2009년 4월 22일 수요일

[Vol.19] Sculptor Ralph Sander as an Educator


When we try to connect art to education, the first question that comes into our minds is that “is it even possible to teach Art?” This is because unlike mathematical, solvable questions, art seems to have no definite answer since the interpretation differs among people. Indeed, the artistic talent seems inherited rather than something that can be learned. From this perspective, a doubt arises, why we have art subjects at SNU if it cannot be taught. However, after interviewing Ralph Sander who is the professor at Sculptor department at SNU, we could get rid of curiosity and frustration. From Sander’s philosophy in his teaching, art education is not there to make someone become an artist but rather act as a guidance for future artists. As a teacher, supervisor, and one of the members of team project, Ralph shows the directions for students to become Artists.


Q: Is it possible to teach and learn art?
R: Yes. Although I cannot teach somebody to become an artist, I can show the way. Indeed I think it is very important to have education because people going into this field without preparation will have many difficulties. In other words, if somebody comes “blue eyed” as we call, there is always limitation of what they can do. I am not saying that you cannot become an artist without education, but if you do get one, you can go far beyond the scope. The point I absolutely reject is to give somebody an idea. I ask students to bring up an idea, not giving them ideas. By giving students open tasks, they can work on individual development. If somebody comes to me with frustration, saying that they have no idea, I can drag out their interest and idea which already exist within them. There is nobody without ideas, nobody without desires, and nobody without feelings. It is just they need to be waken up, and that is what I can do as a teacher. I can show how to realize an idea and the way to develop them, and help them find the right form and expression for the idea.

Q: What is your philosophy in teaching?
R: I distinguish freshman from seniors. Freedom is not for the freshman because they need guidance, my view and my experience. It does not mean that they are forced to do something, but it is just they need direction. Take vocabulary as an example. The same word may mean different for you and my task is to show students how the word can be used in different contexts. In class, I try to work together with them; in other words, we develop things together. I do not see myself standing in front of class like a lecturer, but much more like a team member of the group doing an experiment with them.

Q: Have you found any differences between European and Korean students?
R: Even within Europe, approaches to art education differs from east to west. For example, in UK, the students are not so much interested in working on objects, but rather in thinking, talking, concepts, gesture, and so on. However, Korean students gave me a very positive impression that they work very hard with clear concepts. They are able to think, articulate what they are doing, and that is what I want to achieve.

Q: Any comments to students?
R: Ok. There is one thing I want to mention. Students should think or should follow their instinct, and should not just believe in what they see at the moment. Think in a longer term, observe things very carefully, and be absolutely freely independent. This is the time. Don’t be afraid.

Q: What does art mean to you?
R: There are lots of answers you know but a very simple answer is “art is what an artist does.” Also, it could be interpreted in another way that a piece of art might be or should be always is an illustration of an idea. In my perspective, art is another form language to express ideas, feelings and concepts. In some cases, art is much stronger than language because one image can illustrate a very complicated context while evoking feeling, memories, and new concepts at the same time.

Q: How does creativity work in Art?
There is a strong connection between art and creativity. For the word ‘creativity’, I am convinced that it is involved in most professions. For instance, a good businessman or even a banker needs to be very creative. The direction where creativity goes at the moment may differ, but the concept of creativity applies to all kinds of fields. Consistent with Joseph Boys’ idea that “everybody is artist,” it does not mean everyone is literally artist. It rather means everybody is potentially artist in their own subject area.

Q: exhibition at MOA
R: it’s a part of project I started some years ago called “world saving machine”. This is actually my reaction to this ever upcoming fear produced from the media. For many years, new catastrophe such as terrorism and climate change which you have to feel guilty about come up. This is a psychological mechanism. Now there is economic crisis, in this case, I do not feel guilty (laugh). So, I started to construct ironic yet deeply serious machine which I call “world saving machine”. I was interested and still interested very much in the possibility of applying forces and power to art. In this case, I used solar energy to produce two machines. First, the solar energy machine produces ice. The energy of sun is used to substitute ice to make ice. The whole machine looks like something from out of space. The second one which I presented last year in Philadelphia is the device that involves carbon dioxide, a very complicate machine but a very simple function. I am fascinated by these images, forms, shapes, and so on. And I created this machine, you know. When I saw MOA building for the first time, I have observed that many empty spaces through lots of floors were only used to bring light inside of the building but not for exhibition. So I decide to use this space with my machine. There will be something like solar panels on the roof and a small café on the first floor. The sun gives the energy like a pack of batteries and this makes the ice crasher machine run. When ice is produced, the ice will fall down about ten meters and hopefully a small iceberg occurs. So, it becomes possible for you to have summer snow in the MOA. That’s the idea. It is evidence that we could change something if only we want an try. It may not be that good economically, maybe it’s much better to stay as art. But, I like to show ways and the possibilities.

written by: Emily Hong

[Vol.19] Encounter with the Golden Secret

The Klimt exhibition captures the essence of his works, but seems to be too commercial

More than an hour. That's how long the guests are told to wait even before they get to see the actual exhibition. Klimt exhibition has truly been a blow in the art industry in Korea this season, attracting more than 100,000 people during the first 35 days and still gaining more popularity as time goes. Until May 15th, when the exhibition is over, it will undoubtedly bring more visitors who will not miss this ‘life-time opportunity.’ Even before the exhibition started, there were murmurings that this kind of exhibition of Klimt would not be shown again in Korea at least during the 21st century - which made people even more crave to go see this exhibition.

The title of the exhibition, "The Golden Secret of Klimt," captures the two important characteristics of both Klimt's artistic works and his personal life: “golden” and “secret.” First, the word “golden” suggests that his uniqueness as an artist comes from a special combination of naturalistic portraiture and stylized decoration. His use of gold leaf is one of the many things that make his works unique from other artists. He dared to use decorative colors to his works, as shown in “Beethoven Frieze” or “Judith and Holofernes.” During his golden phase, he used ornamental techniques, which was a painstaking labor, but added rich aura to his paintings that could never be captured in imitations or photos. Even the same painting could look totally different from one time to the other, depending on the light and position.

What's more intriguing to the audience is the word "secret." Although Klimt gained high reputation as an artist, his life itself was full of scandals, sometimes those that were not strictly related to his artistic works. His scandal with his models, including Emilie Floge and Maria Zimmerman, and his complete silence over this issue drew even more people toward his paintings. As a celebrity who was at the center of attention of the public, he never mentioned enough about his personal life. He has never drawn a single self-portrait in his life, and he explains the reason by stating “whoever wants to know something about me ought to look carefully at my pictures," boldly expressing his belief that everything about himself and his life is poured onto his collection of artistic works.

One of the keyword to understand Klimt is “eroticism.” Klimt tried to reinterpret conventional allegories and symbols by using eroticism openly in his works, which is principally shown in his sketches of female body. In a secular section of the exhibition, where “Parents' Guidance Needed for Young Children” signs are everywhere, his sketches of nude female models are shown. This could be embarrassing for many parents who brought their youngsters, sometimes even toddlers to the gallery, but otherwise, it is a good opportunity to get a glimpse at his perspectives on women and art subjects. Although they look serene and natural, there is erotic atmosphere surrounding the nudity in the sketches. They are the obedient subjects of sexual interest of the male artist. And then the same women are expressed in opposite ways, where they seduce and take advantage of men as femme fatale, such as in “Adam and Eve.” He expressed overtly his sexual interest on his paintings, but associated it with allegories and colored it with decorative methods so that they were not just pornographic as his critics of the time argued. For Klimt, eroticism was the solution to the mortality of human life.

Another interesting theme of the exhibition is “total art” and its possibility in the real world. The subtitle of the exhibition, “Looking for Total Art” expresses this interest as well. In the 19th century, many buildings were being constructed in Vienna, and Klimt also started out first as an architectural painter. In his later career, he became the first president of Vienna Secession, whose goal was to create an art form totally different from historical veins and break itself free from conventions. Their goal was to create total art, associating art with every part of our lives from furniture to fashion. This exhibition features some of the many artifacts made by the Vienna workshop, such as wallets or pottery. The exhibition reaches its peak in “Beethoven Frieze,” which was created to commemorate the artist and the 14th anniversary of Vienna Secession. Although Klimt separated from Vienna Secession later in his life, the purpose and ambition of the movement deeply affected artists of future generation.

In fact, the influence of Klimt on art still lives on in many parts of our lives. It is well known that his appetite for costume inspired many artists in the fashion industry, including John Galliano in his 2008 haute couture collection of Christian Dior. Besides, at the end of the exhibition, the visitors can see many contemporary artists who are inspired by Klimt, including musicians such as “Peterpan complex,” fashion photographers or even Korean traditional embroiderers.

However, the visitors to the exhibition could get a suspicion that the exhibition is placed on the thin line between total 'art' and total 'commercialism.' The exhibition itself is stimulating, showing 110 works regarding Klimt, and could be a good opportunity for any visitor to learn deeply about the artist and his time. This can be shown by the mere crowd of visitors that are lined up just to enter, despite the staggeringly high price of the ticket (\16,000) - reminding of people queued to ride an attraction at the amusement park.

However, for those who have waited for a long time to see one of Klimt’s masterpieces, “The Kiss” or other works from his golden phase, this exhibition could be quite disappointing. Despite the title “Golden Secret,” little of Klimt’s works from his golden phase are shown. Of the 110 paintings displayed, many include rough sketches, letters to the family, works of other artists who had acquaintance with Klimt, and even some oriental paintings that Klimt possessed. A visitor might not feel such presence if he/she expected a full collection solely of Klimt's original paintings. At the end of the exhibition, a variety of artistic works inspired by Klimt are displayed, including jewelry collection of Swarovski. There does not seem to be much relevance, except that Swarovski is the main sponsor for this exhibition.

Although the exhibition does have room for improvement, it is undoubtedly a well-planned event for the public to enjoy the works and life of the virtuoso, and learn about his influence over many areas of our history. By looking at glamorous golden aura of decorative colors, depiction of women sometimes as objects of sexual interest and sometimes as dominant women, belief in pure art by total art in everyday lives, and the intriguing life of the artist himself, the visitors will be drawn to this mysterious and yet eminent artist.

written by: Chung Hyeryung

[Vol.19] Masterpieces Behind Stories – “even more interesting”

The images of masterpieces are familiar to any people throughout the world. However, the understanding of the pictures might differ from person to person, depending on their background knowledge about the picture. In the following article, background stories which are vital for a complete interpretation of masterpieces will be provided. Better understanding will make the appreciation of the pictures even more interesting and heart-moving.

*Leonardo da Vinci(1452~1519)

(1483~1486) , (1495~1508)

In 1483, Leonardo was commissioned by the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception to paint a work celebrating the Immaculate Conception for their new chapel. In the first version of this picture, Leonardo painted Virgin Mary in the center, Christ in the left side, and Saint John in the right side with Uriel. Upon this painting, the clients felt upset because the painting was depicted as if the Christ was being baptized by Saint John, which the reverse situation was more appropri
Due to the clients' objection upon the first version of the painting, Leonardo began to paint another version of this painting. In this version, Leonardo more explicitly indicates that the baby in the left side is Saint John. Leonardo added the camel-skin robe, Saint John's typical clothes, and the narrow wooden cross, which is the symbol of Saint John as the messenger to the world about the arrival of the Christ. The Christ is the baby in the right side, who is showing the gesture, meaning 'I bless you', which could be only done by the sacred, divine personnel.

The first version of "Virgin of the Rocks" is now in Rovre, Paris, and the second version is preserved in the National Gallery in London.

*Buonarroti Michelangelo(1475~1564)


In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel. Before beginning to paint, Michelangelo asked the pope to prohibit anyone's entrance to the chapel until the completion of his artwork. However, four years later, Pope Julius II stealthily sneaked into the chapel to steal a glance at the work. Michelangelo found out that the pope came inside the chapel. He become enraged and returned to Firenze, leaving the work unfinished. Realizing the greatness of the work, the pope beseeched Michelangelo to come back and finish the work.

It is hardly believable that Michelangelo completed the work by himself without any assistance. The pictures of 343 characters from the Old Testament were painted on the ceiling that's about twenty meters high. He worked on a piled worktable. Since the pictures were painted by Fresco technique, which required the painter to paint the picture before the water dried out, Michelangelo had to paint the picture rather slowly, repetitively applying a small amount of water. After finishing the work, Michelangelo suffered from serious arthritis and muscle spasm.

*Rembrandt Harrnenszoon van Rijn(1606~1669)


This painting is more properly entitled "The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch." The picture is a group portrait, depicting the gathering occasion of civilian militia of Amsterdam, Netherland. Although most people consider the picture as showing the scene during the night time, as the popular name "Nightwatch" implies, Rembrandt depicted the militia during the day time; this misconception was created because the main job of civilian militia was the night watch. Moreover, in 1940s, it was found that the painting was coated with a dark varnish and dirt piled on the picture as time went by. While those substances were removed soon after, the misunderstanding subsisted. The picture is still commonly called by the name "Nightwatch."

Besides, it is notable that this painting was a turning point for Rembrandt, since after finishing the painting his career took a serious downturn. Along with the eighteen people who actually paid for the portrait, sixteen more people – including Rembrandt himself - were additionally drawn in the painting to make the composition more dramatic. This kind of attempt was never tried until then, and the eighteen clients did not like this new attempt. People did not understand his use of dramatic light and shade, either. Unfortunately Rembrandt lost his fame as a portrait painter soon after the completion of this picture and had to finish his life in poverty.

*Jacques Louise David(1748~1825)


David was one of the most famous painters in his days and is still popular for his paintings depicting the heroic images of Napoleon and historical events in European history. He was ordered to paint a portrait of Napoleon after Napoleon's successful coup d'etat in 1799. Napoleon is depicted as the courageous leader who is never daunted by any obstacle. Throughout the history, this portrait of Napoleon climbing up the Alps Mountains implanted the heroic image of Napoleon in people's mind. However, the true image of Napoleon was quite different from the image depicted in David's picture.

When he climbed the Alps Mountains, he climbed the mountain on a mule, not a horse. A native road guide walked beside the mule to hold the reins. Different from his image as a vanguard, showing the way for the rest of the military, actually he didn't lead the military. Rather, he waited until his soldiers all crossed the pass first, in order to pre-check the path. Moreover, Napoleon refused to do model for the portrait. David had to make one of his pupils to do the model for the portrait of Napoleon. Consequently, Napoleon in the picture didn't resemble the real Napoleon, but produced a highly idealized, heroic image.

*Jean Francois Millet(1814~1875)


This picture is famous for its bucolic atmosphere. In the evening, after the daily farm work, farmers are giving a prayer listening to the ringing sound from a nearby church. Most people consider the picture highly peaceful and romantic. However, in reality, the scene is not that romantic, but rather gloomy.

The mesh bag at the center of the picture beside the farmers' feet is commonly known as containing metal chains and potatoes. However, in the original painting, the mesh bag contained a dead body of a baby. At that time, people didn't have enough food during the winter. Despite farmers' yearning for spring period during which they could get enough food to feed their baby, baby failed to stand the extreme famine and died. Before burying their beloved baby, the parents are giving the last prayer.

After the completion of this picture, a friend of Millet was shocked at the contents of the picture. The friend asked Millet to make some changes to the picture. He advised Millet to draw other objects to replace the dead baby. Accepting this advice, Millet drew potatoes instead of baby, and then submitted the picture to an exhibition.

*Andy Warhol(1928~1987)


Andy Warhol openly expressed his desire to become a star just like entertainers. He also wanted to earn a fortune by producing artworks just like businessmen producing consumer goods. By these tendencies, he resisted the image of artists as elegant, lofty group of people who transcend the secular desires. He considered himself a businessman, and considered his studio as a factory. Just like normal factories producing identical products, he made his assistants produce a huge number of identical pictures through silk-screening. Moreover, he adopted images from already existing designs, such as bromides of stars or product labels.

The image used in this picture of Marlyn Monroe was not created by Warhol as well. He adopted the image from Monroe's star bromide. At the beginning, this picture was made as a tribute to Monroe's death. Warhol applied fluorescent colors to make the image vulgar and stimulating. Similar to his previous artworks, he juxtaposed the same images to render the implication that the contemporary people are surrounded, or even overwhelmed, by floods of consumer goods. Through the juxtaposed images of Monroe, which lost the elegant atmosphere but became indecent, Warhol suggests the way the public considers stars. Modern people constantly buy things and abandon them as they lose their utility. Through his artwork, Warhol insinuates that stars are not much different from consumer goods that are used and wasted. Monroe, who was the leading star in her days, was soon neglected when she no longer gave the public entertainments.

written by: Hwayong Shin

[Vol.19] Masterpieces under Threat

In proportion to their fame, masterpieces of paintings have gone through various ordeals throughout the history. In most times, they rested proudly upon the honorable walls of the museums, but at other times, they had to wander in the hands of the unexpected, or suffer the disgrace of being terrorized. Even worse, some never came back to their places in the galleries since being torn unwillingly away from it.

One of the most famous art theft in the history was the robbery of , the world's most widely known masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci, which occurred in 1911. The painting which was held in the halls of Musée du Louvre in Paris was stolen by an Italian patriot, Vincenzo Peruggia, who believed Leonardo's painting should be returned back to its native country. The theft of the piece France adored so much shocked the French people, and it took 2 years for to return to the bosom of Louvre.

Jan Vermeer's works, which only 30 of them remain today, have also been targets of ‘Art napping’ frequently due to its’ scarcity in numbers. One of them is , which was stolen and held as a hostage for demanding aid for the refugees of Eastern Pakistan in 1971. What’s more, the piece was severely ruined when it came back, due to being roughly torn off the wooden frame of the canvas. was robbed by a female terrorist in 1974, and thieved again in 1986. The two paintings have come back, not perhaps safely in the case of though, but , which is missing since the theft in 1990 at Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, Boston, has still not been found yet.

Along with art napping, vandalism has also been one of the major ordeals of masterpieces. , a Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo, was once hammered by an Australian geologist named Laszlo Toth, who presumably was mentally disturbed. The attack resulted in a serious damage, a broken nose and an arm of the Virgin, and restoration work was needed. The masterpiece of by Diego Velazquez was slashed in 1914 by a suffragette called Mary Richardson. She claimed that her actions were a sign of objection about the way female nude had degenerated into entertainment of men. In 1987, a veteran shot of Leonardo Davinci, which hung in the National Gallery in London. The blast caused a significant damage of 15cm. The criminal refused to speak of the motive of the crime. The said painting also suffered another attack in 1963 previously when an artist threw a inkbottle on the painting.

The art napping and vandalism of masterpieces root from various reasons. Robberies are mainly due to the astronomical value of the paintings in the market, and sometimes are to hold them as a hostage for the accomplishment of a social, political purpose. On the other hand, vandalisms mostly occur due to political reasons. It is an extreme expression of radical movements, trying to have their way through by destroying the nation’s cultural heritage.

Society needs to have awareness and precaution regarding the threats over the masters’ works. It will be the society’s duty to thrive for the protection and preservation of their treasures of art, and hand them safely down to the future generation. If these masterpieces are lost or permanently damaged due to negligence of the society, it would be infringing the rights of our descendants who equally have the right to appreciate the invaluable masterpieces just as us the contemporaries.

written by: Kang Hyojin

[Vol.19] Religion in Campus

Nowadays in Korea, people have become more sensitive towards controversies regarding religious bias. By holding a street rally, Buddhists cried out their fury to President Lee Myung-Bak for his biased government towards Protestants. Not to mention the sexual harassments by Cheng Myong Suk, founder of the Jesus Morning Star, it seems certain that conflicts over religion in Korea have came into sight again.
To fully understand why people hold on to religion and how religion affects our lives, it is important to understand the origin of religion. It is commonly said that people depend on their religions due to the fundamental fear of death. People tend to have desires to depend on something or someone on a higher level than themselves in order to cover their weaknesses. Therefore, religion is not only significant for religious people, but also for non-religious people, because its origin is based on a universal desire in human nature.

A variety of religions and opinions on the issue coexist inside the SNU campus. Three of the most popular religion includes Protestantism, Roman Catholics and Buddhism. Some people believe that God exists while others don’t. And a great number of SNU students are hesitant towards giving a definite answer to the existence of God. As people have such varied opinions on religions and God’s existence, the presence of various controversies regarding religion is, to some extent, obvious. In fact, religious bias and controversies are found in everyday lives.

In daily life, SNU students often come across evangelists and/or Zen Buddhists who try to convert them to a particular religion. Evangelism takes place in various forms. Hanging posters in campus buildings and dorm rooms is one type of evangelism whereas using films, videos and websites to share religion is another. Some evangelist takes a more straightforward way. Zen Buddhists use a method of open air preaching to share their religious values. It is when a Zen Buddhist goes to a stranger and asks questions such as: “Do you know Tao?” or “I can feel the mystic aurora of our religion from you.” Christian evangelists also ask if you are interested in studying the Bible or whether you believe in God. Many students have such experience in school on their busy way to classes.

It seems that there are students who feel uncomfortable and do not welcome the evangelists. Even some Christian students frown on these bold evangelists. “When evangelists come near to me on the streets, I usually ignore them, because I do not know whether they are credible or not.” one student remarks. Other non-religious students also show strong detest towards evangelism for the reasons of annoyance and incredibility.
On the contrary, some students are positive toward evangelizing. “What good is freedom of religion if we are not given the right to express religion in public?” said Choi Mina (Department of Manufacturing Pharmacy, ’08). Another student from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said, “I go on college campuses and see advertisement for soda pop, credit cards and all kinds of other products. What is it that if the product is Jesus Christ, suddenly you cannot talk about it?” Jeong Han-Ju (Leader of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a religious dongari in Seoul National University) says that whenever he engages in missionary work, he asks people first whether they want to listen or not. He also says that it is very hurtful when people regard evangelism so negatively.

Both religious and nonreligious people are living their life under the influence of religion despite the fact that the degree of influence might be different for each individual. Considering the huge influence of religion and its importance in people’s lives, conflicts and bias regarding religion should be alleviated as soon as possible. In order to minimize the clash between different perspectives about religion, students should be willing to become tolerant towards acknowledging the religious differences. And as far as the evangelists and Zen Buddhists are concerned, they need to respect students’ refusal and share their religious beliefs on the level where students’ rights are not ignored.

written by: Koo Jun Eun

[Vol.19] SNUDA

What impression do ordinary Koreans get when told about debating? They might presume it has nothing to do with them, or even hope that fortunately, they would have no chance to participate in one throughout their lives. And imagine the eccentric looks they would give when urged to join a debate delivered in English! In general, many Koreans have an acute “phobia” for debating and a debate in a foreign language would certainly be scary for most of them. There is, however, a dongari which may be able to wipe out such chronic, irritating concerns and will make you feel much more comfortable and have more confidence in yourself in a debate.

SNUDA, the only official English debate club in SNU, is currently playing such a role. Despite its short history, this dongari is very systematic and well-organized. Along with the organized system, every member is eager enough to make other skeptical newcomers also become enthusiastic about debating. This enthusiasm was not an exception with their meeting with the Quill. Four members of the club, including the president, have joined the interview and gave advices and tips on debating.

Origin & History

SNUDA started in 2007 by Park Joon-yeong(02’ College of Business) and his friends. Park has felt that the most efficient way to improve their English skills in overall was to debate in English. So the English debate club was introduced to SNU. At first the club mainly consisted of students from the College of Business but as more and more students from other departments joined the club, the club went through gradual changes and became more professional. Many members of the club had participated in debate matches held in Korea, have gained many glories, and are eager to win the International Championship.

Club activities

The club activities are mainly divided into two categories; SNUDA members have “Regular Sessions,” and participate in debating competitions. The regular sessions are again, divided into two parts. During the “Debating Process” members of the club have a practice debate so as to enhance the members’ debating ability. On the “Issue Presentation,” members gather information needed for the debate from various fields of studies. Then there is the “Debating Competition” which is mandatory for all SNUDA members. All members of SNUDA take part in their first KNC(Korea National Championship) match. This is the opportunity to show and prove their improvements on debating.

The activities of SNUDA are not confined solely to debating, however. It is an English debate club, but at the same time it is a dongari. The whole atmosphere of the club could be somewhat strict but naturally, there are activities such as MTs and KIDA parties for members to bond together with less tension.

Interview with SNUDA

Two brief yet important questions were prepared and answered by the president and the members of the club to learn more about SNUDA.

Q. What is the general aim of your club?

A. Park Joon-yeong(02’ College of Business) - Our eventual goal is to win the International Championship. And we also hope that debating would flourish among SNU students. We are planning various projects so that SNU students could become more familiar and eager towards debating. In the fall semester, for instance, we are planning to host the National Championship debate. We are also thinking of publishing some manuals on English debating so that more students, even students with no experience could know about debating skills and take an interest in it.

Q. What is SNUDA like? Tell us about the activities, the atmosphere, and the merits of SNUDA.

A. Kim Sae-jik(02’ College of Natural Science) – My friends suggested me to join SNUDA. At the recruiting session of the club, I felt that this was the perfect club I had dreamt of. The untiring passion of the members, the promising improvement of one’s English speaking ability, and the thorough and systematic programs were so impressive that I couldn't help applying for the club right away. After entering SNUDA, I became more and more interested in debating. As a result, a person who once had difficulty to speak his opinion to many people has become surprisingly more confident and logical. I've taken part in some leagues since 2007, and now works as the administrator of the club.

A. Park Sae-seul(08’ College of Business) - Actually, I'm rather familiar with debating because I have joined many championships in high school. When I entered the SNU, at first I didn’t know there was an English debate club in this university. So it was not until sometime after that I got to know about SNUDA. At first, I was rather apprehensive because for me, the club seemed to be a bit ‘loose’ compared to other clubs that I have joined before. I now find, however, that worry was a groundless thought. I feel happy and content when I think of everything of SNUDA.

Many difficulties followed after SNUDA has been founded, as is often the case of every association in the beginning. It has been even harder for them because the club dealt with both “debate” and “English” – the two features quite disliked by many Korean students. The members of SNUDA, however, have strived and progressed day by day and are finally anticipating to win the International Debating Championship. SNUDA would be an ideal dongari for students interested in English and debating and who are willing to work hard and aim at a higher goal.

written by: Gang-ik Ju

[Vol.19] History within the Present - Looking into the History of SNU

Seoul National University is just about 60 years old. The history of the school is written on a number of books and papers but it also reveals itself within the modernized campus. With watchful eyes, and a mixture of curiosity and interest, history could be discovered and experienced everywhere.

Antique within non-antique; the modern Kkangtong cafeterias
How comfortable it is to find nice cafeterias at every corner in the campus, considering those days when there were less equipped facilities inside the school. The watery jjajangmyun our seniors used to eat for its’ cheap price has been raised to 1,500 won. The 1,000 won jjajangmyun, the trademark of the Kkangtong cafeterias has now become a legend.
Kkangtong cafeteria was affectionately named by students of Seoul National University out of the characteristics of the temporary building with tin-plate walls which was shaped like a can. The cafeteria has been a place of nourishment for people of Seoul national university for sixteen years since 1993. Now there are two KKangtong cafeterias; one in front of the College of Engineering and another in the presence of the College of Education. The increase of the seats in the KKangtong near the College of Engineering shows the continuing popularity of the cafeteria as it grew from 72 seats in 1995 to 120 seats in 2006.

Familiarity and reasonable price are the original charms of Kkangtong cafeteria. You should never expect gorgeous interior designs or various fusion menus in this unique dining hall. Rather, a meal is served by an aunty-like employee with kindhearted amount of cooked noodles or rice which is mainly priced between one or two thousand won. For many alumni of this school, Kkangtong cafeteria is the place that brings out the melancholy memory of university life; this is the place where they had filled their growling tummies with warm yet reasonably priced food.

However, Kkangtong cafeteria also shows the fact that nothing is eternal. The KKangtong cafeterias, contrary to their names, do not resemble a tin can anymore. The cafeterias have been under construction and added new menus and are charging higher prices which could give a bitter feeling to some older students who came for the reminiscent taste. Most of the freshmen however, have no recollection of the old KKangs. Still, the KKangtongs are still operating for every hungry student within the campus and both the historical and practical value of these cafeterias is for many students in SNU, priceless.

Jahayeon and Ohjak-kyo

Everyone knows Jahayeon. Located at the very center of the campus, the pond is a hard sight to miss, whether the cherry blossoms are falling gently on its waters or the trees are eerily illuminated by decorative lamps. It is such a familiar presence that hundreds of people pass it on their way to class each day without so much as giving a second thought, let alone another glance.

But Jahayeon as students know it today has not been around for very long. Not many years ago, there used to be a bridge cutting across the pond. A plain concrete arch, the bridge had generally been considered unsightly and its name – Ohjak-kyo(烏鵲橋), an allusion to the bridge of crows and magpies mentioned in one Korean folklore – was more often interpreted as 誤作橋, or a <>. Its awkward presence had inspired many utterly bizarre and wholly unfounded rumors over the years, ranging from the usual “couples who walk across the bridge together will break up” to “the bridge will collapse if a virgin walks across it past midnight.”
Ohjak-kyo was torn down by the university in 2003, following the unfortunate deaths of two students who drowned in the pond, despite claims by some students that the bridge had collapsed on its own.

The Origin of Nokdu Street

For students in Gwanak campus, Nokdu Street would be the place most frequently spoke of, along with Naksungdae and Seoul National University Entrance. Nokdu is home to many students with its numerous studio apartments and has a distinctive characteristic due to a large number of private institutes, bookstores, restaurants and bars. Because of the name Nokdu, which is a Korean word for “mung-beans,” there had been many assumptions that the origin of the street would somehow be related to this plant. The name of the street, Nokdu, however, is actually from a bar called “Nokdujip(which means Nokdu house).” Nokdujip was on the current Nokdu Street in the 1980s and served dongdongju(a traditional Korean wine). Nokdujip became popular among students for its low prices and eventually, the street was named after it.

University Uniforms

When high school or perhaps middle school students dream about university life, the first difference they might anticipate or in some cases, dread of, would be the fact that in universities, school uniforms do not exist. Unlike in Korean middle schools and high schools, in universities there is no one to scold you and to impose severe restrictions on your hair and clothing. After wearing monotone uniforms for six years on the average, freshmen tend to change their style completely, with much expectation towards university life.

This, however, could not have been possible in the 1950s, because there used to be a uniform in SNU then. The uniform of SNU was decided and made on March 2nd, 1947. The uniform consisted of a school hat, which was a beret and a jacket with a lengthwise zipper as a pocket and the SNU mark(the sha mark) embroidered on the arm. The SNU uniform seems to have been worn occasionally in the 1950s and in photos of school entrance ceremonies all the students are wearing the indigo-color uniform. After 50 years, the scenes have completely changed. Students in colorful garments are standing in the auditorium, but the expression of anticipation lingering on the faces is consistent as always.

The Master of Shoes of SNU

Along the roadside starting from the library to the student center building, where the golden bell in full blossom captures the eyes of passerby, there lays a cozy tin-roofed house where an old man fixes shoes.

Ha Yong-jin, 76, had a bullet wound from the Korean War he had entered in his early twenties. After the war, Ha became a person of national merit, and the government introduced a workplace in Seoul National University as a shoe repairman which became his ongoing job.
Working in SNU campus for more than fifty years, Ha talks about how the life in campus changed significantly in several decades. During the years, the school has even changed its location. "Those days were tough. Passing through one of the most revolutionary eras of our history, students were on the one hand, always down-and-out but on the other, full of good ambition." Along with that, Ha depicts modern students in the campus as the happy-generation living in the time of abundance.
People who drop by Ha's repair shop might glimpse that through an old man's proficient hand skill in handling shoes, deepened wrinkles in chances of smiles, benevolent tone of voice, the long history of Seoul National University could be found. The history is living underneath the ordinary and the SNU “master of shoes” is waiting to help the youth troubled by their shoes regardless of time or weather.

written by: Kim Sunjung, Helen Kim, Yum Sooyun

[Vol.19] men’s beauty – how high is its position up in Gwanak?

Television might praise beautiful men. Some might scoff at “sissies” who are willing to skip breakfast to look at the mirror once more. That’s all very fine, but what do SNU think about this fever that is swiping through the society?

The Quill asked users of SNUlife, online community of SNU students, for their opinion about men’s beauty syndrome. Find out what your colleagues think.

*Following was extracted and translated from replies of article number 6968366 and 7026949 of SNUlife Gongsage (http://www.snulife.com/gongsage), through March 15th to April 3rd.

What do you think of men showing interest about how they look? It does not matter whether you are a woman aghast about men knowing much more about fashion than you do, or a man uncomfortable about this trend. Neither does it matter whether it is a response to men inside SNU who care about their looks, or prediction about where this phenomenon will end up. Please tell the SNU Quill what YOU think.

3. (Dinosaur)
Not interested in self-management or whatever, and
bleached hair+ ear piercing + face pale from makeup + red lips + skinny jeans + high-top shoes + big bag = gay-esque
Lack of any element mentioned above + they look awkward on him= a bit gay-esque
Lack of any element mentioned above + they look quite good on him= pretty much gay-esque.

4. (Sparrow)
So you mean all the men who care about how they look are gay? Personally I find men who have style much more attractive than those with flakey faces who carry backpacks with their shirts tucked inside their pants. Driving all of them as gay seems like a conclusion that is way too generalized, and it hints a sense of inferiority…….
Anyway, I am all enthusiasm about this phenomenon. Considering the money, time and effort we women put into ourselves, what men are doing now is still far from being sufficient.

12. (Grasshopper)
I am little taller than average, sometimes use slipsoles to heighten my height, and apply BB cream when I go out. Sports center, hair salon, and cloth shopping takes up a certain part of my life. Wow, things listed above make me sound like a guy who extremely cares about adorning. But wouldn’t it be better to keep oneself neat and clean as possible, if what we are born with is insufficient?

13. (Kangaroo)
Oh, if I only had time and money.

15. (Butterfly)
I’m a woman, and I prefer men who know how to adorn themselves without being too showy, like a swan waddles under water where we cannot see. Saying out loud things like “this product is better for skin” or “the clothes of this brand are….” is unattractive. Plus, I really wish men would not copy stars such as Bigbang or Jo Inseong under the title of “grooming.” Style that fits oneself, age, and circumstances is the truly stylish thing.

17. (Hummingbird)
I believe (I’m a man) one should be able to dress up to match the TPO at minimum, though that kind of sensibility is not something that can be gained overnight. Considering the overall style and mood even at choosing small things such as shirts or a pair of shoes, and gradually visualizing one’s ideal self image, would be the only possible way to gain it (and help is not that hard to get, actually.) It won’t be easy, but I really hope students would at least refrain from dressing up as if they are intended to pull out “hey, the way he dressed is so SNU student.” from others. Being confident while facing others and oneself would be the prerequisite, of course.

19. (Dark chub)
I used to be a man who was not even a bit interested the way I look or fashion so far, but I started to put a lot of effort into it recently. It occurred to me that I might never be able to be in romantic relationship with anyone for the rest of my life, as long as I keep on going like this. The concept that “women should wear makeup, but men does not need to” Is only a legacy of old, considering this concept premises women being at the position of being chosen (and therefore should adorn themselves as much as possible), and men having the privilege of choice. Since the social standard of men and women are changing, would not men should be caring about their looks as well?

Even with all this aside, people who care about themselves as far as they can simply look good. I also want to look so in others’ eyes, at least to those who care for me, and that is what drives me to look back once more at myself (but why, oh why does not my fashion sense improve?)

written by. Jo Eunsan

[Vol.19] TV and the Metrosexual : Real or Virtual?

Television, in its short period of development, has essentially changed and influenced the public through its powerful means: visual mass media. In a society based on lookism, standards on beauty are no exception to this influence. As the society began to turn its attention from women’s beauty - a rather clichéd topic - to men and their appearance, TV has created a new term and syndrome to match it. The word “metrosexual” has been presented to the society for quite some time, but unlike the Western world, the Asian mass media, especially Korean, failed to convert this new interest to a syndrome. However, times have changed since “metrosexual men” first appeared on TV. Now, men who are conscious of their appearance have become the ideal visual image that television desires.

The term “metrosexual” describes heterosexual men with a strong concern for their appearance, and/or whose lifestyles display attributes stereotypically attributed to gay men. For this to become the next trend, television has chosen visual ideals that can directly influence the public: celebrities and sports stars. They appear in TV as trendsetters, and present themselves as men who are interested in grooming themselves to match the “public needs.” The fashion of leading men in television dramas turns into a public interest, and men outside television are often seen copying their looks. These fashionable, beautiful men also complement their appearance with their lifestyle. Television dramas portray perfectly groomed men enjoying lavish brunch, telling the public that the new, sophisticated metrosexual ought to lead a life of style in every way.

In this sense, television plays an enormous role in changing the image of men. The rise of the metrosexuals, especially apparent in the hit series “Boys over Flowers,” suggests that the ideal image of an attractive man has changed from “manly” to “dandy.” Television has shown the public that it is natural for men to care about their appearance and lifestyle. This new image seems to have changed the sexist, stereotypical ideal of the past. TV’s idea of a metrosexual is not afraid of showing his feminine side, and to others this is appreciated as his ability to be conscious about his appearance and lifestyle.

However, when the Metrosexual Man comes to life in reality, he is not always welcomed. Despite the success of men’s cosmetics and beauty products, most people still look upon men wearing makeup as bizarre. Tidy hair and smooth, stubble-free skin are tolerated and “required” as basic beauty standards, but the idea of following the fashion trend for young men is often contradicted by women. Skinny jeans and high-top sneakers, worn by famous idol groups and young celebrities, are considered abnormal and awkward when normal men in everyday are concerned. Women are especially harsh on their standards of men’s beauty; the television-oriented image that are frequently seen are not a realistic part of what women think stylish men should wear. This infers that women still have a fixed image of their gender counterparts, which emphasizes men’s masculine side rather than their feminine one. People, men and women alike, still believe that men’s natural image, should it be set newly by television, has to be manly than feminine, despite the changing society.

Also, when it gets to more than just appearance, the metrosexual lifestyle is still hard to be found in everyday life. Coffee shop advertisements portray women rather than men as their potential customers. Thus, a man walking into a café and ordering coffee and waffles comes as a surprise to most people. The image of men chatting in these bistros is a rare sight, unlike what television illustrates as normal and ordinary. Feminine and delicate metrosexual men, leading their lives of style and fashion, are compared to an endangered species. People look upon them as special people with special jobs, which is a fantasy that has been created by TV. Thus, the metrosexual lifestyle is not easily accepted by the society as it is portrayed in most TV soap operas. These examples all add up to pose a question: can TV’s image of metrosexuality be transposed to the real life?

From these aspects, the term “metrosexual” can be identified as a term existing only in TV shows and commercials yet. Men who groom themselves as much as television suggests can only be approved when he is a celebrity that appears on television. The public only regards metrosexuals as men receiving help from makeup artists and fashion coordinators. In this sense, men’s grooming can only be justified as a prerequisite for presenting themselves as beautiful for the public to view. The lack of understanding real-life metrosexuals is existent in both men and women, which illustrates that the society has not been fundamentally changed to accept this new image of men. Television may be a powerful source in spreading a new public trend and ideal, but in the present, its effect remains as a virtual one.

written by: Kim Jisoo

[Vol.19] Redefining the relationship- men and beauty

American TV series “Gossip Girl” is famous for the characteristic fashion and style of the main characters. The way male characters style has especially attracted attention from both men and women all around the world. Korea, where men’s urge to be beautiful is just awakening, is not an exception.

Men who “groom” themselves

On March, 2009, the National Statistics office selected ten consumer types under the title “2009 Bluesumer 10 (Blue Ocean Consumer)” that enterprises, marketers and government facing current economic recession should keep an eye on. Among those ten types is “mirror- friendly man,” which refers to man who cares about how he looks. This is noteworthy because conventionally the word mirror was associated with women. Mirror-friendly man category shows how much men come to care about their outward look as far as to become influential consumers in the market. Men used to be thought to loaf around in shopping malls while waiting for their female companions to finish shopping. However, now they are spontaneous shoppers themselves.
There are industries that target men and they are making good profit. Internet shopping spots only for men are increasing. Internet websites such as http://www.ganzinara.com sell men’s apparel exclusively, and flourishing on-line shopping sites such as www.adamsapple.kr, which sells aesthetic products for men, boasts more than 14,000 members. Countless books, guides and magazines about men’s grooming that are in a good demand reflect this phenomenon as well. We can now see signboards of aesthetic shops and cosmetic lines that specialize in products for men on the main streets of fashion districts such as Gangnam and Myeongdong. Moreover, a recent statistic shows that the number of male patients who has done aesthetical surgery has tripled, and out of 100 operations, about 22 have been practiced on males. It is not “queer” anymore to see men promoting beauty products and clothes that are not related to masculinity.

Perception change on men’s beauty

The National Statistics office conducted a social survey with the title “adolescents’ worries,” during the years 2006 to 2008. According to this survey, 9.9 % of worries of men who are 15 to 24 years old was about was appearance, whereas it took up only 6.3% in 2006. “Appearance” was ranked on 3rd place after “studying (41.4%)” and “job (22.9%).” Experts say that as the time passes, the ratio that “appearance” accounts for is steadily increasing.
This phenomenon of which men show vast interest in their appearance is in part due to the changed perception in the society. Men’s grooming is no longer thought to be an awkward issue anymore, but rather as a factor which consists men’s competitiveness. Men’s changing self perception is another important cause of this phenomenon, as men now see their own body and outward image as a means of self presentation.

Now people think their appearance reflects one’s inner contentment. “After I got into university last year, after seeing a lot of men who adorn themselves well, I realized that appearance is an important factor in forming and expressing one’s self-contentment,” said Junho Song (Economics, ’08). This changed perception that is spreading throughout the society is now slowly but surely creating the environment where grooming men are not always considered homosexual like they used to. As a consequence, it is now relatively easier for men to show interest in good-looking.
However, social affirmation of men’s self grooming becomes a huge burden for men who are not so interested in adorning themselves. Junho said, “Before, there was an unspoken social agreement that it was enough for men to be a good breadwinner and that qualified for competent men. However, nowadays, most competent men have to qualify in both sectors: beauty and ability.” Evidently, this phenomenon is two-faced. For men who are enthusiastic about caring for their looks, this change of social atmosphere is a huge relief. For those who are not eager to adorn themselves, social demand asking men to be beautiful as well is merely a new source of stress.

It cannot be denied that what looks good on the outside seems good on the inside. The phenomenon where “looking good is a virtue” even for men is a tide one cannot easily go against. Now beauty no more is an exclusive possession to women. Whether it is a result of sexual equality or a prevailing lookism remains a doubt, but from the 21century and on, men can be the symbol of beauty as well.

written by: Kim Yo-Eun

[Vol.19] Blowin’ in the Wind: Answers for a Society Obsessed with Looks

“Seoulites are the world’s best-dressed hikers,” claims Lonely Planet. This sense of fashion is not just confined to hiking. It is rare to spot a lady without high heels or a fancy bag. Koreans are obsessed with how they look and they spend a lot of time, money, and effort in order to look perfect. This is because in this part of the world, looking good takes you a long way towards achieving what you want. In a country with very little natural resources, human capital is the most prized asset. Ruthless competition has made it so that ability alone can no longer guarantee success. It is becoming increasingly important to look good in order to ride an ascending success curve – for one’s professional or personal life. In the 21st century, the rules that determine success are the same as those from the time of dinosaurs – the Darwinian principle of ‘Survival of the Fittest’, only the definition of ‘fittest’ has changed with time.

With the emergence of the ‘Metrosexual’ man, men are increasingly trespassing on what was traditionally considered the territory of women. Men are no longer staying away from wearing pink, manicuring fingernails, sporting fancy handbags or wearing makeup. Thanks to a hyperactive media that makes Korea the ‘most connected’ country in the world, new trends spread like wildfire. The media and the business establishment are only too happy to bring the latest fashion to an ever-increasing consumer base. However, it is with the involvement of medical science, that this obsession to look good has reached new heights. Korea is widely considered the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. People choose to go under a cosmetic surgeon’s scalpel believing that good looks can achieve things - a career boost, an increase in confidence, success in love, and perhaps even ‘happiness’. In the fight for survival and success, ‘fitness’ is just a surgery away and everybody – from the common man to the political elite - is eager to boost one’s beauty.

Some people might be bewildered that, in a society based on Confucian principles, people can distort their bodies through artificial means to gain a competitive edge. However, moreso than the past, change is what drives the wheel of civilization forward. In this mercilessly competitive world, going an extra mile to prove one’s superiority is perfectly understandable. A deeper understanding of Oriental history reveals that obsession with appearance might actually have been embedded in the Korean psyche for hundreds of years, and is simply finding new ways of expressing itself in the 21st century. Confucian principles emphasize appearance, etiquette and achieving harmony. Having a beautiful, well-balanced and harmonious face is in accordance with the principles of ancient Korean culture. It is worth mentioning that throughout history, social and cultural conditions have often dictated the deliberate modification of body parts. The example closest to home is the ancient Chinese practice of creating ‘Lotus feet’ in which the growth of girls’ feet was restricted by forceful binding. In parts of the world as diverse as Russia, Peru, Egypt and Central America, growth of children’s heads were modified to give it an elongated look. In medieval Europe, corsets were used to achieve the perfect hourglass figure. All of these practices were painful to the person concerned but considered necessary to earn the respect of society and to differentiate between social hierarchies. When viewed as one in a series of historical trends in which society dictates the acceptable appearance of individuals, the current obsession with appearance amongst Koreans begins to make sense.

Fashion is a big industry. Without the urge to dress well, the busy streets on Myong Dong or Sinchon would be deserted! Korea has also joined the league of countries like Singapore, Thailand and India, as a prime destination for medical tourism. The perception of a cosmetic surgeon’s scalpel as the ultimate tool for achieving beauty has become no longer confined to Korea.

Enhancing looks gives an obvious advantage to a person in his/her daily life and career. But it remains to be seen just how much it can deliver. Are people willing to forego opportunities to improve real abilities for the sake of appearance? Are people truly happy with newfound confidence from an advancement in appearance? The answer, to quote Dylan, “my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind!”

written by: Subhojit Chakladar

[Vol.19] A Neo-Tsunami: The Luxury Boom

In spite of the economic depression that is sweeping the whole world, Korean consumption of luxury goods seems to remain unaffected. According to statistical data released by the Financial Supervisory Service and luxury brand corporations, Louis Vuitton Korea and Ferragamo Korea earned 168.9 billion won 55.3 billion won each, recording increases of 39.4% and 15.6% respectively. Koreans are buying up luxury items more than ever before. Even Seoul National University students are not free from this luxury boom. It is not unusual to see students carrying luxury handbags from Louis Vuitton or Gucci on campus. These items, while no doubt of fine quality, are obviously much overpriced relative to their design or function. Then what are the reasons for buying these items, what explains the boom, and what do other students think about this tendency?
Two causes can be attributed to this trend. One is social, one is individual.
First, there are a few social causes. The first cause is Asia’s rapid economic growth. According to Radha Chadha and Paul Husband, who co-wrote Luxplosion, Korea’s rapid economic development over the last few decades created confusion among consumers. Unlike Western developed countries, Asian consumers were not slowly introduced to the world of luxury items but were suddenly given the power to purchase such items without having yet established a firm foundation for a healthy spending culture. This leads to irresponsible addictions to luxury items even in times when such items cannot logically be afforded, such as in times of financial crisis.
The second societal reason is Korea’s distinctive cultural background. Unlike many Western peoples, East Asians emphasize the feeling of belongingness and the feeling of homogeneity. Even within East Asia, Koreans especially attach great importance to these feelings. So, if a Korean notices that many people carry luxury goods and he or she doesn’t, he or she may feel unworthy or ostracized. To maintain one’s identity as being part of the group that is leading Korean culture at the time, even those people who would not usually purchase overpriced items may do so.
There are also a few private causes for buying luxuru brand items. The first is luxury good’s high quality. An anonymous source (09) said that it is evident that luxury goods are of higher quality than standard market itmes. They are more durable and comfortable. He said, “If you can use luxury goods for a year and more comfortably while you can only use normal goods for three months, it is rational to use the former.”
Another reason is luxury goods’ great design. Most of luxury goods are not throwaway goods but able to be used for a long time. Therefore, it is important to take the goods’ design into account so that they do not go out of fashion too soon. Also, because companies of luxury goods can afford to employ more competent designers than normal companies, the design they create are publicly appealing.
However, some students view this trend negatively. They believe that buying luxury goods is a waste of money and students who buy such items are showing off or fabricating their social status. That is, if people who can afford luxury goods buy them, they are showing off their wealth, and if people who can't afford them buy them, they are fabricating their status. “If people don’t know that he or she is carrying Louis Vuitton or he or she is in an isolated island whose inhabitants are ignorant of luxury goods, he or she will not use them even if it’s durable as there’s no one to show his or her luxury goods off to.” said Park Hyun-Yoo (College of Humanities, 09).

written by: Yeon Dong-hyun

[Vol.19] Beauty’s in the Job Description

The economic crisis has brought with it a severe drop in employment rates. As competition heats up for a limited number of jobs, Korean job seekers have found themselves searching for more diverse ways to increase their competitiveness in the job market. Abreast with the ever-developing obsession sweeping the nation, the most compelling new ‘criterion’ being required of would-be employees has been found in appearance. Online communities sharing information about finding employment are opening up separate posting boards for discussing appearance and how to use the tool of beauty to increase one’s chances of being hired. Cosmetic surgeons are presenting to clients not only standard “beautiful” faces but “professional” faces that exude an aura of trustworthiness and capability.

But to what extent is it acceptable for a culture and its distribution of livelihoods to depend so much upon external qualities? South Korea, among other East Asian countries, is famous worldwide for having beautiful stewardesses and saleswomen. Although this may be seen as an asset, the problem becomes larger when an obsession with appearance extends into sectors that are not service-oriented. For example, it is a badly kept secret that law firms are widely selecting freshman employees using appearance as a criterion, and that teachers who want to lecture through online recordings are receiving cosmetic surgery in order to increase their chances of becoming a popular lecturer. It is questionable whether it is appropriate in these sectors, where professional ability should be the first consideration, for employers to even consider appearance as a factor in their judgments. Of course, it may be argued that when a pool of applicants presents a large number of candidates with similar ability, appearance is as good as any other criterion for breaking ties. However, it is disturbing to a traditionally ethical mind that appearance should be increasingly accepted as a standard for judging people’s capabilities as members of society.

This phenomenon leaves SNU as no exception. Students who hope to find employment directly after graduation begin caring after their appearance beginning in the junior year of college. They take diverse measures ranging from buying a few expensive suits a month to extremes such as cosmetic surgery. It has become commonplace to see skin care or diet clinics targeting SNU students as clients, believing that as SNU students are relatively well-qualified in the job market compared to other students, they will seek to perfect their resumes with a tidy appearance.

Unfortunately, it does not stop there. Even after finding employment, people in high ranks find themselves pressured to maintain appearances that ‘fit’ their status through material possession. Korea’s distinctive culture has historically attached great importance to “saving face.” Throughout Korean history, there have been many people who have, in extremes, chosen to trade their lives for dignity. Though less radical, a culture based on similar value systems survives to today’s Korea. ‘Saving face’ in 21st century Seoul has evolved to being able to show the amount of one’s personal possessions. Advertisements today specifically target this mindset, cooing that “where you live shows your value” or “your well-being is measured by your car.”

People with high status think that they are or must be different from common people, and to be different, they purchase luxury goods – even when they cannot afford them. Korean society takes it for granted that a man with high status must have better goods or service than a man with lower status. If a person with low rank is found to have “better” things than a higher-ranking employee, the person with higher rank is thought to be “careless” or perhaps undeserving of his rank. What you have or how you look has now become what you are. The job market, for those within it and those who are trying to enter it, is becoming more and more merciless to the ugly and the poor. Although some consider this phenomenon in a positive light, claiming that such perfectionism is the key to success in modern world society, questions of ethics and morality remain as to just how far one can justify using the accident of birth (in wealth or in beauty) in the game of people’s livelihoods.

written by: Yeon Dong-hyun, Pia Won

[Vol.19] SNU Looks in the Mirror: What do SNU Students Think about the Importance of Appearance?

We are living in a world where people’s most prized possessions are becoming their mirrors. All across Seoul, appearance is becoming the measure of a man’s worth. Despite the rage over diets and cosmetics all over the city, Gwanak seems yet peaceful. How far, if it has at all, has this obsession spread inside Gwanak? The SNU Quill surveyed students from a variety of colleges in SNU to understand how much SNU students were aware of the current trend of judging people based on their appearance, and what they thought about the phenomenon. Although from outside SNU is widely perceived as an exception to the rule when it comes to the pressures of appearance, many students on campus were obviously stressed from the feeling of needing to tend to their appearance in order to “succeed.” The Quill wanted to find out exactly how much, if at all, this trend was affecting SNU students’ lives.

The survey included questions asking about topics ranging from general feelings of being assessed by other people on campus to spending habits and perceptions of other people. It covered a variety of topics related to the overarching theme of appearance, hitting subjects including cosmetic surgery, luxury brands, and employment. The results of some of the questions are shown in the graphs. Please note that the numbers have a margin of error due to some participants not answering some questions or choosing multiple answers.

Pie/Bar Graphs:

1. When people passing by you laugh, have you ever checked yourself, thinking that they were laughing at your appearance?
Yes – 70
No – 105

2. Do you always spend time fixing your appearance (putting on contact lenses, wearing makeup, etc.), even if it means being late to class?
Yes – 61
No – 114

3. What percentage of your total expenses is taken up by consumption related to appearance (apparel, skin care, makeup, etc.)?
Less than 10% - 40
10~20% - 51
20~30% 46
30~50% - 27
More than 50% - 7

4. When do you think appearance has the most influnece over social relationships?
Before entering college – 16
First two years of college – 100
Later years in college – 12
After graduation (including graduate school) – 29

5. When you see a person wearing or carrying luxury items, what is your standard for differentiating between people who “dress well” and people who are “wasteful?”
The sophistication of style – 64
Appropriateness to time and place – 69
No difference; they all seem like good dressers – 4
No difference; they all seem like money wasters – 5

6. Have you ever purchased a ‘fake’ luxury item?
Yes – 43
No – 134

6-1. If you answered yes, why did you purchase that item?
I liked the item regardless of its brand design – 25
The actual item was too expensive – 11

7. What do you think is the most important factor other than professional capability in finding employment?
Family background – 27
Facial appearance – 48
Dress – 14
Polite attitude – 93

8. When applying for employment in the private sector, how important is appearance?
Very important – 24
Important – 140
Unimportant – 12

9. Did you consider plastic surgery before entering college?
Yes – 26
No – 148

10. Why do you think most people who receive plastic surgery do so?
Self-satisfaction – 65
Social pressures – 15
Employment – 0
To look good to others – 87

11. Society holds the prejudice that SNU students are not as attractive, or do not spend as much effort as others on their appearance. Do you agree?
The prejudice is generally correct – 86
The prejudice is completely incorrect – 64

12. Even within SNU, there exist preconceptions about students of certain colleges being more physically atractive than those of others. Do you have such a preconception?
Yes – 105
No – 71

12-1. If you answered yes, which college has the best “image?”

College of Music – 43
College of Fine Art – 30
College of Business Administration – 31
College of Life Sciences – 14
College of Humanities – 11
Other – 8

While analyzing results from the survey, some interesting patterns were found. First of all, the amount of money spent by most SNU students on appearance was surprising. Most students answered that they spent 20~30% of their total allowance on items relating to their appearance. Even in the midst of an economic crisis, the willingness to spend this much money on appearance illustrates that SNU students feel they need to constantly invest in their appearance as a way to ensure their futures. This spending pattern was not limited to female students. Even some male students answered that they spend more than half of their money on their appearances, showing that male students are also beginning to feel social pressures to present themselves as physically attractive in order to succeed.

Another interesting pattern was found in the period of time in which students felt that appearance mattered most in social relationships. Although the overall totals showed a clear majority voting for the ‘first two years of college,’ a more careful breakdown of the answers to this question showed that students generally chose the period of life that they were currently in. That is, the majority of votes were focused on the ‘first two years of life’ answer choice because most of the survey participants were currently freshmen or sophomores. Older students tended to choose ‘the later years of college’ or ‘after graduation’ answer choices. This showed that SNU students, no matter what their age, felt that they were currently being judged by society based on their appearance.

written by: Pia Won, Choi Seohyun

[Vol.19] Mission Impossible: Stuck at Exit 3

At the beginning of the semester, whoever attends school might think that, “In this semester, I’ll really try hard at studies for a good grade and also never skip any class.” But looking at a long line of people waiting for a school bus, he or she thinks again, “For once, it may be okay to be late.” After suffering through the long waiting lines and the crammed and stifling buses and eventually, being late and repeating it several times, a student who was once enthusiastic may decide to withdraw that class. This is not only the case of early days of a new semester. Attending school is an arduous work. Everyone in SNU would agree.

The routes students use to go to school are largely divided into three: the Seoul National University station, Naksungdae station and Nokdu street. The most crowded time around the stations and bus stops is the period just before the morning classes, held in the first or second hour. In front of the Seoul Nat’l Univ. station, the line waiting for a shuttle bus to come sometimes extends to the entrance of the station.

Last May, the transportation company decided on combining the routes of bus number 5511 and 5512 into one. After the change, the number of buses heading to the Business School (bus number 5511) increased from 11 to 16. And the interval between buses decreased into 4-8 minutes, the half of previous operation time. On the other hand, the buses toward the administration building (bus number 5513) decreased and only 5 buses are currently operating. According to a survey conducted by the Student Government at that time, the number of users of the two buses was almost the same. Considering the fact that combining the two bus routes worsened the traffic congestion, this change was ironical to the students who had currently took the bus 5513 and whose discomfort has doubled.

The problem of transportation is not only confined at Seoul Nat’l Univ. station. The students taking the local village bus, number 02, at Naksungdae station are also having a hard time. To lessen the constant flow of waiting students, the Student Government had operated shuttle buses from Naksungdae station to the College of the Engineering during last October to November. But because of the shortage of its users, it was discontinued within a month. Every morning a huge number of people are waiting for the local bus. But were users of the school bus scarce? What was wrong?

Many students who had once used Naksungdae shuttle bus point out some problems. Firstly, the bus stop was a bit far from the station. Even many people did not know the presence of a new bus. And secondly, destination stations were obscure and different from being announced. After all, if the new means of transportation had been more efficient and advertised, it might have helped alleviate the transportation problems of Naksungdae. The main cause was not the small number of users, the planning and operation was the problem of the unsuccessful shuttle bus.

Then who or what is to blame of this chronic every-weekday-morning transportation problem? It is mainly due to the unusual location of Gwanak campus. Unlike most university campuses including the Yeongeon campus situated in the downtown area of the city, Gwanak campus is sprawled vastly along Mt. Gwanak. The campus is even said to pass the border of Seoul and Gyeonggi-Do; the campus extends itself to Gwacheon. Besides the enormous size of the campus, the campus has only two proportionately small entrances which are difficult to access by foot. The two subway stations, the Seoul National University and Naksungdae, unfortunately, are too far away from the campus to walk. In the busy morning hours, the only way for most students to get to school is by taking either buses or taxis. To come to school, for students, the use of public transportation therefore, is inevitable.

The transportation issues bring out other problems including the safety issues some students are worrying about. As a bus arrives, the many students who have been waiting file into the bus. The bus is soon crammed with students; some fortunate students are sitting and the majority of them are standing. The students have to be careful not to get injured by falling down, or being stepped on by other students while the bus sways. The bus driver may not be able to see the side mirrors because of so many students, which might lead into an accident. The morning transportation problem also brings about the issue concerning public etiquettes. The morning rush around SNU makes some students cutting in the bus line. The way to school presupposes a variety of possible accidents and discomfort that students have to cope with.
The complaints from students are increasing and to solve the many problems the school transportation is causing there should be reinforcements on transportations reaching Gwanak campus. Students should not be tired out even before they reach school; the chronic transportation issue should be thought over with consideration and alleviated with effort.

written by: Yum Sooyun and Lee Song-Yi

[Vol.19] Transitions and Adaptations

“I wish I could wash the kimchi before putting it in my mouth.” says Alexey (Department of Electrical Engineering ‘08). “It is tasty but way too spicy for me.” He leaves to refill his glass of water.

It is not easy to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time but the greatest difficulties are often faced in the beginning. This problem is particularly acute for those who come to pursue full-time studies at SNU and not just as exchange students. Staying at one place for a long time requires a totally different set of adaptations as opposed to staying for one semester – which is more like a form of educational tourism. For students staying for just a semester, the problems are usually circumvented by Lonely Planet or by the company of Korean friends but for those who intend to stay longer, assuming the role of a tourist is a luxury that they cannot afford. Today the world seems all too familiar with the Western way of life; however, for many people, the Orient continues to be a mystery. People often have expectations very much removed from reality and it is only after they have arrived here, that they become aware of the actual situation on the ground. As a result of which the culture shock arising from migration from East to West is far less than the opposite case.

Till a few months back, finding information in English was a difficult task indeed. In a large number of restaurants and coffee shops, many foreigners observe that the only English word on the menu is the word “Menu” itself! One of the most pressing problems is the complicated procedure for getting a phone connection. The number of lectures offered in English is also often inadequate to cover all the areas of interest. But things are improving. Announcements in shuttle bus are made both in Korean and in English. The mailing service from Global Information Center, highlighting the main events of the week, is helpful in keeping foreign students informed. With time hopefully, the usage of English will become more widespread.
To a foreigner, Korean cuisine can be summarized in just a single word – kimchi. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Korean cuisine involves a large number of other dishes which are a bit spicy for some but nonetheless very interesting and delicious. For people new to Korea, it is an experience that most of them would cherish but for people who wish to stay for an extended period, things cease to be exotic after sometime. Making Korean food a part of one’s daily life can be a difficult task. The World Line in the Dormitory cafeteria is a welcome effort in easing the transition.

But of all the problems, the most appalling is the invisible curtain that separates Koreans and foreigners. Koreans often stare at foreigners with wide-eyed wonder but any effort to strike up a conversation is almost always thwarted by – what many people describe as a mild panic! It is interesting to note that Koreans form the largest active student group in the USA (according to the data published by the US government in July 2008), comfortably ahead of India and China. At the same time a large number of Koreans travel abroad - either for work or tourism. The number stands at more than 12 million. Among the Korean tourists travelling overseas, it was found that the most important reasons for travel included – places of interest, adventure and the urge to explore something different. However, a thing like the language barrier doesn’t even feature in the top 10 reasons. These findings and the reality encountered in Korea is almost paradoxical.

In the end, I have just one request to the Korean reader. A foreigner living in Korea is having a hard time getting used to a new country, often lonely and very eager to know you. If you are inquisitive about a foreigner, go ahead and strike a conversation – don’t be daunted by any barrier (of the mind or the language). Very often, lasting and fruitful friendships start out of chance encounters. Go forward and break the ice - you will not regret it!

written by : Subhojit Chakladar

[Vol.19] Editor's Letter

I remember the shock I felt when my mother told me that especially for girls, looks can matter when getting a job. It seemed completely irrelevant and moreover unfair that external appearance should be a factor in the job market. Yet I’ve become more or less accustomed to such premises. Yes, looks do matter.

Since becoming a student in Gwanak, I have not been able to give up my high heels, for I felt not only physically small but also less assured and confident without them (despite the geographical traits of our campus which makes stilettos more or less a symbol of torture). You may consider me obsessed, but obviously I am not a peculiar case, for I see almost as many girls on heels than in sneakers on campus. There are more than only a few of us who are willing to sacrifice our comfort for better looks.

And it is not just about the heels. Although society’s image of SNU students is that we are neither sensitive nor sufficiently skilled at fashion, the view from the inside reveals a school community as sensitive to external beauty as any other community. When the Quill surveyed approximately 170 students, 75 of them answered that they have had the experience of being self-conscious because they thought others were laughing at their appearance, and over 160 of them thought that appearance is either “very important” or “important” when applying for employment in the private sector.

I have wondered whether it would have been more appropriate to talk of more “serious” matters such as political or economical issues for our cover story, but seeing the survey results, I came to realize that seemingly superficial matters of appearance were just as deeply rooted and influential to our identities and interests. The old proverb claims that “Beauty is only skin deep,” but it seems as if skin deep has become the depth of our society.

Of course, there are many other stories to tell. The Arts team interviewed Ralf Sander, the professor who is preparing for the upcoming exhibition at MoA; the Campus team dug up some interesting facts about the history of SNU and ranted about how it is so difficult to get to school each morning, and the Feature team did an online survey on Men’s Beauty. Above all, the Quill has recruited 8 new members in step with the new semester and this was their first edition on board! I would like to tell them how thrilled and happy I am to meet them, and I hope they enjoyed working on this issue as much as I did. I hope they will find as many treasures as I found from the Quill.

Envying the new Quillers? Then join us next semester. Maybe you’ll not be greeted with a surprisingly warm spring breeze then, but I bet the autumn sky will be just as admirable when you are a newly recruited Quiller. Meanwhile, enjoy each new edition of the Quill, and admire the flowers while you still can.

written by: Choi Naeun (Editor-in-Chief)

[Vol.19] The Fear Factor behind that Korean coolness towards foreigners

The recent influx of foreigners on campus is truly astounding. The sight of foreign grad school students dining in the cafeteria or boarding the school shuttle is no longer rare, and even foreign undergrads are spotted occasionally among this year’s fresh faces. These signs, if nothing else, attest to the four-fold increase in the number of international students during the past 10 years. SNU’s efforts at attracting international students seem to have been rewarded with welcome results.

Changes are being implemented to many aspects of SNU to accommodate them and ease the process of getting accustomed to the life in this foreigner un-friendly country. Classes conducted in English - check. Additional cafeteria menus to better suit international palates - check. Announcements made in English at all bus stops and all-around help provided at Global Information Center – check, check. Just name it, and the school has it all.

These kindly considerations should indeed be helpful to those placed on unfamiliar grounds, but they bear little or no relation to what makes up the greatest part of our daily lives – personal, trivial, but nevertheless important, interactions between people. Interactions between international students and native Korean students, in particular, seem somewhat strained. Effort seems to be expended on both sides, but they continue to remain in somewhat uncomfortable, dissatisfying situations.

The truth is that most Korean students have spent their lives thus far without being in a situation where the person standing across from them, who they now have to strike up a conversation with and befriend, did not share the same nationality. The strangeness of the situation is enough to make them nervous, even before other, more practical factors come into play. With an education that emphasizes the uniformity and superiority of the Korean culture over the values of harmonious integration, perhaps students cannot but greet foreigners with a small degree of alarm.

Then there is the notorious language barrier. It is generally accepted that few nations spend as much time and money on learning English as Korea does, and few speak it as badly. But perhaps the bigger problem lies not in the actual level of linguistic fluency, but in the fact that Koreans perceive themselves in this self-effacing way. Lack of experience tends to go hand-in-hand with lack of confidence; Korean students seem to virtually shrink in the presence of foreigners and otherwise well-constructed sentences emerge in inaudible mumbles.
“My roommate seems like a nice girl, but we don’t really know each other. She told me once that she would like to talk to me, but her English isn’t good, so she’s not sure how she’d do that,” said an international student about her new Korean roommate. While the primary function of language is to enable communication, Korean students have the tendency to become obsessed with perfecting their grammar, which is quite irrelevant when it comes to getting the point across. Perhaps such reluctance to plunge into conversations is a vestige of middle and high school education, which is centered on the grammatical, rather than the practical.

And while much attention is being paid to introducing Korean cultures to international students (think kimjang festivals and folk museum tours), not much effort is being made to introduce foreign cultures to Korean students. If an understanding of Korean culture helps foreign students better familiarize themselves with Korea, it should work the other way, too. Truth to be told, if such a project is to be undertaken, it would by no means be an easy job. Problem one: close to fifty different nationalities are represented on SNU campus. Problem two: how does one exactly achieve an understanding of a culture? The tasks seem too big to even attempt.

Admittedly, there are already some, though not abundant, opportunities for Korean students to meet foreign students and cultures such as the SNU Buddy program and the annual International Food Festival (IFF). Regretfully, the short-lived programs and festivals stop at being just a taste of the myriad cultures out there. Students are then practically left on their own to understand cultures they have no access to.

There’s a reason why just about every imaginable organization seems so enthusiastic about going global these days: globalization really is a great idea. Inviting international students to join us is bound to create a colorful, dynamic environment in SNU which can only be said to be beneficial for all parties involved. Now that the long-awaited waves of globalization are finally washing ashore, what SNU needs to do is, against the natural impulse to turn and run, to greet them with a smile.

written by: Helen Kim

[Vol.19] “Unity in Diversity”; an Interview with the President of SISA

Every student, for once, at least, dream of leaving all the burdens; one wishes to forget about all the classes, the assignments, the presentations and dive into an exotic land. Some students succeed in fulfilling such dreams and they leave their home country and seek a better fortune in a foreign world. Nowadays, many international students are setting their eyes on Korea and among them are students attending SNU. The number of international students in SNU has been increasing dramatically and currently, about 1,500 students from more than 40 different countries are studying at SNU. Living and studying in a foreign country, however, is challenging in every aspect and international students in SNU have numerous obstacles to overcome.

Such difficulties of international students may just be the very reason SISA(SNU International Students Association) has been established. SISA, the first official International Students Association formed in Korea, was established by the university administration in March, 2007. Associated within the Student Affairs Department, SISA represents all international students currently attending SNU, from short-term exchange students to degree-seeking students. SISA has a short history, compared with the Korean students’ association, which has a history of half a century. The demand of an association for international students, however, has been great and the members of SISA are working hard to make SNU a more hospitable place for international students.

“Our main problem is this: because of the short history, SISA is unknown to many people. Many Korean students and even some international students do not know that there is an official organization for international students.” says Selim Kacar(Department of Economics ’07), the present president of SISA. “There are numerous activities and services for international students provided by SISA. Instead of feeling bad and frustrated by the difference of the system and culture of a totally different country, I hope every student could participate in these events with us and enjoy their lives in Korea to the fullest.” he adds.

There are, without doubt, various events held by SISA, including the annual SISA Ambassadors Meeting, Korean Cultural Trip, the Sport Festival, and volunteer works. At the SISA Ambassadors Meeting, ambassadors or representatives from 35 countries, from Switzerland to Burma, are invited to SNU in the name of the president of SNU himself. The meeting is a rare and honored occasion for the students as they get the chance to meet the ambassador of their own country and receive advices and support from the ambassadors. The Korean Cultural Trip is also one of the main events held by SISA where 150 students visit traditional Korean villages and experience the traditions and history of Korea. Students have tried making food like tofu and green tea and also participated in the traditional Korean wedding ceremony. Through this two-day travel, international students have opportunities to experience the other Korea, the Korea outside of the campus and the city.

The activities of SISA are not confined in the enjoyable occasions where students could befriend each other. There are practical orientations in which board members of SISA introduce freshmen and newcomers about the student life in SNU. This year, SISA held an orientation exclusively on class registration. Registering classes is much more difficult for international students, especially because of the language difference. Therefore, the orientation was conducted in two languages, Korean and English and about 150 students came. The board members of SISA introduced how to register the classes online and also the information from our own experiences, such as the Korean classes for international students and classes conducted in English that freshmen would be more comfortable with.

Tall and rigid, the language barrier is the one of the biggest obstacle international students confront in life in Korea and SISA board members, each with different nationalities and fluent Korean, translate every school announcement, including SMS messages, and information on scholarship and internship programs in 8 different languages. SISA has also sent the election pledges from two candidates after translating the pledges into six languages (Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Russian, English, and Spanish) for the Student Government election held last year. “International students, as SNU students, have a right to vote. The pledges of the president candidates, however, are in Korean and the turnout of international students has been extremely low. Last year we asked the candidates to send us their pledges and two candidates sent them to us and many students who received the translated version of the pledges voted for the president of the Student Government. I hope that in the next election, more candidates would consider the votes of the 400 international students.” Kacar says.

When asked about the difficulties of managing an international student association, Kacar emphasized yet again, the importance of information. “We upload the recent school announcements on our homepage and send e-mails to students but there are students whom we could not contact or do not know about SISA. For international students, information is essential because various things, applying for a scholarship for instance, are conducted in a different way. We are putting up posters and banners on campus and on the portal site to inform students of SISA.” he says.

SISA is a young and sprouting association with many projects but their future plan was surprisingly simple. “SISA will be continuing all the activities and gatherings of course. But our future plan is to form the ‘senior-junior relationship.’ I think the unique Korean senior-junior relationship is what international students also need. In Korea, seniors assist juniors start their new lives as university students and they get friendly by frequent meetings and meals. This relationship is not what SISA could plan on, but we try to make such atmosphere where international students, regardless of their nationalities or majors, could form such relationships and become more united.”

The “Global SNU” project still in progress, more international students would be attending SNU. There are systems and school policies regarding international students to be improved, of course, but what is equally, and maybe more important is the attitude of both Korean and international students. “I’ve seen the ‘Dynamic Korea’ advertisement on CNN and thought that we, international students might have more influence to the world than the advertisement.” Kacar says. “When a foreigner visits, or lives in a foreign country, they leave with an impression on the country based on their experiences. Students who have enjoyed their stay in Korea would have a great impression on Korea throughout their lives; they would become a fan of Korea. But the system works the other way around, too. Once you get a bad impression on Korea, you may not ever change your thoughts. If all international students leave Korea with a good impression, the effect will be in further time, immense.”

Written by: Yum Sooyun