Archive for December 2008

Article #1

Reading the article ‘Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean students’ was not new to me, because hagwons are all around. I would say nearly 100 percent of Korean students living in Seoul have recieved help of hagwon at least once. The fact that Korean students are having hard times with English writing and logical thinking is not surprising at all because I am one of the victim of ‘cramming style of education.’

I used to attend public Korean school before I transferred to an international school. In Korean school, we do essay writing only once or twice a year and the rest of the time everything is about memorization. Students do not think creatively and logically, but just absorb what the textbook says and that’s it with the education. When I came to an international school, which follows American curriculum, I suffered so much trying to learn how to think and write my own ideas in English, which I was not comfortable with. During the first two months of school, I lost 4 kilograms because of stress about writing essays in U.S. Literature class.

I can understand why Korean students attending universities in America are seeking for help in hagwons. Hagwons is part of school life in Korea; most of the students attend hagwons to recieve help. Since the students are used to getting help from hagwons instead of trying to find solutions by themselves, it is no wonder why Korean students are suffering in American universities where they have to think indepently and survive on their own. They are desperate to get help  so they are registering for ‘flushing’ hagwons even if the price is unreasonable high.

I have thought about this problem many times, and I think the only solution to this problems is to change Korean education system. Korean schools should start making the students think creatively and get them into habit of writing. The governent should discourage students attending hagwons because they only teach some smart tricks to put on the tests to let students get  high scores without knowing much. If the current education system continues, the drop rate of Korean students in American universities will keep on rising and more students will seek help in hagwons and spend extra money. I hope this ‘hagwon tradition’ comes to an end before it spreads too much.

Article #2

While reading the article ‘American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study’ I was shocked at the high percentages of students who violated moral standards. I have always thought that only very small number of bad kids steal from store. However, the statistics showed that around 30% of boys and 26% of girls have stolen something over the past year. This is simply shocking. Cheating was even worse, because more than 60% of students admitted that they have cheated on the test. It worries me that this serious problem with dishonesty of students will pass on to raise problems in the future. The article mentions that the attitude of students  “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.”

Even more shocking and ironic is that students attending religious school are more likely to have lied to their parents about something significant and to have cheated on tests. I think of religious school as strict and morally right, but the students are apparently not bearing these characters. The problems might be worse than illustrated on the article because according to the article , the students did not reply honestly in some of the survey questions. Once again, we can see that dishonesty is a habit that is ingrained in students’ daily lives.

It was contradictory of the students that they have high self-image when it comes to ethics. This means that students don’t realize that they conduct dishonest actions or that they do not consider cheating or lying as serious moral problems. Maybe they think those are just small actions which do not count as dishonesty. Considerting that 77% of students answered that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know,” the schools need to do something to make student realize how dishonest they are and the serious consequences that might follow from dishonesty. People often don’t realize their defects and try to over-estimate themselves, and students are no exception.


We love watching warrior movies and admiring their skills. But have you noticed any traditional elements about those warriors? After watching several warrior movies and reading The Woman Warrior, I found out some interesting warrior traditions.


Warriors, especially oriental warriors, always stand in special stance to get ready to combat. They all have their hands raised in front of their chests, body slightly turned to the side and eyes staring intensely at their enemies’ eyes. In the Chinese movie Crouching tiger, the two female characters stand in certain stance, punch, kick for a while, and occasionally pose in their stance in between the fights. Also in Japanese animation called Dragon Ball, the warriors stand in certain stance and pose before they fight with the enemies. The stance seems to be there to get ready to perform certain routines that the warriors are trained to follow when they are fighting. When they fight, they don’t just randomly kick and punch, but follow the routines that their masters taught them, which is why in some of the movies, people recognize who the master of their enemies is by looking at the style of movements.

Zhang Ziyi in her fighting stance

Zhang Ziyi in her fighting stance


Samurai Jack in his fighting routine

Samurai Jack in his fighting routine


Usually, man male warriors seem to wear similar outfits in many different countries. They often take off their shirts to show masculine body. However, female warriors’ clothing differs greatly between western and oriental countries. In oriental culture, female warriors try to hide their identity as women by dressing as males. They often tie their hair and wear long sleeves to cover their body as much as possible. We can take Mu Lan as the best example. Even if the warriors are not trying to hide their female identity, oriental women warriors still try not to show their bare body parts. In many movies, the actress Zhang Ziyi ties her hair and wear long clothes as a woman warrior. On the other hand, western female warriors are exact opposite. They wear clothes that expose their feminine body, which we often refer as sexy. For example, Wonder Woman and Tomb Raider show female warriors who wear short sleeves and emphasize the strong but feminine body line.

Typical male warriors show their muscular bodies instead of wearing clothes

Typical male warriors show their muscular bodies instead of wearing clothes


Mulan is perfect example of woman warriors hiding their identity as females.

Mulan is perfect example of woman warriors hiding their identity as females.


Above is a video clip of Wonder Woman transforming into ‘sexy’ woman warrior

 Inner tranquility

Many martial arts warriors emphasize their inner tranquility as part of their strength. We often see the warriors meditating to control their mind and train to have more inner power than the enemies. The more the warriors can control their mind, the stronger their qi (inner power, spirit) becomes. In the book Woman Warrior, Mu Lan is trained to gather inner strength by living independtly in the forest, and settle her mind down to become one with the nature and animals.


Another trait of martial arts warriors is that they blend in with nature. They meditate in the forest or near a stream, and also fight in woods where there are no other people. Usually, Chinese warriors fight in bamboo forest, as we can see in the movies House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger. Becoming one with nature is considered important for Chinese warriors because it provides shelter and strenth for them.

Bamboo forest seems to be favorite place for Chinese warriors to combat

Bamboo forest seems to be favorite place for Chinese warriors to combat

  • Alice: Very insightful. I shall take your advice :]
  • Mr WordPress: Hi, this is a comment.To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts' comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.