Korean Legend of goblins

Goblin' star Gong Yoo spotted in Sydney | SBS PopAsia
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The word “goblin” has become synonymous with this fine-looking man above,

Goblin poster with signatures, Entertainment, K-Wave on Carousell
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this iconic poster

Your Ultimate Guide to Filming Locations of Drama “Goblin” | The Calm  Chronicle: A Lifestyle, Travel, Style & Beauty Blog by Pheuron Tay
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and this iconic scene.

But before star writer Kim Eun Sook’s “Goblin” became a global hit, the word “goblin” brought to the minds of Koreans images like these:

재미나고 신기한 도깨비 이야기
Photo Credits, credits to original illustrator
역사추적! 도깨비의 정체는?
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아트인사이트 – [Opinion] 당신의 도깨비는 어떤 모습인가요? [문화전반]
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Goblins exist in the legends of not only Korea but also various European cultures,

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but in this blog post, I’ll account the Korean tale of the legend of goblins that I grew up listening to!

Called “dokkaebi” (도깨비), these legendary creatures do not have a fixed appearance but usually appear in the form of a human man, albeit with a lot more hair on arms and legs. They are usually depicted to be wearing a hanbok and a hat (that used to be worn in the olden times in Korea) called “paeraeng-ee” (패랭이)

패랭이 - 표제어 - 한국의식주생활사전 - 한국민속대백과사전
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While modern Koreans picture goblins as creatures with horns on their heads wearing clothes of the caveman era, Koreans in the past pictured them as creatures who looked like big, sturdy human men.

In terms of personality, goblins are tame, playful, a little stupid and prone to being angered if humans didn’t want to play with them. They’re so naive to the point that clever human beings manipulated them to get gold and coins from them.

They like food such as memil-muk (메밀묵)

메밀묵 하재일기(荷齋日記) 한국고전번역원 - 램프쿡
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영상] 드라마 '도깨비' 속 그 제품, 기자가 써봤습니다! '공유인형' 메밀군에 반하다 - 스포츠경향 | 뉴스배달부
Photo Credits. A scene in drama “Goblin”; Kim Go eun hugging “memil-gun” doll, a goblin who has disguised himself as memil, his favorite food, so that people won’t be scared of him (tearss)

and makgeoli (막걸리) (Korean traditional alcoholic beverage).

불의 여신 정이' 문근영, 막걸리 광고 찍어도 되겠네, 막걸리 먹방 공개:·· 시사코리아에 오신걸 환영합니다. ··
Photo Credits. A scene in drama “Goddess of fire” where Mun Gun Yeong’s character drinks a cup of makgeoli

They also love mischief, story-telling, listening to songs, and wrestling playfully. (They seem more like precious mischievous creatures rather than scary ghostly beings…)

Of course, as fans of the drama “Goblin” may know by now, goblins are scared of the color red and shun things like blood and red beans. According to legend, people in the past ate red bean or used horse blood to chase away goblins and ghosts.

도깨비 | 동영상
Photo Credits. Gong Yoo (goblin) terrified of horse blood
드라마 도깨비 - 도깨비와 말피 : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. Horse blood that terrifies goblins
오늘 동지...팥죽 먹는 이유는? 팥죽을 더 맛있게 만드는 재료는 '이것'
Photo Credits. “Pat-juk”, also known as “red bean porridge”, is eaten as a meal, snack, dessert and appetizer before meal. It’s eaten on “Dongjitnal”, a day Koreans eat red bean porridge. Btw, I can eat this every day.

While these creatures may be portrayed to be pretty harmless and even occasionally a little friendly to human beings, they were associated with fear and the unknown, with the Korean word “dokkaebi” literally meaning “a phenomenon that cannot be understood”.

도깨비' 4회 분수대 데이트~공유 "도깨비 방망이 없어, (검)이게 와전 된거야" 움짤
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Rather than wielding cool swords like this, goblins in the legends carry around “bangmang-ee”, or magical bats, which something look like this:

한국전래동화-도깨비방망이 - 리디북스
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These magical bats act like magical wands. With their bats, goblins can basically do anything with it. They’re famous for saying, “Come out gold!” and making heaps of gold appear before them.

tvN 드라마 на Твитеру: "내가 금이 많다고 해서 너에게 준다는 건 아냐 '3' #도깨비 #tvN #new #금토드라마  #매주금토 #저녁8시 #공유 #이동욱 #김고은 #유인나 #육성재… "
Photo Credits. The goblin portrayed by Gong Yoo also occasionally makes gold appear when he’s drunk lol- a good reference to the actual legendary tale of goblins

They’re also able to transform into anything/alone. A tale accounts for a human who tied up a goblin to a tree, only come back and see a broom tied to a tree instead.

도깨비 이야기] ②빗자루, 부지깽이로 변신하는 도깨비 - 천지일보 - 새 시대 희망언론
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There’s a lot more to this interesting mythical creature, but that’s it for today’s post on goblins! If you’ve enjoyed this post please give it a “like” and take a look at my other posts on “Hanstyle” 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

K-drama “True beauty” & more. Top 5 Korean dramas and movies about beauty

프랑스에서 온 '솔리노트 향수', 네이버 인기 웹툰 '여신강림'과 콜라보레이션 화제 - 웨딩21뉴스
Photo Credits, credits to original illustrator

Webtoon “True Beauty” boasts a massive following not only in Korea but also many parts of the world. Just recently, tvN confirmed that the webtoon would be made into a much-anticipated drama series! If you enjoyed “True Beauty”, here are the top 6 Korean movies and dramas which convey resounding messages about the importance of inner beauty rather than physical beauty.

1. My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018)

내 ID는 강남미인 3 - YES24
Photo Credits. The webtoon “My ID is Gangnam Beauty”
내 아이디는 강남미인 | 프로그램 | JTBC
Photo Credits. The drama version released in 2018 starring Im Soo Hyang and Cha Eun-Woo along many other popular young actors.

Synopsis: The main character Mi-rae (Im Soo Hyang) is bullied for her looks. Hoping that she would be able to lead a normal life like any other girl her age, she undergoes plastic surgery before her life in university. In uni she meets Do Gyung Suk (Cha Eun-Woo), who falls in love with her.


Korea has become strongly associated with plastic surgery, with the hurtful title “Gangnam beauty” coined to refer to women who have become beautiful due to a surgery. (Since Gangnam is a popular place for plastic surgeons and those who want to undergo a surgery.)

This drama shows the main lead Do Gyung Suk loving and accepting Mi-rae for her inner beauty- kindness, forgiveness, diligence and ability to stand up for herself- despite others’ critical attitude toward the fact that she has gone under the knife.

A trailer of “My ID is Gangnam Beauty”

2. My lovely Sam Soon (2005)

내 이름은 김삼순(2005·16부작) : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. A 2005 drama starring 25 year old Hyun Bin

Synopsis: Rich, young and handsome corporate heir Hyun Jin Hun (Hyun Bin) and patissier (pastry chef) Kim Sam Soon (Kim Sun Ah) meet in undesirable circumstances. They end up falling in love with each other.

Remarks: Kim Sam Soon is portrayed as a 30 year old who is rough in mannerism, not exactly a beauty and plump- in other words, a not so desirable potential wife, especially considering an unmarried 30 year old woman was considered to be way past her ideal marriage age in Korea at the time the drama was released. This drama boasted a mind boggling viewer rating of 50% in Korea, with viewers touched by the way Jin Hun saw Sam Soon exactly as the person she was- hardworking, driven and honest- and even loved her physical appearance, which didn’t meet societal standards.

Aside from its resounding message about beauty, this drama is definitely worth a watch because it portrays a 25 year old Hyun Bin!

현빈을 지금 이 자리에 있게 한 레전드 드라마! : 네이버 포스트
Photo Credits Hyun Bin as a 25 year old
현빈이 팬들에게 김블루씨라고 불리는 이유.gif - 스퀘어 카테고리
Photo Credits. 39 year old Hyun Bin
A teaser of drama “My lovely Sam-Soon”

3. 200 pounds beauty (2006)

단독] '미녀는 괴로워', 베트남 버전 제작확정..'제2의 수그녀' - 조선일보
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A trailer of movie “200 pounds beauty”

Synopsis: Hanna is an overweight girl who works as a ghost singer. She has a beautiful voice but cannot become a singer because of her physical appearance. After experiencing a heartbreak, she undergoes plastic surgery and becomes a new person- only to have her secret leaked.

Remarks: The movie was received favorably when it first hit the cinema, but not all feedback was positive. Some argued that the movie emphasizes the importance of one’s character rather than physical appearance, while others argued that the ending seems to encourage and advocate for plastic surgery.

4. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarves(2019)

레드 슈즈] 영화로 외모지상주의 뒤집어보기 : 네이버 블로그
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Synopsis: 7 Princes have been turned into dwarves by a curse, while a princess has discovered red shoes that make her prettier than she is. All of them embark on an adventure to free themselves.

Remarks: This movie received both praise for its visuals but criticism regarding its motif of the importance of “true beauty”. The underlying message seemed to emphasize the importance of inner beauty, but while the movie, some opined, neglected to show the kind of changes characters in society have made to bring about societal change regarding beauty standards. I personally felt that this film is fun and definitely worth a light-hearted watch but doesn’t have its strong intended impact of criticizing double standards on male/female beauty.

5. True Beauty (2020)

곧 드라마로 나오는 웹툰 '여신강림' 가상 캐스팅 5 - 인사이트
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싱크로율 찰떡이라고 난리 난 웹툰 실사화 드라마 '여신강림' 캐스팅 상황 : 네이버 포스트
Photo Credits. Moon Ga Young starring as main character Im Ju Gyeong
황인엽 '여신강림' 한서준 役 물망… 싱크로율 보니? - 머니S
Photo Credits. Hwang In Yeop starring as Han Seo Jun
차은우, 웹툰 실사화 드라마 '여신강림' 주인공으로 출연한다” - 인사이트
Photo Credits. Cha Eun Woo starring as Lee Soo Ho

Synopsis: Im Ju Gyeong isn’t exactly the most popular girl in middle school. After a few failed attempts, she manages to transform herself into a beautiful girl using make-up. She meets and falls in love with Lee Soo Ho and Han Seo Jun, two boys in her high school.

Remarks: I love the drawing style of this webtoon- all scenes are really pleasing to the eye. The webtoon hasn’t ended yet and the drama is yet to be released, but I’m a big fan of the webtoon so I’m looking forward to the upcoming drama! I’m also happy that Hwang In Yeop starring in this web-I loved his acting in drama “Why first love always fails” (available on YouTube) and “18 again” (sad he’s a bit of a bully here…)

The webtoon author & illustrator became famous for being like the real life version of Im Ju Gyeong

K-Beauty in Goryeo era

In drama “Scarlet Heart Ryeo”, fourth prince So (actor Lee Jun Ki) wears a mask to cover a “hideous” knife scar on his face. He’s feared and shunned not only because of his ruthless killings but also because of the scar.

달의 연인-보보경심 려' 이준기, 가면에 손댄 채 심각한 얼굴…'무슨 일?' - 박혜미 기자 - 톱스타뉴스
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달의 연인-보보경심 려] 이준기의 눈빛은 언제나 옳다 - 연예투데이뉴스
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While the story about the fourth prince’s scar is a fiction created by the writer of Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it is no fiction that beauty was highly valued in the Goryeo era (Year 918~1392). K-beauty’s global popularity may be recent, but its history surely isn’t! Let’s take a look at how Korean women and men made themselves more beautiful hundreds of years ago.

육룡이 나르샤' 공승연, 단아한 '한복 자태' 선보여… '여심(女心) 강탈' - 신미래 기자 - 톱스타뉴스
Photo Credits. From the drama “Six flying dragons”. The attire of an unmarried, high-class woman in the Goryeo era
육룡이 나르샤' 공승연의 시대가 온다
Photo Credits. The same woman as above, but with her hair up. Women in the Goryeo era wore their hair down when unmarried, and up when they were married.
드라마 '육룡이 나르샤' 6회 이방원 유아인 캡쳐 : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. From the drama “Six flying dragons”. The attire of an unmarried, high-class man in the Goryeo era. An unmarried man in the Goryeo era usually had his hair down like this
이방원 유아인 성장사 다본다··· '육룡이 나르샤', 설민석 강의 축약본 방영 - 모바일
Photo Credits and hair up when he got married.

The “barely there” make-up style Korean make-up is characterized by existed even in the Goryeo era.

High status women lightly powdered their faces but did not use pink color on their cheeks, preferring a natural style of make-up. They drew their eyebrows long and thin, and bathed 3-4 times a day, prioritizing hygiene and cleanliness.

Real Bath] 『달의 연인-보보경심 려』를 통해 본 고려시대 목욕문화 : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. The Goryeo era was an equal and free society compared to the Joseon era. Marriage and re-marriage were common and both sons and daughters equally received inheritance. In a large bathing pool in the capital of Goryeo, both men and women freely gathered to bathe, 3-4 times a day.
드라마에 나왔던 고려시대 한복 복식 vs 조선시대 한복 복식 - 스퀘어 카테고리
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To make their skin smooth and white, they bathed in hot water filled with petals, or washed their faces with rice water. Calamus, a plant often used to make medicine, was boiled, the water used to wash their hair to keep it smooth and lustrous. Those who could afford to do so carried about silk scented pouches (which served as perfume).

Courtesans (considered to be low status women), on the other hand, wore heavy, strong make-up.

While men may not have used as much make-up, men also made sure to take care of their skin and even wore accessories like long drop earrings.

드라마 '달의 연인' 고대 주얼리 이야기 - 男주인공들의 귀걸이 디자인 ⑧
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조선시대 귀걸이 | 연예인, 배우, 하늘
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Various beauty tools were used as well. Mirrors made of mercury were widely popular among women, and tweezers to trim fingernails.

While beauty standards and trends may have changed slightly throughout the Goryeo period, one prevailing emphasis was on the importance of bringing out one’s natural beauty, instead of drastically changing one’s appearance. Both men and women also worked hard to not only work on their physical appearances, but present themselves as well put-together, elegant and sophisticated people.

It’s interesting learning about about beauty methods and standards of the Goryeo era, a period in Korean history in which beauty was a highly prized and sought after. The standards of this era seem to have influenced that of present day Korea as well. “투명 메이크업” (literal translation: “transparent make-up”), one that emphasizes skin care and minimal make-up that will bring out one’s best features, is still popular in Korea even today.

전지현, 노메이크업의 23살 때 리즈 시절 모습 눈길…'청초해' - 이예지 기자 - 톱스타뉴스
Photo Credits. “Transparent make-up”. Korean actress Jun Ji Jyun
Soul » 수지 고화질 - 2020 | 투명 메이크업, 청순 메이크업, 자연스러운 메이크업
Photo Credits. “Transparent make-up”. Korean actress Bae Suzy

If you liked this post about K-beauty in the Goryeo era, please give this post a “like” and check out my other blog posts on “Hanstyle”!

Cheers, Han Seol 🙂

“Tale of the Nine Tailed” What is a gumiho?

구미호뎐' 이동욱X조보아, 메인 포스터 공개...격한 애정의 랩소디 - 조선일보
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tvN’s Wed& Thur drama “Tale of the Gumiho”/”Tale of the Nine Tailed” features Lee Dong Wook, best known for his work in “Goblin” (first a man who grows swords on his back, next a grim reaper and now a gumiho…),

Lee Dong Wook Literally Chased “Goblin” Writer To Land His Grim Reaper Role  | Soompi
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Jo Bo Ah who acted in “My Strange Hero” alongside Yoo Seung Ho,

월화드라마] '사랑의 온도' 서현진×양세종×조보아×김재욱 진심? "이거였어" 9회~10회줄거리예고 재방송 시청률?
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Kim Bum, best known for his work in “Boys over Flowers”,

Kim Bum Talks About His Transformation Into A Fierce Gumiho For Upcoming  Fantasy Drama | Soompi
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and Kim Yong Ji, who most recently stared in “The King: the Eternal Monarch” and “Mister Sunshine”. It’s definitely an impressive drama filled with young popular actors! (actually maybe not that young considering Lee Dong Wook is born in 1981, which I still can’t believe…)

김병철-조우진-데이비드 맥기니스-김용지-박아인-김시은 등이 '미스터 션샤인'의 폭소분노탄 유발 '미션 남녀 6인방'으로 특급 활약을  펼치며 안방극장의 몰입도를 높이고 있다. 지난 19일 밤 9시에 방송된 tvN 토일드라마 '미스터 션샤인'(극본 김은숙/ 연출 이응복  ...
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Lee Dong Wook and Kim Bum feature as nine-tailed foxes, also known as “gumiho”. To find out more about the plot, check this page on AsianWiki or watch the trailer/teasers to find out more 🙂

So what exactly is a “gumiho”?

Photo Credits A painting of a gumiho

A legendary creature widely known in Korea, a “gumiho” is a nine-tailed fox that can transform into a seductive woman (think sirens who drown men by luring them into the sea) . According to age-old documents now stored in a museum in Korea, a gumiho can turn into a woman after 50 years and turn into a beautiful woman or shaman after 100 years. It is also said to be aware of things happening far away and capable of alluring people. After 1000 years, it can reach the highest level of being a “chunho” (天狐).

A gumiho is called so because “gu” literally means “nine” and “mi” refers to the tail. The word “gumiho” was used as an insult from thousands of years ago in Korea, used to criticize sly and cunning people. (still is. Akin to calling someone a “fox”) It’s also used to refer to women who are so beautiful they could destroy an entire country. (think Helen of Troy- and also Kim Tae Hee in 2004 drama “Forbidden love”)

캡처] 구미호외전 / 김태희 | 얼굴 사진, 배우, 한국 여배우
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캡처] 구미호외전 / 김태희 | 여배우, 배우, 한국 여배우
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Fun fact: Kim Tae Hee acted as a gumiho in “Forbidden love” (2004) and also voice-acted in the gumiho animation “Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox” (which makes me cry every single time I watch it).

Photo Credits

Some legends argue that gumihos in fact do not have nine tails but have one tail, which is split into nine sections. Other legends state that they only have only one tail but grow the other eight as they age.

A gumiho has golden fur, and is about the size of an average, normal fox, with the nine tails taking approximately 1000 years to grow fully. This legendary creature is portrayed to be waiting either to eat a man’s liver or spend 100 days with a man (hence the beautiful appearance) so that it can satisfy its strong desire to become a human.

It also possesses a “yeo woo guseul” (literally meaning “fox marble”), a turqouise colored, candy-sized magical marble that symbolizes its power. Some stories tell tales of gumihos using their marbles to extract the energy/soul of a man.

내 여자친구는 구미호- 너도 사람이 아니구나?
Photo Credits From the 2010 drama “My girlfriend is a gumiho”; you can see the glowing fox marble
간 떨어지는 동거 매드무비 (For you - EXO) - YouTube
Photo Credits, Rights to Illustrator. A scene from popular Korean webtoon featuring love between a gumiho and a human girl. The webtoon “Frightening Cohabitation” (literal translation) is going to be made into a drama featuring Jang Ki Yong and Hyeri- I love both actors but I’m a little disappointed because they’re not exactly very good fits for these two webtoon characters- you’ll know what I mean when you read the webtoon!

While gumihos in the past were depicted as beautiful but selfish and terrifying creatures which manipulated and killed men for their own desires, there’s something so curious and a little moving about their obsession over becoming humans, abandoning all their powers (ability to transform into anything they want, ability to absorb others’ energy, ability to attack others’ minds and immobilise them) to become much weaker and powerless humans.

Many legendary stories (and current dramas) also portray gumihos as wanting to become human beings but giving that up for the human they’ve fallen in love with. (hence often sad endings…) With that in mind, would it be sad or happy ending for the four main characters of the “Tale of the nine-tailed fox”?

I’m still deliberating if I should watch this drama because from the few clips I’ve watched, it does seem slightly cheesy (sry fans) for my liking. The acting of 4 actors seems on point and the plot seems generally okay, but the dialogues are occasionally a little cheesy. I’m also hoping that Jang Ki Yong and Hyeri will do justice to the drama version of “Frightening Cohabitation”- because the webtoon (which ended very recently) is an absolute masterpiece!!

Hope you got to know more about the legend of gumiho/nine-tailed fox! If you liked this post, please give it a “like” and check out my blog “Hanstyle” for other posts 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

Day in the life of a uni student in Singapore

It’s only been about 3 months since my life as a college/uni freshman started, and I’m already feeling as busy/even busier than I was preparing for the A levels just last year.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Here’s a look at 2 sample days- one with class and another with no class!

No Class day

0731-0849: Exercise; jogging + walking outside

0851-0930: Shower, breakfast, change

0930-1000: News reading

1030-1305: School project meeting over Zoom

1335-1439: Study for exam

1500-1600: Project group meeting with professor

1600-1745: Study for exam

1800-1839: Study for exam

1846-1938: Study for exam + homework

1945-2045: School project meeting over Zoom

2045-2200: Dinner, family time

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Class Day

0747-0839: Study for exam

0842-0910: Study for exam

0915-0927: Blog drafting

0930-1015: Exercise

1100-1400: Lecture

1400-1430: Reading

1430-1530: Lunch time with friends

1530-1830: Study for exam

1830-2030: Lecture

2030-2130: Commute back home

2130-2230: Shower, rest

2230-2330: Watch <Suits> and sleep

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Most of my days look like this- study for exams, project meetings, family time, lectures, homework, exercise…then project meetings…then project meetings (lol)- just busier on some days and more relaxed on others. (sigh)

To get glimpse of uni life in Singapore, check out vlogs below featuring the lives of students attending National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU)!

10 Ways to Study Even When You Don’t Feel Like it

I’m not quite sure if I’m qualified to write a blog post with the above title when I also occasionally struggle with “getting into the study zone”.

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But through my experience of studying for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), O levels and then the A levels a year ago, here are some hacks I’ve developed so that I can actually sit at my study desk during exam period.

These tips may not work for everyone and certainly not all the time, but who knows, 1-2 of them may work for you too! 🙂

1. Develop a pre-study routine.

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Step 1: Get coffee/juice/tea.

Step 2: Tie up hair.

Step 3: Prepare stationery and necessary study materials.

Study 3: Sit at study desk.

Developing a pre-study routine may not dramatically boost concentration levels, but I personally find it slightly easier to get into the mood of studying.

2. Wear “work clothes”.

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Especially on days my study motivation level isn’t exactly high, I find it even harder to internalize study materials when I’m in my PJs/super comfortable home clothes.

Sometimes getting into the kind of clothes I’d wear to the town library, like jeans and a blouse, helps too.

3. Play hard.

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Sometimes lack of motivation is because of burn-out.

Really doing the things I love, the activities my brain would unmistakably label as “fun” and “play”, like hanging out with friends and family, helps me to truly wind down.

Playing hard is helpful for feeling a useful amount of guilt, the “I really need to start studying now” feeling that kickstarts a study session.

4. Create & listen to a “study motivation playlist

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Rock? EDM? Classical piano? Lo-fi Jazz? Brown noise?

Music that hypes us up/calms us down for studying can be many times more effective than a long motivational speech.

What’s your kind of study music?

5. Watch/turn on “study with me” videos.

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Watching driven, intelligent people sit down and get to work in “a day in the life” or “study with me” videos often helps me to pick up my own pens and highlighters. Check out my post on my top 5 favorite study vloggers!

6. Read/watch videos on your goals.

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A common tip for recovering work motivation is something along the lines of “Recall your goals.”

It’s honestly hard to recall my goals with enthusiasm when I’m burnt out/tired/want to have fun. Times like this, I take advantage of unmistakable visuals/audios.

Studying to get accepted into that dream school? Watch the scream-and-shrills filled “accepted into school X” videos.

Studying to get accepted into that dream internship? Watch the interview & promotion videos of the company on the website.

7. Study in a library/cafe/with friends.

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Drifting into the abyss of temptations like YouTube, Netflix and basically everything else not study-related is much more likely when we’re at home.

Stepping into the library makes me realise how so many other people are working hard for their dreams & goals. Studying with friends who’re actually serious about studying immediately creates an atmosphere of work, not play.

Check out my post on the top 5 places to study in Singapore!

8. Read something.

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Reading is an activity that calms us down. It’s also one that’s strongly associated with studying & working.

Even if I’m about to study a subject like Math, which doesn’t require as much reading as Literature, for example, I like to pick up (preferably non fiction) a book to “get into the study zone”.

9. Create a “things I need to study” list for each subject/module.

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I don’t particularly like using this method because the sheer amount of work looming before me creates stress- which isn’t good for calming down before studying.

But during exam times I know there’s massive amount of material to study and my motivation level isn’t catching up, I use this pressure tactic.

10. Schedule consultation with the Teachers/professors.

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It’s not very nice to email professors/Teachers for consultations and have the only thing I can say be something like “I don’t know this part.”

“Which specific page, line of this book don’t I understand?”

“I don’t understand this part, but I do have some understanding. What is that some limited understanding I have?”

“Why do I need help with this part? A lack of understanding? Trouble with memorizing? Is this something the teacher/prof can help me with, or is it something I can Google/think on your own?”

I try to prepare for consultations to the best of my ability because I don’t want to waste my time & the prof’s time.

Emailing the prof for a consultation is a strong incentive for me to start studying- I can’t ask useful questions when there’s no content in my head.


That’s it for my 10 tips on how to study when you’re not in the mood to, based on personal experience.

Hope some of these tips help with your studying!

Happy Studying~ Cheers, Han Seol 🙂

3 reasons I like living in Singapore

It’s been 10+years since I’ve moved from my home country South Korea to Singapore, the country of Merlion, Esplanade, all-year-round-summer and much more. Here are 3 reasons I like living in this “little red dot” island nation.

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It has summer all year round.

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Aside from the fact that living in an all-year-summer country means being prone to getting freckles and wider pores, summer here’s great, at least for me.

Having the same season 365 days a year means not having to go through the time, energy and money-consuming process of throwing out old clothes, buying new clothes, stuffing past-season clothes into boxes, and repeating this cycle every year.

Plus, most indoor places in Singapore are well air-conditioned and everywhere in Singapore is well-connected by underpasses, MRTs (trains), sheltered pathways and trees that I don’t have to walk long distances under the hot sun.

Maybe it’s just that I have much higher tolerance for warmth rather than the cold, but the summer in Singapore isn’t unbearably hot, either. I don’t particularly like the humidity here, though. On days there’s no rain, no clouds and both sun & humidity, I would prefer not to go outside.

There’s low social tolerance for racism.

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Maybe it’s because Singapore is such a diverse country that the people here are so used to meeting people vastly different from them, but most people here generally welcoming & accepting of & civilized toward people who’re from/with a different country/socioeconomic status/religion.

Harboring some preconceived notions or stereotypes regarding certain groups of people may be perhaps an inevitable instinct- especially for people we have little experience interacting with. But the people here are generally civilized, educated people- educated in the sense that they know it’s simply not manners to outright mistreat others based on their limited understanding & knowledge.

The government doesn’t just sit on the sidelines pretending not to notice minorities living in the country subjected to bullying and abuse. It may not be perfect, but puts in effort to ensure that those who threaten the racial and religious harmony of Singapore, those who hurt and condemn others simply for skin color or their beliefs, are taught a lesson.

It’s safe.

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Guns, drugs, sporadic gang fights, and everything in between, are more of rare, shocking blue moon occurrences rather than casual occupants on front pages of daily newspapers.

Singapore is no utopia of crimelessness. Crimes do happen here; it would be foolish to completely let down one’s guard in Singapore and anywhere else in the world. But statistically speaking, there is a much lower chance of being the victim of kidnap/pickpocketing/murder/theft/drug dealing/shooting in Singapore than in other countries.

It’s the kind of a country that if I had a daughter years down the road, I’d definitely consider raising her here. A country that’s safe for women to live in, a country is the kind of a country Singapore is.

The reason for the high level of safety and security in this country, is that the law makers & law enforcers here do their jobs, very well. Those who threaten the safety of the law-abiding people here are immediately and strictly given their punishment, only released back to society when they are deemed to be capable of integrating back into society.

Some say Singapore has strict laws, but I’m not sure if they’re really considered that strict. If you’re a common, law-abiding citizen of the world with a conventional common sense of knowing what’s wrong and good, what’s bad for you and other people living in the world with you, there shouldn’t be many occasions you feel that the law is strict.

It’s really just a matter of preference, of trade-off and choice. I’d rather not have the freedom of purchasing a gun and walk out to the streets feeling safe, and Singapore is a country which makes people here feel protected enough to not purchase weapons for self-protection.

~ *~

These are my top 3 reasons I’ve enjoyed living in Singapore for the past 10+ years. Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, please give me a “like”! If you’ve had a chance to live in Singapore or are living in Singapore, it’ll be great if you can share your thoughts on this little red dot in the comment section below 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

Check out beautiful vlogs of Singapore by Kyung6Film and wannabe_bora 🙂 (Subtitles included)

My 5 Favorite Korean Study Vloggers

Sometimes when I simply don’t have the motivation to start studying, watching study vloggers helps me to have the urge to suddenly take out my most aesthetically pleasing highlighters, pens and school books.

Here are my top favorite vloggers who motivate me to study.

1. Sarang Choi (273k)

Sarang Choi is a Korean dentristy student studying and living in the US with her husband. She uploads videos on everything from “Study with me”, Qna on studying abroad, vlogs to beauty tips. Her videos are both in English and Korean. (with subs)

There’s something about her diligence, positive attitude and of course, the beautiful aesthetics of her videos which make me want to start studying!

Insta: @sarangdmd

2. 수야_mi_SUYA (168k)

mi_suya is a Korean medical student studying in Korea. It’s admirable to see how her days are productive and fruitful. She usually uploads “a day in the life” videos where she cooks three healthy, delicious looking meals, attends lectures, studies for exams and hangs out with her friends. Occasionally, she shares a few tips on how to study for exams effectively.

Insta: not known

3. 의대생TV / Med student TV (123k)

This channel features super hardworking, dedicated and statuesque(!) medical students in South Korea who motivate viewers with how they make 24 hours as productive as 48 hours.

A few of the students themselves have Instagram and YouTube channels where they also upload study vlogs/tips/a day in the life videos.

4. 리시후니 ShiHoonie (18.2k) & 공부하는 리시후니 Studying ShiHoonie (13.2k)

Lee Shi Hoon is a Korean law school student studying in South Korea and was featured in the TV series “Good People” (by producers of the show “Heart Signal”), a competitive internship program in which the final top 3 would be offered positions in a law firm.

He doesn’t have English subs for this main vlog/daily life channel yet, but he does live study-with-me videos on the “공부하는 리시후니 Studying ShiHoonie” channel. It’s inspiring to see how he’s tirelessly, steadfastly studying- it’s no wonder he’s from both Seoul National University and Yonsei University Law School, the two top schools in Korea.

Insta: @leeshihoonie

5. 의대생 소리_Soree (25.8K)

Soree is a Korean medical student studying in South Korea. She’s part of the team of medical students of “Med Student TV” and occasionally uploads study/day in the life /what’s in my bag videos on her personal channel.

Insta: @_sssounddd_

5 Best places to study in Singapore

For the 12ish years I’ve been living in Singapore, I’ve experimented with different libraries and cafes to study in during my exam periods.

Here are my TOP 5 places to study in Singapore.

1. Starbucks at Paragon

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Address: 290 Orchard Rd, #B1-34 Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore 238859

Opening hours: 0730~2200


-Well air conditioned not tooo cold. Just a thin jacket would do

-Near many food outlets/stores, easy to get a bite after studying

-Nicely scented, smell

-Clean and minimalistic aesthetics

-Friendly ans helpful staff


-No charging ports (unless I’m unable to find them)

-May be noisy during peak hours since Paragon is in Orchard after all. Not exactly a con, considering Starbucks is a cafe not library meant for studying

-Hard wooden chairs; uncomfortable to sit for long hours; again not exactly a con considering the place is a cafe after all

2. Lee Kong Chian Reference Library

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Address: 100 Victoria Street, #07-00 to #13-00, National Library Building, 188064

Opening hours: 1000~2100

Update on opening hours: in view of the coronavirus situation, the library has come up with measures (which slightly affect the time periods we can use the library) to reduce the risk of transmission. Visit the website to find out more.


-Quiet and very conducive for studying; most people at the library are actually studying/doing work quietly

-Many tables available

-Near hawker Center, food outlets, 7-eleven, etc. Also near Bras Basah complex; I used to visit for second hand books and top ten school papers

-2km walking distance from Clementi MRT station

-Abundant charging ports available


-Packed during exam periods; during my A level period when I used to frequent the place with my friend, if we arrived 30 min past the opening hour of 10am, we’d see the library almost fully filled with students

-Tends to be slightly cold, although bearable. You might want to make sure to bring a jacket.

3. Starbucks at United Square

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Photo credits
Photo credits

Address: 101 Thomson Rd, #01-01 United Square, Singapore 307591

Opening hours: 0800-2200


-Good aesthetics; a simple but beautiful Starbucks

-Very near Novena MRT


-Honestly very cold, at least for me. I do have low tolerance for the cold considering I’m originally from Korea (with 4 Seasons), but this Starbucks feels much colder than the above mentioned places. I’d suggest a thick, warm jacket.

-No charging ports (unless I missed them)

-Quite crowded, so you might only want to study here if you’re fine with some noise

4. Starbucks at Tanglin Mall

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Photo credits

Opening hours: 0700-2200

Address: 163 Tanglin Rd, #01-13, Singapore 247933


-In Tanglin Mall, which has quite a few food outlets/confectionery stores

-Not that many, but a few charging ports

-Both hard wooden chairs and comfortable sofa seating

-Not cold (might not need even a thin jacket)


-It’s situated inside Tanglin Mall but is very near the entrance, which has automatic glass doors. That means quite a few birds fly in, even into Starbucks itself. If you’re scared of doves, this Starbucks isn’t the place for you.

-Might be a little warm sometimes; the automatic doors let the air conditioning out

5. Library at Esplanade

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Address: 8 Raffles Avenue, #03-01, Singapore 039802

Opening hours: 1100~2100


-Situated in Esplanade; you can catch a free concert/attend its affordable concerts/musicals

-Near food outlets&other cafes like “The Coffee Bean & Tea leaf” at level 1 (which is also great for studying)

-Usually quiet and conducive for studying


-There may be recitals/mini events held in the library sometimes

-Doesn’t have that many seats; you’ll have to go as soon as the library opens if you want to secure a seat

-Quite cold

-I don’t recall it having charging ports

It’s October, which means end of year exam period for many of us 🤩🤯 Hope you found the list helpful! If you did, it’ll be great if you give this post a “like” and/or follow my blog “Han Style” for more updates 🙂


Han Seol

How to get rid of redness in face without using make-up

Within 1-2 hours of putting on basic make-up, my eyes start to water and redden.

By “basic make-up”, I mean really just basic- a few pats on the face with foundation, a few still-awkward sketches on the eyebrows, and nothing else. That’s why I prefer to go out bare-faced, but I really can’t help putting on make-up on days I have to look a little professional/put-together, because my face gets flushed really easily.

Not the cute, pink flush kind-

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but the unglamorous slight splotches of red on my cheeks.

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eEen though Hwang Jung Eum in “She was pretty” looks pretty & cute even with flushed cheeks

They flush when I step out into the sun for 1-2 minutes (by the way I live in a country with all-year round summer), they flush in the middle of the day (for no apparent reason). They flush when I laugh, like just a little. (Even when I’m not finding anything hilarious) They just flush when they feel like it.

When I first put on make-up after graduating from high school/junior college, I thanked a glorious invention called “foundation” for covering up my redness. Until, as if to compensate, my eyes turned red from make-up.

It took me a few months of researching and experimenting, and here are some hard-earned tips for fellow pink-cheeked fellas. They may not work for everyone, but they worked at least for me.

1. Cucumber pack

I have very sensitive skin so I look for make-up and facial care products which are made relatively more from natural products rather than chemicals. Then my dad recommended that I go for actual natural products.

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I’d never actually tried putting on something edible on my face. It did feel weird putting cucumber slides on my face instead of into a kimbab roll.

The cucumber slices freshly from the fridge was were so cooling it instantly felt like my face was becoming less red than it was before. After some googling, I found that cucumber packs:

-Soothe irritation

-Alleviate sunburn

-Help with acne-prone skin, etc

It’s been 1-2 months, and my skin feels and look less flushed. Of course there must be other factors as well (perhaps the rainy weather), but the slices cool my heated face down so effectively I’ve been putting them on after a long day at school.

2. No hot baths

The last time I visited Korea in the pre-Covid era, I went to a skincare clinic in Seoul.

The doctor examined my skin and explained that I did not have serious Rosacea but would have to avoid a few things like: 1) long periods of rigorous exercise 2) hot bath. The two things that are known to be good for diets and the one thing that I loved to do after a tiring day.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com. What I love to do

3. Avoid strong sunlight

For the almost 9 months of break after my A levels & before uni started, I spent a fair number of days going on long walks (1-3 hours) around Singapore to build up my stamina & get some long-due exercise.

Knowing I get my brain-work (e.g. reading) done the best when the sun is down, I used the afternoon to go on walks instead. I did put on a cap, put on sunblock, sun sleeves and wore long pants, but that didn’t help. I didn’t get tanned, but by the time I arrived home, my face was a tomato.

Getting some sunlight is definitely important for health, but for rosy-cheeked fellas, it might be good to avoid going out for long during time periods when the sun’s the strongest.

Photo by Melanie Wupperman on Pexels.com

4. Green concealer

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Technically green concealers do count as make-up, but they hurt my eyes less & irritate my skin less than foundation. I don’t have to put on more layers of foundation to cover up my flushed cheeks, too.

That’s it for my tips! They’re nothing much but do make a big difference for my skin- I hope they do for you too!

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