#7 on 50 Things about Korea – The Blue House (청와대)

Pardon the super-delayed update. I have been busy with school work lately. Now that the much anticipated long weekend is here, I’d better finish what I’ve started. #7 on my list is none other than The Blue House a.k.a 청와대 (Cheongwadae).

In short, The Blue House is the equivalent to US’ White House. Cheongwadae is the place where the President’s residence is situated and also where he administers the country’s affairs. I was quite excited when I saw that a visit to Cheongwadae is included in our itinerary. Even though I’m not sure if we get to have the official “Cheongwadae Tour” (since it is temporarily stopped because of the recent pandemic attack), but a sightseeing is alright too. I really want to see The Blue House up close.

The Main Building and its two annexes are covered with a total of 150,000 traditional Korean blue roof tiles (hence, the name “Blue House” is also commonly used when referring to Cheongwadae). The blue roof tiles are well known for their unique color and their outstanding durability. The President’s private office is located on the second floor while the First Lady’s office is on the first floor.

You might wonder why I’m so enthusiastic about visiting this place. Hehe. Am I THAT crazy about Korea that I’m interested in their politics too? Well, I can’t say that it’s 100% wrong, because I think I AM that crazy (lol), but the main reason is of course, because it was featured in one of my favorite dramas, “Lovers in Prague“. 😉 And again in “Formidable Rivals” (don’t really fancy this but the President’s son is HOT. ㅋㅋㅋ)

That’s all for now. Hope #8 is coming REAL soon. Hehe


#4 on 50 Things about Korea – Hanbok (한복)

My favourite idol group, SNSD with their hanboks.

The first time I saw hanbok in a drama (can’t really remember which drama), my comments were; ‘what a weird looking clothes! Those dresses make the women look fat… Kimono is way much better!’ And so I thought. Not long after, when the Korean culture slowly ‘gotten into me’ and my Dad (yes, you read it correctly. MY DAD! hehe) suddenly didn’t miss an episode of “Hwangjini” on tv, I fell in love with the beauty of this traditional clothing worn by Korean women.

I started to appreciate the uniqueness of the clothing and soon after, I even thought Hanboks were much better looking than all the western dresses. The authenthicity of the Hanboks and the fact that they are a part of the local culture,captured my interest.

Unlike Malaysian Baju Kurung that is still worn regularly by the women, that is not the case for the Korean Hanboks. These days, we can only see people wearing beautiful Hanboks for weddings, festivals or other special occasions.

Urbanisation and Westernisation have made wearing a Hanbok old fashioned. However, recently fashion designers are reinventing the Hanboks for more modern-looking designs to attract youngsters to wear them. What’s more, Hanboks are being recognised widely around the world.

I don’t know why that makes me PROUD. Lol. And oh, traditional clothes for men is also called Hanboks!

p/s – as I’m writing this, KBS World is showing a clip about a Hanbok Fashion Show. Wow, I do have chemistry with Korean culture, don’t I? Hahaha.

#2 on 50 Things About Korea – King Sejong The Great (세종대왕)

History never interests me. Not when I was studying in school, not now.  But I’m being biased. When KBS World premiered the historical drama “King Sejong” as its weekend drama last year, I almost didn’t miss an episode! I watched the story of one of Korea’s greatest leader, King Sejong with GREAT interest. I promise I won’t bore you with so many facts, because you can always Google for them. 🙂

The main thing that  one should know about King Sejong or Sejong The Great is that he was the king that created the Korean alphabets, Hangeul. King Sejong decided to create Korean own handwriting/alphabets because the Chinese characters are hard to learn and not all people can learn them (only aristocrats and royalties can learn to read and write at that time). He wanted his poor citizens to learn to read and write too, so he created the easy-to-write alphabets (more will be explained about Hangeul in another post).

To commemorate his meaningful contribution to the nation, King Sejong is featured on the 10000₩ [Korean Won] banknotes. I have such a special spot for this King. Perhaps it’s because of the drama that depicted his life in a very meaningful way. This was the ‘version’ of King Sejong that I was talking about. Hehehe.

More info, you can find it here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejong_the_Great