Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Seasons Greetings

This year has been a good one for us. Ashley is walking and starting to talk. Thus far, she has learned to say "Omma" (Mum), "Appa" (Dad), "Ji-Ji" (dirty) and "Mul" (water).

Our hands are full most of the time, but we count it as a good thing.


Wishing you all a happy festive season and a productive 2013. 

More blog posts coming in the new year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quotes About Aging

 “All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan 

Watching children play is one of the most enjoyable pastimes in the world. It reminds us that there are many fun things in life that we adults have long since forgotten about.

Like finding oneself within a pillowcase.

As the leaves fall from the trees, autumn in Seoul begins its departure. We, the Farrand Family of Korea, like to spend the waning days of extended twilight within the confines of Hoam Faculty House, a residential cafe on campus. 

An afternoon on a swinging family chair signifies a Sunday well spent.

Baengy has reached the point where she can understand what it means to chill out. Prior to this, her being quiet and motionless while awake was usually just a case of her resting or obliviously waiting for something unknown. 

Chilling is generally enjoyed by adults, and one's ability to chill vastly improves one's standing amongst them.


"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
- Emilie Buchwald

Mrs Farrand is the biggest contributor of reading time to our budding bookworm. I do what I can, but am unable to match her range and skill in voice acting. All my animal voices, be it an elephant, pig, alligator or giraffe, all sound curiously similar. 

How does one distinguish between different reading voices for an elephant and a hippopotamus?

Even when reading time is over, Baengy will pick up books and read them to herself. She'll turn the pages one by one and add careful narrative baby chatter to each, even if the book is upside down. 

In the photo above, she's reading 1984.

Although we humans stopped digging for edible roots with our bare hands some time ago, evolution has yet to slow down our fingernail growth accordingly. And it recently became apparent to us that our daughter doesn't appreciate having hers clipped. Perhaps she's saving them for a digging expedition.

What we need is an evolutionary process we can communicate more effectively with.


Shopping these days has become a more colourful affair with the inclusion of our very own embedded Quality Control Officer. Baengy will poke, squeeze and occasionally taste-test any goods that are placed within her area of jurisdiction.

Items that are not to her liking are frequently tossed overboard.


“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” 
- Robert Frost

After months of observation, we've concluded that Baengy loves fountains like a fat kid loves cake. Perhaps it's the allure of dynamic motion or the temperature shock associated with the cold rush of water on a hot day. 

I like to think it has something to do with her future career in the broad field of nanobiological microfluidics engineering.

When the nights are warm and she's finished her fountain play, she'll happily sit on our table and munch on her favorite gangnaengy snacks.

Drenched in the fountain of youth.

Anthony Nguyen remains a staunch friend leading a parallel life of parenthood in Busan, with his wife and baby daughter. A few years ago we'd be egging each other on to drink yet another bottle of soju at the barbecue table. These days we hold lengthy discussions on the wonders of baby development.

“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

We recently went to the Seoul Zoo, as a welcome escape from the Zoo of Life that entails the daily happenings of the Farrand household.

The Seoul Zoo is a typical family-oriented quasi-industrial entertainment complex designed to handle large volumes of human traffic while simultaneously selling copious amounts of disposable toys.

In the photo above, Baengy is communicating to the kid next to her "Why are you standing so far away from the action?" in baby eye-contact language. We have observed that she, in general, is not scared of animals. She's had close encounters with all manner of bugs, dogs, sheep, cows and horses without batting an eyelid. 

A lady once held a chihuahua right next to Baengy, who was being held by Mum at the time. They glared at each other in a kind of hierarchical showdown of willpower. Seconds seemed like minutes. After an indeterminable period of silence, Baengy broke the impasse by reaching out, grabbing the dog's nose and twisting it counter-clockwise. 

The dog pulled back, sneezed and withdrew its head in defeat.

As each sheep stuck it's head out to nibble on the dried grass, Baengy went around sinking her paws into their wool and pinching their ears.

Although in retrospect, I think she probably mistook them for carpeted toys.

She also fed this giant rabbit for some time, before deciding to poke it in the eye with her thumb. The rabbit just closed it and pretended to sleep. 

It must be a pretty liberating feeling to be a rabbit that no longer fears giant babies.

After any big day like one at the zoo, Baengy's brain needs to process the treasure trove of new information obtained. She'll pass out in a plethora of awkward positions and remain comatose for approximately 45 minutes.


“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.”
- Peter De Vries

For centuries, Western medicine advised unsound remedies like blood-letting and mercury poisoning to cure ailments. 

On a completely unrelated note, at our local Wondang markets, a new shop selling clinically-untested traditional remedies has opened. Some in Korea have strong opinions for or against such things.

The various forms of alchemy on offer involve live turtles, eels, white snails and silkworms.


Here's a photo of Steve, Jooyeoun and Lienna, celebrating Oktoberfest at Beer Terrace. Funnily enough, our topic of conversation that night drifted toward this blog, and now they're on it. 

Is this yet another case of metacircularity?


“Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.”
- Winston Churchill

Here we are, celebrating the Obama victory in Itaewon with Ian Kim. I can't claim to be very knowledgeable when it comes to politics, although I do find it fascinating. I was happy with the election result, because Obama's stance on most issues are in line with principles I agree with, which include LGBT rights, generally reasonable foreign policy, compulsory healthcare and higher taxes for higher earners.

Taxing the rich proportionally higher might stir up debate in terms of fairness. But excuse the narrow analogy if one may contend that it's probably better to put more money in the hands of the poor than for the same money to be used to buy someone another Ferrari. 

Ian Kim is Daniel Pak's cousin, whom I have known since our middle school years in Adelaide. Ian has grown into a rock of a man with strong values and ideals, contributing a substantial amount of his own money toward the Obama campaign.

“The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime.”
- Pink Floyd

We're pretty sure that Baengy is going to follow Ian's example and grow into a rock of a lady.
She already has strong opinions on the quantity of rice she will eat at any one time.


“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Here's Baengy and mother, visiting the outdoor area of the maternity ward where Heather will give birth to our second child next Spring.

Time is just rocketing by these days.

And for our final photo today, the columns above are Homeplus virtual supermarkets found in the subway stations here. Instead of stocking products on shelves, pictures of various grocery items are displayed. You can use your phone to take photos of the QR code underneath any product that you want to buy and send it to the Homeplus website. Within a couple of hours the goods are delivered straight to your house. It reminds me of that old song "Video Killed the Radio Star." 

A sign of the times really.

Here in Korea, as the weeks turn into months and the groceries turn into pictures of groceries, I can't help but wonder whether the correlation between my increasing age and an accelerating decline of the familiar is something worthwhile to mourn.

“It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone.” 
- Andy Rooney

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wriggle One's Hips

We here at Lee's Korea Blog have never been shy of the catwalk. We've also been quite fond of dog walks, when the opportunity arises. No matter the flavour of walk you're into, this post is dedicated to educating our valued readers on some of the biggest names in the baby fashionverse.

One of the labels causing us the most excitement this year has got to be Wriggle One's Hips. This outstanding lineup from none other than the extraordinary designer Von Incognito is characterised by sophisticated chic motifs and minimalist pastels. You may notice that the four animals on the front of this piece are all facing rearward.

We noticed it too!

Hot on the heels of Wriggle One's Hips and demanding star attention is the exclusive upcoming haute couture label, Ducks are Good. We immediately fell in love with the loose silhouettes and summer palettes of this season's releases. Modeling this piece is one of the biggest bangs in fashion history, Big Baengy, who now meets all requirements of the Institute for Modeling Ethics (at least 15 months of age and weighs more than 8 kilos).

An irresistible combination: the latest Ducks are Good t-shirt, with matching Duckling pants and Apples jacket.

Pure genius!

Fruity Cutie makes its much anticipated return to Farrand Fashion week, after it's successful debut at last year's event held in the fashion hotzone of Living Room. This much-coveted label has released its hottest lineup inspired by Polish gypsies, who have been known to eat watermelons.

Unless you've been living under a rock and not paying attention to any of the biggest tabloids for over a week, chances are you've already heard of the Nameless Brand. Just to clarify, the brand itself isn't called 'nameless', but of course, is referred to by that name because there are no tags or branding present on their items. Is this perhaps a cheeky designer's nod toward the immaterialist views of Irish philosopher George Berkeley? We like to think so!

The floral print on the green pants has been executed perfectly. We sure hope they release it in adult sizes before next summer, or we'll have nothing to wear.

Whoever it was that first uttered the phrase "the night is young', most likely said it because they couldn't stop thinking about these pink pyjamas from Winnie the Pooh.
The wrap-around stylings and bold colours are a dead giveaway in identifying the designer's obvious penchant for samurai futurism.

This matching two-piece with chef's hat and apron brings hints of comic nostalgia to the catwalk, as we hilariously recall the outrageous mishap that occurred when two minor celebrities wore this exact same outfit to the 2008 Oscars. We remind our readers that such embarrassment can easily be avoided by employing your very own fashion consultant from LKB Fashionistas, quite a worthwhile investment considering the endless benefits to be had.

Another label subjected to much anticipation this year was Traditional Hanbok Inc., who did not fail to impress the A-list guests by again revealing their deft hand at couture-quality finishes.

Our photographers were out on the streets all week, busily catching up on the latest trends in celebrity fashion. Seen here is Ashley Farrand, fooling no-one as to her true identity while she attempted to shop anonymously at E-Mart in a light cosmopolitan summer blouse. Apparently she thought that her Michael Jackson-inspired sunglasses would hide her from our camera clicks. The fashion diva has got to do better than that to escape the radar of our shrewd photographers!

Having settled down from the plume of scandal surrounding her crying outburst in the Subway, we also spotted Ashley at Robert and Jisun's wedding. These photos by our undercover photographer had the critics unanimously raving throughout the fashionverse. It seems that with her sheer gravity of starpower, Ashley is single-handedly attempting to bring back the long-forgotten combination of mini-skirt, hoodie and balloon.

Here again we see Ashley hitting the streets of Gwanak-gu in plain view. Our offices were abuzz for days after receiving this photo, showing her choice of giraffe shirt and blue stretchy pants, a riot of colour and wit.

Rumor has it that she was needlessly obssessing over her choice of socks before venturing outside in this outfit. Our fashion analysts have concluded that it was a bold choice that seems to have paid off.

These latest paparazzi photos appear to have caught Ashley off-guard as she sits in a car with her third boyfriend in 3 months! We can't help but point out their matching feminine-masculine sandals, as Boyfriend Number 3 hurriedly tries to start the car and escape our camera flashes.

But not before we managed to snap this front-on beauty! It seems that Ashley has a thing for clean-shaven guys with strong arms. We noticed that the car also has a painting of a car on the bonnet, which is a very fitting reminder of the vehicle type. One thing that puzzles us though, is why there are two steering wheels. Is it a sign of their imminent parting-of-ways? We hope not!

And to Ashley we say, "Although your daddy doesn't approve of your new boyfriend, he says don't come home too late!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Funny English #6

My time here in The Korea has been both burnished and brightened by grammarly rules bent, and others broken, courtesy of our enduring friends on the peninsula.

For those of you unacquainted with Funny English, it's a delightful documentation of instances of English that this young blogger finds amusing.

This happy message on a vending machine greets subway commuters every morning at Nakseongdae Station. 

Here at Lee's Korea Blog we wish all readers a feeling fine day, everyday.

The chefs work very hard in this restaurant. 

You can almost taste their efforts.

This enigmatic zen kōan continues to confound teams of monks in the Korean highlands.

Here in Seoul, we can cookies. But unfortunately we can't grammar too well.

As a person who considers myself somewhat internationalised, this chess set is essential for handling the world's inescapable globalisation.

One might be forgiven for thinking that a simple spell check could have picked up the errors in 'Seoul Metorpol itan Government'.
Before they carved it into a metal mold for manhole covers. 

And placed 4500 of them all over the city.

This old poster has been left in our building's elevator, and is written mostly in Korean hangeul. Fortunately for the non-hangeul readers out there, the event's name is spelled out phonetically in English.

One only needs to ask "How can I get to Cantata UBOOSASISA?"

Approximately half of my time at university is spent doing research. The other half is spent methodically deciphering translated official documents that I need to fill out.

Here's a note that I found on my desk one afternoon, left by our lovely admin staff. It was referring to an invoice problem for our office chairs.

This is our university mail client. Especially around lunch time, I like to send many Ham Messages.

There are many suspicious backronyms in the world of university student clubs that appear to contravene the purposes of choosing a backronym in the first place.

This one, SOCSOC, is one of the finest examples.

The popular K-blogger Roboseyo may be interested in a pizza that was named after him, from "Elnopim Pizza".

Snapped while on the move, deep in the cavernous batcaves of Sillim E-Mart's underground parking lot.

The politically correct term would be 'Parking Personless Office.'

The disposable cup industry in Korea contributes to approximately 20% of GDP. The remainder is composed of the Parking Personless Office industry and Robster Pizza delivery.

What we're looking at in this picture is the delectable image of fried chicken in the middle, with cherry tomatoes strewn across a picnic table in an idealistic vision of what will happen the moment such chicken is purchased for only 9,000 7,000 won.

Although I guess the 'Siandard Oil' box in the background is a simple spelling error, the more pertinent question would be "Who garnishes their fried chicken with black gold?"

Here's an example of an excellent, but terrible motto.

Found on the front cover of the KTX Magazine.

And this is what you wake up to if your baby daughters consume too many beans the night before.

To lead us out of this episode's Funny English is an amazing one-piece retailing for only W10,000 at our local Wondang markets. These days, who wouldn't want to be known as a Truck Furniture Maker?

The previous episode of Funny English is available here.

Have a feeling fine day!