Billionaire Lee, 70 years old and South Korea’s wealthiest citizen, is facing down lawsuits that his older brother and sister are waging in an attempt to win a slice of the family wealth. Lee Byung Chul founded what is today South Korea’s biggest business group in 1938 and died in 1987 without leaving a will, casting a shadow over the $153 billion electronics company’s future.
The siblings’ demand for at least an $850 million stake in the group that generates about 20 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product threatens to be a costly distraction at a time of intense industry competition. The civil trial started today.
“He has grown Samsung to the point where Korea is called ‘Republic of Samsung,’” said Park Hyun Goon, author of “Lee Kun Hee’s Agony,” a book about Samsung succession published this year. “How would it make him feel if a share of that is taken away by his siblings or if his company goes down?”
Samsung vs. Apple
The rancor comes as Samsung Electronics challenges Cupertino, California-based Apple, its biggest customer and its adversary in patent lawsuits on four continents, after selling one of almost every four mobile phones in the first quarter. Samsung earned 7.64 percent of its revenue from selling chips, displays and other products to the iPhone maker.
At the same time, more than 30 cases concerning patents and design are pending from Paris to San Francisco between the two companies, which traded leadership positions in the $219 billion global smartphone market in the past three quarters.
Samsung ended Espoo, Finland-based Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s 14-year run as the global leader in mobile phones last quarter. Samsung shipped 93.5 million handsets of all kinds, compared with 82.7 million for Nokia, researcher Strategy Analytics said last month. Apple ranked third.
“The risk of losing your edge during these times is real,” Matt Walker, senior analyst at market researcher Ovum, said in an e-mail. “Companies that are driven by innovation, as Samsung should be, can’t afford much downtime to deal with this kind of turbulence.”
The family feud drags Lee, a lung cancer survivor, back into a courtroom following a series of run-ins with the law. He was convicted of paying bribes to former Presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo in 1996 before receiving a pardon from then-President Kim Young Sam a year later.
Lee quit as chairman of the group and electronics company in 2008 after being charged with tax evasion. He received another presidential pardon in 2009 and reassumed his post running Samsung Electronics in 2010.
“Ironically, the biggest risk to Samsung’s corporate governance is Lee Kun Hee himself,” said Chae Yi Bai, a researcher at the Center for Good Corporate Governance, a Seoul- based private institute monitoring South Korean conglomerates. “The family dispute again highlights this inherent problem of Samsung.”
The feud became public in February when brother Lee Maeng Hee, 80, and sister Lee Sook Hee, 76, filed suits at the Seoul Central District Court demanding shares held in Samsung Life Insurance Co. (032830) by their younger sibling. Samsung Life is the second-largest shareholder of Samsung Electronics after the company itself, so whoever controls the insurance company controls Asia’s biggest consumer-electronics maker.
Not A ‘Dime’
Neither the brother nor sister has any role in the group. At today’s hearing in Seoul, their lawyer said the siblings were trying to regain wealth “they unfairly lost.”
“They aren’t unethical people who are only after money,” Kim Nam Geun said.
The chairman’s lawyer said the family patriarch repeatedly expressed his desire for Lee Kun Hee to take over the group.
“If not, how could there have been no dispute over the last 25 years?” Kang Yong Hyeon said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
The Lees didn’t attend. The next hearing is June 27.
Chairman Lee said he wouldn’t give a “dime” to his brother because inheritance matters had been settled by his father, according to media reports on April 17. He later apologized for publicly making the comments.
Chairman Lee holds 41.5 million shares, or about 21 percent, of Samsung Life, making him the largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The elder brother wants 8.24 million of those shares and the sister wants 2.23 million shares, according to Yoon & Yang, the Seoul law firm representing them, valued at a combined $850 million.
The public holdings of South Korea’s richest man are valued at $8.6 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The family conglomerate, Samsung Group, controls more than 80 companies making armored vehicles and artillery guns for South Korea’s military, oil tankers, amusement parks and apartment complexes.
Handing over the 10.47 million shares to his siblings would mean the chairman no longer would be the largest investor in Samsung Life. In South Korea’s complex world of cross-holding of shares in companies, that could trigger a dispute over control of Samsung Electronics, Chae said.
“This could be a big problem for their overall governance,” he said.
‘So Much Name-Calling’
Lee Kun Hee, chairman of the Samsung Group. Photographer: Seokyong Lee/Bloomberg
To avoid the battle, the chairman may opt to pay his siblings in cash or with other assets, Chae said.
Until now, the stock market hasn’t shown any concern. Samsung shares have advanced 16 percent this year and reached a record high 1.41 million won earlier this month. The shares have jumped more than 100-fold since Lee became chairman in 1987.
Samsung Electronics accounted for 44 percent of Samsung Group’s total revenue in 2011.
Chairman Lee hasn’t hinted of letting the family discord disrupt the business, telling local media May 2 he “won’t be involved in the issues related to the suits from now on and I will only focus on growing Samsung Group.”
“All these chaebol families try to maintain as much privacy as possible,” said Tom Coyner, Seoul-based president at Soft Landing Consulting, a business-advisory firm.
“Chaebol” is the Korean word for family-controlled conglomerate, such as Samsung and Hyundai Group.
“It’s remarkable that so much name-calling has been made in public,” Coyner said. “It shows that there’s a great amount of tension in the family.”
When you were a new teacher, did you solicit help from teachers at your school? Did you randomly pop into rooms asking for help or did you go to the teachers who reached out to you first? Do you feel like it’s the responsibility of a new teacher to go…
The sad reality of Korea’s most infamous export: sex workers.
Celebrated artist Shin Yun-bok’s Dance with Two Knives, from the 1800s. Notice the Kiseng (Korean geisha). Kiseng are shown prominently in many of Shin’s paintings. Some of the paintings leave far less to the imagination than this one.
Koreans traveling overseas to engage in the sex industry is an increasing problem. From 2004, the Korean government launched a crackdown on brothels and other sex industry establishments in Korea under the Anti-Prostitution Law. In response, many sex industry workers have either gone underground in Korea or moved overseas.
This problem has become a diplomatic concern for Korea. For instance, the visa waiver program between Korea and the United States has brought masses of well-heeled Korean tourists to the United States. By some accounts, this program has generated billions of dollars in tourism revenue for the United States, and it is being considered as a model of other countries. But as more and more people use the visa waiver (or in the case of Australia, feigning a holiday visit) to work in the sex industry, critics of the visa waiver program have become more vocal.
This problem is also a matter of shame for Koreans. In a country that prizes their image so much, there is great fear that sex industry workers going overseas is causing severe damage to the national reputation of Korea. There is also fear that this phenomenon reinforces negative stereotypes about Asian women. Thus, the mug shots of Korean women appearing in newspapers from Houston to South Carolina, make Koreans shudder.
What is also disturbing is that the sex industry is often linked to other crimes. In an archived article on the Houston Chronicle website, I found this disturbing quote from a U.S. police officer dealing with Korean sex workers:
This is a very taboo subject in Korea. When discussed in private, I have heard it justified in a million ways, e.g., it has been part of Korean society for over a 1,000 years (kiseng), it lessens instances of sexual crime, these women make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of whether any of this is true, prostitution is illegal. And really, is any of this true? Maybe more importantly, does anyone really care if it is true?
For the most part the sex industry and sex industry workers are just not talked about here. There are rows of shady looking bars and massage parlors in almost every neighborhood, but we pass them daily without comment. Who works there? What happens to them? Do they really want to be there? Are there any other options for them?
Maybe now that the international media is starting to focus on this subject we will begin to ask these uncomfortable questions. We may be forced to. Just doing some limited research for this post, I came across a tasteless headline sating that Japan has enough Korean sex workers to, “fill a baseball stadium.” I will not link to the awful site. But living in a country still bitter over the issue of Japanese sexual slavery, I wince, and I ache.
Maybe now that women are playing a greater role in Korean society we will start to talk about this more so that we fully understand it and can deal with all negative aspects. As I have said before, Korea is in fact changing. The next Korean president may be a women. The forerunner Park Gun-hye is a single women who has never been married. I am not advocating her election. I am not in a position to do so. But I do hope that the rise of powerful Korean women like her will help us all consider the plight of Korea’s least powerful women (and men).
South Korean Buddhists march with lanterns during the Lotus Lantern Festival in downtown Seoul on Saturday. The annual lantern march, one of South Korea’s biggest religious events, is to celebrate the birth of Buddha which falls on May 28.
SEOUL, South Korea — Most of us associate the spread of Korean culture across much of Asia, and now Europe and North America, with catchy pop tunes and improbable TV drama plot lines. Less well-known is the third member of the “Korean Wave” triumvirate — the country’s bold and colorful cuisine.
Thailand and Japan have proved that gastro-diplomacy can go a long way toward educating people and their palates in the history, culture and aesthetics of a nation’s cuisine. Now South Korea’s government has plowed huge sums into bringing bibimbap, japchae and samgyeopsal to the attention of adventurous epicureans thousands of miles from Seoul and Busan.
Any primer on Korean cuisine has to begin with kimchi. It packs a pungent whiff that has a habit of lingering sometime after it has outlived its welcome, but once acquired, the taste for spicy pickled cabbage is rarely lost. No Korean meal is complete without it, either as an ingredient in the main dish, or as part of a medley of side dishes called banchan.
"Kimchi is absolutely central," says Joe McPherson, the American founder of ZenKimchi, South Korea’s longest-running English-language food blog. “It is to Korean food what fries are to steak, or mash to bangers.”
With roots said to go back well over two millennia, kimchi is perhaps the closest any country gets to a culinary national obsession. According to one survey, South Koreans much their way through more than 1.5 million tons of kimchi a year — or 12 percent of each adult’s daily food intake.
It can be eaten in the earliest stages of fermentation as a light, crunchy snack, or left to “fizz” in compartmentalized fridges that many Koreans use to keep different types of kimchi at their optimum temperature, and to prevent its smell from tainting other food.
Aficionados swear by its vigor-imparting properties, a claim supported by “Health” magazine, which included kimchi in its list of the world’s five healthiest foods. It is rich in vitamins, helps digestion and is said to ward of some cancers, although overconsumption has been blamed for high rates of gastric cancer among South Koreans. At the height of the Asian SARS crisis in 2003, a group of South Korean researchers even claimed kimchi was an effective antidote.
There are more than 200 varieties of the stuff, from the crisp, lightly salted type found in North Korea to the fish-sauce-heavy versions popular on the southern tip of the peninsula, according to Kim Hye Jin, a chef at O’ngo Food Communications, a cooking school that also organizes food tours of Seoul.
"We spend the whole year preparing to make kimchi," says Kim, whose mother typically pickles 80 heads of cabbage a year. "It’s all about sourcing the right chili powder and good-quality fish sauce."
But Korean adulation of the humble Napa cabbage, the most popular vegetable used in kimchi, occasionally comes with nationalistic overtones.
In 1996, South Korea denounced Japan’s version of the dish a fake, and demanded that its stop marketing it as “kimuchi.” In 2010, a poor Napa cabbage harvest sent kimchi prices soaring, prompting one newspaper to describe the shortage of homegrown vegetables as a “once in a century crisis.” Only this year, the dish was the cause of friction with Chinese netizens after South Korea lobbied Codex, the international food standards agency, to change the official name of its main ingredient from “Chinese cabbage” to “kimchi cabbage.”
Just as sushi barely scratches the surface of the Japanese gastronomic miscellany, kimchi is merely the hub of a vibrant food culture that ranges from multiple-course royal court cuisine to ddeokbokki, a popular rice-cake snack often eaten on the hoof.
Beyond its home turf, Korean food has made its biggest impact in other parts of Asia and North America. New combinations dreamed up for the US market include kimchi quesadillas, burgers cooked bulgogi style, and tacos filled with barbecued meat — a pioneering dish that helped the South Korean chef Roy Choi to be named best new chef of 2010 for the US magazine “Food and Wine.”
During his trips back to the US, McPherson has been surprised to find that — the addition of tacos aside —distance has not dulled the authenticity of the food that now consumes almost his every waking moment in his adopted home Seoul. “Koreans are often accused of being insular,” he says, “But that also means they’ve retained their traditional cooking techniques. It’s authentic; it has a history.”
But South Korea’s official marketing strategy, he adds, is in need of an overhaul. “The problem with government campaigns is that they are like aristocrats marketing to aristocrats,” he says. “They arrange expensive gala dinners for US senators and serve high-class royal cuisine, the stuff that ordinary Koreans don’t eat. And they do this in the middle of a recession. I don’t think the government needs to get involved at all — it’s best left to immigrant populations, word of mouth and people’s natural curiosity.
"You have to create excitement and promote a mood rather than just the product itself. Korean food involves new flavors and creates a sense of excitement — there’s an emotional appeal. Americans like the bold flavors and the idea that it’s healthy."
While the unmistakable aroma of marinated, barbecued meat wafts through the streets of LA and New York from fusion tacos trucks, other Americans, including state department officials and senators on Capitol Hill, were recently treated to a more rarefied version of Korea’s cuisine at a promotional event. And during the London Olympics this summer, the discount retailer Homeplus — a joint venture involving Samsung and Tesco — will promote 150 types of Korean food at a Tesco store in southwest London, home to a large Korean expat population.
O’ngo school’s president, Jia Choi, sees the popularity of Korean food growing in line with the South’s growing economic clout, a route taken most recently by Japan. “There was a time when people thought eating raw fish was barbaric, but then Japan grew economically powerful, and now sushi is its representative dish,” she says. “The same is happening with Korean food, although it’s still not as popular as Chinese or Japanese cuisine.
"There’s also a greater appreciation of the healthy qualities of fermented food, and that’s helped dispel negative stereotypes about the Koreans just eating dogs."
McPherson, who cites grilled intestines and yukhoe steak tartare among his favorite dishes, confesses he didn’t immediately take to Korean cuisine when he arrived in the country eight years ago. His epiphany came three months later. “I woke up one morning,” he recalls, “and suddenly realized I was craving kimchi for breakfast.”
Two quick and easy Korean recipes for the summer:
Spicy cucumber side dish (oi moochim) from Joe McPherson at ZenKimchi
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Korean chili powder (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon Korean pepper paste (gochujang)
1 teaspoon light corn syrup or honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1. Mix the cucumber with one teaspoon of sea salt and set aside.
2. Soak the onion slices with one tablespoon of rice vinegar and the water in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
3. Rinse the salt off the cucumber and pat off the excess water.
4. Mix the garlic, chili powder, pepper paste, corn syrup or honey, and teaspoon of rice vinegar in a bowl.
5. Remove the onions from the water and add them to the dressing along with the cucumbers and toss.
6. Serve chilled.
Kimchi recipe from O’ngo Food Communications
One quarter of Napa cabbage soaked in salted water [brine] for 6-7 hours
100g daikon radish
5 tablespoons chili powder
20g shrimp sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Julienne the radish and cut scallions into 3-centimeter slivers.
2. Color the radish with chili powder and thoroughly mix in the spring onions along with all of the other ingredients.
3. Place the cabbage in a shallow tray with the stuffing. Starting with the outer leaves and working inwards, insert the stuffing between the leaves, smearing it generously on each leaf.
4. Tightly press the leaves together into a bundle, transfer it to a container and leave to ferment in a refrigerator for anything from a few hours to several months, according to taste.
Korea’s Woon-kon and Jong-ho set for record fourth appearance in Olympics
South Korea have two players who will be featuring for a record fourth time in the Olympics.
They are midfielder Yeo Woon-kon, who has 263 caps, and forward Seo Jong-ho, 32, who has 273.
Woon-kon, who will turn 38 on Sept 4, will be the oldest player in the London Olympics.
Both Woon-kon and Jong-ho were members of the team that won the silver medal at Sydney 2000. Korea lost to Holland 5-4 on penalties in the final which ended 3-3 after extra-time.
The duo also featured in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the Koreans finished eighth and sixth respectively.
The duo are currently playing in the on-going Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Jong-ho scored a goal against Malaysia in the opening match last Thursday, which ended in 1-1 draw.
Korean coach Shin Seok-kyo said Woon-kon and Jong-ho retired two years ago but were recalled last year because they still can play top level hockey.
The duo have also featured in three World Cups – Kuala Lumpur 2002, Monchengladbach 2006 and New Delhi 2010.
They also played a pivotal role in helping the team qualify for the London Olympics. Jong-ho was the skipper of the team for the qualifier in Dublin, where South Korea edged hosts Ireland 3-2 in the final while Malaysia finished third.
Seok-kyo said Woon-kon and Jong-ho are the first Korean players to compete in four Olympic Games.
“They bring experience and composure to the team and we believe we have a chance to finish among the top four in the Olympics,” he said.
The Koreans, ranked sixth in the world, are drawn in Group B with Germany, Holland, India, New Zealand and Belgium.
Defending champions Australia are drawn in Group A with Argentina, Spain, South Africa, Pakistan and hosts Britain.
For the next seven days, museums across Korea will be rolling out special events and deals for visitors.
In celebration of International Museum Day, which falls this year on May 18, the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, in partnership with the Korean Museum Association, have designated the week from May 18 to 27 as Museum Week.
A display at the National Museum of Korea (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Korea).
As part of the Museum Week festivities, the National Museum of Korea, together with Korea’s eleven regional national museums, will offer discounted admission prices and various cultural programs.
In addition, over 80 public and private museums, university museums, and art galleries across the country will be offering discounted or free admission.
To kick off the event, a free concert will be held at the main auditorium of the National Museum of Korea at 3 p.m. on May 19, with popular classical ensembles Incielo and AURDA performing well-loved classical pieces as well as music from film soundtracks.
Schoolchildren explore the National Museum of Korea (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Korea).
From May 19 to 20, visitors will be invited to upload pictures of their museum visits via Twitter, Facebook, or me2day. Thirty people, ten from each platform, will be selected to receive cultural vouchers worth 20,000 won.
The Korean Museum Association will also be holding events during the week, including an international academic symposium from May 18 to 20 and a bazaar selling museum publications, art books, catalogs, and other cultural products and souvenirs. The bazaar will be held outside the main auditorium of the National Museum of Korea from May 18 to 20.
More information on Museum Week and participating museums can be found at www.museum.go.kr.
Victims of Korea’s largest pyramid scheme claim fugitive faked his death
Conspiracy theories abound over the death of Cho Hee-pal, one of Korea’s most wanted scammers, who fled the country in 2008 after swindling thousands out of 3.5 trillion won ($3 billion).
According to Korean police, the 55-year-old fugitive died of a heart attack five months ago in China, where he lived for more than three years under a fake identity.
He was the main suspect in a massive pyramid scheme that resulted in more than 30,000 investors being defrauded out of at least 3.5 trillion won. It is the largest-ever pyramid scheme in Korea, with victims claiming that the total damages amount to 8 trillion won.
Despite the police announcement, many victims believe that Cho is still alive, living a life of luxury with the money he conned out of them. They claim Cho faked his own death.
“None of us believe he’s dead,” said Kim Sang-jeon, the head of a victims’ group called the Citizens’ Coalition for Respectable Household Economy.
His organization has tracked Cho for years in the hope of bringing him to justice and recouping their money.
“We can’t help but question why the police made such an announcement based on fishy evidence at this particular point in time,” Kim said.
He pointed out that a prosecutorial probe into the case was expected to gather momentum, with the extradition of two of his accomplices, who were also on the run in China.
Cho’s death is backed by plenty of documentary evidence, but no DNA. There is a death certificate, medical records written by emergency room doctors, a cremation certificate and even video footage of a funeral service showing Cho lying in a coffin.
He was cremated in China and his ashes were later brought back to Korea by his family.
Cremation destroys all DNA information, so it is impossible for the police to identity the remains, an official at the National Police Agency’s intellectual crime investigation unit said.
“Through Interpol, we verified the authenticity of the death certificate by showing Cho’s photograph to the doctor who pronounced him dead,“ Park Gwan-cheon, the policeman, said.
Victims, however, are far from convinced.
The evidence may have been fabricated, just like his Chinese identification card, driver’s license and passport, they claim.
A fake passport used by Cho Hee-pal (National Police Agency)
Cho’s death certificate
Cho’s cremation certificate
Also fueling their suspicion is a video recording of what appears to be Cho’s funeral, attended by his relatives. In the 51-second clip, a man who looks like Cho lies in a coffin, with his body, except the face, covered with a red cloth.
Some people say such a funeral video recording, very unusual in Korean culture, is proof of a faked death. A Korean wouldn’t videotape a funeral service, unless they wanted to make up evidence of someone’s death, they argue.
An official at the National Forensic Service was quoted by local media as saying that he couldn’t tell whether the person in the coffin was dead or alive.
According to police, on Dec. 18, Cho dined, drank and sang with his Korean girlfriend at a hotel in Qingdao, and suddenly complained of an acute stomachache. He stopped breathing while being taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was pronounced dead by doctors. A heart attack was given as the cause of death.
Cho lived in Yantai, just one and a half hour’s flight from Incheon, disguised as a 53-year-old ethnic Korean, Cho Young-bok, or Cao Yongfu.
In 2004, he set up a pyramid-selling company in Daegu and opened more than 10 branches in other cities, including Seoul, luring thousands of investors with the promise of high returns.
He escaped to China on a fishing boat in December 2008, along with his accomplices, after Daegu prosecutors began probing his company.
Suspicions over his death stem partly from the victims’ mistrust in the authorities’ handling of the case.
They suspect that Cho, using the astronomical proceeds from the pyramid operation, may have bribed police investigators and other officials.
In fact, a Daegu police officer in charge of Cho’s case was removed from his post after allegations that he took 900 million won from Cho just before he sneaked out of the country. Coastguards also faced suspicions that they let Cho go intentionally, despite tip-offs on his plan to escape by sea.
A Korea Coast Guard vessel followed the fishing boat carrying Cho and his accomplices to the border with China, but failed to snatch them. The officials later explained that they mistook it as a drugs trafficking attempt and had intended to nab those on board when the boat met its Chinese supplier.
The police, announcing Cho’s death, said they would continue efforts to trace the money. But with Cho dead, either in reality or only on paper, it looks less likely that the investigators will break a years-long deadlock in the mammoth fraud case.
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”—
Each day that Samsung continues to sell its infringing Tab 10.1 causes additional harm to Apple.’
Apple renewed its bid for a court order immediately blocking sales of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, relying on an appeals court’s finding that it will probably win a patent infringement claim.
Apple made a similar request last year to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, as part of a broader patent dispute over smartphones and tablets.
She rejected the proposed injunction in December.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said on May 14 that Apple can pursue its efforts to halt sales of the Samsung tablet in the U.S. while the infringement case is awaiting trial.
The appeals court disagreed with Koh’s ruling in December that Apple failed to show it was likely to win its case on merit, according to Apple’s filing on Friday.
“The court can and should enter a preliminary injunction against sales of the infringing Galaxy Tab 10.1 without a further hearing,” Apple said in the filing.
“Each day that Samsung continues to sell its infringing Tab 10.1 causes additional harm to Apple through design dilution, lost sales, lost market share and lost future sales of tag-along products.”
Samsung spokesman Adam Yates did not immediately return an e-mail request seeking comment on Apple’s filing.
Since the San Jose case was filed in April 2011, Apple and Samsung have filed more than 30 such lawsuits against each other in 10 countries.
In response to Apple’s bids to block sales of Samsung devices and win billions of dollars in damages, Samsung has asserted that Apple’s patents are invalid and claimed that it is the real victim of infringement.
Koh ordered Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to meet in person with Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung yesterday and today to try to reach a settlement of the dispute.
Teaching ESL to Adults in Korea 1 on 1 and in Groups!
Pagoda Academy was founded in 1969 by Go In-Gyung and Park Kyung-Sil with the objective of developing foreign language education in Korea. Pagoda has grown considerably since then and currently employs over 100 foreign teachers who teach over 5000 students at branches in Seoul, Incheon and Busan.
Pagoda is dedicated to providing students with unmatched programs. We are also dedicated to providing teachers with an opportunity to develop as they teach ESL, EAP and Business English to our eager adult learners. Pagoda Academy has realized considerable success and has developed a reputation for being a leader in the ESL industry in Korea. With the help of our friendly staff, great teachers, and programs we hope to continue this tradition.
Pagoda Academy is looking for experienced ESL teachers with a background in English education or with a degree in Education, English, Linguistics, TESOL or Fine Arts (Writing). We also look for teachers who have taken an Intensive course (DELTA, CELTA or TEFL) and are looking to use those skills and further develop their strengths and other areas of teaching. However, this is not to say that we don’t accept applications from other candidates who may have graduated in a different area of study (Business/Liberal Arts). Some of our teachers were not formally trained as teachers, but through their enthusiasm, work ethic and willingness to learn have become excellent teachers.
We have teaching positions at our Jongro, Kangnam, Shinchon, Guro, Bupyeong and Busan branches for the end of June 2012 (year round openings too). Please let us know when you are looking to start.
We would need the following paperwork about 45 days prior to when you’d like to start teaching in Korea so be sure to get your FBI/RCMP or other federal background checks ready now along with the apostille or Korean Consulate notarization for Canadians. An apostille for your degree too or Korean Consulate notarization for Canadians is needed too, but no transcripts now. Visa Information
——————————————————— 1 on 1 Adult ESL Teaching in Seoul for June————————————————
Si nce being established in 1997, Direct English, Korea, Inc. has been the leader in one-on-one conversational English by utilizing our multimedia based curriculum with an EFL approach that has been proven to significantly improve students’ conversational English. Direct English’s program was jointly developed by Pagoda Academy, Inc., one of Korea’s largest and reputable foreign language institutes, and Pearson Education, the world’s largest publishing group.
Direct English, Korea, Inc. is currently hiring qualified, dedicated teachers who can work with our curriculum and who bring a positive and energetic presence to the classroom.
Most of our clientele are business professional and as such we need teachers that have a business background and/or who have graduated with a business related degree. Many of our most successful teachers were not formally trained as teachers, but through Direct English’s training, their experience, enthusiasm, work ethic, and willingness to learn have become excellent teachers who are making an impact on students’ lives and making some good money and memories.
It is such a treat to teach adults one on one and below are the type of class you will be teaching:
Teaching Direct English’s Regular Tutorial Classes (25 minutes per session) Teaching Topic Classes (55 minutes / session) Once a month you get a chance to teach a Conversation Class (50 minutes / session) Interviewing customers in English who come to signup
Direct English provides a friendly, stable work environment for all of its employees. Teachers Korean and Native get along great and often go out after work to socialize. With superb staff and students who have a strong desire to improve their English.
Positions in Seoul , Sinchon, Kangnam and Yeouido More opportunities all year-round Job Highlights: 15 days of vacation + National Holidays Able to choose your own apartment Great Locations in Seoul Good starting pay rate and overtime - 2.5 to 3 million Great coworkers (Many re-sign) check out our testimonials
Korean clothing store The Basic House sells organic cotton and other environmentally friendly materials.
Korean clothing store The Basic House sells organic cotton and other environmentally friendly materials.
The Basic House (Myeong-dong Branch) sells outdoor-style casual wear whose style people of all ages. Customers can purchase clothes made of environment-friendly materials (such as flax, bamboo, beans, and organic wool). The Myeong-dong branch boasts chic design and offers foreign language services (English, Japanese, and Chinese) to visitors.
"That kind of Korean man" is writer-director Hong Sang-Soo's speciality.
After operating at maybe 75 percent of its potential for almost its first full week, on Sunday the Cannes Film Festival kicked into full auteurist gear, with the premieres of three formally audacious new works from three contemporary international art film stars: Michael Haneke’s Amour (which we already discussed); In Another Country, from Korean master of comic romantic disaster Hong Sang-soo; and Like Someone in Love, the baffling, thrilling, Tokyo-set latest from Iranian neo-realism pioneer Abbas Kiarostami.
Thinly framed as a dramatization of screenplay being written by a young woman in an attempt to distract herself from a family crisis too incredible to cope with (“So these things really happen,” she says. “What am I doing here?”), In Another Country consists of three short stories, unrelated to one another but extremely similar, featuring the same actors playing different characters but doing more or less the same things. In each, a different French woman played by Isabelle Huppert — one a filmmaker, one the cheating wife of a businessman, one a depressed recent divorcee — spends a few days in the same unspectacular seaside tourist trap, where she has similar, quasi-romantic, sometime drunken encounters with two Korean men. In each vignette, the woman is pursued inappropriately, leading to several warnings about “that kind of Korean man.”
"That kind of Korean man" is writer-director Hong Sang-Soo’s speciality. The repeating of story elements within a film presented as an evolving art work/attempt at catharsis constitutes an acknowledgement of Hong’s own tendency to work through his ongoing issues through constant repetition with key variations. Throughout his body of work, the same basic events over and over again: a seemingly mild-mannered man, often a film director, travels to a town, usually somewhere he’s been before; he drinks too much and obsesses over a woman; often he ends up hooking up with a different woman, or maybe there are two women who bear an uncanny resemblance to one another (played by the same actress). His professional struggles are often acknowledged (sometimes he claims to be on a hiatus from filmmaking), and yet everywhere he goes, he’s recognized by young, pretty girls — establishing a power relationship which makes the main male character’s inability to rationally control his desire all the more louche. Nighttime passions are quickly brushed aside come morning. Locations and situations are revisited. Mistakes are made, and then made again, and again, and again. Dreams/imaginings and waking/real space flow into one another without immediately evident demarcation. All of this is presented with a very specific tone, often at once deadpan comic and melancholic, self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. They’re extremely self-aware films about narcissism.
That Hong does the same thing over and over again — and that what he does is examine a certain type of man’s inability to learn from his mistakes, particularly where sex is involved — makes Hong kind of the Korean equivalent of Woody Allen. But where Allen has turned repetition into a better-than-break-even brand, Hong has a cult following within a certain cinephile set (myself included), but his many films (he’s produced an average of one feature per year since 2007) have never been commercial prospects, in Korea or elsewhere, not even within the specialized arthouse market. His last few haven’t found significant theatrical distribution in the States; 2010’s Oki’s Movie and 2011’s The Day He Arrives, which both recently screened for a week in New York, aren’t currently scheduled to show in LA at all. The presence of Huppert in this one suggests an interest in branching out beyond the cult faithful—she’s known to arthouse audiences in ways in which Hong’s usual Korean actors (some of whom repeat from film to film, natch) are not. But as an outsider to his world and as an extremely gifted actress who nails Hong’s target of pathos rising off of goofball sex farce, her presence also allows Hong to not just cop to, but actually interrogate some of his favorite themes from point-blank range in a way in which I’ve never seen him do before (I’ve seen his eight most recent features). There’s one scene in which one of the Huppert characters seeks guidance from a monk. She asks, “What is love for you?” And he answers, “Something you will have to do forever.” To her follow-up, “What is sex?”, he responds, “Something I will have trouble with until I die.” That’s the driving contradiction of Hong’s work in a nutshell, and the transparency of it is weirdly poignant.
In Another Country may take Hong’s signature style and concerns to a new level, but it’s still well within what we expect from a Hong Sang-Soo film. The great surprise of Cannes thus far, Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love, is identifiable as a Kiarostami joint in a couple of keys ways — mainly, that it’s conversation-based, and a big chunk of it consists of long takes of people riding in cars — but in terms of tone and subject matter, it’s nothing if not unexpected. The film traces less-than a day in the life of Akiko, a college student/call girl who, in the film’s first scene, tells both boyfriend and pimp that she can’t do what they’re asking of her because she needs to study and see her visiting grandmother. Much of the scene consists of a long tableau shot of a bar from Akiko’s point of view — immersing us in her world for awhile before we actually see her face. Once we do, it soon becomes evident that she lacks the ability to really stand up to the men in her life in any substantive way. And sure enough, soon she’s in a cab on the way to a client’s house, listening to a half dozen voicemail messages from her grandmother on the ride.
That client is Takeshi, a retired professor at the college where Akiko is studying sociology (and doing so without conviction; in one of the film’s key conversations, she admits to confusing Darwin and Durkheim on an exam). Takeshi wants to wine and dine his young date; as she tries to rush along the bedroom portion of the evening, the older man stalls. She falls asleep, and in the morning he drives her to class, where both are confronted by the boyfriend we previously heard Akiko lying to. The film ends with a shock and a jolt, an indication that facades have literally come crashing down — and then a cut to black. Much of the audience at last night’s press screening (many of whom waited for an hour or more in pouring rain to get into the theater) greeted that abrupt conclusion with laughter — some because they apparently thought what just happened was a punchline; other laughs heralded impending boos.
As much as it takes mistaken and appropriated identity as a subject (not unlike Kiarostami’s last film, Certified Copy), Love's own enigmatic, constantly shifting generic identity is at least as compelling as any of its actual content (and I was pretty enraptured throughout, though sometimes mostly by aesthetics — the look is gloriously polished). The movie, which gets its title from a song sung by Ella Fitzgerald which plays during Takeshi and Akiko's date, is infused with a jazzy melancholy, not least in the stunning taxi scene. But it's also a kind of screwball comedy, and kind of a noir — both genres rich with playacting. I'm not going to pretend I fully “get” exactly what Kiarostami is up to here — if anything I've seen here deserves more brain space than I have available to give it during in the middle of the festival marathon, it's this — but I was pleasantly disoriented throughout, and I thought the film's final moment was thrilling.
Although some are predicting that Amour has the 2013 Best Foreign Language Oscar on lock, to measure Cannes selections such as Haneke’s, Hong’s and Kiarostami’s for their Hollywood crossover potential is pretty misguided. All three films have and will continue to have detractors because they’re so dedicated to scrambling an audience’s expectations, and thereby redefining what a film can be or do. And that obliteration of expectations is exactly what we should expect to get at this festival.
Korean firms are rushing to communicate better and more often with expats
Korean firms are rushing to communicate better and more often with expats as the number of foreign residents now surpasses 1.1 million.
Kevin Ascott, a Canadian living here, said he was able to find the authorized service center for his malfunctioning smartphone through KT’s social networking hotline ― something he had been seeking for days to figure out on several websites.
“I got great service when I went there,” he wrote to the telecom service provider on Twitter. “Glad I switched to KT.”
KT, the country’s biggest fixed-line service operator, is taking the lead in launching tailored services such as the @olleh_expats Twitter account.
With about 1,700 followers it is a real-time communication channel that operates alongside its two Korean-language Twitter accounts, a KT official said.
Expats consult with a clerk at a KT global store. (KT)
The company also created a blog (expatblog.kt.com), providing all consultation services in English, Japanese and Chinese.
The company also has a global store, which is an official service outlet for foreigners, and a customer service center for them in a bid to gain a larger share of the expat market, which is most likely to expand.
“KT is working to meet the fast-changing trends as the influence of social media outlets is getting bigger nowadays,” said KT president Pyo Hyun-myung. “We plan to continue the efforts in listening to the voices of our customers through various channels such as SNS.”
KT, however, is not the only firm in Korea driving its effort to serve people from overseas.
The nation’s IT behemoth Samsung Electronics is also running a call center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, supported in three different languages ― English, Chinese and Vietnamese.
The world’s top smartphone maker also runs an official global blog (global.samsungtomorrow.com) to update visitors with the latest news involving its products and services as well as most recent company news.
“We also have about 1,000 foreigners working for the flagship electronics arm in Korea and that number is constantly on the rise,” said a Samsung official.
The hiring of foreigners is a trend also seen in the banking and distribution industries with banks ― such as Hana, Shinhan and Industrial banks ― increasingly employing foreign staff.
Hana Bank picked a total of seven foreign employees ― four from China and one each from the U.S., Canada and Australia ― during its regular hiring this year. The company has 19 foreign employees working at its branches nationwide.
Shinhan Bank also gave positions to eight foreign nationals and the Industrial Bank of Korea hired 12, with about half of IBK’s hires taking Korean citizenship.
LG Household and Healthcare, which owns The Face Shop cosmetics brand, is also recruiting foreign workers fluent in Chinese and Japanese and dispatching them in popular with foreign nationals areas like Myeong-dong, Insa-dong and Dongdaemun.
“Although we don’t have the exact figure of foreign employees, they are hired so that the visitors from other countries can get the service they need when they come to our shops,” said a company official. “The store owners go forward with the hiring themselves, but the workers are trained and educated regularly on sales skills and how to meet customers’ demands.”