine/tech company (think “Google”).

She’s smart, talented, confident, diligent and is respected by her colleagues. She also has a good salary, drives a good car, and knows she’s pretty and competent.

Photo credits

When she finds out her boyfriend has been two-timing, Hyun doesn’t hesitate to whack him on the head with her work iPad (ouch)

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When a pervert in the elevator touches her inappropriately, Hyun just beats him up to a pulp. (Ouchhhh)

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When her senior at work she respects the most makes questionable decisions, Hyun is not afraid to speak up.

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She smashes the car of the person who manipulated the search rankings of the search engine and caused her colleague to be sacked.

But at the same time, Cha Hyun isn’t afraid to express her soft side. She admits her mistakes, accepts Bae Ta Mi as a true colleague and friend despite the two of them having once been workers at rival companies.

She also adorably tears up when her boyfriend Sul Ji Hwan has to go to the army and openly fan girls over him when he appears on TV.

Photo credits
Photo credits. Kim Da Mi as Jo Yi Seo in “Itaewon Class”

Jo Yi Seo’s smart, fashionable, clever, witty and hardworking. At the start of “Itaewon Class”, she’s a high school student who tops her class in grades, sports and music. She’s also a power blogger and Insta influencer.

When a group of girls in her class bully a girl, she takes a video of the incident and uploads it on her social media. (She’s also an influencer.)

When the irate mother of one of the bullies visits her and slaps her across her face, Yi Seo slaps her right back. When called out by a teacher for this slapping incident, Yi Seo remarks, “So I should have just stayed there doing nothing? Because she’s an adult?”

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When Yi Seo meets Park Saeroyi, she trusts her gut instinct telling her that he has potential to be a great success. With faith in herself, she decides not to go to uni despite being accepted into the most prestigious unis in Korea.

She boldly decides to work for him, to make him succeed, in exchange for a percentage of profits generated from his restaurant Dan Bam.

She’s not afraid to admit her mistakes and actively learns from the experience and insights of her Dan Bam colleagues. She also boldly, clearly confesses her feelings to her boss Saeroyi.

Photo credits

She learns to sympathise, to care for those around her- but she’s no doormat. When Jang Geun Won, a man who killed her boss in a hit-and-run tries to scout her into his company, she records his confession about how he’d covered up the accident. (And pours hot coffee on his face when he tries to attack her). When a guy at a bar keeps chasing her and hits her, she hits back.

Photo credits. Shin Hye Sun as Lee Yeon Seo in “Angel’s Last Mission”

Yeon Seo’s been through one tragedy after another. She lost her parents in a car accident, lost her eyesight, and consequently lost her career as a successful ballerina. She also loses her secretary, the only person she trusts, to a suspicious accident.

She’s beautiful and ultra rich, but has a sharp tongue, overtly suspicious of everyone else, seemingly cold hearted, vicious and unforgiving.

Throughout the drama, she learns how to let down her guard, to forgive and accept others.

But she also makes sure that she gets back Fantasia Foundation, the ballet foundation that she rightfully has ownership of, and ensures that those who were responsible for her loved ones’ deaths are put behind the bars.

~ * ~

The trendy K drama female lead looks quite different from the trendy lead of just 5-10 years ago.

The present day’s female lead is strong, a person of her own who doesn’t wait for a rich heir (usually of a big conglomerate company) on a white horse. Rather than simply yielding to occasionally unreasonable requests and demands of others simply because they’re older, she stands up for herself.

She is kind and sympathetic but is no longer a doormat. She is not afraid to show her emotions and learn from her mistakes, but doesn’t just wait while the male lead navigates her through twists and turns of various obstacles to their love.

While not all of their methods of standing up for themselves (like slapping someone back or smashing someone on the head with an IPad or smashing someone’s car) may not exactly be desirable in reality (they’re illegal), this change in the trendy K- drama female lead has come about because it brings so much catharsis for the Korean and of course the international audience who are sick and tired of female leads who are just flowers in the dramas.

I’m relieved and happy that K-drama female leads are changing. This change both reflects and reinforces a change in the ideal/accepted type of woman in Korean society, and in the world, too. Women can be weak, can cry and can rely on others, but we can also very well stand up for ourselves, be smart, clever, funny and strong on our own too.

Din Tai Fung (Paragon Singapore) review

Just a few days ago, I visited Din Tai Fung, located in B1 of Paragon Mall (Singapore). Named one of the world’s top 10 best restaurants in a 1993 New York Times article, the restaurant maintains its position as a go-to place for many around the world, Singapore included.

Try out a meal at Din Tai Fung just once and you’ll realise that it completely deserves its popularity!

I’ve been eating at this restaurant at least 1-2 times a month ever since I moved to Singapore 10+ years ago.

It’s the restaurant I take my friends from Korea to, one I would hop by before shopping in Paragon, or recommend to anyone who asks for good eateries in Singapore.

The reason I still love this restaurant even after 10+ years of patronising it is straightforward: it has al the qualities that a good eatery should have that are simple but not easy to achieve.

1. Good food

The most important element that surprisingly, quite a few food outlets do not have.

You might have preferences, but once you do choose the food of your preference from the restaurant menu, you’ll like what you taste.

A must-try menu- the layer cake, a sort of steamed bread one can peel off layer by layer. The top and bottom layers are slightly chewy and the middle layers are soft.

2. Good service

Unsurprisingly, most of the staff at the restaurant speak Mandarin. But they’re friendly and helpful even for those who don’t speak Mandarin (like me)!

There are some staff who speak English, and even those who speak only Mandarin offer their assistance too!

3. Hygiene & cleanliness

The waitresses, waiters and chefs are attired neatly. Especially for those who work in the kitchen, they are fully armed with gloves, hair nets and necessary gear.

The kitchen is an open one through which all equipment and actions are visible. I can fully trust that the food made and served at the restaurant was made in a hygienic condition.


Hope you enjoyed my brief review (or just my thoughts on why it’s such a good restaurant hahah) of Din Tai Fung! If you did please give this post a “like” and check out my other posts on “Han Style”!

Cheers, Han Seol :))

“Queen Cheorin” (2020 drama): Historical context

tvN’s airing 20 episodes of “Queen Cheorin” on Saturdays and Sundays from 12th of December to 14th February 2021, starring two of my very favorite actors Shin Hye Sun and Kim Jung Hyun!

(FYI, K-drama lovers are commenting how this is a tragic combination of Yeong Eun Soo of Forest of Secrets and Gu Seung-jun of Crash Landing On You- both beloved characters who died at the end of the dramas)

First “Start-Up” with Nam Joo Hyuk, Suzy and Kim Sun Ho, and now “Mr. Queen” featuring these two actors with visuals & insane acting! Wow, tvN’s really spoiling us 🙂

This drama is categorized as a “fusion saguek/historical comedy” drama, and the moving posters & teasers already reflect much of the “comedy” aspect! It’ll be refreshing to see Shin Hye Sun in a comedy, given she’d just recently starred in a dark legal film called “Innocence”. (She’s a lawyer trying to prove the innocence of her mother, who’s been diagnosed with dementia.)

Innocence (Korean Movie - 2018) - 결백 @ HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and  Drama Database
Photo Credits

“Mr. Queen” (Korean title: “Chul-In Wang-Hu”, literally “Queen Chul-In”) is about a 21st century man called Bong Hwan who ends up in the body of Queen Cheorin (Shin Hye Sun) of the Joseon era. He meets King Cheoljong (Kim Jung Hyun), who has the facade of a pushover, foolish king that harbors secrets to change the country.

I’m a fan of K-historical dramas, especially because despite being Korean, I grew up (and am still growing up) in Singapore and didn’t have any opportunity to study Korean history in an official curriculum.

It’s fun reading historical records/books on Korean history, but it’s also interesting to learn about history (albeit indirectly) through historical dramas!

So let’s take a brief look at the historical background of this upcoming tvN drama :))

Queen Cheorin (or: Chul-In)

Photo Credits. Actress Shin Hye Sun

In 1837, Queen Chul-In was born to her father Kim Mun Gun and mother Yeo Heung Min. Her father Kim Mun Gun was a royal official in the position of overlooking the affairs of the relatives of the king and queen.

Kim Mun Gun persuaded the king at the time, 20 year old King Chul Jong, to marry his 15 year old daughter, with the aim of increasing the power and wealth of his own family. With the king’s acceptance of this offer, Kim’s daughter became the queen of Joseon in 1851.

Image result for 철인왕후 스틸컷
Photo Credits

In 1858, she gave birth to a son, who mournfully, passed away after 6 months due to an unknown cause. In 1864, the king also passed away. 14 years after her husband died, the queen passed at the age of 41 from tuberculosis.

Photo Credits

Queen Chul-In never involved herself in politics, or stood up actively for her family/clan. She spoke sparingly and did not reveal or express her emotions readily, and was highly praised for her dedication to caring for the king’s grandmother and the previous king’s wife.

King Chul Jong

Photo Credits. Actor Kim Jung Hyun

Born in 1831 as Lee Won Bum, King Chul Jong was born in a royal-blooded family that was not exactly treated as a proper royal family. In 1786, his grandfather was accused of treason against the throne, driving the whole Lee family to exile. Unsurprisingly, Lee’s family members were not even given proper titles (usually given to royal family and to relatives of royal family).

Although his father passed away when Lee was 10, Lee led an ordinary life with his two older brothers- all until when he was 14, his oldest brother was executed for royal treason.

According to the law at the time which executed or exiled all related family members of those who attempted treason against the throne, Lee Won Bum and his second brother were also exiled to Gang Hwa Do. (Hence Lee Won Bum’s nickname, “Gang Hwa Do Doryeong”, or, “Young Master of Gang Hwa Do”)

With just his second brother left as his family, Lee Won Bum spent the next 5 years of his life not as a relative of the royal family but like an ordinary commoner, farming and cutting trees. All was quite peaceful, until abruptly, when Lee Won Bum was 19, the 24th king of Joseon, Hun Jong passed away at age 23 without any heir-to-throne.

조선시대 농사 -직파법과 이앙법(모내기) 농사법으로 본 조선 : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. Painting of farming in the Joseon era

With Hun Jong’s sudden death, Hun Jong’s grandmother, the queen grandmother, appointed Lee Won Bum as the next king of Joseon. While there were other royal relatives at the time (who were not in exile), according to the lineage of the royal family, Lee Won Bum was the next heir to the late Hun Jong.

When officials and soldiers came to Lee Won Bum’s house to escort him to the palace, with the painful memories of having his oldest brother and grandfather being executed for treason, Lee escaped deep into the forest with his second brother, who broke his leg in the process. (ouch…) Only when the royal officials came to persuade him did Lee Won Bum follow them to the palace.

By the time he rose the throne, Chul Jong was already of age 19 and showed that he was quite well-read and had potential to become a competent king. Having witnessed the hardships of the common people with his own eyes, he tried to implement changes to the country’s laws, but was met with strong opposition from royal officials and clans (who probably wanted to maintain their power).

Such opposition had always occured, but because Chul Jong was not officially educated to be king and lacked political support (like most kings have the political support of their powerful families), he was unable to go against the opposition.

A few years later, an unprecedented scale of rioting occured in Joseon; the common people had grown tired of their poverty and struggles. Royal officials did not even attempt to address the anger of the common people, let alone address the causes of their hardships. Only Chul Jong again tried to implement policy changes, but was again met with strong opposition.

CU모드: 조용한 아침의 나라_(1)-[임페라토르 롬] 갤러리 커뮤니티 포털 -디시인사이드
Photo Credits. Example of a royal palace, the king and the officials

Years into his reign, sick of rigid royal palace rules and with the sense of hopelessness in feeling like a puppet king, the king spent his time with women, drinking. The health he had maintained in his younger years by farming and cutting trees crumbled, and at age 33, after suffering from various illnesses, he passed away.

Queen Chul-In’s family was in chaos due to the king’s death (since they had married their daughter off as the queen for power and money), and in scrambling for the next king, those in the royal palace scarcely paid attention to the death of Chul Jong, the last king of Joseon before the era of Korean Empire began. (Really a pitiful life…)

While Chul Jong had 5 sons and 6 daughters with the queen and the royal concubines, most of his children died when they were young. He had one surviving daughter with a royal concubine, but she also passed away at the age of 14, just 3 months after her marriage.

With the death of Chul Jong, the bloodline of Joseon’s royal family in Chul Jong’s line was cut off. The next who rose to the throne was Go Jong. Go Jong and Chul Jong were 17th cousins- in other words, pretty much unrelated.

국립고궁박물관 소장 고종황제 어진 (작자 미상)
Photo Credits. A painting of Go Jong
대한제국 고종 - 위키백과, 우리 모두의 백과사전
Photo Credits. A photograph of Go Jong

I’m not sure how closely this drama will stick to the actual records of the king and queen, especially considering there’s the fictional element of body swapping involved, but I’m looking forward to watching it!

I’m especially curious to see how Shin Hye Sun will depict a man in a woman’s body. Wait, so will there be bromance instead of romance?

Hope you liked this post on the historical context of Queen Chul-In and King Chul-Jong! If you did, please give it a “like” and check out my other posts on “Han Style!” 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol :))

Pangyo Newlyweds of “Private lives”

사생활 촬영중단, 코로나19 여파…타 드라마와 스태프 겹쳐 '방송가 비상' - 이투데이
Photo Credits. Main poster of “Private lives”

jtbc’s new drama “Private lives” features Seo Hyun and Go Kyung Pyo as the two main leads who work as professional swindlers. Things get a little complicated when the two are forced to go against a powerful large corporate company.

I haven’t watched this drama yet, but I know that Seo Hyun and Go Kyung Po are famously called the “Pangyo newlyweds”. They’re especially called so with reference to this gif here in which Go Kyung Po’s wearing a suit and Seohyun’s sporting a simple white dress:

판교 신혼부부 같다는 비유에 찰떡인 고경표&소녀시대 서현 - 인스티즈(instiz) 인티포털
Gif: Credits
포토]고경표-서현,발걸음도 가볍게 - 중앙일보
Photo Credits
방송]서현X고경표X김효진X김영민, 4色 카리스마 "기대해♥" | YTN
Photo Credits
나이 차 딱 1살 서현·고경표, '이 행동' 때문에 '핑크빛♥' 제기됐다 (영상) | 위키트리
Photo Credits

So what exactly does “Pangyo newlyweds” mean?

“Pangyo”, to be straightforward, is a city in South Korea associated with residences and livelihood of people who are quite (or very) financially comfortable. (Think maybe NYC of US) Unsurprisingly, the biggest Hyundai Department Store (or, shopping mall) in Pangyo is the largest luxury department store in the Seoul Capital Area. This mall also has the largest food court in Korea.

판교 단독주택】 풍경 담은 집, 판교하우스 | 1boon
Photo Credits. A house in Pangyo
판교 햇살깊은 마당집
Photo Credits. A house in Pangyo

Some areas in Pangyo are even labelled the “neighborhoods of the CEOs”. The vice-president of Shinsegae, for instance, is known for owning a house in the area.

Photo credits. Jung Yong Jin, Vice President of Shinsegae Group
Photo credits. A Shinsegae Shopping Mall

While Gangnam is also the epitome of an affluent neighborhood in Korea, most houses in Gangnam are flats, while more houses in Pangyo are private landed properties, allowing famous individuals like CEOs and celebrities some privacy and safety.

With reference to how elegant and sophisticated Go Kyung Pyo and Seo Hyun look together like a newlywed couple, Korean netizens and fans made remarks like:

“They look like Pangyo newlyweds- the kind with financially comfortable parents, who grew up in affluent, comfortable and supportive families and after marriage, purchase a (not rented) newly built house.”

“They look like the couple that would eat at the Pangyo Hyundai Department Store food court downstairs and then go upstairs to do shopping on weekends.”

“They look like they would’ve received a lot of parental support from young, went to good universities in Seoul and then went to work in conglomerate companies.”

“They look like they’re working in the finance/legal sector or in large conglomerate companies”

단 세 글자로…” 서현 인스타에 '판교' 드립 친 수영이 난리 난 이유 | 위키트리
Photo Credits. Comment by Sooyoung (Girls’ Generation) on fellow member Seohyun’s Instagram post

The Pangyo joke/compliment seems pretty widely known in Korea- even Girls’ Generation member Soo Young commented on Seohyun’s post (picture with Go Kyung Pyo), “Pangyo?”, to which Seohyun humorously responded, “Yes yes, we’re the Pangyo couple- we got to know this thanks to you (reference to Girls’ Generation members)”.

Seohyun’s acting seems to get more nuanced and skilful as she acts in one drama after another- she seems to have settled more or less as an actress. I look forward to continue seeing her acting in even more dramas & movies and hope the best for her role as a picture-perfect Pangyo newlywed wife alongside Go Kyung Pyo!

Book “Black Swan” good quotes

When I read a book, I like to highlight the lines that are either beautifully written (stylistically), convey new insights, or contain useful facts.

I’d like to share with you a few lines from the book “Black Swan” (by Nassim Taleb) I recently read!

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Black Swan makes you question your body of  knowledge. Quite often, you don't even know… | Black swan book, Black swan,  Nassim nicholas taleb
Photo Credits

One single observation can invalidate a general statement derived from millennia of confirmatory sightings of millions of white swans. All you need is one single black bird. 

A Black Swan…rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective predictability. 

…the effect of these Black Swans has been increasing. It started accelerating during the industrial revolution, as the world started getting more complicated, while ordinary events, the ones we study and discuss and try to predict from reading the newspapers, have become increasingly inconsequential.

Black Swan logic makes what you don’t know far more relevant than what you do know. Consider that many Black Swans can be caused and exacerbated by their being unexpected. 

Whatever you come to know may become inconsequential if your enemy knows that you know it. 

The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history, given the share of these events in the dynamics of events. 

What is surprising is not the magnitude of our forecast errors, but our absence of awareness of it. 

The strategy for the discoverers and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they present themselves. 

The reason free markets work is because they allow people to be lucky, thanks to aggressive trial and error, not by giving rewards or “incentives” for skill. 

We do not spontaneously learn that we don’t learn that we don’t learn. 

Metarules (such as the rule that we have a tendency to not learn rules) we don’t seem to be good at getting. 

Evidence shows that we do much less thinking than we believe we do- except, of course, when we think about it. 

Everybody knows that you need more prevention than treatment, but few reward acts of prevention. 

 We lack imagination and repress it in others. 

Our world is dominated by the extreme, the unknown, and the very improbable- and all the while we spend our time engaged in small talk, focusing on the known, and the repeated….need to use the extreme event as a starting point and not treat it as an exception to be pushed under the rug. 

Because of such progress and growth, the future will be increasingly less predictable, while both human nature and social “science” seem to conspire to hide the idea from us. 

…a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. 

Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. 

Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books….an antilibrary. 

Let us call an antischolar- someone who focuses on the unread books, and makes an attempt not to treat his knowledge as a treasure, or even a possession, or even a self-esteem enhancement device- a skeptical empiricist.

It was as if the historical rupture had a specific cause, and that the catastrophe could have been averted by removing that specific cause.

One would suppose that people living through the beginning of WWII had an inkling that something momentous was taking place. Not at all. 

…the third element of the triplet, the curse of learning….Nobody knew anything, but elite thinkers thought that they knew more than the rest because they were elite thinkers…

It is not just knowledge but information that can be of dubious value. 

Categorizing is necessary for humans, but it becomes pathological when the category is seen as definitive, preventing people from considering the fuzziness of boundaries, let alone revising their categories. 

Categorizing always produces reduction in true complexity. 

Any reduction of the world around us can have explosive consequences since it rules out some sources of uncertainty; it drives us to a misunderstanding of the fabric of the world. 

Studying historical data makes you conscious that history runs forward, not backward, and that it is messier than narrated accounts. 

The distinction between fiction and nonfiction is considered too archaic to withstand the challenges of modern society. It was so evident that we needed to remedy the fragmentation between art and science. After the fact, her talent was so obvious. 

Our statistical intuitions have not evolved for a habitat in which these subtleties can make a big difference. 

This inability to automatically transfer knowledge and sophistication from one situation to another, or from theory to practice, is a quite disturbing attribute of human nature. 

We react to a piece of information not on its logical merit, but on the basis of which framework surrounds it, and how it registers with our socio-emotional system. 

…simple confusion of absence of evidence of the benefits of mothers’ milk with evidence of absence of the benefits 

Fiber acts to slow down the absorption of sugars in the blood and scrapes out the intestinal tract of precancerous cells. 

I am not saying here doctors should not have beliefs, only that some kinds of definitive, closed beliefs need to be avoided. 

We can get closer to the truth by negative instances, not by verification. 

Contrary to conventional wisdom, our body of knowledge does not increase from a series of confirmatory observations. 

Sometimes a lot of data can be meaningless; at other times one single piece of information can be very meaningful. 

..understanding how to act under conditions of incomplete information is the highest and most urgent human pursuit. 

…disconfirming instances are far more powerful in establishing the truth. 

The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them… 

…theorizing is the “default” option. It takes considerable effort to see facts (and remember them) while withholding judgment and resisting explanations. 

Split-brain patients have no connection between the left and the right sides of their brains, which prevents information from being shared between the two cerebral hemispheres. 

You literally have two different persons, and you can communicate with each one of them separately… This splitting is usually the result of surgery to remedy some serious conditions like severe epilepsy… 

…if you don’t know that you are making the inference, how can you stop yourself unless you stay in a continuous state of alert?

A higher concentration of dopamine appears to lower skepticism and results in greater vulnerability to pattern detection; an injection of L-dopa, a substance used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease, seems to increase such activity and lowers one’s suspension of belief.

…our minds are largely victims of our physical embodiment. Our minds are like inmates, captive to our biology, unless we manage a cunning escape. 

The more orderly, less random, patterned, and narratized a series of words or symbols, the easier it is to store that series in one’s mind or jot it down in a book. 

With so many brain cells- the difficulties probably do not arise from storage capacity limitations, but may be just indexing problems. 

Compression is vital to the performance of conscious work. 

Myths impart order to the disorder of human perception and the perceived “chaos” of human experience. 

We tend to neglect others that do not appear to play a causal role in that narrative. 

Memory is more of a self-serving dynamic revision machine: you remember the last time you remembered the event, and, without realizing it, change the story at every subsequent remembrance. 

We continuously re narrate past events in the light of what appears to make what we think of as logical sense after these events occur. 

What makes sense according to information obtained subsequently will be remembered more vividly. 

Someone hit with such a disorder can muster the most insignificant of details and construct an elaborate and coherent theory of why there is a conspiracy against him. 

…two people can hold incompatible beliefs based on the exact same data. 

One may have a million ways to explain things, but the true explanation is unique, whether or not it is within our reach. 

…there exist families of logically consistent interpretations and theories that can match a given series of facts. Such insights should warn us that mere absence of nonsense may not be sufficient to make something true. 

It happens all the time: a cause is proposed to make you swallow the news and make matters more concrete. 

Empirically, sex, social class, and profession seem to be better predictors of someone’s behavior htan nationality 

The problem of over causation does not lie with the journalist, but with the public. 

Could it be that fiction reveals truth while nonfiction is a harbor for the liar?

Just consider that the newspapers try to get impeccable facts, but weave them into a narrative in such a way as to convey the impression of casuality. There are fact-checkers, not intellect-checkers. 

We feel the sting of man-made damage far more than that caused by nature. 

…the death of a relative in a motorcycle accident is far more likely to influence your attitude toward motorcycles than volumes of statistical analyses. 

We do worry about Black Swans, just the wrong ones. 

…your happiness depends far more on the number of instances of positive feelings, what psychologists call “positive effect”, rather than on their intensity when they hit. 

Montaigne was asked “why” he and the writer Etieene de la Boetie were friends-…. “Parce que c’etait lui, parce…” (because it was him and because it was me) 

The members of the group can be ostracized together- which is better than being ostracized alone. If you engage in a Black Swan-dependent activity, it is better to be part of a group. 

He made sure, after a long string of losses, that they did not think he was apologetic- paradoxically, they became more supportive that way. Humans will believe anything you say provided you do not exhibit the smallest shadow of diffidence; like animals, they can detect the smallest crack in your confidence before you express it. 

The problem with business people is that if you act like a loser they will treat you as a loser- you set the yardstick yourself. 

It is not what you are telling people, it is how you are saying it. 

The lucky ones, with the feeling of having been selected by destiny, will continue gambling; the others, discouraged, will stop and will not show up in the sample. 

Money (public or private) taken away from research might be responsible for killing them- in a crime that may remain silent. 

This is exactly like someone playing Russian roulette and finding it a good idea because he survived and pocketed the money. 

I am only critical of the encouragement of uninformed risk taking. 

The reference point argument…do not compute odds from the advantage point of the winning gambler, but from all those who started in the cohort. 

We are explanation-seeking animals who tend to think that everything has an identifiable cause and grab the most apparent one as the explanation. Yet there may not be a visible because; to the contrary, frequently there is nothing… 

…we are too brainwashed by notions of causality and we think that it is smarter to say because than to accept randomness. 

My biggest problem with the educational system lies precisely in that it forces students to squeeze explanations out of subject matters and shames them for withholding judgment, for uttering the “I don’t know”

I am not saying causes do not exist; do not use this argument to avoid trying to learn from history. 

Our perceptual system may not react to what does not lie in front of our eyes, or what does not arouse our emotional system. 

The unconscious part of our inferential mechanism will ignore the cemetery, even if we are intellectually aware of the need to take it into account. Out of sight, out of mind: we harbor a natural, even physical, scorn of the abstract. 

Those who spend too much time with their noses glued to maps will tend to mistake the map for the territory. 

Fuzziness is the very nature of uncertainty. 

…you no longer need to be amputated to fit into the Procrustean bed of the disciplines. 

The world is far, far more complicated than we think, which is not a problem, except when most of us don’t know it. 

I find it scandalous that in spite of the empirical record we continue to project into the future as if we are good at it, using tools and methods that exclude rare events. Prediction is firmly institutionalized in our world. 

Our knowledge does grow, but it is threatened by greater increases in confidence, which makes our increase in knowledge at the same time an increase in confusion, ignorance, and conceit. 

We are simply not wise enough to be trusted with knowledge. 

The appearance of busyness reinforces the perception of causality, of the link between results and one’s role in them. 

….the more detailed knowledge one gets of empirical reality, the more one will see the noise and mistake it for actual information. 

Lack of knowledge and delusion about the quality of your knowledge come together- the same process that makes you know less also makes you satisfied with your knowledge. 

What matters is not how often you are right, but how large your cumulative errors are. 

Perhaps economists’ forecasts create feedback that cancels their effect (called the Lucas critique, after the economist Robert Lucas)…So you cannot judge the forecast accuracy in economics as you would with other events. 

Plans fail because of what we have called tunneling, the neglect of sources of uncertainty outside the plan itself. 

Corporate and government projections have an additional easy-to-spot flaw: they attach a possible error to their scenarios. Even in the absence of Black Swans this omission would be a mistake. 

The policies we need to make decisions on should depend far more on the range of possible outcomes than on the expected final number. 

Our forecast errors have traditionally been enormous, and there may be no reasons for us to believe that we are suddenly in a more privileged position to see into the future compared to our blind predecessors. Forecasting by bureaucrats tends to be used for anxiety relief rather than for adequate policy making. 

…you find something you are not looking for and it changes the world, while wondering after its discovery why it “took so long” to arrive at something so obvious.

…the most important advances are the least predictable ones, those “lying out of the path of the imagination”

It describes discoverers as sleepwalkers stumbling upon results and not realizing what they have in their hands. 

We build toys. Some of those toys change the world. 

While many worry about unintended consequences, technology adventurers thrive on them. 

Louis Pasteur’s adage about creating luck by sheer exposure. “Luck favors the prepared.” …best way to get maximal exposure is to keep researching. 

Popper’s central argument is that in order to predict historical events you need to predict technological innovation, itself fundamentally unpredictable. 

…the information that the solution exists is itself a big piece of the solution. 

Prediction requires knowing about technologies that will be discovered in the future. But that very knowledge would almost automatically allow us to start developing these technologies right away. Ergo, we do not know what we will know. 

Poincare…introduced nonlinearities, small effects that can lead to severe consequences…chaos theory. 

…as you project into the future you may need an increasing amount of precision about the dynamics of the process that you are modeling, since your error rate grows very rapidly. 

…you would eventually need to figure out the past with infinite precision. 

To see how our intuitions about these nonlinear multiplicative effects are rather weak, consider the story about the chessboard maker. 

…owing to the growth of scientific knowledge, we overestimate our ability to understand the subtle changes that constitute the world, and what weight needs to be imparted to each such change. “Scientism” 

As individuals we should love free markets because operators in them can be as incompetent as they wish. 

Plato believed that we should both hands with equal dexterity. It would not “make sense” otherwise..a deformation caused by the “folly of mothers and nurses”. Asymmetry bothered him, and he projected his ideas of elegance onto reality. 

In orthodox economics, rationality became a straitjacket….ignored the fact that people might prefer to do something other than maximize their economic interests. 

…did not know much math…only knew enough math to be blinded by it. 

That’s it for the lines I loved from “Black Swan”! If you want to know more about this book before reading it, check out this video by “The Swedish Investor”- it’s an excellent summary of the main points in the book!

Cheers, Han Seol :))

School life in Korea

When I was 8, I moved from my home country South Korea to Singapore, a country 6 hours’ plane ride away.

I only spent my grade 1 in Korea, but I recall my days in the Korean school with some nostalgia now and then.

Before walking into the classroom, I took off my shoes, placed them on a rack in the corridor, and stepped into my “sil-nae-hwa” (literally means “inside shoes”), which looked something like this:

47060 루비 중학생 고등학생 학교 교실 실내화 (2 cm)
Photo Credits

I also remember that every week, 2 students in a class were in charge of carrying up a green box of milk packets for students to drink during lunch break (looked exactly like this!)

부산 학교 우유급식률 전국 꼴찌…왜? - 중앙일보
Photo Credits

Although the brand of milk my class drank was this: (“Seoul Milk”)

83살 '서울우유', 대한민국 유업계의 산 역사 - 국민일보
Photo Credits

I was a little shocked because a few days ago on Instagram, I saw how this milk box is seen by kids nowadays like an item of some ancient product that “grandfathers and grandmothers” used to have. (It’s only been 13 years since I was a Primary 1 kid myself…)

Apparently, kids nowadays even have a menu of milk they can choose from, which looks like this. Woww.

요즘 초등학교 우유 급식 . jpg : 클리앙
Photo Credits

I still remember that the last day of my school in Korea was also my last day of “milk duty”.

I was carrying up a green box of milk packets with my classmate, who had sun-kissed skin and short hair cut to her ears.

As we were laboriously carrying the box to the classroom, she jocularly remarked, “Have fun in Australia! How am I going to carry this box without you?” (Although it wasn’t Australia but Singapore, I was touched by her words!)

My exam papers something looked like this. They were not printed on white, A4-sized paper like exam papers are in Singapore, but were on slightly thinner, darker-colored papers.

Plus, correct answers were marked with circles instead of ticks. In Singapore, ticks in schools are used to indicate questions students solve correctly.

한국인도 어려워하는 '한국어능력시험' 도전기!
Photo Credits

Every classroom used to have a bell like this on the teacher’s table. When kids got noisy during class, an impatient teacher would ring the bell a few times, and usually, silence would fall over the classroom.

문구존 탁상용 콜벨/교탁종 교회종 보드게임종
Photo Credits

The classroom had a matted wooden floor, wooden tables and chairs (with iron legs), windows on the left and two sliding (heavy) doors on the right.

There were lockers at the back of the classroom, a green chalkboard at the front of the class, along with the Korean flag and a big TV (for broadcasting of the national anthem/important announcements).

In my time (wow makes me sound really old…), the teachers used to write on the chalkboards with white chalks.

When I moved to Singapore at the end of P1, I realized that teachers in Singapore use whiteboards with black markers and quite often, visualizers, screens and projectors.

초등학교 10%는 할머니ㆍ할아버지가 쓰던 그 교실”
Photo Credits
China Teaching Visualizer Document Camera School - China Visualizer, Visual  Presenter
Photo Credits. How school visualizers in Singapore tend to look like
Overhead projector - Wikiwand
Photo Credits

The school building had a large sand field, which was circled by a running track. The running track led up to grey stone steps.

<img src="; alt="학교앨범<학교소식
Photo Credits

There was no canteen/cafeteria. Every lunch time, a metal cart would be dragged to the front of the classroom. A few parent volunteers (usually mothers) would then settle in front of the cart. The students queued up in front of the cart and waited for their food.

이렇게 생긴 학교 '급식차'를 안다면 당신은 티라노사우루스급 화석입니다” - 인사이트
Photo Credits

I was also shocked to read an article on how those who remember this cart are like fossils from the past (we were even likened to a T-rex, can you believe it- I’m only 20 hahha).

The food was given in a metal tray like this, usually consisting of rice, soup, about 3 side dishes, and sometimes dessert (fruits/fruit puddings, etc), the menu crafted by school nutritionists.

Photo Credits

School areas were and still are designated as “school zones”, with speeding restrictions. Parent & teacher volunteers and occasionally policemen helped to ensure school children crossed safely.

My own homeroom teacher occasionally spent her before & after school hours with a whistle in her mouth, making sure cars slowed at the school crossing areas, greeting students and parents with a smile.

아이들이 다쳐요, 학교 앞에서는 제발..." - 거제통영오늘신문
Photo Credits

Much has remained the same and much has changed since my time in elementary school. I spent my first few in Singapore trying to adapt to a whole new environment and the next few years busy studying for the PSLE, O levels and just a year ago, the A levels.

I had a nice time taking a trip down the memory lane of my short school life in Korea- hope you enjoyed my post as much as I had fun writing it!

Cheers, Han Seol :))

a typical Korean birthday breakfast

My family celebrated my sister’s birthday a few days ago. On the morning of her birthday, my mum whipped up a delicious birthday breakfast:

White rice and seaweed soup.
Starting from bottom left corner, going anti-clockwise: bulgogi with japchae, kimchi, jinmichae (made of squid) and skewered veggie, ham & egg

We usually have light breakfast of cereal with milk/bagel/nan, but on birthday mornings we all try to make time to have a hearty Korean cuisine breakfast, especially with seaweed soup.

Koreans have enjoyed seaweed as soup and as side dishes from the Goryeo era. Due to its high nutritional value (and tastiness), seaweed soup is eaten by Korean women after giving birth to quicken their recovery. That’s why the soup makes a constant appearance in Korean birthday meals; for us to remember the suffering and pain of birth and give thanks to our mothers. In modern time, though, the meaning behind the seaweed soup is probably forgotten by many; we simply have it on birthdays because it’s a deeply rooted Korean custom.

One fun fact which I only recently learnt about, is that the combination of glutinous purple rice + japchae (“glass noodles”) and seaweed soup is a combination of birthday meals most commonly eaten by Koreans from the Kyungsang Province/Kyungsangdo. (My parents are originally from Pohang, which is in the province. Check out my post on Pohang, which is also the region actress Song Ji Hyo’s from!)

서양인들이 한중일 3국 중 '한국인에게만' 갖고 있는 궁금증 | 오펀 디스커스
Photo Credits. Sticky purple rice
Gyeongsang Province - Wikipedia
Photo Credits. A map of Korea; the red region is the Kyungsang Province

Wow, mind-blowing. My whole existence of 20 years I thought pretty much all Koreans eats like this on their birthdays. (Although we chose to have white rice this time)

If you’re interested in trying a hand at making the seaweed soup, check out this video by Paik’s cuisine!

(Eng subs included)

Cheers, Han Seol 🙂

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