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Wait for Me Until I Become You

Recently I’ve been giving my students mini essay assignments each week on various topics to improve their persuasive and creative writing. Below is the work of one of my strongest students. I asked him to write a letter to his future self in the year 2020. Check it out! It’s pretty great!


Dear myself in the future,

Hello, myself. I’m yourself. Precisely, I’m yourself in the past. I heard you’re 23 years old. Though you are older than me, I will not treat you politely. I have many questions. Most of all, what is your college? Seoul University? Really? You did a good job. And, did you go the army? Where? Katusa? Oh, I think you’re very good at English.

Home cooked food

I probably have mentioned how difficult it is to find non korean-fushion western/international food in Korea. Even in pasta shops, there would be kimchi or radish on the table. We once went to a Mexican restaurant that did not serve kimchi! Imagine our excitement. 

Ever since I saw kimchi in pasta and pizzas, I no longer trust western restaurants in korea. I've started cooking with very very simple ingredients:

Crawling Through Windows

IMG_1889Without a doubt, art is one of the most defining elements of any culture. It captures the spirit of people, places and time, and expresses mood, opinion, and thought, in such a way that transcends even the greatest of language barriers. Whether it be a song, play, dance or a visual composition like pottery, painting or drawing, every piece of art is a window into that culture’s world. When we attempt to learn about and experience other cultures, sometimes it’s enough to remain on the outside looking in; to go to a museum or a gallery, or attend a concert or production.

Deez Nuts: On Privilege, Apologies, and Cho Hyun-ah

Public Transport in Daejeon, Korea

These days I've been learning how to take the public transport alone. It's been something I've dreaded for almost two years each time I visit him in Korea. Public transport in Korea is efficient (at least in Seoul and Daejeon), BUT what I do not enjoy is the travel experience - ahjummas pushing and shoving their way, non-existence of a queue, unruly commuters rushing for seats etc. As a Singaporean, I've seen a lot of ungracious people - I admit that I do brisk walk a little to get seats sometimes - but Koreans (sometimes) bring it to a whole new level.

The Dignity of Continuity: Preserving Korean Farming and Food Sovereignty

By Ana Traynin

“Before, no matter how hard they worked or how little they earned, farmers had always had at least the assurance that they were doing the necessary work of the world, and that before them others (most likely their own parents and grandparents) had done the same work, which still others (most likely their own children and grandchildren) would do when they were gone. In this enduring lineage had been a kind of dignity, the dignity of at least knowing that the work you are doing must be done and that it does not begin and end with yourself….The dignity of continuity had been taken away. Both past and future were disappearing from them…what they knew was passing from the world.”

The only thing to fear is change itself…. Wait…

It was only temporary…but…last week, in the immortal words of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, my new Korean life got totally flip-turned-upside-down. Now-I’d-like-to-take-a-minute, just-sit-right-there-and-I’ll-tell-you-how-I….how my…forget it. How things changed.

Long story short, part of my Winter Camp involved me teaching at an elementary school reading camp for a few days before going back to teach at my regular middle/high school. Sidenote for those not in-the-know: a winter camp is a  two-three week period between regular semesters where kids come to school anyway to study more. The camps vary in theme and content, sometimes being determined by the school and other times by the Native English teachers. Generally speaking they’re supposed to be lighter and more “fun,” but in the end the kids are still there to study and learn English.

Christmas 2014 in Korea

Have been keeping up with the news and updates for the missing Air Asia flight. I am usually very upset by news of plane accidents because the thought of having to die alone or die drowning scares me. During the Malaysian Airlines flight 370 and flight 17 tragedies, I was also in Korea. Right now, the last thing I want to do is to take a plane back to Singapore. What I was really sad about is that the Koreans who were onboard (the family of three) were Christian missionaries spreading the gospel in Indonesia. Why do God allow such things to happen to anyone, whether Christians or non-Christians, and especially to people who are doing God's work?


I’m Ready for My Close-Up: An Interview with TLTalk

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Janeth Ignacio for her up-and-coming blog, TLTalk! You can find the interview, which covers everything from culture shock to teaching ESL, here. Enjoy!

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