Page 1

June - July 2017


Money & Finance

What’s in Your Wallet? Dream “Jobs” for Your Kids Rich Experiences in Seoul


The Dynamic Duo at the Gala

S E O U L I N T E R N AT I O N A L W O M E N ’ S A S S O C I AT I O N Enhancing lives through friendship, Empowerment and Charity

Editor: Monica Williams

Editorial Team: Robin Carney, Anne Choe, Michelle Morrison, Veronica O’Connor, Greta Tonnon

Contributors: Mhyla Borkowski, Anne Choe, Arcadia Kim, Mariya Maderich, Veronica O’Connor, Eun-jee Park, Sandhya Ramabadran, Georgia Scott, Jinhi Sohn, Neeti Virmani Art Director: Georgia Scott

Sponsorship Chair: Arcadia Kim All photos used by Discovery magazine, unless otherwise stated, have been provided by SIWA vendors or members and are the property of SIWA. Photographers who donate photos for SIWA’s use retain the rights to their photos. Contributions Welcomed! Discovery is published bimonthly (six issues per year) by SIWA, with articles and content written by our members and associations. It is distributed exclusively for SIWA members and sponsors. All opinions expressed in these articles are those of the respective authors and may not reflect the official position of SIWA. All rights reserved SIWA 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of SIWA. For submissions and questions, email discoveryeditor@siwakorea. com. To advertise in Discovery, email sponsorsiwa@siwakorea.com Mailing address: SIWA Seoul Finance Center Level 21, 135 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea 04520 www.siwakorea.com Stay connected:




President’s Message


Editor’s Message


SIWA Spotlight: Courtney Dunn-Snede



Some Enchanted Evening: the 2017 SIWA Gala


Meet the Dynamic Duo Behind the Gala


Podcasts that Will Help You Live Richer


Korea Moves Toward a Coinless Society


Life in Seoul

Membership Has its Privileges



What’s in Your Wallet?


Korean Lesson

Weekend Travel Playing Tricks at the Museum


Finding Peace on a Temple Tour


SIWA NEWS President’s Message

Kiva: Loans That Change Lives What would you say to the opportunity to impact someone’s life with a loan as little as US $25? An investment in someone’s future opportunity at an equal chance at life? Poverty, often the result of systemic violence, is the root cause of much suffering around the world.  While there isn’t much I can do to mitigate the violence, I have the ability to empower someone who wants to stand on her own two feet.  I have been making loans through Kiva since 2009.  Kiva is a microfinance platform founded by Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery in 2005 to connect online lenders with entrepreneurs around the globe. Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Over the past eight years, I have made numerous loans to men and women in different parts of the world such as Uganda, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ecuador.  One of the borrowers was a man starting a bicycle repair shop in a rural village in Ibanda, Uganda.  He needed money to buy bicycle parts and stock up his shop; his profile showed loan amounts of $2,250.  I funded him $150 and within a couple weeks 65 other lenders came together to meet his loan request.  Rose, a single mom to four young children from Killifi, Kenya, was seeking a loan of $100 to start a small grocery store.  She was an entrepreneur who wanted to ensure she’d meet her family’s daily needs as well as make tuition payments for her children to attend school.   My loan to Rose was $50.   Adolat, a 22-year-old from Vakhsh, Tajikistan, was looking to borrow $200 to purchase a sewing machine to start her business.  I funded $25 of the $200 requested and powered by another seven Kiva lenders, her loan was also fulfilled. The Kiva platform does not operate on a charity model, but rather on empowerment and personal accountability.   Kiva loans give opportunities to people who would not otherwise qualify for tradi-


June - July 2017


tional loans from conventional banks. To my pleasant surprise, none of the loans I’ve funded in the past eight years ever went into default and the majority of the borrowers paid me back within 9-15 months.  I always re-lend my repayments, making my dollars work for the better for someone else.  Although Kiva lenders do not receive interest on their loans, I receive in dividends the greatest satisfaction knowing that I made a difference and helped people who wanted to improve their lives for the better.  

Consider empowering someone through Kiva

1.6 million lenders 2.4million borrowers 83 countries 97% repayment rate 1

US $ billion loans funded

SIWA NEWS Editor’s Message Dear SIWA members, You spoke and we heard you. Thank you so much for feedback on the one-year anniversary of Discovery going digital. Your opinions are valuable. Most of you said you read the magazine when you receive it and the majority of you prefer the digital format that we currently use. According to the one-year survey, the most important Discovery features to you are SIWA news and activities, tips on Seoul, travel features and interviews. In the new membership year, I will bring you more of what you’re interested in. We’re also adding more

content to our blog, found on our new SIWA website: www.siwakorea.com/category/blog. Meantime, in this issue, Veronica O’Connor gives you some ideas on where to explore Seoul on a budget while Sponsorship Chair Arcadia Kim tells you about her obsession with Kidzania, the role-playing theme park for kids. If you missed our annual Gala or the Sudeok-sa Temple stay, read about it inside. Because this is our finance issue, we share how to save money in Seoul with SIWA-only discounts and via point-card programs offered by retailers. Thank you for taking the time to read. We hope you enjoy. Please continue to send me your thoughts, ideas and suggestions: discoveryeditor@siwakorea.com Happy summer.

Welcome New SIWA Leaders Arcadia Kim, Sponsorship Chair Arcadia joined SIWA in 2015 as the Archivist and instantly fell in love with SIWA’s deep history. This inspired her to take on the challenge of Sponsorships. Arcadia has nearly a decade of experience in strategy, development, and management in the entertainment industry, where she last served as the Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts Los Angeles. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. A Jersey-girl transplant via California, Arcadia has lived in Seoul since 2006 and considers herself a “lifer.”

Ellie Lee, Public Relations Chair Ellie is currently serving as the Public Relations Chair of SIWA. A native of Seoul and a Canadian citizen, she majored in International Relations at Seoul National University and then went off to earn a B.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ellie owned and managed Kids Gallery (a Hong Kong-based arts academy), before assuming her current role as Executive Director of a medical foundation near Seoul. Married to an academic, she is the proud mother of three children: Natalie, a college sophomore; Phoebe, a budding teenager; and Toby, a delightful 6-year-old boy.

Tugsuu Nuudel, Hospitality Chair and Facebook Manager Otgontugs “Tugsuu” Nuudel moved to Seoul in 2012 and gained her first experience with SIWA volunteering for the Bazaar in 2014. A Mongolian working in the tourism business for several years, she also obtained an MBA in hospitality from Sookmyung Women’s University, which predestines her for the job as SIWA Hospitality Chair. Otgontugs studies Korean and actively supports her husband’s company. The new mom as of Spring 2017 enjoys cooking, sewing, playing the guitar and traveling.

Sponsors Premium Platinum



June - July 2017

Finance Issue


SIWA Spotlight


Courtney Dunn-Snede, Project leader for SIWA’s new website By Neeti Virmani What inspired you to join the SIWA leadership team? Honestly, I was inspired by the fear of being bored! When I moved to Seoul I did not know a single person in Korea. My kids had just started fulltime school for the first time so I was alone most of the day. I worried that I would have nothing to do but watch Netflix by myself. I looked online for expat clubs, discovered SIWA, and decided to go to a coffee morning. I remember feeling intimidated when I arrived because I didn’t have anyone to sit with, but I ended up next to another new person and we had a good time. By coincidence, on the table was a list of open volunteer positions, most of which were related to my field of business. I took it as a sign and checked everything I thought I could do. Shortly afterward, I met Mhyla & Robbie and the rest is history! Which SIWA project were you most passionate about and still remains close to your heart? I enjoyed every role I had within SIWA but the Bazaar is the one closest to my heart. It was a huge commitment but also rewarding. Organizing that event is how I really made strong connections with people and I truly enjoyed doing something challenging. It was a great opportunity to learn more about SIWA and different organizations in Seoul, and give something meaningful back to Korea. Who taught you the most during your career? I’m lucky to have a lot of role models in my life but I‘d say that my mom taught me the most. When

she went to college she was only given the choice of two majors (teaching and nursing) because those were the only ones available for women. Over time more opportunities became available and she worked hard to switch fields, even earning a PhD in the process. Before she retired she became a leader in a male-dominated field. When she attended conferences she was often the only female and it was quite difficult. Seeing her persevere through was inspiring. She taught me about not being discouraged, and to stay focused on your goals. What is the biggest challenge facing leaders? It’s difficult to inspire others to share your vision. You have to have a certain amount of knowledge and skill to even have a good vision for a company or project, but in order to achieve that vision everyone needs to understand it and believe in it too. It takes motivational, communication and managerial skills to lead successfully and that’s hard. Factor in how busy people are and how fast things change, etc. and I think it can be overwhelming. What advice would you give to someone going into a SIWA leadership position for the first time? Speak up! Even if you just joined SIWA or recently moved to Seoul, your opinion is valid and appreciated. Don’t wait for another volunteer to ask you what you think, or set boundaries for you. Take charge of the role you accepted, and let others know what you need to accomplish your goals within SIWA. And have fun! June - July 2017

Finance Issue


SIWA NEWS SIWA’s 2017 Charity Gala

It wasn’t yet midsummer but the night of the SIWA Annual Charity Gala was a dream, with the Conrad Hotel decorated like an enchanted forest. The 23.9 million won in proceeds raised from the evening will support three deserving charities in Korea: the Jeon Jin Sang Clinic, Myongdo (The Bright Way) Welfare Center and the Green Dream Facility at Dream Tree, all of which were recognized at the Gala.

23.9 million won raised 35 bottles in the 168 distinguished guests wine pull 432 LED lights submerged 1 50 8

June - July 2017


husband risked life and limb to scale a ladder Raffle Choice and Silent and attach the Auction Prizes distributed backdrop

in water to illuminate the centerpieces



Sonali Rao, left, with Anne Choe

SIWA’s second largest fundraising event included a cocktail hour with an open bar, four-course dinner, silent auction, raffles, lots of dancing and a performance by The Painters: HERO, an innovative group that blends drawing with mime, dance and comedy.

By Anne Choe Sonali Rao was selected among many well-deserving candidates to be recognized as the Volunteer of the Year at the Annual Charity Gala on April 8. As Hospitality Chair, she ensured not only Coffee Mornings were fun and enriching experience for our members, but also brought the event to the next level of excellence. A mom to two toddler girls with busy schedules, she was never deterred from taking on additional key responsibilities for the Bazaar, Gala and many other SIWA activities. She embodies teamwork. Her meticulous organizational skills, neverending enthusiasm, and beautiful smile were great assets to SIWA’s success in many ways during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Congratulations Sonali! June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Behind SIWA’s Gala Chair Jinhi Sohn and Raffles/Silent SIWA Spotlight

Auction Manager Arcadia Kim tackled their first SIWA gala, a gargantuan role and the first time the new members worked together. They interviewed each other for Discovery and share their thoughts on verbal blowups, pink dresses and finishing each other’s sentences.

I worked with the team during the Bazaar as the raffles manager and really enjoyed my time and working with these incredible women. I learned a lot more about SIWA and was really impressed with the whole organization. The moment when volunteers “got” me ... they finally started to understand my style, knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. Five of us were at the terminal shopping around for decorations and it was like an epiphany hit and we just kinda knew how the gala would pan out. Lucky for me, we were all on the same page. The second time I guess was when Andrea Park who agreed to take on entertainment said to me, “If I’m gonna do my job, you gotta let me do my job.” It was exactly how I feel about a task. She just kept bringing in one great act after another. The Executive Committee presented a theme to me that they thought up to save the new gala

10 Discovery

June - July 2017

Arcadia Kim and Jinhi Sohn take a photo break at the gala.

I had never been to a SIWA Gala or been part of the Bazaar, but I knew that I wanted to be part of the excitement of planning something bigger than myself. I saw the energy and the anticipation for the gala, and I guess I got caught up! Jinhi said, “It’s easy. All you need to do is print out a few pages and set up some acrylic stands.” I should have suspected trickery then, but she also said, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you.” Once I sat down with Robbie Schuldt (Truth Teller), and she walked me through what the actual job entailed, it started to sink in that managing the gala prizes was not a simple task. As I started to dig into the list of the prizes and the potential money we could raise, I wanted to elevate the Silent Auction and Raffle for the evening. In many ways, because you gave me the space to really own the whole process, I felt a personal desire to make it as great as it could be. And going through


Biggest Night Jinhi Sohn continued

chair time in planning, but I just wasn’t feeling it or comfortable with it. I always envision galas with long flowing dresses and dashing men in tuxedos. And although people kept telling me the SIWA gala is not as formal, I still envisioned long flowing dresses in pastels, which is why I liked “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and why I asked people to wear long and flowy pastels. I apologize to everyone for wearing a short black dress at the last minute. I did order two dresses but neither fit or looked good, which is why we left Arcadia wearing pink. MANY times I wanted to just walk away... When someone sent me a copy of a newspaper article about our first entertainment act that we had been in talks with for three weeks not recontracting due to THAAD and the gala was only a month away, it was very stressful, to say the least. The highlight? When we nabbed The Painters HERO. I was so happy when they finally agreed to perform for us! There was another disaster on the day of the gala. The Conrad Hotel, while usually serene and quiet, was like a flea market or something. There were so many people bustling about the hotel and chaos in the lobby, that I was getting so stressed. But I grit my teeth and kept working. If I have to name one person who kept me going during the past few months, I’d have to say it was Arcadia, our Raffles/Silent Auction manager. I would go bonkers and then she would clean up the mess. I would verbally blow up and she would translate so that people understood. She knew just when to ask if I needed help. She just

knew... (Laughter).. Arcadia, does this make up for the pink dress??? Arcadia Kim continued

the process once was a firestorm, one that me and the team survived and came out much wiser. If I did it again, it could be even better. There are so many fun stories! But one that sticks out is when Morgane Trompette and I were writing all of the descriptions for the Choice Raffle. I think we were a bit loopy, because we couldn’t stop laughing when we were trying to flower up a gift set with plastic flippers, sunscreen, and a speaker. You would think we were writing comedy gold. SIWA volunteers are not willing to stop at anything in order to make a successful event happen! I had gorgeous gifts like a Tesla test drive, Coach purses, Grancia brooches, Wholistic Care massages, and delicious macarons from Guillaume, all of which came in the last few days before the gala. It was exciting, but also it was driving me crazy. But I knew that the fundraising team was working around the clock. I almost died when you made your poor husband climb a high ladder to tape up the forest background! My 10-year-old son wrapped all of the wines for the Wine Pull. We are relentless! In the end, I forgive you, Jinhi, for forcing me to wear pink. I should have known when you first said for all volunteers to wear pink that you were enthusiastically expressing your desires. While we had some challenges, the successes outnumbered in spades. And by the end, we really could finish each other’s sentences! June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Podcasts that Might Make You Richer By Monica Williams Podcasts are all the rage now. Once a pastime for digital enthusiasts, podcasting has grown into an industry of its own. The leading company in Korea’s podcast scene is Podbang, which provides an online and mobile platform where users can upload or listen to podcast episodes. Last year, Podbang’s audio files were downloaded more than 40 million times. In the United States, a quarter percent of Americans listened to a podcast in the last year and that number is steadily growing. What should you be listening to while at the gym or on the subway? Here are some of the best ear candy to grow your mind and your bank account:


The Investing Podcast: We Study Billionaires

Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen These two investors study billionaires and often read and talk about the books that have influenced billionaires the most. Some of their favorites are Warren Buffett, George Soros and Ray Dalio. Their podcast is the #1 stock investing podcast on iTunes, Google and CNBC worldwide with more than 12 million downloads and counting. Episodes run 30 to 45 minutes, and are good for the long-term investor and are a great source for your business-book library. Brodersen, who studied business analysis at Harvard, is a former professor who now lives in Seoul. Before getting into investing, he worked for one of Europe’s leading energy trading companies.



Money Girl

Laura Adams Money Girl podcast has been downloaded more than 40 million times. She breaks down complex financial topics in a way that’s easy to understand. At the end of the 10-minute podcast, she gives advice and tips that fans can immediately put to use. Recent episodes cover how to create a profitable side business, finding scholarships to pay for university without loans and tips on affording a pet.


Girlboss Radio


Tandem Nomads

Sophia Amoruso On each episode, host Sophia Amoruso, founder of NastyGal, gets advice from global girl bosses who’ve made marks in creative, cultural and business ventures. Expect to laugh along the way.

Amel Derragui Devoted to partners of expats interested in developing their own portable careers and businesses. Amel describes herself as a serial migrant, global citizen and expat partner who just so happens to have worked in branding, marketing and communications. Through Tandem Nomads, Amel is committed to help other expat partners build their own success. She inspired SIWA members recently in a talk she gave in Seoul. Amel is the daughter of the Algerian ambassador to Seoul and his wife, H.E. Mohammed El Amine and Chafika Derragui.


So Money

Farnoosh Torabi Award-winning financial TV correspondent and best-selling author Farnoosh Torabi gives a daily 30-minute dose of financial inspiration. One recent and interesting interview was with Jenel Stevens, a professional stuntwoman and personal trainer.


How I Built This

National Public Radio A podcast about about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the move-

ments they built. Each is a narrative journey of triumphs, failures and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands, including Zappos, Kate Spade, Patagonia and Lonely Planet. If you’ve ever dreamed of building something from nothing, be inspired.


HBR Ideascast


The Tim Ferriss Show


NPR’s Planet Money

Harvard Business Review A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management from Harvard Business Review.

Tim Ferris The Tim Ferriss Show is the top business podcast on all of iTunes, and it’s been ranked first of all podcasts on many occasions. In each episode, which can run almost two hours, Ferris talks about things from favorite books and morning routines to time management and exercise habits. Some of his most popular episodes include interviews with actor Jamie Foxx, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Noah Kagan, Pavel Tsatsouline and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

National Public Radio National Public Radio describes its show as: “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening. That’s what we’re going for at Planet Money.” Two times a week, you’ll get an entertaining, 15-minute report on issues from the Amazon deal with Whole Foods to the Greek economic crisis.


The Mistake

Peter Shankman and Peter Keller Every Wednesday, the hosts of these podcasts discuss the biggest mistakes successful people have made, like hiring the wrong person, why it’s a bad idea to start a business with family or close friends, and leadership blunders. CEOs, celebrities and athletes discuss first-hand what led them to their trip-ups and how they got back on track. June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Bank of Korea begins effort to ditch coins By Eun-Jee Park The Korean central bank is moving toward creating a “coinless society.” At convenience stores across the country, customers paying with cash will have the option of depositing extra change into public transit cards or converting them to rewards points. The bank’s goal is to reduce the number of circulating coins, which costs an estimated 60 billion won, or about $52.6 million a year, to mint. The Bank of Korea is starting with convenience stores as an experiment. The pilot project will run through 2019, after which the bank will decide whether to expand the option to other retail outlets. “After we review the results, we will consider whether to adopt the measure at drug stores and traditional open-air markets,” said Cha Hyeon-jin, head of the payment and settlement systems department at the Bank of Korea. Cha added the bank is considering a system that will let people send extra change directly to their bank accounts. About 23,050 convenience stores in Korea, including 7-Eleven, CU and With Me, are participating in the project. Big discount chains like E-Mart and Lotte Mart are also part of the effort. The public transit cards in which customers can load their extra change include T-Money and Cash


14 Discovery

June - July 2017

Bee. Customers can also convert the change into points on cardless rewards systems run by Hana Card and Naver Pay, a mobile payment service run by internet giant Naver. Shinhan Card started servicing CU in May, and service for L.Point, the rewards system at 7-Eleven and Lotte Mart, will begin in July. Here’s how it works: Customers first pay for the transaction with cash. Then, if they want to load the extra change into their public transit card, they simply have to tap the card on the card reader. If they want to convert the change into points, they can also simply show a QR code from the corresponding mobile payment app. The Bank of Korea first proposed the idea of a coinless society in December, when it pledged to expand electronic payment methods to a majority of retail outlets by 2020. Cash transactions overall are already falling in Korea. The share of cash transactions decreased from 38.9 percent in 2014 to 36 percent last year, while credit card transactions jumped. When counting debit and prepaid cards, plastic has accounted for the most-used payment method. There are concerns that the move might hurt mom-and-pop shops and traditional markets that still deal heavily in cash. However, Cha said the coinless efforts will not likely have a big impact on them because it is still far from eliminating cash transactions altogether.

FINANCE Member Benefits

SIWA membership has privileges!

A growing number of businesses in Seoul offer discounts to SIWA members. Upon joining SIWA, you will be given a Member ID Number, which you will be able to view in your online Member Account. Current members should mention their membership and membership number to enjoy discounts.

Brera Jung-gu, Seoul

10% Discount on food and beverages.

Eden Pottery, Itaewon

10% Discount on everything.

High Street Market Itaewon Chakraa Hannam-dong 10% Discount on food. Excludes buffet and lunch special menu.

10% Discount off any purchase. Excludes damaged label wines and special offers.

Coco Lounge Itaewon

Create Wellness Itaewon 10% Discount on massage treatments.

10% Discount on any treatment, including 1-month Group Pilates classes. Free consultation for SIWA Members who register at SIWA Coffee Mornings.

JP Hair, Haebangchon

20% Discount off any service except for hair cuts. 10% Discount on any salon service (nails, eyelashes, waxing & tanning.) Excludes Laser Hair Removal. Appointment by phone or Facebook message recommended. Discount valid during the week of the SIWA Spring Gala only.

New York Wholistic Care

L’Empreinte, Hongdae

10% Discount on food and retail items. Excludes special menu items.

Marley Coffee Itaewon

10% Discount for all beverages and dessert menu. Excludes drip coffee and alcoholic drinks.

Suji’s Deli, Coex Gangnam 10% Discount on food and beverage during weekdays. Excludes new menu items, lunch specials and weekend brunch.

T100 Itaewon

Discount on all beverages, including tea, beer, coffee and more. Excludes desserts and the set menu. June - July 2017

Finance Issue



What’s in Your Wallet?

Hopefully, a Point Card By Mariya Maderich

you can see the cards available at the counter.

• Start accumulating points from each purchase. When I was working in personal banking for Simply hand the point card, together with your foreigners, I noticed one never changing tendencredit card or cash, to the cashier. cy-- we, as expats, tend to spend more here than • Check how many points you have accumulated. we would actually do in our own countries. I never The number is often on the bottom of the receipt. understood the real reason for it, but being guilty If you can’t find it and don’t speak Korean, ask a myself I started to look for options to spend less Korean speaker to locate the spot on the receipt, so and actually continue buying at the same pace you can check on future transactions. (Yes, I am a convicted shopaholic with two rooms full of clothes, shoes and • Points can be conGod-knows-what-else, verted to cash (again, SAVE THE DATE as sometimes I just buy the amount is shown on The SIWA membership team without a specific reathe receipt.) However, will provide a free introduction to son). The solution I found before you can start usE-Mart/Shinsegae point cards at a was very simple: Korea ing it as ‘cash,’ you first K-Orientation on August 18. Register has some of the best cusneed to register your online at: https://www.siwakorea.com/ tomer services to keep card with the ‘card point consumers happy and service providers.’ To events/newcomers-meeting-201708/ one of those services hapregister it online is expens to be ‘point cards’! tremely difficult. First, And, I also found out that everybody knew about it is in Korean. Second, you need to sign up using point cards but rarely used them, unless the seryour Korean alien registration card, and the tricky vice somehow was included in his or her credit/ thing is that the online form perverts (!) your Engdebit cards. The other reason was that many aslish name into Korean as it wishes, and you would sume that point cards are only for Koreans and no spend hours guessing what your name is in Koreforeigners can have such cards. Whatever the reaan, and if you don’t know how to write in Korean, sons may be, you just have no excuse not to save then it wouldn’t work at all. Tip: Don’t try to sign your family’s hard-earned cash but not using such up online; you will just end up angry! If you don’t money-saving opportunities while in Korea. speak Korean, ask a Korean-speaking friend to call How to get and use a point card • Ask for a point card at the store. In most stores,

16 Discovery

June - July 2017

the service number on the back of the point card and to sign up for you over the phone, claiming that your Korean alien registration doesn’t work

online (and 99% of the time it doesn’t, so basically your friend won’t be lying!). Once registered, you can freely use the points as cash at the cashier. In some cases, points are converted to gift certificates of the same value. Now that you know what point cards are and where to get them, let’s move to introduce you to some of the best point cards in Korea. Note that you will need a Korean ID card number whenever you register a point card. HAPPY POINT Where to get and use the card: Paris Croissant, Paris Baguette, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin’ Donuts, Cafe Pascucci, Sanuki Bore, La Grillia, Jamba Juice and other retailers. Ask for the card at the register. How to register the card: Online at happypointcard.com (not recommended as it’s complicated) or ask a Korean speaker to call the number on the back of the card. How points are accumulated: Varies depending on the store. KYOBO BOOK Where to get and use the card: You can obtain and register the card at any Kyobo Bookstore customer service desk, which usually is located near the entrance to the stores. Customer service staff speak English and will issue you a card within a

few minutes.


How points are accumulated: You will receive a discount on your purchase that day and 3% of the purchase goes toward points. GS&POINT Where to get and use the card: GS25, T-money, Megabox, Kyobo bookstore, CGV, Lotte Cinema, Bulgogi Brothers, Intercontinental Seoul Coex, AJ Rent-A-Car and other area retailers. How to register the card: Register the card online at http:// www.gsnpoint.com, which might be complicated, or ask a Korean speaker to call the number on the back of the card; sometimes it can be done at the store’s service desk, if you ask for help. How points are accumulated: Varies from store to store (remember to check the receipt for the accumulated amount). CJ ONE Where to get and use the card: CGV, Olive Young, Tous les Jours, A Twosome Place, VIPS, China Factory, 1st Look and other retailers. How to register the card: Register the card online at https:// www.cjone.com/cjmweb/join. do or call the number on the back. How points are accumulated: Point accumulation ranges from

You can store all of your registered point cards in an app called SYRUP, a product of SK Telecom, or Smart Wallet by LG U+. The apps eliminate the need for you to carry the cards around in your wallet. From your smartphone, type in SYRUP (or Smart Wallet) and install it from the app store. Add all of your point and discount cards by clicking on the card. If you have yet to register for a store’s point card, you can get it through the app, too. 0.1 to 1.5% at CJ Mall to 5% at CGV. Mariya Maderich is a former SIWA member who worked for Standard Chartered Bank Korea. Discovery editor Monica Williams contributed to this article. June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Where Kids Can

“Work” at Their

Adult Dream Job Weekend Travel

By Arcadia Kim

Have you ever returned from the Disney theme parks, and wonder where all your money went? After fulfilling all your, err, your children’s, Mickey Mouse wishes, do your children believe that Pixie Dust grows on trees? While Disney peddles the fantasy of “dreams come true,” it certainly doesn’t instill the notion of work, labor, and economics. What if there were an amusement park right here in Seoul that teaches children about financial responsibility? A place where through role-playing, kids can try out several jobs and earn “money” that can be saved, invested, and used to buy toys? A far cry from Disney, but one that is still fun for all! One of my favorite places to go with my kids, KidZania is a unique experience that will be sure to activate discussion with your kids about money. KidZania is a Mexican chain of family entertainment centers, with 24 locations worldwide. The Seoul franchise opened in 2010, and I have been dragging my kids there since opening week. It is a three-story child-sized replica of a typical city, including office buildings, shops, theaters, a sports stadium, and even an airport. The concept is simple, but the execution is complex. Through role-playing, kids can experience more than 90 re-

18 Discovery

June - July 2017

al-life jobs earning “Kidzos” (KidZania currency). More than 30 international and local brands such as Korean Air, Kellogg’s, Mercedes-Benz, Paris Baguette, and even Korean Customs Service all lend their brands to the world to make it seem authentic and to introduce their products and services to kids. (“Mom, I only want to fly Korean Air because I want to be a pilot there when I grow up.” Genius!) The first time I went to KidZania, which is located in Chamsil in the Lotte World complex, I was overwhelmed. My then-4-year-old son and I came home defeated and exhausted feeling like he learned the first lesson in life… It’s a “dog-eat-dog world!” However, we ventured back two more times in the first year. As a seven-year veteran of KidZania, I’m offering my top tips: Get oriented in advance KidZania has a fully functional English website, which explains ticketing, facilities, and gives an overview. It has videos, a detailed map, and decently translated directions on how to enjoy your experience. Buy tickets in advance KidZania operates two shifts daily (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) with limited tickets to keep things from getting too crowded. Tickets range from 40,000


won to 59,000 won, depending on the shift. Guardians pay around 16,000 to 18,000 won. Start planning Look over the the available jobs on the website with your child and choose six to eight careers—anything from CSI to robotics, and ballet to furniture design. Each session lasts 15-20 minutes and your child can experience five to six jobs. Prioritizing is key. If your kid wants to be a firefighter (there is a fake fire that they put out with real water and you get to fulfill any kid’s dream of riding a fire truck), make sure you prioritize that one first because the wait is long. Also, as a parent be prepared to allow your child to explore his or her dreams and not yours! (“Are you sure you want to be a factory worker instead of a doctor or a lawyer???”) KidZania is intended to be experienced multiple times, so don’t try to jam everything at once! The age-range suggestions are in Korean age, so add a year or two to your child’s age. Prepare to be transported to a mini-world Arrive 30 minutes early. Getting into KidZania can be hectic, especially if there are school tours. When you arrive, pull a counting ticket. Reservations are checked at the Korean Air counter (like a real trip!). Everyone gets a wrist badge which electronically checks the child into each role. Be career focused Once you enter Kidzania, beeline to your first career—the first timeslot will not have a wait. There are numbered benches outside each entrance for a role. Make sure that your child is sitting on a number. The staff is strict about making sure no one jumps the queue. If your kid must go to the bathroom, let the attendant know so they hold your spot. No parents allowed Once kids go “to work”, parents are not allowed! You can take pictures through the window or cheer them on from afar. If your child experiences stranger anxiety, you might want to consider a job where the child can physically see you. It’s a good idea to go with

friends so that kids can be together. Rinse/ Repeat! From there, it’s this continued pattern for the morning or afternoon. It is important to note that the wait periods can be up to 30 minutes long. The kids are sitting while waiting, so I tend to bring an activity or snacks to occupy them. Don’t forget to stop by the bank to deposit the hard-earned Kidzos at the end of your day. Your kid will get a bank card and can withdraw money on the next visit. After seven years of going to KidZania, my son was able to use his Kidzos to “buy” a Lego toy at the concession stand. Share and Discuss Discussing the experience­— which job earned more money, which was harder to do—is very enlightening, especially since everything is taught in Korean. It’s amazing how kids understand concepts of economics from structured experiences. Note: With regard to everything being taught in Korean, you might think this is a showstopper, but interestingly, it is not for the kids. So, the next time your kids whine about going to Disneyland, answer them by saying… “Let’s not go to Disneyland, let’s be Walter Disney and build a brand-franchise empire to conquer the world!” Or maybe just maybe just be a factory worker…

KidZania addict Arcadia Kim is SIWA’s Sponsorship Chair. June - July 2017

Finance Issue


Living Large for Less than 10,000 KRW By Veronica O’Connor In a global city like Seoul, there’s no shortage of interesting places to explore and memorable experiences to have. And many of these can be had without breaking the budget. As winter gave way to spring, I put on my comfy walking shoes and hit the town with a challenge to find fun ways to explore the city for less than 10,000 KRW. Here are my favorites: Take Me to the River “Why haven’t I done this yet?” I thought to myself as I came across a sign for the Han River Water Taxi. A ticket during rush hours costs 5,000 won. While the route is set during these hours, the water taxi nevertheless offers an invigorating alternative to commuting by bus, subway or car. And when the journey – not the destination – is most important, along the Han River are 17 water taxi stations where you can buy tickets for longer, more leisurely tours ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. Tea House with a View The tea house at the National Museum of Korea – “Sa Yu” – is a great way to kick off a relaxing afternoon. Tucked away in a corner on the third floor, the tea house offers a quiet space for enjoying

20 Discovery

June - July 2017

a light refreshment. Inspired by the flowers blooming in the tea house’s small garden, I opted for a peach blossom iced tea (6,000 won) and was not disappointed. I then toured the museum’s main exhibition hall (no entrance fee) and browsed the large gift shop on the main floor, where I purchased a few cards (2,000 won each) featuring some of the beautiful works of art I had seen earlier in the day. A wide range of creative Korean-themed items – from teapots and decorative fabrics to books and stationery – are available at a range of prices. Culture Day On the last Wednesday of every month, many of Seoul’s cultural attractions offer free or discounted admission. Known as Culture Day, many museums, galleries, royal palaces, performance and concert spaces, and even movie theaters participate. I used the occasion to check out the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Itaewon for only 5,000 KRW, with just enough left over to enjoy a café latte on the museum’s beautiful outdoor sculpture terrace. SIWA member Veronica O’Connor is a communications professional from the United States.


Follow the Money:

Bank of Korea Money Museum By Monica Williams After a visit to the Bank of Korea Money Museum, you may never view a 20,000 won bill the same way. At the least, you’ll know how to thoroughly check if the bills in your wallet are counterfeit. An automated machine at the museum can check, too. The collection at the central Seoul museum is vast, with more than 20,000 banknotes, coins and tokens on display. Visitors can learn how Korean money evolved and the way it reflects the country’s history. The museum’s bilingual displays also explain how the nation’s central bank works and how banknotes are made and protected. But it’s not all about the won. There’s currency from Australia, the United States, many countries in Europe and Africa and more than 120 nations. On the second floor, there’s a corner for the kids, where the little (or bigger) ones can impose their faces on current and past Korean currency for 500 won. Or, they can play a game to match the cur-

rency to the nation’s flag. Through a 360-degree virtual reality app, visitors can be a guest at the 36th Monetary Policy Board Meeting, which was held in 1961. If you scan the QR code on the chair of the Historical Governor’s Office, located on the second floor, Bank Governor Juyeol Lee will appear through augmented reality and you can take a picture with him. The museum itself is equally a part of the attraction. Built in 1912 as headquarters for the Bank of Joseon, the opulent Renaissance-style building was designated a National Historic Site (No. 280) in 1981. It’s an outstanding example of Japanese colonial architecture with white marble floors and columns that rise to three grand chandeliers. It was gutted during the Korean War, and repaired in 1958. It opened as a museum in 2001 to mark the bank’s 50th anniversary. The best part about the museum is that it’s free. Save those coins for shopping at Shinsegae or Lotte department stores right across the street. June - July 2017

Finance Issue





By Monica Williams At the Trick Eye Museum, visitors can ride atop a dolphin, walk the red carpet at the Oscars, be part of a witch’s brew or get eaten by a fire-breathing dragon. For years, Trick Eye, short for “trick of the eye,” has presented a series of trompe l’oeil paintings and optically illusive sculptures that give each

22 Discovery

June - July 2017


piece of art the illusion of being part of the exhibit in 3D. Instead of merely viewing paintings as in a traditional art gallery, visitors could pose to appear as if they are part of the picture. Recently, the Hongdae museum unveiled an augmented reality app, which makes the already cool photos come to life. Now, that same humongous dragon breathes fire as his tail waves. Hold up the app over another piece of art and you can see black clouds rise up


after an volcano explosion or a floor shake amid boiling lava. The AR features are best captured on video, giving you a chance to show off your acting skills. Don’t worry about noise as the app will not record the background sounds; instead it will add its own music and sound effects to the video. The features can be seen only through the smartphone app, which is why it’s best to bring your own “director.” Luckily, the floors and ceilings have been painted with signs that help with where to stand for the best effects. SIWA’s leadership team recently visited the museum to celebrate the end to a great year by trying out the new app. While there, we visited the adjacent Ice Museum and the Love Museum and took a coffee break at the CaFace cafe, where selfies could be added to our latte foam.

What to know before heading to Trick Eye:

• Download the free Trick Eye app on your device. • Bring a charger in case your mobile battery runs low while using the app. • Look for guides on where to stand for the best effect. • Take a friend who can act as “director” of your “film.” • Trick Eye is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; last entry is at 8. • Before taking children, be sure they’re old enough to enjoy it and not get scared.

• The Love Museum is for adults only. June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Sudeoksa Temple in Chungcheongnam-do

(May 20-21, 2017)

Nine SIWA members packed towels, warm clothing and hiking boots and headed 150 km west of Seoul for Chungcheongnam-do, joining about 30 others for an overnight stay at Sudeok-sa Temple in the Deoksung-san Mountains, where they promised to abide by five precepts that included no alcohol, no deceit and rules on silence. Some of the women went to learn about Korean Temple Stays, which are growing in popularity. A few were Buddhists. Others were there to escape the daily grind in the city. All of them left with positive thoughts. The overnight stay featured monastic formal

meals, meditation walks in the woods, Lotus lantern making, a communal work period and tea and conversation with the monks. The main building of the Sudeok-sa Temple, the Daeunjeon, has been preserved in its original condition. It was one of the very few temples in Korea not destroyed during the Japanese invasions. Constructed in 1308, it has been designated a national treasure. Between 1528 and 1803 it was repaired four times, but fortunately kept its original beauty. As well as the Deungjeon, the Sudeok-sa Temple houses many cultural treasures, including the Sudeok-sa three-story stone pagoda.

Abide by the Five Precepts 1. Respect all life; do not intentionally kill any living being, even insects. 2. Respect other’s property; do not steal or take anything not freely given. 3. Be honest and straightforward; do not lie or intentionally deceive others. This is easy when observing silence. 4. Be celibate; no sexual activity. This also includes no holding hands, hugging, messages and other physical displays of affection. 5. Be alert and mindful; no intoxicants such as alcohol.


Here are some of the SIWA members’ thoughts on their stay: It was an experience that will definitely stay in my mind. I was stunned by the beautiful surroundings, and the tranquility of the temple itself. Also, the friendliness and calm of the monks was inspiring. They really seemed to be at ease with themselves and radiated a joyfulness that we should take as an example. Apart from that, some moments and things come to my mind when I think of the temple stay: The interesting diverse reasons of the other temple stay people to come to Sudeoksa; lantern making; the fresh air coming through the open window at night (never possible in Seoul); the food—and with that, eating rice and vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and the hike up to Jeonghae-sa Temple in the early morning. Julia Rath The temple stay was a unique experience. I had never slept in a temple. We received warm welcomes and I really enjoyed everything including the meals, walks, meditation and free time. A peaceful environment, beautiful mountains and forest helped me to relax and get more energy for new challenges. I learned about how to deal with daily issues of managing negative emotions and how to apply them to everyday life. Monica Park For me, life is a learning experience that does not end after graduating school but is lifelong. On this temple stay, I think I learned a lot. Not only good-to-know knowledge about Buddhism, but it also made me think about what is important in life and what is not, what to pursue in life and so on. One of my motivations to attend the temple stay was to feed my curiosity and have a deeper understanding of Korea and the life and philosophy of its different people. This temple stay did show me a flash of a totally different lifestyle in contrast to the “ordinary” -building a career, having a family, building a so-

cial network, gaining material property, getting grandkids, retiring from work. Not that these things should not be pursued, but it did provide some food for thought. After the temple stay I asked myself: What was my favorite part? It was the pre-dawn ceremony, starting with a rhythmic drumming of a giant gong at the yard and followed by a prayer chant in the wooden, 700-year-old main hall with golden Buddha statues in the middle, dark blue and dark red paintings on the walls. Dim evening light and candles lighted the room, there was a light scent of incenses. While a monk was chanting, and those of the group who knew the “lyrics”, we made a set of full bows together, on our own cushions on the floor, all close to each other in one side/corner of the hall. The timing of this tour was perfect: the nature around the palace was incredibly beautiful: so fresh and lush green, flowers were blooming around the temple area, it was not too hot during the day and there was a fresh, gentle breeze after and before sunset/rise. Overall this was a very unique experience that hopefully gave me a lifelong memory to cherish. I am extremely happy that I took this tour and on my way home I felt somehow moved or calm inside. I wonder if I would still be as post-excited about the temple stay if I had stayed a longer period. I’ll have to find out about that! Irene Nuutila


Past Interest Group Activities Community Service at Anna’s House

International Culinary Exchange: Temple Food

International Culinary Exchange

Community Service Community Service

Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or orphanage for infants. Coordinators: Lydia and Monica, communityservice@siwakorea.com

26 Discovery

June - July 2017

The ICE program aims to share culinary skills, food culture and traditional recipes among SIWA members. Come feed your soul and your belly. Coordinator: Michelle Morrison, culinaryexchange@siwakorea.com

Korean-English Conversation Group

Korean-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking Korean or English! We teach and encourage each other through our conversations. Coordinator: Park KyungHee, conversation@siwakorea.com

Moms and Tots: St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Working Women’s Network


Working Women’s Network

This group is designed for women who prefer evening informational and networking events. The Working Women’s Network gathers approximately once a month at a restaurant. All are welcome! Coordinator: Michelle Morrison, wwn@siwakorea.com

Moms and Tots

Meet other moms, form friendships and link up for playdates for your children. Activities range from casual gettogethers at local play areas to themed parties and more. Coordinator: Mhyla Borkowski, momsandtots@siwakorea.com Book Club

On the second Friday of every month,the Book Club meets in Hannamdong (near Hannam Station, on the GyeonguiJungang Line). SIWA Book Club is free and exclusive for SIWA members. Coordinator: Ariane Amiot, bookclub@siwakorea.com

Cultural Connection

SIWA Cultural Connection group was formed to bring all of our different backgrounds together. Our purpose is to help one another understand and appreciate each other’s diverse culture. Coordinators: Bockhee Lee, culturalconnection@siwakorea.com June - July 2017

Finance Issue





Ansan Cherry Blossoms

Virtual Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding

Visit to the Blue House

Seonyudo Park

Gilsangsa Temple and Korea Furniture Museum

28 Discovery

June - July 2017

Shamanic Shrines of Inwangsan and Sajik Park

Day trip to Seongmo Island

Upcoming Events June 30 / 6:45 to 9 p.m. Working Women’s Network: June Mingle Night School is wrapping up and summer is on its way. Come and join us for lively conversation to further our friendship during our Working Women’s Network mingle night. We will meet and have dinner at Pasta Fresca by Trevia, located between Itaewon and Hanganjin stations.

Walking the Sansa Trail of the Samgaksan Mountain

July 6 / 10 a.m. Yangjae Flower Market Located in Yangjae-dong in Seocho-gu, this enormous market sells all kinds of garden supplies, from pots and soil to flowers and trees. This market is a combination of greenhouses, indoor and outdoor vendors. This is the place to go for both novice and serious gardeners. July 4, 11 and 25 / 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Community Service Would you like to volunteer at a soup kitchen for the homeless? Make a difference in someone else’s life. We participate every Tuesday, except for the 3rd Tuesday of the month. July 12 / 11 a.m. Korean-English Conversation Group: If you would like to practice speaking Korean or English, please join our conversation group. We will teach and encourage each other through our conversations. This month, we will talk about Summer Vacation (여름 방학). July 14 / 10 a.m. K-orientation Non-Korean speakers may experience many challenges here. Our orientation series will help you learn vital skills to make your life easier in Korea. After the orientation meeting, attendees are encouraged to have (optional) lunch together.

Wholesale Plants

July 14 / 1:30 p.m. Book Club “Red Sorghum” by Mo Yan. Spanning three generations, this novel of family and myth is told through a series of flashbacks that depict events of staggering horror set against a landscape of gemlike beauty as the Chinese battle both the Japanese invaders and each other in the turbulent 1930s. July 20 / 10 a.m. Tour: Buk Seoul Museum of Art This is the fourth, and newest branch of the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA). Situated in northeastern Seoul, this unique museum was awarded the 2013 Seoul Architecture Award. To create harmony with the natural surroundings of Deungnamu Park, the exterior is half buried in the ground and creates a small hill. July 21 / 10 a.m. Tour: Homeplus Experience Do you feel discouraged when shopping at local supermarkets? Join us for a shopping tour where you can ask all the questions you have about local products. Our guide Mrs. Moon will be happy to explain it all.

Joint Welfare Project: AGIT Presentation June - July 2017

Finance Issue




House of Ebenezer:

A Home Full of Love By Anne Choe Ebenezer is a Biblical name which means “Thus far God has helped us.” Doo Ho Kim, founder and director of the Ebenezer charity, finds the name to be most appropriate given the organization’s resilience and sustenance over the past 20 years caring for abandoned children with physical and intellectual disabilities. When Kim, a former physical therapist, and his wife hit rock bottom after a failed business venture, they found new meaning and purpose in life by establishing a loving home to children with severe disabilities. Loving these children as their own has been their saving grace. Eight

30 Discovery

June - July 2017

The director’s face lit up as a young man walked past us. He had just graduated high school. years ago, they also took in 14 elderly women whose children could no longer care for them. Mr. Kim’s eyes welled up as he talked about the loss of two children and two women in the past few years. Eventually, five elderly women were moved to nursing homes. The House is the home to seven women aged 63 to 100, as well as five young

men and women, three of whom are 28 years old, one is 25 and the youngest is 16. Only one of the men can walk on his own. The 16-year-old girl was entrusted to their care when she was only 8 months old, when her birth mother was hospitalized after having a mental breakdown upon learning of her infant daughter’s severe disabilities. The couple beams with pride as they share the young girl’s published book of poems and speak of her excellent academics; she is the only one with fully functioning cognitive abilities. I was surprised to learn that the children have parent(s) that Mr. Kim is aware of, but most of those parents have severed ties with their children. The singu-


lar exception is one birth mother who continues to send monthly financial support. Sadly, however, she never visits. An unintended look of disdain and disbelief must have shown on my face because he reassured me all of them are his children now. Just then a young woman with a huge smile crawled out from one of the rooms, and immediately Mr. Kim embraced her and spoke to her. She responded with sounds only Mr. Kim understands, after which he told her to go to the kitchen to eat her lunch. She moved into the kitchen where Mrs. Kim and a volunteer prepared lunch while talking with her. Their faces were filled with love, joy and laughter.

At this moment, I realized everyone at House of Ebenezer was surrounded not only by love but also dignity. All that is good with humanity is alive and well here. The director’s face lit up as a young man walked past us. He had just graduated high school. Although he is 25 years old with limited intellectual capacity, Mr. Kim finds it relevant and critical to give him milestones in life. Mr. Kim is very proud of each person’s accomplishments. All of his adopted children have private lessons at home with teachers, and additional enriching outdoor activities with therapists and teachers provided by the local government. The couple continues to face

monumental challenges but nonetheless seems to find ways to meet their needs. “Thus far, God has helped them.” As one example, the building they occupy was in shambles and about to collapse when a benefactor constructed a new building for them ten years ago. Mr. Kim also, however, occasionally deals with neighbors who would prefer to see the Ebenezer charity move out of the neighborhood. Even so, when I asked “What is the biggest hurdle you face?” Mr. Kim smiled and stated “waking up almost every night because many children don’t sleep through the night.” I expected a different answer. But then again, his heart beats to a different drummer! June - July 2017

Finance Issue



Financial Peace Through Balance By Georgia Scott Our lives—how we handle problems, the extent to which we indulge in our desires, and the risks and rewards we dare to pursue—are linked to our budgets. Should we save, buy a ticket to Guam, or put a chunk aside because, say, in two months we just might need to fly home for a funeral. Financial advice is best left to the experts. But insight on life, love, relationships, and day-to-day joys and pain can help us include important factors—such as timing—in our financial decisions.

Tarot cards

The starting point for Tarot is a person’s problem or desire. Everything has a block; and everything has a path. To begin, ask a question that requires a longform answer by starting with What, Why, or How, rather than Will, Is, or When. Your question might be pragmatic (“What are the blocks against my healthy habits?”). Or it might be emotional, (“What is it about me that makes people leave?”). The deck is shuffled then laid out on a cloth, after which you use your left hand to separate, put back, maybe separate again, and then select specific cards. By doing so, the cards pick up on your energy. “Everyone has intuition,” explained JJ. “Tarot tells you what you already know, but your brain is too active to articulate. Your gut, however, is non-verbal, and talks in pictures. Those images are reflected in the cards you pull.” The reading can be overwhelming, and the dialogue riddled with unfamiliar jargon. Taking notes helps you to process what’s being said, and allows you to recall it later for questions.

Tarot with JJ

When JJ picked up her first tarot deck as a teenager, she was drawn to it immediately. She has since mastered readings, manifestations (How to make you your best self) and other skills so that “Psychic Life Coach” is a very apt description. JJ is relaxing, easy to talk to, insightful and articulate. She patiently let me go back and forth while I worked out what single question to ask. Many customers prefer to combine readings and manifestations for a more complete experience. Tarot readings are 50,000 won per question and take as long as they take, sometimes days via email followups. Pricing, plus how to schedule an appontiment are on her website: www.mogook.com

32 Discovery

June - July 2017

Fortune tellers are deeply ingrained in Korean culture, but finding English-speaking readers is difficult. Through recommendations, I met two engaging spiritual readers who are fluent in English and impressively gifted in the art of interpreting a person’s destiny: JJ, a Korean-American international lawyer and psychic life coach who moved to Korea last October; and LJ, a Seoul native currently pursuing her Masters in International Economic Cooperation. From them, I learned the intricacies of their craft, as well as the emotional toll and benefits one can experience by getting it done.


Saju is the methodical (sometimes fatalistic) art of interpreting one’s four pillars of destiny, as decided by the day, month, year and time you were born. The process is quite scientific. Many readers have computer programs and apps to calculate the charts. Others work from memory. The talent is in how the chart is interpreted. Saju sees the pain within a person’s destiny, and helps resolve it by understanding what it is and why it exists.

Saju with LJ

Leary of labels like fortune teller, psychic, or even customer, LJ says there’s a lot of responsibilitiy to using titles. She considers herself a friend. Someone who sees the pain in others and uses her gift to identify the source of the pain, and how to overcome it. She says her mother can recall her “seeing” destinies when she was only four years old. Readings cost 30,000 won, and last about one hour. At the end of saju, you might feel down—after all, a complete stranger just told you everything that’s wrong in your life. But LJ is also encouraging. Her readings are more like conversations, the pace is casual and her tone is friendly. For an appointment, email LJ at: lj.kim101@icloud.com


The priciest psychic services are goot (굿) and bujeok (부적), both of which are offered by some monks and shamans. Bujeok is a bright yellow charm or talisman with red Chinese characters painted on them to address a person’s specific problem. Bujeok can cost up to one million Korean won each, and can be placed on doors, inside pillow cases, or hidden in smartphone cases. Goot is a series of traditional rituals, that can include talismans, dances and chantings, usually to bless a new business.

At the Bank 은행





Account number



Deposit / Credit



Deposit / Credit












Bank Pass Book



Stamp / Seal









Currency Exchange





Build Your Korean “Word Bank” Build your Korean ‘Word Bank’

Compiled by: Sandhya Ramabadran SIWA Treasurer & an eager learner of Korean

In your Wallet 현금



신용 카드

sin-yong kadeu

Credit Card

직불 카드

jigbul kadeu

Debit Card






ID Card

Online 인터넷 뱅킹

inteones baengking

Internet Banking




은행 공인 인중서

eunhaeng gong-in-injeungseo

Digital Banking Certificate

문자 메시지

munja mesiji

Text Message

은행 보안 카드

eunhaeng boan kadeu

Bank Security Card

온라인 이체

onlain iche

Online Transfer




Korean Proverb about Saving 티끌 모아 태산

tikkeul moa taesan

Literal translation: One can build a mountain by collecting specks of dust. English equivalent: Little drops make a mighty ocean


Compiled by: Sandhya Ramabadran


Piggy bank

June - July 2017

Finance Issue


Photo credit: Sonali Rao

SUMMERPHOTOCONTEST Doesn’t this SIWA tote look like it is enjoying the beach in Bali? Take your SIWA bag with you on vacation and snap a cool photo. Then post it on Facebook with the hashtag #SIWAsummer2017 (and make the picture public). The picture with the most “likes” wins our summer contest! We’ll announce the winner at the August Coffee Morning and post your winning photo on the SIWA Facebook page. There will also be a prize awaiting the lucky winner.

Profile for SIWA Korea

2017 06 07 SIWA Discovery  

In this issue of Discovery, we introduce you to members behind the scenes at the Gala, recommend podcasts and point cards that might pad you...

2017 06 07 SIWA Discovery  

In this issue of Discovery, we introduce you to members behind the scenes at the Gala, recommend podcasts and point cards that might pad you...

Profile for siwakorea