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2017-06 19

[Special][HY Talk] Sexism in Online Games, What Do You Think?

HY (Hanyang) Talk is a newly opened series in News H, which deals with different societal issues happening inside Korea. With different topics every time, around three to four students of HYU who wish to take part, will be joining. For their freedom of speech, their anonymity will be guaranteed. This week, HY Talk selected a subject which is some of the most serious problem inside a gaming environment, sexism in online games. Discrimination of woman users inside a game is becoming more serious with the advent of a game called ‘Overwatch’ (which is a team-based shooting game from the Blizzards Entertainment) with increasing number of woman users. We have gathered 3 female users and 1 male users who think it is the reflection of gender inequality inside our society and that it should to be solved to create more clean and equal gaming environment. Discrimination against woman users, how and why? Chairperson: Hello everyone, thank you all for participating. Before we start our talk, please briefly introduce yourself. A: Hello, I played computer games since last year. To me, it is a good hobby, I play it about three to four times a week, about 2 hours a day. B: Hi, I also started playing it since last fall and I really enjoy playing games because I can fully concentrate during the short amount of time while feeling extremely excited, just as if I'm working out. C: Nice to meet you all, I started playing games since last summer and Overwatch was my first computer game. It is now one of my good hobbies and I play it about twice a week during the weekends. D: Hello, I also started playing it since the last summer and as I am the only male user in this conversation, I hope I can hear more perspectives of woman users and share mine as a male game user. News H also opened a real Kakao Talk chat room to hear opinions from more people. Chairperson: Now that all of you are active game users, we want to hear your opinions on discrimination towards female users in online games. What do you think? A: People think picking a certain character inside a game has a relation with a user being a woman or a man. Inside ‘Overwatch’, I often play a character named ‘Mercy’ which is in a healer or support position. When I enter into a voice talk while I pick Mercy, users say ‘Oh you picked Mercy because you are a woman’. This, already is quite frustrating. What’s worse is that when the team is losing male users frequently blame women users. ‘We totally lost because of Mercy. Women are no good for the team.” C: I had a very similar experience once. When I joined voice chat once by myself, I heard a member of the team saying “Did you borrowed your boyfriend’s account? Then you better try hard not to lose for him.” It was really annoying but scary at the same time. From that incident, I always join voice talk only when I am playing with my friend. Funny thing is that people don’t say that when I am with other male friends inside a voice chat. Diva and Mercy are the two most frequently played characters by Korean female users. (Photo courtesy of Blizzards Entertainment) B: I didn’t had personal experience like A and C but come to think of it, I think that is the reason why I have never joined voice talk on my own. When I started to play computer games, I saw in other SNSs (Social Networking Services) how woman users are frequently blamed without a legitimate reason. That is absurd and stupid and I thought I do not need to do voice talk if I am prone to be discriminated just because I am a woman. Chairperson: Then, why do you guys think such unreasonable discrimination occurs in a gaming society? Would there be any specific reasons? D: Even as a male user, I cannot possibly understand why they do that. I mean the woman users they encounter in a game is in a similar level or scores. On what standards can they blame women? To be honest, although it might sound a little funny, I think they do that simply because of bad experiences they had with women in real lives. Like, they must have had rejected brutally in a relationship. A: When these users lose the game, they want to blame other people although it could be because of their lack of performance in the game. The target become a woman because they think women just can’t play game as good as male. It’s stupid. B: I agree with what D and A have said. To add, I think it is because some men view women as a subject and image of ‘sex’. While a ‘user’ in a game is supposed to mean both male and female users, it becomes ' a woman user' when a player is a female. A said that the most annoying thing about the discrimination is that she is not allowed to enjoy game as freely as men do. Chairperson: What would be stereotypes woman users have to face because of their gender? C: I think the most representative one is that men can play computer games better than women. It is because men think that games has been the hobby of men for a longer period, and increase of women in a gaming environment somewhat threatens them I guess. B: While there are increasing number of women playing computer games, we are still minorities. I think that is why male users think women just can’t play games as well as themselves. A: I agree, and I think I have to reflect on that too. Even as a woman myself, when I hear that another woman user is in a higher tier, I think ‘wow she is good although she is a woman’. I don’t think I would think the same if a male user is in a higher tier. B said anonymity makes the situation worse. Chairperson: What could be the demerits woman users have to suffer because of such discrimination? A: Participating in a voice talk is very important to win the game as it is a team-based shooting game. While better communication with other members is crucial, it is sad that a lot of woman users cannot do it as often because they are intimidated by male users. D: I agree, the fact that woman users just cannot enjoy the game like other male users is unfair. B: Just like any other users, I think I can be good in some games and not in other matches. Even if I played well in a one match, I have to hear ‘Oh you are good for a woman, which just makes me feel upset. D said that it is unfortunate to equal rights of women cannot be protected, even in a game environment. Chairperson: Thank you all for your frank and honest opinions. For the last question, what do you guys think is the possible solution for the issue? A: I think there should be a policy inside a game where users can report on others who talks hate speech inside a game. C: I agree, there are already other categories like ‘Trolling, bullying, and harassing’. Specific categories for reporting ‘This user disrespected another user because she is a woman’ should be installed inside a game. B: Yes I think that is totally necessary and I hope more female progamers would appear to reduce misconception that a man somewhat has better genetic for games than a woman. Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr Photos courtesy of Yun Ji-hyun and Choo Hwa-jeong Designed by Kim Hye-im

2017-04 24

[Special]Short Getaway to Korean Traditional Villages

While having quite distinctive four seasons, Korea boasts a very hot and humid summer. Traveling outside of crowded Seoul, there are two small yet antique villages which will be able to refresh one along with special memories. Damyang Moowol Village Located in Damyang, South Jeolla province, Moowol Village is where one can feel close to nature. Surrounded by a small mountain at the back, a river flows across, which already makes one feel more relaxed. The name ‘Moowol’ implies beautiful moonlight shining on the village at night. As it is a quiet village only composed of hosts running hanok (Korean traditional house), it is a desirable place to visit for people who want to take their busy mind off things while being inspired by something new. Small and tranquil, Damyang is perfect for people who needs a short getaway with friends and family. (Photo courtesy of blog.naver.com/foodnuri/) On the first day, it is recommended to walk around the village along the course called ‘Dalmaji-gil road’. A 30-minute course is easy for everyone to walk along. A walking course surrounding the village. (Photo courtesy of blog.naver.com/foodnuri/) What is also special about the village is that they provide various programs for every season. As it is the village of bamboo forests, one of the most popular activities is to make bamboo rice. Using beans, cooking rice in bamboo leaves grown and made in the village makes the dish a one of a kind. Ingredients for bamboo rice are neatly set. (Photo courtesy of moowol.kr) According to its official homepage, there are other activities to do, such as making Korean traditional snacks, rice cakes and side dishes. If not a big fan of cooking, there are also Korean traditional games on offer, like playing changgu (a Korean drum) and wheel-rolling, to which instructions will follow. Yangpyeong Moggoji Village At the end of spring, Moggoji Village located in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi province, is an optimal place to visit in the season. Moggoji in Korean means gatherings or parties with people to engage in fun activies. As the name implies, the village hosts small festivals in different seasons. In the spring, which is almost coming to its end, the strawberry festival is most popular in Moggoji village. First sight of the Moggoji Village. (Photo courtesy of joohyunri.modoo) Composed of eight separate greenhouses, the village only provides organic strawberries to its visitors. As the trees are very delicate, instructions will be given from a farmer on how to pick the fruit well. It is also advised to wear dark-colored clothes for possible strawberry stains. Visitors picking strawberries in a greenhouse. (Photo courtesy of joohyunri.modoo) The strawberry festival is not the sole reason to visit the Moggoji village. In the coming summer, Moggji village is to open up a natural resort for swimming and rafting. In the fall and winter, there are programs like crop harvesting and Kimchi making. Summer is another festive season in the Moggoji village. (Photo courtesy of joohyunri.modoo) Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr

2017-03 20

[Special]History of Makeup: from Goryeo to Joseon

Makeup is derived from the instinctual human desire to make oneself more beautiful. Makeup has been used to fulfill various purposes from about 4000 years ago. Cosmetics were used to protect oneself from the environment, to practice religious rituals, and to express one’s social status. In today's society, makeup has become indispensible to display one’s own personality and image. The history of makeup during Goryeo and Joseon dynasties can be traced back to understand the historical background and meaning of makeup. Flourishing of makeup, Goryeo In Korea, appearance of makeup started to emerge during the years of the three kingdoms Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje (BC 37~668). It is said that the introduction of Buddhism greatly influenced the culture of makeup in Silla. After the unification of the three kingdoms, there came Goryeo (918~1392), where the culture of makeup reached its peak. A lot of the makeup skills and its products were passed over from Silla and started to develop from it. What is special about Goryeo is that it is the first country in Korean history to have promote and teach about makeup. It is said that the first king of Goryeo, Tae Jo Wang geon, ordered that Gisaengs (who served the king inside the palace) be taught how to properly wear makeup and the etiquette that followed it. An example of Goryeo's gisaeng makeup. (Photo courtesy of blog.naver/ahn640301) People have differentiated their makeup looks based on their social status at a particular time. Gisaengs who always have to wear makeup due to their job wore comparatively heavier makeup than the average. It was called bundae makeup. They wore hair oils to make their hair appear shiny, and white face powder to make their complexsion pale with contrasting vivid red rouge on the lip and cheeks. Eyebrows were thin and drawn in semicircular shape. On the other hand, average women preferred less makeup without the use of color on their cheeks and lips. Celadon cosmetics containers in Goryeo. (Photo courtesy of Coreana Cosmetics Museum) In addition to the social influence that encouraged using makeup, the development of celadon and the mirror also greatly contributed to its popularity. At the time, the technology of manufacturing celadon in Goryeo was eclipsing to the point of having it exported to different countries such as China. It soon led to production of different commodities used in people’s daily lives. A lot of the makeup containers were made with celadon. Skillful Goryeo people also made themselves a mirror based on the skills learned from China. Soon enough, the technology developed so that mass production was possible. It was soon dispersed to people and allowed the makeup culture in Goryeo to flourishment . Simple and natural beauty, Joseon On the other hand, the makeup culture of Joseon was more simple and plain compared to that of Goryeo. Compared to the social tendency to promote a luxurious appearance, Joseon (1392~1910) emphasized inner beauty rather than outer beauty, a ruling ideloogy rooted in Confucianism. It was even banned to wear extravagant garments or heavy makeup. Bundae makeup, popularized among gisaengs in Goryeo was also thought of as “too much” or inappropriate. Thus, the makeup looks in Joseon were very confined to its natural appearance. The brows, skin, cheeks and lips all had to look “natural”. If the before and after makeup the on a person looked vastly different, it was considered despicable. An 18th century beauty in Joseon by Kim Hong-do. (Photo courtesy of Seoul National Museum) While the makeup trend in Joseon was simpler than that of Goryeo, that didn’t necessarily mean women at the time didn’t wear makeup at all. In fact, while the overall look is still natural, women in Joseon focused on keeping their skin clear and their look natural yet put together. They made themselves a lotion to keep their skin moisturized and applied honey mixed with its residue as a facial mask. According to the book Gyuhap Chongseo (1809), there were a number of ways to style one’s hair, ten ways to draw one’s brows, and several ways to apply lip makeup. It is noticeable that the book was read mostly by average Joseon women, not gisaeng or yangban (people in higher social class). While most of the makeup products were hand-made in homes, makeup industries and its market started to emerge in the later period of Joseon. According to the records, there were separate makeup stores in markets and merchants who visited homes to sell makeup or hair products. In the painting called Taepyung sung sido which depicts scenes of people’s daily life during the Joseon era, it is interesting to spot stores selling accessories, combs, and mirrors. Compared to the mirrors made in Goryeo, mirrors made in glass were imported from countries like Russia or China and became more popular as it was much lighter and clearer. A lot of people, usually men, would buy their wives a mirror as a gift if they have a chance to travel to China. Makeup accessories and portraits from Goryeo to Joseon. (Photo courtesy of Tistory/dreamlives) Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr

2017-02 12

[Special][Op-ed] Mobility Rights for the Disabled

During national holiday seasons in Korea, issues always arise. In Korea, where people go to visit their parents and relatives living in different locations throughout the country, it is always a problem for the disabled to find proper transportation to travel to locations that are generally more than 2-3 hours away. Most recently, on January 26th, two disabled people tried to take a bus at the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to visit their parents and families in Busan for Seollal, one of the biggest national holidays celebrating the Lunar New Year. However, they were rejected and offered no help. The reason for this was because intercity buses are not properly equipped with special facilities for disabled passengers. An activist is holding a picket saying, "We need a bus that anyone can use". (Photo courtesy of Beminor) While such incidents involving the disabled was deemed a problem a long while back, it's surprising that the law itself already mentions the protection of disabled people's rights akin to the basic human rights of all people. Rights to mobility for the disabled is a part of accessibility rights. It means that a disabled individual should be able to move around and reach a desired destination using different transportation systems. It also states that the government should assure the rights of disabled people to use public transportation like taxis, buses, and the subways in Korea to enable them to travel around freely, just as it is granted for people with no disabilities. “Public” transportation, not for the disabled There are approximately 32.552 buses in Korea and 20 percent of them are made as low-floor buses, with no steps, which allow people with physical difficulties or those on wheelchairs to get onto the bus easily. While the number of such buses are seriously lacking for disabled people, it can even be said that they aren't able to fully utilize the existing ones to their convenience. When people on wheelchairs try to ride on a low-floor bus, drivers would oftentimes ignore and reject them, claiming that they don't know how to control the lift, or that it's simply broken. "We (disabled passengers) want to go home too!" (Photo courtesy of Beminor) The case with trains and subways are not so different. The KTX, run by Korail, has 2 to 4 disabled seats on each train, but disabled passenger is still restricted from using other facilities inside the train like the cinema or restaurant. On other trains besides the KTX - Mugungwha and Saemauel trains - it is almost impossible for the disabled to ride in them, as basic facilities weren't built inside, or the way to get to the trains is unsafe for people in wheelchairs. With taxis, the Seoul Metropolitan City introduced 'call taxis' for the disabled in 2003. It was for people with level 1 and 2 brain damage, or those on wheelchairs. While the project started out with 100 cabs, the number increased to about 500 cabs in 2017. While the introduction of call taxis did increase in other regions as well and did match the number required by law, it is still said by a lot of users that it is hard to get serviced on a daily basis. They have to wait for about 40 minutes when traffic isn't busy, and 3 to 4 hours during rush hour. Getting to work every day, which is just a daily routine for non-disabled people, is a daily concern for the disabled because of limited transportation systems. A disabled passenger is getting on a special call-taxi. (Photo courtesy of Beminor) Better welfare for all While there are increasing demands for the disabled to be guaranteed their rights, it is unnerving to witness that the government’s budget for their welfare is simply not enough. While the budget has been on the increase every year by 20 to 30 percent, because the issue has been gaining more attention in the last several years, existing policies and infrastructures are insufficient compared to the number of people who are in need of more help and attention. In the short run, the government should increase specially equipped taxi and vehicles. In the longer run, buses and subways should be equipped with lifts to help the disabled hop on and off with more ease. To create and implement such policies, a separate department of law and policy for the disabled within the government would be of significant help. While the aforementioned policies could be easier said than done, it is more important for our society to shift our perspectives of the disabled. As disabled people are unable to move around freely, people should understand the importance of their mobility rights, and that being assured for all people regardless of their physical or mental state. For the drivers of various public transportation, it is essential for the companies or institutions to educate their employees to service disabled passengers on par with other passengers. It is important for the Korean society to ponder more about what equality is. (Photo courtesy of disabilityrightsca) Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr

2017-01 08

[Special][Op-ed] A Birth Map to Raise the Birth Rate?

The population of a country is closely relevant to its economy and future. Looking at Korea’s situation with lowering birth rate and aging society, it is not too much of an exaggeration to say that there is a red light on its future. At least a 2.1 birth rate is needed to maintain Korea’s concurrent population, but 1.24 is what Korea is dealing with. While young people avoid having babies, baby boomers (people who were born between the years 1946 to 1964) already have or are retiring from work. If the situation continues, the number of elderly people will be surpassing that of the young, taking a toll on the nation's productivity and wellbeing. South Korea is a country with a significantly low birth rate in international standards. So what has the government done? From 2006, the Korean government has been setting out a plan every five years to encourage more young couples to have babies. The plan proposed as their third, which will last from 2016 to 2020, includes incentives that support couples to buy their own houses, pay hospital bills, and to take maternity leave. However, it is said by a lot of young couples that such plans are not enough as they are implemented only under very specific conditions. What recently went viral online was a rather inventive but shocking plan suggested by the Ministry of the Interior. It is a so-called 'birth map of Korea', which displays shades of pink to rank provinces and cities in Korea by the number of women who can bear children. The Internet buzzed with furious outbursts from netizens. People were outraged at how the government considered women as a means to produce children. Pure disgust was directed at the map, which was only a manifestation of how a civilized modern society still denigrates women. As civic reaction was overwhelmingly strong and negative, the government’s website was shut down within hours. Darker shades of pink show provinces or cities with higher numbers of women capable of childbearing. On the right, the purple province in Seoul, Mapo-gu, has 85.174 women in it who are fertile. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of the Interior) It is true that the government’s desperate tryout was seriously lacking basic sense. The birth map is completely incapable of raising the birth rate in Korea. It merely appeared as a belittlement towards women. Women are not the only ones needed to produce offspring- men are also entitled to the responsibility as much as women are. Such a map solely bears throws accountability to women as if the lowering birth rate is their fault. What really makes people hesitate There can be various reasons as to why young Koreans refuse to have babies, which are also inevitably linked to other changes or problems within Korea. The reasons can be discussed in two different cases. First, there are more Koreans who even do not want to marry, and one significant reason behind it is the enhancement of women’s rights, which is of course, a legitimate phenomenon. From the 1960s to 1970s, women were expected to have babies without much choice. Compared to men, women also had a lesser chance of being educated. From the 70s, an increasing number of women received college degrees rather than merely graduating from middle or high school. As women began to have more freedom and a wider selection of to what to do with their lives, they were able to focus on developing professional careers as men do. Thus, marriage and childbearing became a choice rather than a duty. According to the survey, one of the biggest concerns circulating childbearing is high costs of education. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Health and Welfare) Second, even when a married couple decides to have a baby, they need detailed financial plans for the future. According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA), a couple generally spends 46% of their income to raise one child. In the case of Korea, that rate can be even higher considering the costly educational fees parents expend every month. Consequently, Korean couples have more to consider when deciding to add up a family member. Of course, a married couple can have babies with less restraint when the woman is willing to give up her career. Generally, it is extremely difficult for women to keep their jobs at Korean companies and be a mother at the same time. Even though there are policies that allow both the father and the mother to take a year-break from work for their newborn, there are still invisible pressures for women from their workplace. Such discrimination results in women giving up their professional life, irrelevant to their abilities or accomplishments. From the survey, women replied they hesitate to use up their allotted maternity leave, because they worry about getting back to work afterwards. As such, it is imperative to recognize that Korea’s low birth rate is not something that can be solved with a one-dimensional approach, like dispensing small sums of money to couples or mapping out fertile women. Rather, the issue requires an overall change in cognizance, along with effective policies. Korea needs to step alongside women’s changed roles in society, which is now more equal to that of men than ever. Policies regarding maternity leave should be ensured for all women, and companies that covertly refuse to follow along should be penalized. Financial support given to families with newborn babies should be more generous, including differing standards according to social class. Most importantly, daycare centers should be built more and supported for by the government, with prolonged hours for working parents. If such measures could induce couples to consider producing offspring, that would be because babies will no longer be considered a burden, but a gift. Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr

2017-01 02 Important News

[Special]Hanyang's New K-MOOC Series I

MOOC refers to Massive Open Online Course. As its name suggests, it is a platform that offers free online lectures for everyone. Compared to conventional online lectures which only allowed students to passively watch the given lectures through the monitor, MOOC differentiates itself with a new open educational environment. MOOC emphasizes its counter-interactive features which allow both professors and students to discuss about the lectures they took. The fact that the students are from different backgrounds helps one another to widen their perspective while sharing their thoughts. K-MOOC officially opened its online homepage in October 2015 and there are about 20 Korean universities participating in uploading lectures. This week, News H introduces two of the newly opened lectures from Hanyang University (HYU): Reassessment of Korean Independence Movement History and Chemistry for Everyday Life, which was opened on October 17th 2015, and will continue until the end of this month. The official homepage of K-MOOC. (Photo courtesy of K-MOOC) No future for those who forget history Reassessment of Korean Independence Movement History is a course prepared and taught by Professor Park Chan-seung (Department of History). The online lectures share the common contents from the Park’s offline lecture at HYU, which is called History of Korean Independence Movement. To attract more students, the lecture was re-made with an easier content. “Majority of the students who took the course were second and third year high-school students,” said Park. The course covers the history from the years 1910 to 1945, which encompasses the history of Japan’s colonization of Korea to Korea’s independence. Through explaining different ways and forms of independence movements, Park aims to promote deeper understanding of Korean’s independence movements and the meaning of it. "The fact that Korea achieved independence from Japan is meaningful in a lot of ways, one of the most significant one is that the event led to more independence of countries around the world, by Korea on its lead," said Park. “Until the 1990s, there were less studies and researches done on Korean Independence Movement. Thus, college students and high school students did not have a chance to study with more updated version of Korean history textbooks. That is why I opened the course, to deliver the newest researches to students,” explained Park. There are a total of 14 weeks of courses, each divided into two lectures. While learning the history can be felt boring to a lot of students, Park tried to make it more interesting by focusing on storytelling specific episodes and showing a lot of pictures to make it more realistic. The book used for the course is ‘The History of Korean Independence’ written by the professor himself. Park planned the course to remind his students of the importance of the past Korean independence movement. (Photo courtesy of K-MOOC) “It was a challenge for me to film an online lecture. I realized how arduous process it could be, from filming, writing a script, to editing. I wish we had more abundant time to prepare it ahead,” said Park. “Still I loved interacting with students online and the course will be opened at the next session as well.” For international students who would like to take the course, they can change the subtitles into English through the settings. Little science knowledge makes life better Chemistry for Everyday Life is a course also planned and taught by Professor Kim Min-kyung (Department of Chemistry) and Center for Integrated General Education. It is also the course taught in HYU as well since 2012. As the name of the lecture tells itself, it aims to help students understand chemical phenomenon that is easily seen in everyday life. “While chemistry seen and used in everyday life, there are a lot of people who can’t understand why and how it happens. So, I wanted this lecture to start from explaining very basic and fundamental knowledge of chemistry. As it was designed for students who majored Humanities rather than Natural Science, it is more accessible and easily understandable,” said Kim. The course is divided into 6 weeks, with 3 lectures each. “Based on my teaching experience, I added the parts which I thought was essential to understand the basics of chemistry and focused on chemical materials that are easily seen and accessible in everyday life,” said Kim. “There are experiments students can do by themselves, and there will be offline extra classes for the experiments specifically, I hope that can be added early this month or next semester,” said Kim. Chemistry for Everyday Life is designed to help more people learn basic knowledge of chemistry. (Photo courtesy of K-MOOC) As the lectures are opened to unknown mass online, Kim had to be careful not to mention names of certain corporates and products. Moreover, to reduce the concerns of misunderstanding, several parts of the lectures had to be edited. “I tried my best not to put my personal thoughts or experience in my lecture, which was the hardest part. Also, I felt really shy to see myself in the online lecture that will be seen by a lot of people,” said Kim. While Kim was shy to film herself for the lecture, she is one of the most popular professor among the students of HYU. From 2009 to 2016 straight, Kim was honored to win the “Best Teacher Award”, which was given to professors who received positive feedbacks from lecture evaluations. “I feel thankful to students who gave positive feedbacks to my lecture. I think they allowed me to have a chance to participate in K-MOOC as well. I hope in the next semester, I could open ‘Chemistry for Everday Life II’ as an intermediate chemistry course.” Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr

2016-12 26

[Special]How Koreans Celebrate the Festive Season

From the year-end to the start of a new year is the winter holiday season. People summarize their year’s accomplishments and plan their New Year’s resolutions for another new start. From December to January, take a peek into the lives of Koreans through a chronological timeline. When it comes to the middle of December, a lot of Koreans start to have year-end parties with their colleagues. Unlike countries in the west where time spent at the end of a year is more family-oriented, Koreans spend as much time with people from work. At the year-end parties, they tend to get more comfortable with one another and talk about things beside work more freely. They believe that the more they get closer with one another, the more efficient and effective their work will be. Koreans also enjoy the festive mood with friends and family, holding private parties and gatherings. Year-end parties with colleagues promote better cooperation between members in different units. (Photo courtesy of Kim Chang-gyun) While the year-end parties continue until the end of the month, Christmas comes along, which is one of the biggest holidays in the world. While Christmas is originally a Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is now settled as a universal festivity for everyone regardless of their religion both in the West and the East. While people living in the West generally gather with families on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, Koreans tend to spend it with their lovers. It is one of the biggest occasions of the year to exchange gifts and have a romantic date night. Koreans spend Christmas with their lovers. (Photo courtesy of KJ Times) One of the iconic and symbolistic events at the start of the New Year is the Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony, which is also known as Watch-Night bell. When the clock hits midnight, the bell is rung 33 times to welcome the New Year. There are 16 people who are given the opportunity to ring the bell- five of them being governmental representatives of Seoul and the Jongno district, and 11 citizens who were recommended by the public through the official Seoul Metropolitan Government website. Around the very final days of the year, a lot of Koreans take a short trip with families, friends, and lovers. Koreans think that watching the sunrise of the very first day of the year is a memorable event that lasts throughout the whole year. They make their wishes whilst watching the sunrise and reaffirm their new year’s resolutions. The Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony is held every year on December 31th, just before midnight. For people who want to see the sunrise in Seoul, Nam-san Palgakjeong is recommendable. Being a popular spot for both Koreans and foreigners, there are shows and ceremonies prepared as well. In Gangwon province, Jeongdong-jin is the most representative attraction to watch the sunrise. The fact that more than 580 thousand people visit Gangwon province at this time proves the popularity of the region. In Gyungsangbuk province's Ulsan Homigot, there is a famous landmark statue which makes the scenery more beautiful. Namsan, Palgakjeong (Photo courtesy of soon 1991, tistory) Jeongdong-jin (left) and Ulsan Homigot (right). (Photos courtesy of gdjbal79,naver blog) Celebration of the New Year ends in January or February, whenever the Lunar New Year is. Seollal is one of the most highly celebrated holiday in Korea. In the morning of Seollal, the tradition for all family members is dressing up in hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) for the special occasion and gather in front of the ritual lacquer table for charye. Charye refers to a ritual done for the ancestors to give thanks on special holidays, which is a commitment for all generations. While there are abundant amounts of food prepared for the ceremony and for the whole family, the main dish which cannot be dismissed is tteokguk, which is a soup made with plain rice cake. The widespread concept is that when you eat a bowl of tteokguk, you are one year older. During charye, each food is placed in a specific order and direction. (Photo courtesy of koreanculture.org) Yun Ji-hyun uni27@hanyang.ac.kr