46th TOPIK?!

It is finally official! After a week of contemplating and debating with myself with thanks to a few people who helped me with the decision making, I have finally applied for the 46th TOPIK II paper. The only thing I am left to do is to print out my Application Form, which I need to bring with me to the examination venue, and pay the amount required.

I am not at all that confident that I’ll do well. But, unless I try, I’ll never know. My aim is to pass with a Level 4. I’m not sure if I can make it. If I do, 謝天謝地 (Thank heavens). If I don’t, 敗興而歸 (I’ll come back disappointed). Of course, I’ve come up with a game plan to tackle this challenge. Not really well thought through, but I guess it’ll have to do for now. I mean, it’s my first time. I’m not too sure what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. And now I introduce, my plan;

Given how much progress I’ve made with the Ewha level 4 textbook, I hope to finish it by the end of the month (February). By finish, I mean both the textbook and workbook. Then I hope to do a lot of the Ewha 5 textbook (and workbook, if I can afford it) through the month of March. With these two textbooks, I hope to learn – and retain – a lot of new vocabulary and grammar points. Hopefully, with those, I can do well in the 쓰기 (writing) section; I heard it’s quite difficult for the Intermediate students.

That’s mainly for the 쓰기 (writing) section. For the 읽기 (reading) section, I plan to do a lot of practice using the TOPIK past papers. I think, for this section I have to mainly be comfortable with complex sentences and be prepared for the types of themes that might come out. By preparing myself for the themes, I can roughly guess the meanings of new words when I see them. No? I really have no idea what to do to prepare for this section apart from doing past papers.

For listening, with thanks to Shanna’s advice on her blog, I will be getting myself used to all sorts of accents. This would mean I have to listen to quite a number of podcasts, documentaries and variety shows (for natural speech). Hope and pray that I don’t get too distracted and not pay attention to what I’m supposed to do! Hahahaha

If you have any tips or know-hows, please comment ^^ ❤

Korean Language Meet-up (23/01/16)

I went to my first Korean Language Meet-up today and met quite a number of new friends! (More about them towards the end of the post:D)

The Facebook RSVP Page stated that the meeting venue would be Raffles Place. Given my curfew hours, I arrived later and had to search for the place alone >< Google Maps DID NOT HELP! And thus, I was tricked. I could’ve taken the Downtown Line and arrived much quicker at Telok Ayer station. I blame myself for not Googling the place prior to leaving the house. Good job, Ryan. Great job!

Fast forward to when I arrived! In hopes of forgetting that tiring search! Honestly speaking, I really expected it to be awkward. But thankfully the people were full of warm welcomes! Although I started out being closer to the foreigners, I ended my day being closer to the locals. And throughout the day, I met quite a few awesome people; John, Won, Jorge, Jae-woong, Xinrong, Marsha (it was my first time meeting her), and Yuxing!

I spoke a little bit of Korean here and there. Still trying to rid of my shyness toward speaking Korean in public. Having learnt Korean diligently for three years, I understood a lot of what was being said in Korean. I do not thank my skills for that, I thank them for using simple sentences! But my hat goes off for Xinrong! I can see his determination towards learning the beautiful language. (Period Dramas FTW! Mainly for the language used in said dramas! haha)

And this is where I start talking about the things we did besides speaking about and in Korean. We started out at Bergs Gourmet Burger. I was there for about an hour or so before we made a move to another location. We of course to a group photo outside the restaurant before heading off to a loooong walk. #NoRegrets Despite the scorching hot weather, we actually walked the whole way from Bergs to Marina Bay. Since we had tourists with us, we stopped by the Merlion statue and took a lot of tourist-y shots before crossing a bridge and settling down at Toastbox.

But my favorite part of the whole journey is the roof terrace of *I forgot the name of the building*. It was so so beautiful! The sky constantly reminded me of Koizora! Although it looked nothing like Koizora, but the beauty just brought Koizora into mind! I really would love to visit the place again! It definitely was very relaxing to see the beautiful clouds and blue sky! Hearty Eyes throughout the rooftop scene!

Believe me, that beautiful place was where I started talking to Yuxing! Such a wonderful wonderful WONDERFUL human being! We share a mutual love in Korean, Japanese and books! We even share the same reason as to why we started our language learning journey in the first place – just for the fun of it! 天気な、かわいい人です!

I hope this friendship doesn’t end! To many more meet-ups and many more friendships~ ❤

With love,
Ryan xxoo



It’s been way too long! お久しぶりです!For that, I sincerely apologize~

I’ve been quite busy with O’levels, the results and also applying to my next stage in education. -Just a little insight into my life-

But let’s talk languages and New Years!

Happy New Year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! 明けましておめでとうございます!I hope that you get to fulfill all of your New Year’s resolutions this year and may it be full of blessings!

I’ve been learning Japanese a lot, recently and I’ve added that into my New Year’s resolutions list. Speaking of which, here is mine;

1: To improve my Korean greatly [More specifically, to be able to read novels without referring much to the dictionary]
2: To be able to speak and write Japanese at a high confident level [More specifically, to be able to read Koizora without much troubles]
3: To improve my own Mother Tongue immensely and sound more like a native who spoke it from birth [To those who don’t know, I’m a Malay and I pass my Malay examinations at a 63/100 average]
4: To get better at Mandarin [More specifically, to be able to read Cafe.Waiting.Love without much reference to the dictionary]

As you can see it’s very language-centered. But I really do hope to be able to achieve all these by the end of the year! I’ll of course be tryibg my best to post more throughout the year! Tell me your resolutions and how you’d go about achieving them!(:

Until next time,
Ryan xxoo


Sorry for the long wait! I posted on the nineth of last month that once I’ve gotten all my books, I’d write about them.

And guess what! The final few books finally came in a few days back! Couldn’t write it then due to tonnes of school work. A million apologies from my heart!

But let’s get started!

I will not go in any particular order!

1: Yonsei Korean 3
I have been wanting this series ever since I first started learning Korean. When I started learning Korean, the first blog I found was Shanna’s (hangukdrama.com) blog which had quite a lot of content! And immediately after reading her review on the Yonsei books, I fell in love! So, I went straight to Kinokuniya to check the price…

Oh god the horror. It was SGD107! What monster would ever actually pay that amount of money! So I ended up not buying until this year when I found a cheaper alternative – Internet Shopping. And so, I FINALLY GOT IT!

2: Lughatuna Al-Fusha BOOK TWO
Funny story as to how I got this one. I went to Kinokuniya after finding out about their 10% off sale. I was searching for an Arabic language learning resource. So I stood there, in front of the shelves, with my mom. Both of us were looking for good ones. And my mom came across this particular series. She took it, read the back and said that it seemed good. I took a look and I thought similarly(literally judging a book by it’s cover). The bad part was that the textbook was SEALED SHUT! So I just went with my mom’s instincts, y’know trusting her and all.

When I got home, I unwrapped the plastic covers enthusiastically. And again oh god the horror… THERE WERE NO ENGLISH! NONE, ZERO, NADA! I was thinking, meh maybe book two wouldn’t be so bad, y’know? Because the mumber two is usually not so bad. BUT GOODNESS WAS I WRONG! So now, I have to go find myself a teacher to make that book worth the money! I paid half of the $70!

3: Malice by Keigo Higashino
Am I the only one who finds it awkward to say Keigo Higashino instead of Higashino Keigo? No? Me alone? Okay then..

It’s goooood! I like the style of writing. I’m two chapters in and never once did I ever get bored! Many other books have this style of writing where they try to make it longer by describing things, which always end up boring me. But not this! The writing is simply so good that it’s practically one of my motivations to further my Japanese skills!

I can’t wait to finish it and read his other novels! Too good! TOO GOOD!

4: ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
Ever since the time my teacher gave out articles about the beheading of James Foley, this topic has intrigued me greatly! I wanted to know more about the groups. So I printed another article on my own and bought this book during Kinokuniya’s 10% off sale.

I haven’t read a word from it, therefore I can’t give my opinions on it yet. But I’m rather excited to read it.

I heard that it’s rather new – the topic and everything – so I’m a tad nervous about it. O just wish it won’t be horrible.

5: I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-sook Shin
I loved Please Look After Mother by her and I kind of wanted to read her other works. Since I stumbled upon this, I thought I should give it a go.

The original work is titled “어디선가 나를 찾는 전화벨이 울리고’ which sounds interesting – again, judging a book by it’s cover.

I have nothing much to say about this book pther than how excited I am.

6: Korean Composition
I kept seeing this around and I really wanted to improve on my Korean writing, so I went ahead and bought it.

I found that the insides were rather interesting but unless I’ve gone through a fair amount of the book, I can’t say much about it.

But for now, I’m just really really excited to go through all of them! Tell me your thoughts and opinions about these books if you’ve read/had them!

Possible TOPIK Questions (for my practice!)

저도 연습하야 하니까 이걸 보고 써보겠어요!

Seoul in Black and White

Possible TOPIK Questions:

< 자연 보존과 자연 개발 >

  1. 자연 보존과 자연 개발 중 어느 것이 더 중요하다고 생각하는가?
  2. 그렇게 생각하는 이유는 무엇인가? (2가지 이상 쓰시오.)

< 직업 선택의 조건 >

  1. 중요하게 생각하는 조건 세 가지는 무엇인가?
  2. 그 중에서 가장 중요하다고 생각하는 것은 무엇인가?
    그것이 왜 다른 조건보다 더 중요하다고 생각하는가?

< 행복한 삶의 조건 >

  1. 행복한 삶이란 무엇인가?
  2. 행복하게 살기 위해 충족되어야 할 조건은 무엇인가?

< 예술 교육의 필요성 >

  1. 예술 교육이 왜 필요한가?
  2. 예술 교육을 통해 얻을 수 있는 효과는 무엇인가?

< 토론에 필요한 자세 >

  1. 토론은 왜 필요한가?
  2. 토론을 잘하기 위해서는 어떤 준비를 해야 하는가?
  3. 상대방과 토론을 한 때에는 어떤 자세로 임해야 하는가?

< 선의의 거짓말이란 >

  1. 선의의 거짓말이란 무엇인가?
  2. 선의의 거짓말은 언제 필요한가?
  3. 선의의 거짓말이 가질 수 있는 문제점은 무엇인가?

< 경쟁의 긍정적인 면과 부정적인 면 >

  1. 현대 사회에서 경쟁이 심해지는 이유는 무엇이라고 생각하는가?
  2. 경쟁이 가지는 긍정적인 측면은 무엇인가?
  3. 경쟁이 미치는 부정적인 영향은 무엇인가?

여러분은 존경하는…

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Receiving books soon! (Hopefully)

If there is one thing I’m excited about, it is receiving books. Personally getting them yourself is an amazing feeling. Receiving them as a gift/reward is even better! I don’t know if it is just me or if everyone else feels the same way, but I am darn excited about it! I bet you can tell by now how excited I am!

Okay, okay, okay! I shall stop rambling and start explaining about the books I’ll be receiving! The way I list them has got nothing to do about which I am most excited or which I am least excited to receive! I repeat, NOTHING!

1. I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-sook Shin (신경숙의 어디선가 나를 찾는 전화벨이 울리고)
I loved her novel, Please Look After Mom (엄마를 부탁해). Read penty of reviews and all of them said that the book is good and, a lot like PLAM, the book leaves readers with things worth thinking of. Plus, the synopsis seems super interesting! Not to mention, I love her style of writing!

2. Malice by Keigo Higashino (東野圭吾の悪意)
I have always heard so many praises about his writing. I am not always a fan of mystery or thriller but I am willing to try this one out! I also heard as many praises about his novel, The Devotion of Suspect X(容疑者Xの献身) which I am very tempted to get my hands on!

3-4. Yonsei Korean 3 (연세 한국어 3)
I consider this two books because there are two parts to the level! The Yonsei books has always been in my favorites list. It went even higher up the list when I viewed the interior of the book. So, I guess this has got to be the book(or books) I am most excited about? Haha

5. Korean Composition by the University of Hawaii.
I guess this is directed to learners who wish to improve on their essay writing? I am not too sure either. I have only seen about three pages from the book, therefore I have not much knowledge on what the book teaches or who it is directed too. So, I guess you have to keep a lookout on the review of it? Haha! Suspense 😂

If you have the books and want to give your two cents on them, do leave your comments in the comment section! Love receiving feedback and love to read on your opinions! ☺

[Translation Practice #2] Integrated Korean Advanced Intermediate 1

사라 : 자, 실례지만 혹시 박영규 교수님 아니세요?

박교수 : 네, 맞는데요. 누구신가요?

사라 : 전 하와이대학에서 교환 학생으로 온 정사라라고 하는데요.

박교수 : 이 그래요? 반가워요. 그런데 날 어떻게 알지요?

사라 : 저, 작년 봄 하와이대학 한국학 연구소에서 교수님 강연을 들었거든요. 그렇지 않아도 연구실로 한번 찾아뵈려고 했었는데요.

박교수 : 아 그래요?

사라 : 교수님, 말씀 낮춰주세요.

박교수 : 그래 여기서 무슨 공부를 하려고 유학 왔지?

사라 : 한국 문학을 공부하려고요.

박교수 : 아 그래. 한국말이 유창한데 어디서 배웠지?

사라 : 전 다섯살 때 부모님을 따라 하와이로 이민 갔거든요. 부모님하고 한국말을 썼다가 영어 썼다가 그랬어요. 그리고 대학에서 한국 문학을 전공하고 있어요.

박교수 : 그래 대학원에서도 한국 문학을  전공할 건가?

사라 : 네, 한국 문학으로 박사 과정까지 공부해 보려고 해요.

박교수 : 한국에 있는 동안 많이 배우기 바래.

사라 : 네, 열심히 해 보겠습니다.

박교수 : 그럼 난 볼일이 있어서 이만 가 봐야겠는데 시간 날 때 한번 사무실로 찾아와.

사라 : 네, 교수님 감사합니다. 안녕히 가세요.

Sara: Excuse me, but aren’t you Professor Park?

Professor Park: Yes, I am. And you are?

Sara: I’m an exchange student from the University of Hawaii. I am Sara Jung.

Professor Park: Oh, really? It’s nice to meet you. But how did you get to know me?

Sara: In the spring of last year, I attended your lecture in the Centre for Korean studies at the University of Hawaii. In fact, I tried looking for you once, too.

Professor Park: Oh, really?

Sara: Professor, please lower your speech level.

Professor Park: Alright. What are you majoring in as an exchange here?

Sara: I came to major in Korean Literature.

Professor Park: I see. Your Korean is outstanding! Where did you learn it?

Sara: When I was five, I followed my parents immigrate to Hawaii. I kept switching between Korean and English with my parents. And I am majoring in Korean Literature in university.

Professor Park: I see. Are you majoring in Korean Literature even in graduate school?

Sara: Yes. I’m even thinking of taking up a doctoral course in Korean Literature.

Professor Park: I hope you study a lot during your stay here.

Sara: I will work hard.

Professor Park: Alright. I have some work to do, so I guess I better head off first. When you have time, come find me in my office.

Sara: Sure, Professor. Thank you. Goodbye.

[Translation Practice #1] Integrated Korean Advanced Intermediate 1

현대는 인간 관계의 시대입니다. 현대 사회만큼 인간 관계가 중요한 시대는 없었던 것 같습니다.

인간 관계가 얼마나 중요한가를 조사한 기관들이 있습니다. 미국의 카네기재단에서는 사회적으로 성공한 사람들 1만 명을 대상으로 “성공의 비결”을 알아보았습니다.

“어떻게 돈 많이 벌었습니까?”

“어떻게 승진이 빨랐습니까?”

“어떻게 그 힘든 일을 해냈지요?”

“어떻게 유명해졌습니까?”

이런 질문들에 대하여 놀랍게도 머리, 기술, 노력으로 성공한 사람이 불과 15%이고, 나머지 85%가 인간 관계를 잘 해서 성공했다는 겁니다.

또 하버드대학에서도 비슷한 조사를 했습니다. 하버드대학에서는 졸업생 중에서 실직자를 대상으로, “왜 직장을 그만두셨습니까?”하는 실직의 이유를 물어 보았습니다. 그 결과 일을 잘 못해서 쫓겨난 사람보다 인간 관계가 나빠서 그만두게 된 사람이 자그마치 두 배나 되었다고 합니다.

이 두 조사의 공통점은 무엇입니까? 한마디로 인간 관계의 중요성이죠. 다시 말해서 인간 관계가 좋은 사람은 성공하고 인간 관계가 나쁜 사람은 실패하기 쉽다는 결론입니다.

It is now the generation of human relations. I think there are no other generations where human relations are as important.

There is an organization that researches on just how important human relations are. The Carnegie Foundation in America interviewed one million people who are socially successful to find out their “secret to success”.

“How did you make so much money?”

“How did you get promoted so fast?”

“How did you do all those difficult works?”

“How did you become famous?”

With respect to the questions, only an astonishing 15% of the people succeeded through intelligence, skills or hard work. The remaining 85% succeeded because they got along with others well.

Also, a similar research is being carried out in Harvard University. In Harvard, they asked the unemployed alumni the reason to “why did you stop working?” Twice the number of people stopped working due to their inability in getting along with others as compared to the number of people who ran away due to them being unable to do their job well.

What are the similarities between the two researches? In a word, it is the “importance” of human relations. To sum it up, it is concluded that people who get along with others easily succeeds and people who do not get along with others easily fails easily too.

Your comments on how I can improve on my translation and whatnot is greatly appreciated! Do give feedback on how well or poorly I have translated the text! ^^

Proficiency tests

I personally believe that language tests should not be one which you study for. I think the only form of studying you should do is by always practicing your essay writing skills and by practicing your speaking skills. Because if you study for the tests, it only shows how well you do on paper. You may get a TOPIK level six but still suck at speaking because all you do is learn grammar, learn vocabulary and everything within those lines but you totally ignore the speaking aspect if learning a language.

It would be highly ironic for me to give this advice, because I surely do not do it myself, but you should practice more by speaking more to others. Speaking to yourself, like what I do most of my day(call me crazy), is good to a certain extent but you will not know whether you have made mistakes or not. Because the aim here is to practice speaking as much as you can, most preferrably with advanced learners or actual natives! Given how most advanced learners can speak ultimately well, they will obviously be able to spot your mistakes and teach you the correct way of saying whatever it is you were saying.

But these advanced learners play a huge roll in this too! If they are the type to rudely correct you and not teach you, most definitely it will discourage you to practice any more. Because by then, you would feel embarrassed and scared to speak to other people. You want them to teach you nicely and properly, not shoot you with your mistakes.

Slowly take your time to learn a language. Do not feel like taking a proficiency exam would help “improve” yourself. It will only make your language skills better by a certain amount. And most of the time, speaking is most important and in most proficiency exams, it is not even tested. So make sure you really want the certificate(be it for education in that country, or to become a translator, etc.) then you should go for it!

Do remember that I will always be here for support and that I am always appreciative of comments(:

Good luck learning that language^_^