Friday, 26 August 2011

D-Cube in Seoul

I'll start off with some news, there is a new addition in town, a new mall just opened at Sindorim, east of Seoul and just 10 minutes from where I live and it is one of the subway stations I frequent.
"Sindorim" by Adzrin Mansor
"Sindorim" by Adzrin Mansor
"Sindorim" by Adzrin Mansor
"Sindorim" by Adzrin Mansor
The new shopping complex houses Zara, Uniqlo, H&M and many more outlets. The day I visited this place was actually the first day it opened its doors for visitors. It was the first day for the Uniqlo promoters and their spirits is still high, shouting "안녕하십니까? 유니클로입니다..." which translates to "hello there, this is uniqlo."
"Uniqlo D-Cube' by Adzrin Mansor.
Some people asked me, are clothes sold in Korea are all fashionable and cheap? Okay, here, your question is answered. Most clothes sold are fashionable as the Korean market demands for these stuff. Young generation are real fashion conscious people. Then the price, it mainly depends on environmental matters. It depends on the market. Well a pair of normal UJ jeans in Malaysia will cost around RM120 and the exact same stuff will costs about the same in Korea, at 39,000 won. So actually the price in Korea and in Malaysia is not much different. 


As a small sized Malaysian male, it is heaven! Korean men is much well fed and taller than me, so they conquer clothes of size M, L and above. Luckily I wear the S size, and sometimes when all of the big sizes are sold out, some small size clothes are left behind. Instead of throwing it back into their warehouses, uniqlo korea sells them at a lower price at a special section called '가격인하' or something like reduced price. I once bought a hoodie worth 29,000 won for 14,900 won because there was only seven pieces left, all was S in size. That's how I got all those uniqlo products for lower price. I will post some pictures of me in my uniqlo shirts and other things when I have a chance. It is usually me who likes to take photos of others but always I end up having no photos of myself.


Besides UNIQLO, there is also other brands which is common among locals listed below:
1. http://www.code8.co.kr/ is some brand
2. http://www.fashionlitmus.co.kr/2011sum/main.asp a bit expensive but you'll find young men wear the shirt everywhere.
3. http://www.bangbang.co.kr/ i think this brand is like Hari Hari in Malaysia
4. http://www.olivialauren.co.kr/ a premium women's clothing line, mainly focuses on professional wear
5. http://www.basichouse.co.kr/ can be said as a Korean version of Giordano.


So if you browse the websites you can find what is usually worn by locals, and perhaps spruce up to look like this;

The video above is for the fall collection. Now there is also some people who asked me when is the best time to go shopping in Seoul, I would say in spring and summer. The temperatures in the season is comfortable enough for Malaysians to browse the high-fashion streets of Myengdong. Spring and summer clothes are also wearable in Malaysia. Who would want to wear those autumn trench coats and neck wrapped with woolen mufflers in the heat? Spring usually kicks off in end of March, with the famous cherry blossoms bloomed its pink flowers in April. Temperatures in spring is very comfortable during the day but it is a bit chilly at night. So this is the time to do some two layer fashion shopping. When I say two layer it is like those skinny jeans, with flannel cotton shirts wrapped with good hoodies on top and the likes. We can shop while admiring the beauty of spring. For pictures of me last spring;

Then summer starts at May, having a terrible rainy season that lasts through the whole month of July. Avoid the rainy season as it rains the whole day. Then in mid august the air is as hot as Malaysia. Then at the end of September, fall starts. So the best time to shop starts at March and ends in September, with exception of July. Air Asia is available from KL to Seoul daily, so let's shop till we drop!

I'll end up my post with two videos from SPAO, a clothing brand endorsed by Girls Generation and Super Junior;


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Korean Writing: The Hangul

It has been a tough week, I fought through the Korean language exams last week and I got results that can be considered, satisfactory, not really impressive marks, just enough to breathe above the waterline. Learning Korean is really tough for me as I just started to learn it last year. It took me almost my whole life to get to this level in English so perhaps I need more time to spice up my Korean a bit. Nevertheless, as a blogger, I share stuff that’ beneficial to readers. I don’t write diaries but stories of me are embedded in my posts. Lovely eh? I want to talk about Hangul; the Korean writing.

"Seoul Subway" by Adzrin Mansor with a LG Optimus One
In the days of old before the grandparents of Girls Generation were even born, Koreans receive a lot of influence from the Chinese in terms of culture, and a lot of things. The Koreans had a language of their own when speaking but when writing they adapted the usage of the Chinese character system. These Chinese characters are dying hard to learn. They are pictures, each character has its own meaning and sound that has to be memorized. As today there are 3000 characters identified. That is why it is so hard compared to learning Roman letters where a character represents a sound and when grouped together it only makes up a word and makes sense. Then came a much beloved king named Sejong, who ruled Korea in times of peace and harmony, he had no war to fight, he already set up a strong economy for his country so he switched focus on knowledge. He made the Korean writing with his group of scholars, making a very systematic writing system, the Hangul. Most of the strokes were actually pictures of the shape of the tongue and the mouth when pronouncing it.

Let’s get started. I know, K-pop fans are going crazy saying, ‘Yay, I can read the lyrics while listening to K-pop’ and all. Yeah, it is great to get to know a new language. We will start into consonants first. As you go through the letters, memorize it and the sound it makes.

’ pronounced ‘k’ in the beginning of words and ‘g’ in middle of words
’ pronounced ‘n’
’ pronounced ‘t’ in the beginning of words and ‘d’ in middle of words
’ pronounced ‘m’
’ pronounced ‘b’ and sometimes ‘m’
’ pronounced ‘s’
’ pronounced ‘ng’ if it is placed at the end, but have no sound if it is at the front
’ pronounced like ‘j’ or small ‘ch’
’ pronounced ‘h’

Then there is some extra consonants;
’ pronounced as a strong ‘k’
’ pronounced ‘kh’
’ pronounced as a strong ‘t’
’ pronounced ‘ph’
’ pronounced as a strong ‘j’
’ pronounced ‘ch’

Got the consonants? Let’s move into the vowels. In writing them, the vowels never stands alone. It always comes with a 'ㅇ' that is not pronounced.
’ pronounced ‘a’
’ pronounced ‘ya’
’ pronounced ‘aw’ as the English word ‘awe’ and ‘yaw’
’ pronounced ‘yaw’
’ pronounced ‘o’
’ pronounced ‘yo’
’ pronounced ‘u’
’ pronounced ‘yu’
’ functions like the English‘e’ in the world ‘Lucifer’. Sounds like ‘er’ with a silenced ‘r’
’ functions like the English‘ee’ in the world ‘mee’. Sounds like the use of ‘I’

In real writings, there are times where they use multiple vowels to represent another type of sound.
’ pronounced ‘wa’
’ pronounced ‘ae’ which sounds like the word ‘air’
’ pronounced ‘ae’ and sometimes ‘yae’
’ pronounced ‘ae’ which sounds like the word ‘air’
’ pronounced ‘yae’ which sounds like the word ‘yea’
’ pronounced ‘wear’ which sounds like the English verb ‘wear’
’ pronounced ‘wear’ which sounds like the English verb ‘wear’
’ pronounced ‘wear’ which sounds like the English verb ‘wear’
’ pronounced ‘wi’ like the sound when we say ‘Nitendo Wii’
’ pronounced like the ‘’ in most times but sometimes we take the sound of ‘’ and gathers it with ‘’ forming an ‘ei’ like sound.


Remember not to forget your 'ㅇ' with vowels okay.

Now we can go into basic words. Don’t worry, they are read from left to right just like Roman. Sometimes, the characters are arranged in blocks. Those are read and written in a clockwise direction.
아이’          ayi ‘baby’
'의사'           eisa 'doctor'
다리미’       tarimi ‘iron’
비디오’       bidio ‘video’
나비’          nabi ‘butterfly’
사랑’          sarang ‘love’
아리랑’       arirang, a Korean folk song
’             wang ‘king’
스포츠’       sephoche ‘sport’
’             talg ‘chicken’
빨리’          palli ‘quick’
’             pang ‘bread’
생각’          saengak ‘think’

Remember to be careful of near similar pronunciations like;
’         kho phi ‘nose blood’
커피’          khaw phi ‘coffee’
피자’          phi ja ‘pizza’
비자’          bija ‘visa’

 More,
시계’          shigae ‘watch’
돼지’          dwear ji ‘pig’
샴푸’          syamphu ‘shampoo’
카메라’       khamaera ‘camera’
이민호’       ee min ho
카라’          kha ra
소녀 시대’  so nyaw shi dae
’         big baeng

Oh that’s enough for me I think. For more simple words and vocabularies you can search it online. Now is the challenge, try to follow the following song while reading the lyrics I provided below. Good luck! I would like to hear from you guys, so you can like my Facebook page by clicking on the Facebook badge at the sidebar of this page. You can contact me directly and perhaps propose more interesting things for me to write soon. Expect more Korean language tutorial posts in the future! See ya!




지금 내가 하는 얘기 널 아프게 할지 몰라 
아마 날 죽도록 미워하게 될꺼야 
내가 예전 같지 않다던 네 말 모두 틀린 말은 아니야 
나도 변해버린 내가 낯 설기만해 

너무 착한 넌데 넌 그대로인데 오 
I don’t know I don’t know 
내가 왜 이러는지 
그토록 사랑했는데 넌 여기 있는데 오 
I don’t know 
이제 날 찾고 싶어 

Baby I’m sorry 너와 있어도 난 Lonely 
사랑하긴 내가 부족한가봐 이런 못난 날 용서해 
I’m sorry 이게 너와 나의 Story 
사랑이란 내겐 과분한가봐 네 곁에 있어도 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely  
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely  
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 

네가 잘못한게 아냐 내가 이상한거야 
이미 오래 전부터 난 준비 했나봐 이별을 
정말 잘해주고 싶었는데 하필 사랑 앞에서는 왜 
이렇게 한없이 작아지고 외로운지 

너무 착한 넌데 넌 그대로인데 오 
I don’t know I don’t know  
내가 왜 이러는지 
그토록 사랑했는데 넌 여기 있는데 오 
I don’t know 
이제 날 찾고 싶어 

Baby I’m sorry 너와 있어도 난 Lonely 
사랑하긴 내가 부족한가봐 이런 못난 날 용서해 
I’m sorry 이게 너와 나의 Story 
사랑이란 내겐 과분한가봐 네 곁에 있어도 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely  
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely  
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 

Cuz I’m just another girl 
이 밤이 외로워 난 더는 견딜 수 없어 Good bye 
Cuz I’m just another girl 
너무나 외로워 지금 네 곁에 있어도  
Baby I’m so lonely 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely  
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely 
Baby I’m so lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely

Blog: The Life of Adzrin Mansor

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Korean Fashion In My Eyes

"Kim Hee Jung. A Korean Indie artist" an internet source picture.
Boys go crazy talking about Korean girls and girls go crazy talking about Super Junior or Boys Over Flowers. Yadada~ yeah with the rise of K-pop and Korean dramas, Korean fashion is like going global and all. I could still remember in Malaysia it is fine to wear pagoda singlets with shorts to go to the sundry shop running errands. Not in Korea, at least. Based on my short experience in Seoul, being attractive is like a culture. 


Well in early Korean history there was a part where the communist north charges the south with hope of uniting the peninsula with the ideology, but then the Americans helped the south to gain independence. Don't worry, history class has ended. The relation of South Korea and America gave some benefits to Koreans. If one would look closely, Korean men fashion shares somewhat similarities with the western suave style. Korean women's fashion is also very closely related to this contemporary styling of the west, like the usage of earth colours and stuff. The influence of western contemporary fashion on Korean fashion can be seen obviously in Secret's video clip, Starlight Moonlight.




Think the dresses they wore are only worn in the video clip? DANG! Real women do wear this to go to work... So this is how Korean fashion is widely accepted to the world, based on my readings. Before this Japanese and Chinese fashion was a bit too, messy. Purple striped tubes with green black striped hip high socks? That's just not the way to live. And only after Koreans started mixing a milder blend of western fashion, and here goes the Hallyu. I'm not very sure with the historical theories that people put up to find the cause of the uproar but all it matters is, it worked.~


Korean stars got their fortune not only from the entertainment industry, but also from the fashion industry. Here are some celebrity stores:
1) http://www.t-aradot.com/ (by Korean girl group, T-ara)
2) http://www.karaya.co.kr/ (by Korean girl group, Kara)
3) http://www.royalave.com/ (by SS501 member, Park Jung Min)
4) http://www.spao.co.kr/ (popular brand endorsed by Super Junior and Girls' Generation)

I also found an indie R&B group, in terms of hit songs, they are not there yet but in terms of fashion, they are superb.

http://www.lovendung.com
http://www.lovendung.com
Come on, the name! Dont laugh! Their website is http://www.lovendung.com. Hearing their music, I think it is best for them to continue selling their clothing line haha. Gotta credit the crew...
"Love & Dung crew" an internet source picture.
It is not surprising to see the 'beautiful-or-die' culture exerts pressure on women and girls. What? A very shocking statement? Well with the advertising of K-pop stars and Korean soap operas, some parts of the world thought that all Korean women are ideally attractive. Mind you, they are humans. The problem with the beauty madness is the increase of plastic surgery demands. Well all Hallyu fans all know their beloved artistes at least had once, its rare to find one who haven't done it. Because of that I want to share with you a video made by an American exchange student about the life of Korean students.





Korea, a country that is considered one of Asia's economic tigers but yet personal conflict still lingers in the deep hearts of the society. The narrow idea on double eyelids, big eyes, small face is beautiful is so constrictive! No surprise if I say that Korea is one of the top countries where teenage suicide is prevalent. How long will the craze for being the best lasts? Get born, study 16 hours a day, spruce up to be as attractive as one can be, get a place in SKY universities (Seoul Natl. Uni, Korea Uni, Yonsei Uni. The best trio in Korea), drink soju when stressed, get a good job, go to noraebangs to sing the stress off, work for the family, give birth to a child and teach the child to repeat it all over again. Will the cycle continues for eternity?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Batch 11 Summer Photoshoot

It is ramadan and some of the members of batch 11 got the idea to take a group photo together for raya. So we set up some park benches at the front of our campus building and snapped some photos. Most pictures were shot in RAW using my down-to-earth Olympus Sp-570UZ. Pictures were post-edited using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS3. Although I thought of upgrading my equipment, but still my financial status becomes the hurdle hopefully I can hop over it next year. But after taking these photos perhaps I still love my camera...


While waiting for others to gather around I took some test shots
"Hedirul Amir" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Ahmad Nazirul Khudin" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Adzrin Mansor" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Ahmad Dahlan" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ
When everybody was gathered we set up the park benches and got together to take group photos. Looks like someone was a bit shy of his 'afro' hair.
"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ
While waiting around we did fooled around a bit while waiting and some of our teachers did dropped by.
"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Rachel Eve" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Photo taken by Amsyar, sorry" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Asyik2 dia" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

"Batch 11" by Adzrin Mansor using an Olympus SP-570UZ

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

First Week of Ramadan in Seoul

I survived my first week of ramadan in Seoul! Just for the record, ramadan is one of the months in Islamic lunar calendar where muslims keep themselves from drinking, eating and doing vices in the period of sunrise till sunset as a form of devotion to God. (Hey it doesn't mean that we should do vices after sunset instead okay!)

I think it is about the same as ramadan in Malaysia, just the atmosphere and the time is different. Since it is summer in Korea, day is much longer than night. Subuh (sunrise, we should eat breakfast before this time) is at about 4.00am and Maghrib (we can eat starting at this time) is at about 7.30pm. I would have to stand the urges to sip a drink and munch food for 15 hours a day! Honestly, hunger is never a problem but thirst is the imminent enemy.

Last weekend I joined my friends to perform an optional form of prayer called the Tarawikh. It is identical to the solat that muslims perform 5 times a day but it is longer. Yes, it is optional, but it is better to do it as we can only do it in the month of ramadan. However, some treated it as 'do or die'... Anyways, I went to the Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon for breaking fast (called iftar) and did my tarawikh there. The food was great as the curry tasted exactly as the Malaysian mamak style cooking.
"Hatta" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
"Itaewon" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
"Courtesy of Saudi Arabian Embassy" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
"Breaking fast" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
"Food" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
The Malaysian Embassy in Korea, located not far from Itaewon also organized a breaking fast ceremony and tarawikh for Malaysians. The number of people showed up was quite a lot but I understood that most Malaysians students are in Malaysia for their summer leave. Still, the event works!
"Abang Faisal at Embassy" by Adzrin Mansor with an LG Optimus One
All praises to Allah, I am able to do my fasting in peace. I am very shocked to hear that there is a Malaysian student who got hurt in the London riots that happened recently. He was on his way for an iftar and he was robbed, but he is badly hurt as we can see in the following video. His video can be seen in here:


According to a friend his name is Asyraf Haziq, a first year student in KAPLAN college and the unfortunate event occurred at Barking, London. Things like this can happen to everyone, anywhere. Studying overseas is not just sweet dreams okay. Hopefully we can pray for his well-being while he is receiving treatment in a local hospital for his broken jaw, and also pray for the safety of all Malaysians in London. I also pray for my own safety and the safety of other Malaysian students worldwide. I am spending my first week of ramadan in a new house, with no internet connection so I will keep this post short. I wouldn't want my android too overwork hihi. I will post more pictures when I have a chance. Happy ramadan to everyone~
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