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Mon, February 26, 2024 | 23:47
Squat, Lee and Linton: Names and identity in today's Korea
At the beginning of my first Spanish class in my London secondary school, our teacher set about giving us Spanish names. If I remember correctly, she dubbed me Miguel. I felt then, aged circa 11-13 years old, and I still feel now that this was a waste of time: I am not Spanish and never will be. Her bid to foist this Iberian moniker on me was actually an attempt to create a n...
Once when I was walking out of the British Library, I saw a woman outside on the floor having some kind of fit or seizure. It was a wintery evening - it may even have been snowy if I remember correctly - and the library was just closing, so there were dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people all leaving through the main entrance, hurrying to beat the rush-hour traffic. And althoug...
Ukraine needs Korea's support
Time goes past so quickly. Dear reader, you may not remember, but last month everyone was fixated on the Beijing Olympics. Look, she's wearing a hanbok! Hey, the referees are biased! Let's boycott the Games! It all feels like another age, an innocent time of relative peace when no world leaders were ominously hinting at nuclear war.
Hanbok stealing?
Nearly everyone in Korea is furious, it seems, because a Chinese national woman in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony wore the traditional Korean dress, hanbok. Numerous editorials and opinions have been published in condemnation, calling it another item in the long list of China's aggressions toward Korea. Last year it was kimchi, the argument goes; this year ...
Stop giving us unnecessary drugs
Almost immediately after moving to Korea, I developed pretty unpleasant stomach problems, probably related to the stress of migrating to the other side of the world. Although it did not seem serious, it certainly wiped me out for a while.
Korea's strict asylum policies and unkind officials
I once flew in an Airbus A380. It's a big plane, so big that it actually has two decks; in fact, it's the largest passenger plane in the world.
Reform 'Suneung'
Last week saw Korea's yearly university admissions exam take place, accompanied as usual by an autumnal flurry of headlines. Given the world's current obsession with Korea, it's hardly a surprise that the test made international headlines. The test's English name is the College Scholastic Ability Test, or CSAT, but it is known more commonly as the “Suneung.” The news often hi...
Our obsession with unreal beauty
Somewhere to the right of this text there is a picture of me. It's publicly visible, but on the rare occasions that I go outside, I can stroll the streets, dodging the motorbikes and busses safe in the confidence that any beloved Korea Times reader who happens to pass me will almost certainly fail to recognize me.
Korean language is not degrading - it's evolving
Hangeul Day 2021 is, sadly, over. The last crumbs of the “batchim”-themed cakes have been swept away, the Hangeul board games are back in the cupboard gathering dust, the balloons in the shapes of “nieun” and “rieul” lie deflated in the corner. Yet, as this year's celebration of King Sejong's ingenious alphabet system fades into memory, we can't seem to escape from news and o...
The reality of adopting a kitten in Korea
Since our wedding, my wife and I have been thinking about getting a cat - by which I mean that I've been trying to convince my wife to let us get one. And last week, after over two years of careful consideration (pleading), we (my wife) finally decided that we were ready.