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Surviving vuvuzelas
World Cup soccer fans can complain quite strongly, yet their voices cant beat the sound of their target, the vuvuzela.

Poetry in action
The just-ended elections exemplify that politics can be poetic, too. Dormant energy that beguiled the ruling camp into believing that they would have a sweeping victory. The streaming voters that brought headaches to the arrogant in power. The unpu..

Much ado about a song
When my fellow students and I were staging demonstrations on and outside the campus protesting the dictatorial rule of then President Park Chung-hee in the early 1970s, we sang many songs. The most important song was ``We Shall Overcome." Nearly 40..

About Parents Day
A special day means a special need. If people with physical or mental challenges could live as freely as those without, we wouldn't need the Day of Disabled Persons. If everyone loved and respected their fathers and mothers, Parents' Day wouldn't b..

Letter to a Polish Friend
Dear Andrzej, how are you doing? There are a thousand possible reasons why people break their long-held silences. For me, it was the scarlet petals of Kaffir lilies. I can't tell you why, but your name just popped into my head as I was gazing upon ..

Easter After Tragedy
Easter spirit and related events were everywhere last weekend. As my sister's family and mine were going to a ``samgyetang'' restaurant to beat the spring fever, we were greeted repeatedly by both Protestant Christians and Catholics soliciting entr..

Possession of Non-Possession
I have two potted jasmine plants at home. The bigger one is busy sprouting nail-size leaves, while the smaller one has already produced three white star-like flowers. The fragrance is not strong, but the smell of burning incense fills the entire li..

Crime and Poverty
I wonder if there were times when crime made for more serious food for thought than it does now. Just when you think you have heard everything, a new, worse crime ensues. Last week, the police apprehended a 41-year-old man and his 25-year-old wife ..

Medical Tourism
The government has designated the period from 2010 through 2012 as ``Visit Korea" years and has been trying to promote medical tourism as a way of increasing its number of foreign visitors, allowing hospitals to market and pay commissions to agenci..

Seeing Avatar
Being quite ignorant of the cutting-edge technology, I wasn't sure if I wanted to see James Cameron's ``Avatar." I was intimidated by ``3-D," ``4-D" and all other technical terms used to describe the movie. News reports that the epic had already dr..

Price of Libraries
As I browsed through a newspaper in a library last week, I came across an article that said Korea lags far behind other economic powers as far as public libraries are concerned. Being a believer in the value and importance of books and libraries, t..

Revenge of History
The best and funniest news so far this year is that younger Korean parents prefer daughters to sons. In a survey of parents of 2,078 babies born in 2008, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and the Korea Educational Development Instit..

Hopes for Year of Tiger
After living 11 months in a country where shocking news replaces headlines every five minutes, it would be natural for someone to look beyond the frontiers in December, wishing to hear some encouraging stories. However, news from the outside doesn'..

Thoughts on Iris
The shooting of ``Iris," a Korean television drama, in the vast traffic lanes in the heart of Seoul last Sunday brought great joy to fans, was an inconvenience to people and automobiles, and provided much food for thought for observers like me.

Eyesores in Gwanghwamun
When longtime residents of Seoul mention Gwanghwamun, they are not only talking about the main gate of Gyeongbokgung; they are referring to the wide street that runs from the gate to the block just before City Hall, and the neighborhood around the ..

A Brand New Life
When people say they wish to start ``a brand new life," they suppose the new life will be better than the present one. For the nine-year-old heroine in the film, ``A Brand New Life," however, a new life is an unwanted imposition like a scar that ne..

Leniency for Sex Offenders
An eight-year-old boy in Seoul became a hero last week for saving his younger sister from an alleged sex offender, when American Jennifer Schuett was enjoying a moment of a sad and tough mission accomplished owing to the arrest of a man who kidnapp..

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