Paad Bing Su.. 팥빙수

16 08 2010

Come summer and Korea offers a lot of delicacies to beat off the heat. Most of you might have had the variants of Noodles served with crushed ice. But what really took me by my heart is Paad Bing Su..

Picture Credit: Manji..

You can have Paad Bing Su like a meal or a dessert. It is basically made of crushed / sliced ice topped with sweet Red Bean paste, fruits like kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberry and others. Normally the sliced ice is mixed with condensed milk and small pieces of tokk (rice cakes). Finally is topped with yogurt. Baskin Robbins or the various other cafes serving Paad-Bing-Su would top it with Ice Cream.

This one is not to be missed before the Summer gives it way to fall..


Caribbean Bay – best way to beat the heat in Korea

9 08 2010

The best way to beat the summer heat in Korea would be to visit the Caribbean Bay – the biggest water park in Korea. Caribbean Bay is a part of the Everland Amusement Park at Yongin and is easily accessible via city buses from Gangnam, Yangjae, Sadang, Suwon and various other places.

If you love to be in water then Caribbean Bay is the place to be. The entire park has this Caribbean and Pirates theme and they have many an exciting water slides, wave pools, surfing, spa, sauna, indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzi to keep you busy throughout the day. Plus they have many a snack and food outlet which serves yummy food.

Beach chairs, lockers, towels, life vests are available on rental. You need to purchase bay coins which can be traded for food and rental once you are inside the park. A few things to remember:

  1. The Caribbean bay is most crowded as this is this Gold Season also the ticket prices are high.
  2. Since the place is crowded the waiting time for slides would be around 60 minutes minimum.
  3. The bay coins are available for a minimum denomination of 30,000 won. The balance would be refundable at the counter once you are done for the day.
  4. The best ride to relax was the lazy river. Where you sleep on a float and let the river take its course to navigate your float across.
  5. Surf ride was best too but the wait time was too long. But that would be the case with any ride.
  6. A few places where you would be not expected to wait for long would be the sauna, spa , jacuzzi, pools, wave pools, river but it will be crowded anyways.
  7. The food and beer is easily available at various counters and is yummy.
  8. If you buy tickets on your credit card you get awesome discounts on your ticket.
  9. It takes around an hour to reach Caribbean bay by bus from Gangnam so it is better to leave early in the morning to avoid the long queues.
  10. For more details you can visit their website here and here.

Indian English in the news

26 07 2010

English is now our second language as more Indians speak English than any other language. Also, the English speakers in India outnumber those in all of western Europe, not counting the United Kingdom. And Indian English-speakers are more than twice the UK’s population. Click here for more..

A leading expert on English says that Indian English will conquer globe by forcing speakers routinely to learn two varieties of the language — one spoken in their home country and a new kind of Standard English with pronounced Indian characteristics. Click here for more..

English has marched on and become the second largest medium in India’s primary schools, after Hindi. Click here for more..

Many top US law firms are hiring Indian lawyers (proficient in English) to edit and make grammatical and syntax corrections in legal drafts/contracts prepared by their lawyers. Click here for more..

Where to buy DSLR Cameras in Seoul

26 07 2010

If you are thinking of buying a camera, then Seoul offers lot of options. Yongsan could be one of them but I’d strongly recommend you against buying your camera from Yongsan, preferably if you are planning to buy a DSLR camera.

Why not Yongsan?
Simply put, I have heard stories from my friends that they rip foreigners for all their money’s worth. Well, that could be an exaggeration, but they are not ‘foreigner friendly’. One of my friend who recently bought a camera from Yongsan had a hard time exchanging it on finding his piece slightly defective. He had to call in the cops to get it exchanged.

So where do I buy one?
Hyosung Camera. It is near Namdaemun Market – Gate 8 / Gate 2  (or  Hoehyeon Station, exit 5).  If you come out of Gate 8 of Namdaemun Market then walk towards your right and if you come out of gate 2 then walk left and you will see various shops lined up with cameras and lenses for sale as candies… It would be slightly difficult to locate Hyosung Camera amongst so many camera shops as all these shops would be shouting Canon, Nikon, Olympic, Sony out of their hoardings. But then look down and the moment you spot a black walk mat saying “English Service Available”, just walk in. Bingo! that is your shop.

Why Hyosung Camera?
One, because it is popular amongst the foreign community for its reliability. They are loyal to their customers. And two, they offer their services in English. Buying camera involves a lot of decision making and you would need someone to guide you for making your purchasing decision. That is where Paul Baek comes in. The moment you walk in Hyosung Camera you can ask for Paul. Paul has good knowledge about cameras and will give you sound knowledge to help you chose the right camera for your needs. Also, they offer top notch after sales services. So just in case if your camera turns out faulty they would more than glad to get it serviced for you.

You can reach Paul Baek at 010-2059-0698 and this is their website in Korea if it helps:

My article in AsiaMag.

21 07 2010

Some time back I had written this article on Why Indians speak better English than Koreans. This article generated both curiosity and agitation amongst the native English Teachers.  And some did put across their views on my blog. Brian shared it too on his blog which was a great honor for me. And now it is also published on, which is an online magazine about Asian people and their perspectives.

You can read the above article on the asiamag website here.

Thanks Vivienne from Asia Mag for publishing my article on your website. 🙂

Can Indians teach English?

14 06 2010

Yes, Definitely!

Its not that we can.. but we do…

But there are many a native speakers who have certain misconceptions or doubts about Indians and their ability to teach English.  And I do not blame them because they are more or less speaking from their experience or their interaction with the Indians they have met so far.

But a mere percentage of Indians one would meet would not represent the whole of India. With this article I would like to clarify that there is more to India than meets the eye.

So what are those misconceptions…

“If I wanted to learn Chinese, I’d much rather learn it from someone who grew up in China (even if they were white!) than from someone who studied it in school for a couple of years.”

Let me clarify, Indians do not study English in some school for couple of years. It is rather the only language in which they study, finish their degree and later work. The corporate world in India does business in English. From media to publication everything is printed in English most of the time. Yes an Indian may not be qualified to teach languages like French, Chinese, German etc. because as rightly pointed out above they study it only for a few years. But that is not the case with English. All the subjects are taught in English from the time a kid starts attending kinder garden.

“Are  Indians are more qualified to teach English than their current E-2-qualified counterparts? Do you think most people would agree with that mindset?”

An average Indian would not be qualified enough to teach English. But I am talking about that section where a) They have majored in literature / English b) Have been trained in a call center to interact with natives c) Are working as writers, journalists d) Have cleared their TOEFL, IELTS, CPE, ESOL etc. or e) Are qualified to teach English via TESOL, TEFL, etc.  A teaching certification or degree (along with experience) is a must for non-natives. They should have an aptitude for teaching English. Also from what I understand Korean Government is testing out this approach of hiring Indian Teachers and depending upon their performance they may or may not hire more teachers. It is more like an experiment so people will agree after they see the result for themselves.

“So would a student prefer learning English from a native or an Indian?”

It is true that the vox populi of the students in Korea is that Natives can be better English Teachers. But to a great extent the belief is more to do with the exposure. Students here are more exposed more to the native English speaking teachers as compared to Indian teachers. Also, the Indians which they (and I) have met here do have problem with their fluency. But that is just a small portion of India that the Koreans are exposed to and the very reason they (including me) are here is not because of their English Speaking skills but their technical or Business skills.

But then the Fluent English Speaking junta of India would normally prefer working in any native country, Singapore, Malaysia, Middle East or India. India offers a lot of opportunity for them to work as writers and journalists. Writing has created a lot of job opportunities in India – copy writing, content writing, technical writing, instructional designers and so on. And with the demand for education abroad a lot of Indians also work as English Teachers in India to help students clear their TOEFL and IELTS.

Given an opportunity, any of these guys with considerable experience in teaching and writing will take the initiative to teach English to non English speaking countries like Korea and in a few years put (or rather push) India in the list of preferable countries for teaching English.

It is all about awareness. And with this and my previous post here and here I m doing my bit to create awareness about the English Speaking junta of India.

This is just the beginning..

Korea Vs Greece

13 06 2010

The World Cup fever is now here in Korea and how.

There are many a parks and public places in Korea these days where the Korean Government as well as biggies like Hyundai, SKT are hosting the World Cup live using Massive LCD screens… and it is one awesome experience.

So yesterday I had been to Seoul Plaza, City Hall to experience the Korea vs Greece match with my friends. And regardless of the weather – THE RAINS – the whole of Korea was out on the streets in their true spirits to cheer for their team.

It was so much fun to see everyone in red tees and wearing the Red Devil Horns..

And as we all know – KOREA WON… to the cheering of the crowd – DAE HAN MIN GUK – all the way..