Annotated Bibliographies

1. “In South Korea, too many college grads, too few jobs.” The Washington Post, n.d. web. 24 October 2011.

This source of information talks about how one particular leader in South Korea wants more people to stop their education after getting their high school diploma, and go to trade school. President Obama and his education Secretary, Arne Duncan, actually frequently praises South Korea in comparison to America because of the commitment of the students and parent over there in regards to education. With that said, more than 40 percent of college graduates are not finding jobs even though the economy is doing well. Because of this, the president in South Korea wants to find alternatives instead of going to college.

I think this source is useful because it provides some basic information on the issue of college graduate versus finding a job. It also gives a few point of views like how president Obama praises the diligence of South Korea in regards to their education, and how certain leaders in South Korea wants high school to be a stopping point for some. It also lets me know that the government is aware of the issue and wants to fix it. I also think this source is also good in that it gives a good introduction on the issue for when I start writing my paper.

2. “South Korea’s wasted youth.” BBC News, n.d. web. 9 November 2011.

This source also gives information about the issue of education and jobs. It tells that about 80% of high school students go on to further their education, but it has created a social problem in that there is about 6.7% unemployment rate. This problem started after the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s. There is one individual who decided to go to trade school because it was a choice he made, despite what his parents said. The government wants more people to think like him because it would help this issue.

I think this source is also useful because it also gives basic information on the issue. I think what really shines in this source is the fact that it talks about one individual’s choice to go to trade school, and I think it is good for looking at his point of view. This source provides a lot of information that I did not get from the first source, and offers more things to write about.

3. “High performance, high pressure in South Korea’s education system.” ICEF Monitor, n.d. web. 23 January 2014.

This source talks about how education is a high investment. Because of this high investment, they have been one of the highest ranking in the world. However, despite the hard work they do for education, they face the challenge of unemployment. It has even come to the point where they expect to be unemployed once they graduate college. employment rates has even gone down to 39.7% for ages 15-29. this source ends with that they are looking to reform their education system because the government feels like test scores is not as important anymore.

I think this source is useful because it is more recent relative to the other sources that I have listed. It also goes more in depth about the challenges they face, despite their education system, which placed them in the top ranking in the world. There is also a lot of statistical data that can prove to be useful for proving my point in my paper.


Problem-Solution Research Essay

The first topic that interested me was the environmental issues that South Korea has. I know this issue isn’t just happening in South Korea but around the whole world but I think researching it in one part of the world is a good starting place to solve this issue as global warming gets worse and worse. The second topic that interested me is an issue pertaining to college graduates and job hunting. I think this is a good topic to do research on because I think a lot of college graduates can relate to this and I can also find out more about what I will be dealing with when I graduate.

1st source:

This source begins by giving a brief introduction on the economy about South Korea, and how their economy really started to take off in the 1970s. When the economy started to develop, the government had to pass a few environmental laws as pollution increases. Things like green belt and emission restrictions has improved air quality. With the way the government is handling the environment problem, the country will definitely have a clean future.

2nd source:

This source is good in showing the environmental problem South Korea has and how sometimes, it is not their fault. The air pollution that they get annually is from China. Although the people in South Korea are used to getting air pollution from China since it happens annually, it raises a potential health risk.

3rd source:

This article talks about how the majority of students who want to go on to a higher education have a decently big unemployment rate. This is partly because people who seek to further their education are generally looking for higher-end jobs. Because of that, the government would like some people to go to vocational school as this eliminates the shortage of higher-end jobs.

4th source:

This article also talks about how there are too many college graduates but too few jobs for them. This goes back to the fact that the government would like people to go to trade school or stop their education after high school so this issue does not arise. Part of the reason many people in South Korea want to seek higher education is because it would ensure they would have a middle-class future and the pressure of society builds up.

I cannot really decided which topic I want to choose, but I am leaning towards the topics of college graduates and jobs as it really seems interesting. I think doing research on this can also benefit me in the long run as I am a college student so I can relate.

Censorship in South Korea

There are many different ways that censorship can happen in South Korea and most of them involve protecting South Korea in some way. One way censorship can happen is under the National Security Law which the government can limit the expression of ideas that praise or incite the activities of anti-state individuals or group. For those of you that don’t know what the National Security Law is, it is a South Korean law that was founded in 1948 to secure the security of the state and the subsistence and freedom of nationals by regulating any anticipated activities compromising the safety of the state. The main reason this law acts as a form of censorship is that it forbids the South Korean citizens from reading any anything published in North Korea. Something to keep in mind is North Korea is probably trying to publish reading materials to South Korea as a means of propaganda to try to convert the South Koreans to join North Korea so the National Security Law is protecting it’s citizens from North Korea. Another way censorship can happen/take place is in their public libraries. Examples of topics that are censored include sexuality, homosexuality, violence, anti-government materials, political discourse, and of course anything about North Korea. I think censorship that protects themselves from North Korea is fine since North Korea is a danger to them but censoring things like sexuality is unnecessary and limits the rights of the people for no justification. South Korea is a world leader in internet and broadband penetration but it comes with a form of censorship. The South Korean government regulates a wide-range of the internet may be socially harmful for its people. In the movie department, there are currently no films that are banned which is surprising in my opinion considering they were really strict with their public libraries.

What is Happiness?

So, What is Happiness? Well according to the dictionary, Happiness is the mental state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. But is that all there is for happiness in one’s life? According to the United Nations, they have a little different approach to happiness. According to their Happiness report in 2015, happiness is a proper measure of social progress and a goal of public policy.

According to their happiness report, South Korea is ranked 47 with a happiness score of 5.984. There are many factors that influence this score. It is explained through GDP per capita, social support, health life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perception of corruption, and dystopia + residual. For South Korea specifically, their happiness is mainly based on GDP per capita, social support, and health life expectancy. The GDP per capita was at its highest in 2014 at 24565.56 USD. For South Korea’s health life expectancy, it makes sense that it would be pretty high. As I said in my previous blog (the one about food), Korean people in general tend to eat mostly steam with very little red meat. With that said, I think they have a very good diet which in the long run can increase their life expectancy by a lot. With this in mind, South Korea is still ranked 47 which is pretty much in he middle so I do not think using the UN’s method of evaluation for happiness a accurate way mainly because there is no way they can account for. Also, there are tons of happy people who do not meet our expectations of living.

Korean Food/Cuisine

Although Korean food has evolved through many centuries, the people of Korea maintained the belief that food and medicine have the same origin and have the same function. They also believe that health and illness come from how you prepared the food and how you consume it. These two beliefs play a crucial role in the development of Korean medicine as they believed that medicine should only be used after the food has failed.

One of the key things to understand traditional Korean food is fermentation, a metabolic process that helps food mature so that it has improved taste and nutritional properties and can be stored for a longer period. two examples of food that was developed with this in mind is ganjang which is soy sauce and Doenjang which is soybean paste. These fermentations can take anywhere from several months to several years. Fermentation is such a key factor in taste and flavor at homes and in restaurants.


Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew)

In modern days, Korea shares many similarities with other Asian cuisine such as rice and vegetables and cooking methods such as stir-frying, steaming, and braising. Like with all Asian countries, Koreans also eat a lot less meat compared to western world. One characteristic to describe their food is that it is often spicy. Red pepper paste, green onion, soy sauce, bean paste, garlic, and pepper are just some of the things they use to season their dishes. Korean people are often skinny because their meals consists of different kinds of vegetables and not many meat in their diet. In a full course meal in Korea, it usually includes several large dishes that is complemented with as many as twenty side dishes. Traditional Korean meals usually includes soup such as Kamja Guk (Potato Soup) and Hin Pap (White Rice). A common and popular side dish is Kimchi which is often very spicy and is considered a national dish.

Kamja Guk (Potato Soup)         Kimchi-5.jpg

                                                         Kamja Guk                                          Kimchi

Meals are considered really important to the Koreans and as such, most of the time is spent on the preparations. In fact, they find eating so important that they put all their concentration into eating and find it impolite to talking while eating a meal. They hold the conversation for the end of the meal. Usually, the dishes of food is placed in the middle of the table and each person at the table is given a bowl of rice.

The Korean people’s diet has adequate nutrition with the World Bank reporting less than one percent of the population is malnourished and nearly all have access to adequate sanitation and safe drinking water.


Korean Fashion

The Hanbok is a traditional dress, often worn up until about 100 years ago. Even though the literal translation of Hanbok is “Korean clothing”, the dress often refers to the clothing of the Joseon period. Nowadays, the traditional dress is worn on festive days or special anniversaries. Although the dress is worn on festival like settings, most people in Korea  keep these for when they actually need them. And it is not just on festivals or special anniversaries that these dresses are worn. Children often wear them on their first birthday and adults wear them on their wedding ceremony. People also wear them on their 60th birthday. In the western culture, we usually wear black attire during funerals but in Korea, they also wear the Hanbok for their funerals. Although most cities in Korea have been modernized, some villages or districts maintain the traditional ways of life so the Hanbok is seen as casual wear in these parts of Korea.


Fast forward to modern days, Korea’s current fashion has been modernized. I do not know for sure if western celebrities set any fashion trends but in Korea, the fashion trends are usually set by their celebrities. These fashion trends actually only catches on other celebrities.

Korean Folklore: Moon Rabbit


One of the biggest holiday in Korea is Chuseok, a mid-autumn festival that is celebrated on the 15th of August on the lunar calendar. In Korea, you cannot celebrate the mid-autumn festival without thinking about the Moon Rabbit. The Moon Rabbit has become a symbol for this special holiday. The folklore of the Moon Rabbit is not only a story in Korea but also a popular story all across Asia. Although most parts of Asia know of the story of the Moon Rabbit, each part region has their own version of the story but today, i’ll only go over the Korean version of the story.

The Moon Rabbit is also called the “Jade Rabbit” and is said to live on the moon, pounding something in the mortar. In Korea, the Rabbit is suppose to be pounding rice in the mortar in order to make rice cakes. This Legend/story comes from the fact that the markings on the moon looks like a rabbit is standing over a mortar, similar to the “man on the moon” in the west. You are probably asking yourself, “How did the rabbit end up on the moon?”. The story goes that the Rabbit once lived in a village along side a Fox and a Monkey. The three of them devoted themselves to Buddhism and spent most of their time studying and practicing. The Emperor of the Heavens asked them to bring him food to test their faith. The Fox decided to catch a fish and the Monkey decided to bring him fruits. The Rabbit on the other hand, could not find anything but grass so the Rabbit decided to jump into a fire to offer himself up. The Emperor was touched by this act of commitment so he appoint the Rabbit as the guardian of the moon. Although different cultures have a different variations of the story, the actions of the Rabbit remains consistent.

In the Korean version of the story, the Rabbit is always seen standing underneath a gyesu tree also known as the Korean laurel/cinnamon tree, pounding away at his mortar. Other folktales and legends also mentions the tree quite often, as it is known as a study, long living tree and it’s bark has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is not surprising that the tree is often paired up with the rabbit who signifies fercundit and the tree signifying a long, bountiful, and happy life. The Rabbit and tree is so steadfast in Korea that it shows up in famous children’s song such as “Half’Moon”, a song written in 1924 by Yoon Geuk-young. The lyrics are as followed:

High above the deep blue sky, down the Milky Way,
Rides a ship without a sail, with no oars they say,
Ship of white, its only crew, is a rabbit white,
Westward it floats along, silently through the night

Originally, there was only one Rabbit that would appear in the story and the people thought the rabbit was lonely so a modern day version of the story has two rabbits on the moon, happily making rice cakes which makes it even more significant during the mid-autumn festival where the friends and family come together.


South Korea, U.S. to discuss missile defense; South cuts power to Kaesong Park

South Korea and the U.S. are talking about setting up an advanced U.S. missile defense system in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear testing and rocket launch. Meanwhile, Seoul is cutting off power to Kaesong factory park that is run jointly with North Korea. For those who do not know, South Korea has tons of businesses set up in the factory park but as of recently, have evacuated from the site. This was an order from Seoul in response to the nuclear testing and rocket launching North Korea has done. North Korea declared that the park site would be occupied by their military and that Seoul’s decision to evacuate is a “dangerous declaration of war”. North Korea also claimed that the rocket launch was for peaceful purposes but Seoul and Washington have said that it violates the United Nations Security Council resolutions because it used ballistic missile technology. The Nuclear bomb test last month was also banned by the U.N. resolutions.

I think that Seoul’s decision to evacuate the site was a smart idea because of safety reasons. The actions of North Korea seems too dangerous to be involved with and given their history, might be planning something. Also, North Korea describing the evacuation of the site as a “dangerous declaration of war” is just an excuse to actually start a war with the south.

Basic information

Country’s Location: East Asia

Capital: Seoul

Official/Recognized Language: Korean

Ethnic Composition: 96.5% Korean, 1.8% Chinese, 1.7% Others

Literacy Rates: Not reported by UNESCO

Major/Official Religions: Buddhism, Won Buddhism, Christianity, Mormonism

Type of Government: Constitutional Republic

Geographical Area: 37 N, 30 E

Population: 51,529,338

GDP: $1.849 Trillion

Why I chose South Korea: To be honest, my first choice when picking countries was Japan but was taken so South Korea is my second choice. Although I do not know much about South Korea, I am still interested in their culture. One of the things that I like is the food that they have. That is why whenever I go out eat, I would not mind eating at a Korean restaurant. Another thing that I like is their music pop culture. I feel like their pop groups over there is more interesting than over her in America. Since I am a pc gamer, I like to play a lot of MMORPGs and a lot of them are made by Korean companies. I think a lot of what I said contributed to why I picked South Korea.