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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Health, love, and happiness: a very happy new year to you, to those you care for, and even more to those no one cares for.

And don't forget the second new year day (lunar calendar) : the year of the rabbit will start on February the 3rd.

Seoul Village 2011

Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 Seoul Town Meeting

A couple of weeks ago, OH Se-hoon was grilled by a JoongAng Daily reporter about previous Seoul Town Meetings, which didn't always give enough time for interactivity between city officials and international residents.

Kicked off by the Mayor himself, this edition was clearly a success : more time for Q&As, high ranking officials from all key departments with precise answers to all questions, and lively presentations by Hong Suk-ki (whose future report on Foreign communities should be a very interesting read - I hope it will be published in English as well) and Koo A-mi (confirming the city's ambitions in sustainable development - see all posts related to environment on Seoul Village). Under Alan Timblick's always careful watch, the show went just fine and on schedule, following a dense program but also a pleasant rythm.

I really appreciated the honesty of city officials : service and result oriented, never distant nor arrogant, never trying to dodge their responsibilities, frankly answering and acknowledging issues that can be improved, pledging to call back when they don't have the answer...

And that's the way Seoul works: the city wants to know what can be done to improve its global profile. A lot has already been achieved over the past few years, but more than ever, every citizen is invited to voice out suggestions or complaints 24/7/365 (as usual, Dasan 120 and the Seoul Global Center are the easiest entry point to get answers).

2010 Seoul Town Meeting program:
. Opening speech - Mayor OH Se-hoon
. Seoul Town Meeting updates - Alan Timblick
. Multiculturalism - presentations by Hong Suk-ki, Blaz Kriznik, and Tatiana Primakova
. Seoul's air quality - presentations by Koo A-mi, Nguyen Duc Luong
. Q&As

Seoul Village 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

La Celtique (Seoul)

The shortest way to Bretagne? La Celtique, between Sinchon Station and Ewha Womens University.

Signalled by its blue logo with a lighthouse, the creperie proposes the best galettes and crepes in town in a friendly environment. If you miss leek and great sausages, or if you want a far breton for dessert, Chef Charles Duval makes sure you get the real thing.

The food is great, and the place a perfect spot for a relaxing break with a view on the street, the sky, and even trees. Only the sea is missing to feel there.

Rain or shine, my favorite place in the area.

La Celtique / 라셀틱 (restaurant)
2nd Floor Changcheon-dong 5-10, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, ROK
Tel: +82.2.312.7774
Seoul Village 2010

Fantastic delicacies available for pick up (order in advance: contact the restaurant)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Drill, baby, drill !

Sirens in the air, fighter jets in the sky, and drills underground, following seris or articles in the press about what to do "when" (and not "if") North Korea attacks... authorities obviously needed to display some activity following recent embarrassments on the national security front :

- when Kim Jong-un attacked Yeonpyeong-do the other day (see "
We need to talk about KIM"), it took twelve minutes for the South to move their guns in the right direction and shoot. 12 mn !!! Holy Gimchi, with all this time, Kim's nukes can even watch Nanta on their way from Pyeongyang to Seoul.
- why in the first place none of the said guns was pointing in the direction of the enemy as ROK performed highly risky drills still puzzles me, but to add insult to injury (and death, for that matter), most shells missed their targets*
- defense ministers and army leaders keep resigning at a steady pace - when incompetence is not the issue, corruption scandals do the trick

The smartest answer local eggheads found to restore national pride was to cancel the planned reduction of military service in Korea (it went down from 24 to 21 months, and was to go all the way down to 17).

Maybe the right thing to do would be to go with the plan and reduce the average duration of the military service, but at the same time invest in a more compact, professional and motivated army.

Seoul Village 2010

* hopefully, NK intel was not that efficient either: among their targets, some army facilities had been for years converted into civil buildings

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seoul Skate to reopen Ice Rink on Seoul Plaza

After Gwanghwamun Square last winter (see "Winter Sports at Gwanghwamun Square", Seoul Square Skating Rink is back to Seoul Plaza from December (Friday the 17th) to February (Sunday the 13th).

Skating on Sejongno was more glamorous, and city hall remains under scaffoldings, but Seoul Plaza is much wider and suitable for ice skating.

As usual, the idea is to let as many citizens as possible enjoy the ride, which explains the very affordable price.

Operating hours: 10 AM to 10 PM (11 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays).
Cost: KRW 1,000 per hour including rental fee. NB: gloves are compulsory (some can be purchased on site for KRW 500).
Hotline: 02-3210.1267 / 02-3210.1268
Online reservation / cancelation : (also in English)

Seoul Village 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Project Obangsaek: a ROKumentary

Korean-American director Benson Lee ("Planet B-Boy") is exploring new ways to promote Korean culture with "Obangsaek" or "5 colors", an original concept mixing theatre, movie, and the web : a theatrical show, a documentary about the show, and an online platform to leverage on user generated contents.

Ultimately, this ROKumentary could change the way Korean culture, in all its diversity, is perceived overseas.

Target for completion : next year.

Stay tuned.

Seoul Village 2010

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