Exchange Students, 1955

1955

I found this interview of exchange students from Pakistan, Nigeria, South Korea and Finland fascinating. I like how the interviewer is in the background and how thoughtfully these young people consider American freedom, dating and education.

It would be interesting to see a 2020 version of this interview.

Mineral Sunscreens

It’s prime time for sunscreen so I’m sharing a new review by Renée aka Gothamista.

I’m well stocked as it is and have been using Dear, Klairs Everyday Sun Protector, which goes on smoothly and isn’t greasy. It’s SPF 50+ and PA++++. As you may know SPF 50 is considered overkill by many dermatologists. I got this as part of a set but would definitely repurchase.

I’m also using Anessa’s Essence UV sunscreen aqua booster. it absorbs well, but till it does feels slightly greasy. Again it’s SPF 50+ PA++++. Dear, Klairs is a South Korean company and Anessa is Japanese. I think these countries are tops for sunscreen. In the US products are only PA+++ so more there’s more protection against the sunrays that cause wrinkles.

The Starlet and the Spy

starlet spy

It’s 1954 and outcast Alice Kim works as a translator for the US Army. She struggles to keep on keeping on after the horrors of war and the emotional wounds from her earlier romantic affairs. Alice gets chosen to translate for Marilyn Monroe who’s coming to Korea to entertain the troops, who remain.

Nervous, emotional and guilt-ridden, Alice feels alienated. A young woman, whose past haunts her must deal with seeing her past lovers and tries to track down an orphan she promised to care for.

While the story’s full of angst, I felt it lacked authenticity, which is surprising since the author researched war diaries and other primary sources. I felt there was too little Marilyn Monroe in the book and thought those chapters were based on stereotypes. I think Monroe was in the story to make it marketable.

The love triangle and the emotional crash that ensued when the married lover caught her in bed with her other lover didn’t endear Alice to me. She lacked the insight to figure out her own responsibility even though all the dots where there. I didn’t find the spy work compelling either.

I prefer Lisa See’s, Jung Chang’s and Winston Graham’s historical fiction. Ji-Min Lee’s The Starlet and the Spy is not a novel you must read.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Busy

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Melbourne, Australia

Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to find photos of subjects that depict busy or working people.

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Seoul, South Korea

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Pekanbaru, Indonesia

If you want to see more fun photos, click here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announce
ments, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Just a few wonderful posts:

 

School Swap Korea

In this documentary three Welsh teens fly to Seoul where they will experience three grueling days in a Korean high school.

I knew Korean students were pushed to excel and studied long hours but this documentary horrified me. I wish I knew more about the exact content on the tests that we were seen how the teachers actually teach. Both of those elements would have made for a stronger film, but we do see how stunned and exhausted the Welsh students were and they tell us what they think about this education system so we do learn a lot about South Korea’s high schools, which are among the top in the world.

The episode here raises the question of whether this intensity is worth it. It mentions the international test scores and gives the ranks, but it doesn’t give us the spread. Are the top 50 schools pretty close to each other or is their a wide spread between them?

Like Wales, Americans can improve and intensity their curriculum, but neither country is going to start having students study till midnight in cram schools so if Westerners study five hours a day in school and a few hours at home, they would never surpass students who are in a formal classroom from 8 am till midnight.

I think it’s better to have a balanced life and be able to work on projects, which emulate post-graduation work, than just to memorize.

Touring Seoul

When Tanis and I visited Seoul we saw lots of young women in traditional hanboks, which gave our tour an extra sense of history. Above I’ve added a video of two Korean vloggers who explain that if you come in traditional dress, you get in free.

Another tip: As we exited the subway we passed a group of high school students volunteering to take tourists around Gyeongbuk Palace. I’m so glad we accepted the offer. Jin, whose English was quite polished, gave tours once a month to further his English and deepen his understanding of history. The tour was more than just your run of the mill “Look to the left, look to the right.” Whoever devised the tour included lots of Q and A so it’s very interactive and exceeded my expectations. It’s absolutely free.

Spring 2016 China 070

Tanis (center) with two Korean women

Socialism, Right

You may not like their system, but you can’t call it bleak & you can’t say they aren’t free

The last few times I’ve gone to YouTube, I’ve had to watch a manipulative, or should I say extra manipulative, political advertisement. It consists of an old many talking about his bleak youth living under communism, which he calls socialism.

I know what the man lived through was true. The black and white photos that the video shows might be from his childhood or before that. There are no photos of say Russia prior to the Revolution, when people also were dirt poor, uneducated, and living in squalor. Yes, life under Mao, Stalin and Lenin and the like was horrible. I don’t contest that. But Obama has not brought us down like that NOR does he want to.

The commercial is just rabble rousing. Nothing more.

It does not feature any of the success stories of socialism like Sweden, Norway or Denmark, where people are free. One can open a business and one can get healthcare no matter what if you have cancer, etc. Are there long waits? I’m not sure, but the wait times in the U.S. are long. If I wanted to see a dermatologist say, I’d have to wait months for my appointment. Yet, when I was in South Korea the wait was one day.