Seoul and Its Happy City Project
According to the recent statistics of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the number of foreign residents of Seoul is estimated at around 250,000, taking up 2.5% of Seoul’s total population.
This is an increase by 100,000 people within the last 3 years – a stupendous increase, indeed. This signifies just how fast Seoul is turning into a global and multicultural city.
Then how satisfied are the over 250,000 international residents living in Seoul?
According to the survey conducted in November 2009 on foreigners who had been living in Seoul for more than one year, their degree of satisfaction scored 3.8 out of 5 points, which is an increase for three consecutive years.
<Foreigners at “Hi Seoul Festival” (Flickr.com)>
But of course, there are things to be improved. To that end, Seoul city has launched the “Happy City Project” which includes various support programs for foreigners in communication, multiculturalism, solving everyday problems and obstacles, and so on.
The project focuses on 15 foreigner-dense areas designated as “Global Zones” which include the Seoul City Hall area, Yeoksam, Samsung, Yeouido, Ichon, Itaewon, Hannam, Yeonnam, Seorae Village, Myeongdong, Insadong, Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, etc.
Also, the construction of the “Global Cluster Building” will begin in May, which will include a one-stop help center for foreigners and chamber of commerce offices of various countries.
The “Global Business Help Center” will open in mid-May in COEX with the aim to help foreigners set up small to medium-sized businesses in Korea. And the on-site consultation service, where a batch of staff visits areas with high concentrations of foreigners, will be further streamlined.
<Entrance to the Seoul Global Center>
Last January, 14 additional multicultural family support centers opened in Seoul, which makes a total of 20 such centers. A web site (http://mcfamily.seoul.go.kr) designed to provide information on Seoul city and job vacancies for foreign spouses was launched in five languages including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, English and Korean.
A support center for migrant workers has also been operating, providing Korean-language classes that put focus on industrial site-related vocabulary. There is also the International Student Forum, and the foreign students support desks at major universities that provide counseling and information on Korea for international students.
<The Friendship Fair at “Hi Seoul Festival”>
Various cultural performances will take place in Mugyo-dong “Global Street” near the Seoul City Hall, and flea markets for foreigners will be held at the Seoul Folk Flea Market in Sinseol-dong. Furthermore, the Seoul Help Center for Foreigners is going to sponsor 16 foreign community festivals including the Mongolian Naadam Festival and the Irish Folk Dance Festival.
For medical services, the current 11 medical centers for foreigners will be expanded to 17 by 2012, and a Global Open Health Center will be launched in Yeongdeungpo-gu and Geumcheon-gu districts in May, where treatments for pregnant women and infants from multicultural families will be provided.
<Foreigners in the subway (Flickr.com)>
In terms of public transportation, sign panels will be furnished in a number of foreign languages at every subway station, and so will the Seoul city subway map. Also, 26 administrative forms frequently filled out by foreigners will be translated into Chinese and Japanese in addition to English and Korean. Tax notices, too, will have its contents written in both Korean and English.
Likewise, Seoul city is making efforts to create a truly global Seoul that is a wonderful city not only for Koreans, but for all the foreign residents and visitors in it as well!
taken from http://blog.naver.com/korea_brand/10086193376
The Magical Beauty of Hanbok
There are many things that may represent Korea. One among them is the Korean traditional dress “hanbok.”
Although nowadays few people wear hanbok except on national holidays like New Year’s Day, the beauty and elegance of the garment is always amazing.
Stitch by stitch, making a beautiful hanbok takes great craftsmanship, effort, and passion. It depends on how you choose the right combination of colors among infinite possibilities; how you cut, fold, stitch up patches of cloth together; how you sew patterns onto it, etc.
Hanbok has some magical quality about its color and texture that even the modern digital technology can’t really simulate on the screen.
Patterns of flowers and butterflies sewn into the cloth radiate the artist’s craftsmanship and subtlety. Wearing hanbok, you can just feel the artist’s heart oozing out of it. There are no fixed set of rules or formula to follow in making hanbok. How the garment is rendered is solely at the discretion of the hanbok-maker.
Hanbok takes into account the wearer’s body shape, comfort, and beauty, all at the same time. It is one of Korea’s greatest assets containing its people’s indelible, age-long wisdom.
Despite the garment’s much fallen popularity among people nowadays, the passion and perseverance of hanbok artists endures.
Hats off to the hanbok makers – protectors of one of the most precious Korean assets.
taken from http://blog.daum.net/korea_brand/476