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Friday, 29 May 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-XII)

If you had a day in Korea,how would you spend it?Well,I can't talk about others,but I would have loved to take a quick tour of the local museum where I could enrich myself with the country's history,culture and traditions,then I would dash to the most popular local restaurant and gorged on some scrumptious cuisines and being a child at heart,I would love to spend the rest of the day at an amusement park where I'd enjoy the many thrills,fun n frolic and rides of my life. 

In Part XII of the Wow Korea series, I shall introduce you in brief to Seoul's own Disneyland through three such themed amusement parks where you can have the time of your life doused in excitement,joy and mirth!If not you,then the little member of your family accompanying you on this trip could have the most memorable time of his/her life!

Lotte World                             Image Source: www.detravelocity.com 
1. Lotte World: This indoor theme park which is mostly frequented by tourists is located near the Lotte Hotel and Lotte Departmental Store.The Lotte World which looks like a complete resort is divided into two parts -'Adventure',an indoor park whereas 'Magic Island' is an outdoor park. It is the outdoor park which has most of the thrilling roller-coaster rides that even houses Lotte World's Castle,a wonderful place for photo-ops!The indoor Adventure has a host of attractions as well where the World Carnival Parade is the best of them. This parade takes place everyday between 14:00 to 14:30 and 19:30 to 20:00. The best part about Lotte World is that it is open late and 365 days of the year, thus making it a hep n happening destination for tourists who love to indulge in some fun night-time activities.And what's more is that the prices at night are cheaper than the normal day-time tickets!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

CONQUERING THE PINNACLES OF GLORY: WE, THE WOMEN!

From kitchen to the board-room,from mountain to the moon - women have conquered all spaces! Leading the way and asserting her choices she marches on ward with great resolute, firm and determination in a male-dominated world to carve out her own identity, undeterred and unfettered to reach the pinnacles of glory. 

But her path towards progress and success has not been one joy ride so far.And that's primarily because of the dichotomy that exists in the Indian society where on one hand women as deities have been worshipped while on the other hand the treatment meted out to them is worst than animals. And with her role stereotyped in the society, her progress has been marred by perceptions for she is bound and chained in the shackles of religion,rituals and age-old traditions. 

But despite the unabated obstacles,there are quite a few inspiring stories that shine like beacons of hope and serve as a guiding light to a bright future that's ahead of us!


Friday, 22 May 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-XI)

Films always make for a topic of fascinating discussion.After all, films are not just about stories unfolding on celluloid or watched for sheer entertainment but it is also our reference point towards understanding cultures,rituals,traditions and exploring newer lands and faraway countries as it takes us into a state of phantasmagoria during those 120 minutes of a roller coaster ride where an intense drama awaits to take charge of your senses filled with heart-wrenching emotions and tears,songs and dance sequences filmed in picturesque locations of foreign shores and intermittent doses of rib-tickling comedy to give some relief to the narrative and a nail-biting climax with some stylishly choreographed action sequences that are sewn together to make it one wholesome package. Thus in the eleventh post of the Wow Korea series I shall discuss "Seoul loves Bollywood" when I share with you some Hindi films that have enjoyed great popularity in South Korea! However,before that I shall give you a brief introduction of the flourishing film industry in Seoul.

This may come as a news to you when I say that South Korea is an Asian media powerhouse where PSY is just a drop in the ocean. South Korea not only consumes more domestic entertainment than foreign films but Japan,China and larger part of South East Asia also rely largely on the South Korean entertainment industry!

Take these figures-In 2012 itself, domestic films alone earned 44 million USD while foreign films brought in 35 million USD. Though the graph of domestic films has seen it's own fair share of highs and lows,but it was in the 1990's that the film industry of South Korea finally came into it's own. For instance the film,Shiri which released in 1999 was so popular that it generated more funding and a renewed sense of interest among the Korean film industry on producing films domestically. And together with the policy regulations which mandated that at least 40% of films exhibited must be domestically produced,it went on to pip foreign films in terms of box office revenues and ticket sales during the last ten years. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-X)

With a literacy rate of a whopping 97.9 percent South Korea has the second best education system in the world after Finland (Source: Pearson Report with data from the Economist Intelligence Unit). Did you know that South Korea also has also one of the best K-12 education systems in the world? And according to a UNESCO report in 2010-At 103 percent,South Korea has the highest tertiary gross enrollment ratio of any country in the world! 65 percent of Koreans between the age group of 25-34 have attained tertiary education (Source: *OECD, 2010) and over 97 percent in the same age bracket have at least finished their upper secondary education. Thus in both measures Korea ranks number one among OECD countries!

[* OECD stands for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and comprises of 20 countries from across the globe.]

Thus in the tenth post of Wow Korea series,I shall introduce my readers to South Korea as a destination for learning when I list out top five universities ranked globally at topuniversities.com (2014-15). The educational system of South Korea could make make a good research report for both developing and developed countries to observe the teaching models patterns implemented by educational institutions,the kind of resources and infrastructure invested towards giving an impetus to education and technology deployed for both teaching and learning when it comes to achieving this brilliant feat in the field of education.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

THE 'MOTHER' OF ALL EXPERTS...OUR MOMMIES OF COURSE!

Words alone cannot describe that immaculate and formidable bond a mother shares with her child. Right from the moment when she feels those gentle tugs in her womb to the time we are born. Right from that one defining moment of her life when she hears her babe speak those incoherent babbles that she understands as mother and smiles with joy at our gurgles of laughter to the time we take those first flight of steps into the world...our life literally twirls around her finger.And on our every little achievement,our mother's rejoice as she rewards us with surprises and bestows her unconditional love,kisses and affection even as her dreams,hopes and aspirations take a backseat and her life now comes to be centered around us.

During our formative years,she dons the hat of a teacher when she takes our studies,helps us do our homework and shares many anecdotes from her life that lay the foundation to our future.In our years as a teenager,she graduates to becoming our best friend,someone in whom we begin to confide into on the pangs of adolescence (especially with all the changes that our body undergoes and those zits that pop up on our faces which send us into hiding! But she teaches us face them and look into the mirror as she gives us magical remedies to fight them too).And as we grow older when we reflect back on the years gone by and become parents ourselves,we come to admire her for her versatility and realize that she had one arduous task in her lifetime for besides being a mother she was also our best friend, guide,guardian,teacher,tutor,expert etc. - all rolled into one! And then we take on that mantle from her as we endeavor to replicate her teachings in our children.

Friday, 8 May 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-IX)

Shopping is one such unwritten 'tour' which is mandated on everyone's travel itinerary.It is one outing that we always squeeze out time for no matter how packed our schedule might be because it is something that we simply just can't afford to skip. After all everyone loves to bring home a thing or two from one's visit abroad be it as a keepsake of one's travel advent in a foreign land to give us wonderful memories to live by while some others might love to pick some local fashion like clothing or costume/ chunky jewelry whereas gadget geeks would opt for electronics and some others may pick up knick-knacks from here and here so as to flaunt among friends and alike about their trip overseas. 
Insadong Antique Shop Alley
And Korea is one such destination where you have niche markets for different goods like electronics, jewelry, antiques, furniture, fashion etc. There's no dearth of them! In the ninth post of the Wow Korea series,I shall acquaint you with some popular shopping destinations of Korea for antiques,fashion,jewelry and electronics where you can get the best bargains and deals that one could have possibly hoped for!

Antiques:Though antiques are harder to come by in Korea compared to most other countries primarily because Korea was ravaged by war.Despite the setback,this strong country has bounced back and achieved spectacular growth in decades even though it was literally obliterated by the war. So, if you as a visitor are willing to spend a handsome amount of money, then you can lay your hands on some fine and exquisite antiques from the Korean markets.

Friday, 1 May 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-VIII)

Collage of activities from Gyeongju Temple
Many a times the hustle-bustle of a city life saps away all our energies and when fatigue sets in, it leaves us wanting for an outlet where we could rejuvenate our mind and revitalize our senses. At times all we need is a spiritual awakening where we could meditate to heal our troubled minds with stress levels hitting the roof top and depression getting the better of us.

And here's where the topic of this blog post begins...

In Part VIII of the Wow Korea Series, I shall introduce to all my readers the the concept of "Temple Stay Programs" in Korea which you can explore for your health, wellness and fitness as you heal in the peace and tranquility of Korea. While some of you may like to be a part of it as a way of discovering the Korean way of life through Korean Buddhism culture while others may like to experience this program as a once-in-lifetime opportunity on their visit to Korea and further chronicle this event in their diaries, blogs or journals.

In a simplified Q&A format,I shall take you through the Temple Stay Program so that you as a visitor are all clued up during your next visit to Korea.