Field Trip to the DMZ

FOCAL POINT trains its lens on one of the 15,000 North Korean defectors who have made it to South Korea. Twenty-year-old Haejung (not her real name) was smuggled out of North Korea some years ago in the hope of a better life — leaving her family behind. She now attends Hangyeore High School, a special boarding school an hour outside of Seoul, founded in 2006 to help North Korean teens adjust to life in the South. Most of the school’s 240 students are separated from one or both of their parents back in the North, with little hope of ever seeing them again. They experience severe culture shock transitioning from one of the world’s most isolated Communist states to one of the most technologically and economically advanced societies. The school tries to fill both the emotional void and the cultural gaps. The students eat, sleep, and study on campus. The teachers live with them in the dorms, and many have training as therapists to provide psychological counseling. The curriculum includes everything from history to English to learning how to use a cell phone, computer or credit card. In Field Trip to the DMZ, the students make their annual trip to the border, and Haejung dreams of a time when her family and her homelands will be reunited. (Field Trip to the DMZ )


DMZ  (Demilitarized Zone)

DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

 DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) sounds impossible to visit; yet it is not that hard to visit DMZ. In fact most of the South Korean students have a field trip to DMZ once in their 12 years of educational life. Even I have been to DMZ last year; the whole governmental economics and global issues students had a field trip to DMZ. To South Koreans DMZ is just a site of historical and educational value. Yet what would it be like for North Korean refugees to visit DMZ? The 8 minutes documentary we have watched in class clearly portrayed the sorrow of the North Korean refugee students during the trip to DMZ.
          Being a refugee is not just running away from a certain country; it means that a person needs to leave something very important behind. For the students in the documentary, they left their family in North Korea. DMZ would be the closest place from their families for those students. Such seperations of families are not rare incident today. There are hundreds of families that have to live their lives forever without being able to see other members of the family. This is the reality that both Koreas have to face ever since DMZ was established to divide the nation into two. The lives in South Korea for the North Korea refugees aren’t easy as well. The people’s views treat those students differently from South Koreans. I just cannot imagine that students even younger than my age are experiencing such hardship. While watching the documentary, I was just glad to be born as a South Korean.

A student who is a North Korean refugee, visiting DMZ

A student who is a North Korean refugee, visiting DMZ


Cormac McCarthy

CORMAC MCCARTHY has practiced the Joycean virtues of silence, exile and cunning more faithfully than any other contemporary author; until very recently, he shunned publicity so effectively that he wasn’t even famous for it. By his single-minded commitment to his work and his apparent indifference to the rewards and aggrandizements quite openly pursued by the rest of us, he puts most other American writers to shame. The work itself repays the tight focus of his attention with its finely wrought craftsmanship and its ferocious energy. ( NYT’s article covering the release of All the Pretty Horses)

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy

1. What authors or genres of writing are cited as influencing McCarthy’s writing style? 
          An above exerpt is from the New York Times and it explains about Cormac McCarthy and his writing style. The article states that “Cormac McCarthy has practiced the Joycean virtues of silence, exile and cunning more faithfully thatn any other contemporary author.” This shows how McCarthy was different from his contemporary writers and was not really influenced by them. Yet the article mentions, “This mixture builds on Faulkner’s work, yet, more than Faulkner ever did, Mr. McCarthy seems to be pulling the language apart at its roots,” implying that Faulkner has somewhat influenced McCarthy’s writing style.

2. How does McCarthy treat human characters in his story as opposed to landscape and animals like horses? 
         The article reads, “Mr. McCarthy’s descriptions of the landscape are breathtakingly beautiful, but anyone who thinks he is sentimental about nature need only read “Blood Meridian” for a permanent cure.” This implies McCarthy’s beautiful use of language to put value on to landscape and animals. “…while in Mr. McCarthy’s work human thought and activity seem almost completely inconsequential when projected upon the vast alien landscapes where they occur,” is also a quote from the article that demonstrates how McCarthy does not put his value upon the individual characters, but the picture as whole. Unlike other authors like Faulkner, McCarthy is disinterested on individual characters; he portrays beauty of his novel through his mixture of landscape and the characters. Yet his value upon landscape is partly bigger than that of his characters.

3. What type of dialogue does the article state McCarthy uses?
         This is what the article states about McCarthy’s use of his dialogues: “Powered by long, tumbling many-stranded sentences, his descriptive style is elaborate and elevated, but also used effectively to frame realistic dialogue, for which his ear is deadly accurate.” It says his prose is produced with stranded sentences with comma splices and run-on sentences, which effectively brings reality to his dialogue. The article states that McCarthy’s use of dialogue is like a real dialogue between two real people.

4. What is notable about his diction (word choice)? 
          McCarthy uses strange words that he even makes up by himself; there are many odd words. I believe this is to bring reality to his prose. The article even says that his words evolved from all around the history of English: “His diction and phrasing come from all over the evolutionary history of English and combine into a prose that seems to invent itself as it unfolds, resembling Elizabethan language in its flux of remarkable possibilities.”


1. Vehicles


Today’s vehicles might be one of the big examples of modernism. Vehicles like the Black Ferrari in the left resemble modern technology and the development to modernism from past horsebacks. With the establishment of modernism, transportaion evoloved greatly, making people’s life much easier and much fasionable, luxurious.


2.  Skyscrapers / Hotels


Today’s skryscrapers and hotels examplify modernism. First of all, in the past tall skyscrapers were not in the diction of architecture. Yet with the growth of modernism field of architecture evoloved and started making skyscrapers, even to the height that no one could have thought about. Hotels are also new luxury present of modernism. The hotel system was brandnew to the world as people were able to get temporary shelter with money. Luxuries provided in the hotels are also new kind of system.


3.  Hip Hop


Modernism is also demonstrated through changed music art & style. Unlike classisc of the past, modern music includes new genre of hip hop. Hip hop was a great challenge to traditional music and dance art with beats, rhymes, and language usage. We can’t define modernism without hip hop.




4.  Movies (from drawing->pictures->motion pictures-> to movie)


We also cannot skip movies in modernism. Movie has shown gradual growth from drawing to pictures to motion pictures. Movie is today’s method to display message and entertainment through image. Variety of genre also account to the growth of movie through modernism. Movie theaters established for movies also represent modern culture very well.



We have chosen Asians as our topic for this project. We thought that this group had many different interesting stereotypes and archetypes that would be appealing to us and the class. We thought that it would relate to us very well because we and our classmates, are also Asian as well. Although the group of Asians are very broad, there are many great stereotypes that we can derive from it.

Prompt 1

Our group has researched on stereotypes and archetypes of Asians. During the procedure, we have reviewed myriads of images and video clips. After such review, some images and video clips became very clear as original or copies, while some are rather ambiguous. Jackie Chan and Jet Li were two very clear examples of replica as these two figures are actors of current days. And for images like that of Bruce Lee and Yu So Chows demonstrate the fact that they are originals through black-and-white picture style. However, only with the pictures of the athletes we chose as stereotypes and archetypes, it is very difficult for a person to know which is an original or a replica unless he/she knows about the athlete. Our intended audience for these images and videos is probably Western audience as the examples are associated with Western society. For example, Jackie Chan and Jet Li are Hollywood actors, which would mean that the viewers would be mostly Westerners. We also associated our athlete archetypes with Western Sports Leagues; thus Pak Se Ri, Park Ji Sung, and Yao Ming are all intended for Western audience.
             Throughout our research and review, it became very obvious that the most widely represented demographic was a male adult. Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Yao Ming, William Hung, Noh Hong Chul, and etc are male adults and they take most parts of our presentation. In the other hand, it became clear that we were not able to represent as much younger figures. Michelle Wie and Park Tae Hwan would be the only younger generation of our example, which was pretty interesting. We also have noticed that there are no really exemplary figures that represent various other stereotypes the world has on Asians. This became significant as we then started to wonder how such numerous stereotypes can be formulated. The research had given us great opportunity to learn about our own Ethnic race and stereotypes/archetypes it holds on to.

Prompt 2

As we were viewing and observing media images, we recognized a few things that stood out. Firstly, we noticed in Hollywood, Asians were often depicted as masters of the martial arts. The two prime examples in the modern days are Jackie Chan and Jet Li as they are mainly shown in fighting movies. However, the man who started this trend was Bruce Lee, the archetype figure in martial arts films. One thing we have noticed is that although there are some tall Asians, as we have used Yao Ming in our presentation, Asians are typically short in height. Jackie Chan and Jet Li may not seem short in movies due to movie techniques, but they seem taller than they actually are. Chan and Li do not even reach 6 feet in height.

Secondly, we noticed that Asians are often depicted as evil characters. One example is the movie Lethal Weapon 4. Once again, Jet Li is shown as a man with extraordinary martial art skills only in this movie, he is depicted as the evil man. He is the leader of the other evil Asians doing evil.

Another aspect of Asians we observed is that they are weird or funny. Some people may think they are just acting this way in part of the script, but this is not true. William Hung is a prime example of this. Although he was embarrassed on national television, Hung came right back and said in an article, “People may think I am weird, but this is who I am and I will continue to be like myself.” Noh Hong Chul, a Korean comedian that often comes out in TV shows, is just a naturally funny guy. He volunteers to do crazy, pointless dares and doesn’t matter what the other people think of him.


Bruce Lee, famous archetype for Asian martial art master

Bruce Lee, famous archetype for Asian martial art master


Jet Li is another famous hollywood actor with martial art stereotype
Jet Li is another famous hollywood actor with martial art stereotype
William Hung, famous example for stereotype that Asians are weird
William Hung, famous example for stereotype that Asians are weird
Samsung creates stereotype that Asians are technologically advanced
Samsung creates stereotype that Asians are technologically advanced
Sony is another company that illustrates that Asians are technologically advanced
Sony is another company that illustrates that Asians are technologically advanced
Michelle Wie creates a stereotype that Asians are athletic
Michelle Wie creates a stereotype that Asians are athletic
Pak Se Ri is a famous archetype for athletic Asians joining western sports leagues
Pak Se Ri is a famous archetype for athletic Asians joining western sports leagues

Growing Up Online

          Today, we oftenly see teenagers and even the younger children spending their leisure time on watching TV, playing games, and socializing through internet. It is very difficult to see a household without a TV or internet. Like the saying, today we live in a globalized world, where people put high value on media and technology. Imagine what it would like to be to not have TV, internet, and other sources of media. 
          I am not an exception to those who connect themselves to internet daily. In fact, I can say I am addicted to online games and internet. I can’t imagine my life without internet and TV. Yet, I believe I could reduce the time spent on watching TV or using internet. In order to do so, I have to change my daily routine. First of all, I should be doing my homework as soon as I come back from school. My daily routine has been turning on my computer as soon as I arrive home. By doing my homework first, I would be able to be away from computer after I come back from school. For my leisure time, I should be reading books than playing computer games or watching TV. These would be able to reduce my time spent on computer and TV. Yet I would be encountering problems through avoiding the use of TV and internet. First, I would not be able to know about current events as I will not have any access to news. One day would be okay; yet if the unplugging goes for more than a week, I would be troubled. I would also not be able to socialize with my friends through messengers, which would be very troublesome. Lastly, I would be bored to death as I would not be able to play games. One month, no even one week, without computer and TV would be like hell for me.
         I believe I spend almost an hour everyday on Facebook or similar personal networking sites. I use online messengers like Windows Live much more often. I probably use messenger about two hours each day. Advantage of such personal networking sites and online messengers would be that I would be able to socialize with peers outside of school, which is really good for building friendship. I could encounter wide variety of people through online access, which is not that easy offline. Yet, we can’t ignore disadvantage of such constant use of networking sites. In personal networking sites like Facebook, people share rumors and may hurt others’ feelings. No secret can be kept online and rumors always spread. This would be the biggest disadvantage of personal networking sites.
          I am extremely aware that people use sites like Facebook for direct marketing. When we access to sites like Facebook we always see advertisements in the corner of the site. Such advertisement is very effective marketing use as billions of people connect to the site each day. Facebook also earn profit through such advertisements as the advertisers pay facebook to put their banner on. In fact this is how today’s society flows.
          Through watching “Growing Up Online,” I was able to learn again about the reality of today’s society. The film showed how today’s society can’t exist without internet or TV. The world has globalized to an extent where people can’t live without internet or TV, which take huge role in today’s world. Through the film, I was able to connect myself with the characters as I am under similar situation. I also decided to reduce my time online.

A young child playing computer game

A young child playing computer game

Hagwons in U.S.

NEW YORK – Increasing numbers of Korean students who successfully enter prestigious universities in the United States are dropping out or turning to private institutes for help in meeting the rigorous academic standards. The difficulties Korean students face can be mainly attributed to poor English skills and educational differences between Korea and the U.S., experts say.

In Flushing, New York – one of the major Korea towns in the Eastern United States – more than 300 hagwon have sprung up, largely due to the Korean zeal for education. Bell Boulevard stretches 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles) through the district, crowded with 60 private schools targeting Korean students. The area looks just like a street in Daechi-dong, a popular hagwon district in southern Seoul.
– Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean undergrads (JoongAng Daily)

As I have already posted on the previous post, Korean students tend to rely hugely on helps from hagwons. Hagwon is a big and successful industry in Korea as most of the Korean parents send their children to hagwons for academic enhancements. These hagwons help hugely on raising students’ grades on GPA and SAT’s; yet there is a huge consequence that follows along. As students become more accustomed to hagwons, they lose their self-study skills and become much more dependent on hagwons. This is one of the biggest reasons to why Korean students tend to drop out most from the Ivy League schools. Not only do their English skills lack, but they lack experience of studying by themselves without hagwons. In order to help these students, hagwon industry was developed even in the United States. As the article presents, the hagwon industry is very popular even in the states, prevailing the Korean students’ huge dependence on hagwons. It is extremely surprising how within a decade numbers of hagwons in the United States increased dramatically. The popular boom of going to schools in America made more and more students to apply for American colleges.

Building full of hagwons in Dae-Chi Dong

Building full of hagwons in Dae-Chi Dong

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — American teenagers lie, steal and cheat more at “alarming rates,” a study of nearly 30,000 high school students concluded Monday.

The attitudes and conduct of some 29,760 high school students across the United States “doesn’t bode well for the future when these youngsters become the next generation’s politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals,” the non-profit Josephson Institute said.

In its 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, the Los Angeles-based organization said the teenagers’ responses to questions about lying, stealing and cheating “reveals entrenched habits of dishonesty for the workforce of the future.”

Boys were found to lie and steal more than girls.
American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study (Google News)

Students cheating during their test

Students cheating during their test

The above article is very interesting. As the article presents, the number of students convicting cheating and other sorts of behaviors breaking academic integrity is increasing in a dramatic rate. The primary explanation for such increase would be the increase of pressure to strive academically for future careers. Today’s society values education, especially which college the person is from, very much. It is extremely difficult to get a high price job with low ranked college graduate certificate. Korean society strongly rejects people from bad colleges and it is very difficult to get a job with such resume. As society functions in this way, students are more pressured to get higher grades to raise GPA, which counts hugely for college application. I have seen numerous incidents of cheating personally within the school; even I have been having thoughts of cheating. This was all because of pressures to get high grades. As competition for colleges increase more dramatically, such pressure becomes bigger by the day. The part about boys cheating more than girls, I think, is very true. I personally have seen much more boys cheating, lieing, and stealing than girls. Even if we look at TV’s and movie films, it is mostly boys who do such immoral behaviors. Girls are expected to be much more calm than boys. I believe the pressure to get good grades is the biggest reason to why students tend to cheat more.

The Warrior Tradition

The above film is a fight scene between two main female characters of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. From the scene, the viewers are very likely to catch some of the female warrior traits. First of all, the movement of the Invincible Sword Goddess is very flexible and fast. If we look at action films, we notice men’s movements are very heavy and strong, whereas, the fight movements of the two female characters of this film are very soft, adroit, and flexible. The strength of these two women are also not represented through muscle or big body. Rambo’s picture below demonstrates how male warrior’s strength are represented through muscles. The gender difference between female and male warrior is also very significant. Throughout the society, women are believed and expected to be weak and men are expected to be the ones who fight; thus the society rejects female warrior. If we look at the Disney film, The Mulan, we can notice how Mulan tied her hair like a man and acted like a man, so that she wouldn’t be looked down upon. Even in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the Invincible Sword Goddess dresses and acts like a man, so that her foes are fear her. From the Woman Warrior, we also see how women are believed to be weak and how the society rejected female warriors.

Rambo displays his strength through his muscular body

Rambo displays his strength through his muscular body

Mulan cuts her hair to look like a man, which cleary demonstrates the gender expectation as warriors

Mulan cuts her hair to look like a man, which cleary demonstrates the gender expectation as warriorsThe two female warriors from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon do not look strong physically; however these two characters display their strength through flexibility and adroitness

Two female warriors from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon do not look strong physically; yet they display their strength through flexibility and adroitness

Two female warriors from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon do not look strong physically; yet they display their strength through flexibility and adroitness

The film below is a fight scene between two men from Fist of Legend:
The film displays much more powerful fight compared to the scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.