Website is back up

Sometime last summer I accidentally deleted my website while I thought I was backing it up. I fortunately retained my database but felt restoring my content post-by-post with a new design for the website was the way to go. Well, I was too busy (or lazy), so I never got around to it. The website has a new look but there’s nothing to look at.

As I’m simply accumulating too much work that needs to be posted, I realized I have no choice but to make my website live again. Maybe the embarrassment of an empty website will push me to get this done.

Oliver Schnyder returns to Korea with the Trio

Paik Soo Hyun, Phillipp Jundt & Oliver Schnyder Trio at Youngsan Art Hall, Seoul. 8 February 2014.

I’m really excited that Swiss pianist and RCA Sony recording artist Oliver Schnyder has returned to Korea! He and the Oliver Schnyder Trio just flew in today from Taipei, the first stop on their East Asia tour. Tomorrow evening the trio will join flutists Paik Soo Hyun and Philipp Jundt on stage for a concert at Youngsan Art Hall in Seoul.

With Oliver Schnyder after a fantastic performance at Seoul Arts Center with flutists Paik Soo Hyun and Philipp Jundt, 18 September 2014.
With Oliver Schnyder after a fantastic performance at Seoul Arts Center with flutists Paik Soo Hyun and Philipp Jundt, 18 September 2014.

The Oliver Schnyder Trio has been doing a great job of keeping in touch with their fans through Facebook. Their recordings and performances have received rave reviews, their December 2014 release of Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey, or Winter Giant to the careless speller — me) with tenor Daniel Behle being no exception. As an owner of two of Schnyder’s CDs, Haydn piano concertos with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Andrew Watkinson, cond.) and Mendelssohn piano concertos with the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur (Douglas Boyd, cond.), I was sorely disappointed at not being able to get this most recent release, unavailable in U.S. stores for download or otherwise. Let’s hope the Trio’s management works with Sony to rectify this soon. In the meantime, you can listen to samples from their album of Brahms’s Piano Trios, also recorded last year via SoundCloud. The Trio does a very cool thing by recording both Brahms’s original (1854) version of Piano Trio No. 1 and the revised 1891 version.

Among other works at tomorrow’s concert (see the program here) the Oliver Schnyder Trio will perform Winterreise with the vocal parts played by Philipp Jundt on flute. I expect it will be wonderful!

I take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

About to film my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, 27 August 2014.

So I got a call about a week ago from Happy Isaac Durst, co-host of Easy English on EBS. He wanted to know if it was okay to nominate me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Isaac had just been nominated himself. Good guy that he is, he called to ask for my permission before shooting his video.

Isaac was the model of patience as I hemmed and hawed on the phone. I didn’t mind giving money to a good cause. I had no problem getting a bucket ice water dumped on my head. My hesitation came from not knowing anyone to whom I could pass the bucket along. I’m not exactly popular. Still, I agreed to be nominated and made it my mission to find people three people who like me. I resorted to people outside the country.

I know the rule is to do your own video within 24 hours, but I didn’t care. Following Isaac’s example, though, I got permission from my three vict . . . friends and made my video yesterday. Luckily I was able to enlist the help of my fellow teachers Daniel Brodie and Eldin Husic and their sons, Benjamin, Mesha, and Tarik who, frankly, are the best part of the video.

Thank you, Isaac, for getting me involved in this fine cause. Thank you Julia, Kathrin, and Philipp for agreeing to be nominated. And thank you Daniel, Benjamin, Eldin, Mesha, and Tarik for making the video fun. Here it is!

Getting an extension on your F-6 visa

Having your immigration documents in order is a fact of life for someone living in a foreign country. An American (even a Korean-American such as myself) living in Korea is no exception. And while the Korean government’s “Hi, Korea!” is a valuable resource for all things immigration, the information isn’t always as clear or as plentiful as one would like.

I recently had to get an extension on my F-6 visa (the relatively new visa for spouses of a Korean national), but wasn’t sure which documents I needed. There are several websites that do a good job of explaining what you need to get your F-6 visa in the first place, but I had difficulty finding information on extensions — even on “Hi, Korea!”. I suspected I wouldn’t need nearly as many documents this time around.

A Korean blog post by Global Life proved to be very helpful. And having just gone through the process myself, I can now share that information with you. I don’t have any unusual circumstances regarding my visa, so I expect the information below will apply to most people.

Suwon Immigration Office
Suwon Immigration Office

Required documents when getting an extension on your F-6 visa:

  • your Alien Registration Card
  • your passport
  • a completed application – (download – Word)
  • Recent (within 3 months) Proof of Resident Registration 주민등록표 for your spouse
  • a recent Marriage Relationship (status) Certificate 혼인관계 증명서
    • You can get a copy of this document at a local government office without your spouse being present, though you’ll have to fill out an application (등록부 등의 기록사항 등에 관한 증명신청서). See below.*
    • It can also be obtained online and printed at home. Visit the Korean Court of Law website.
  • 30,000-40,000 won
    • Fees have recently been increased. See the notice on “Hi Korea!” The notice states that extensions are now both 30,000 won and 40,000 won. I paid 30,000. Of course, unused revenue stamps can be returned to the counter for a refund.

Your F-6 visa will be valid for one year at a time until your second extension. Upon your second extension, your visa will become valid for two years.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

*등록부 등의 기록사항 등에 관한 증명신청서

등록부 등의 기록사항 등에 관한 증명신청서 - Form 11

I’ve signed up for the Toughman contest!

On Friday, February 7, 2003, I’m making my amateur boxing debut at the Toughman Contest, which is being held at the Peoria Civic Center. I am fighting in the lightweight division (164-184 lbs.) among up to 19 other competitors. I will fight only once on Friday’s elimination event. If I win, I move onto Saturday’s elimination tournament in which I could fight up to four times to win my weight division. If you’ve got nothing to do this weekend and would like to see a college student get beaten on, come on by!

FIGHTER: Charles “The Scholar” Chun
HEIGHT: 5 ft. 9 1/2 in.
WEIGHT: 162 lbs.

The Original Toughman ContestToughman contest logo
Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL
Friday, February 7, 2003 and Saturday, February 8, 2003. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Event begins at 8:00 pm.
$20/General Admission; $35/Ringside

DIRECTIONS FROM CHICAGO/BLOOMINGTON:
– 55 South
– 74 West
– Exit on Jefferson (One-Way)
– Peoria Civic Center is on the right. Click here for more details.

TOURNAMENT RULES:
– Three one-minute rounds
– 45-second rest between rounds
– 16 oz. gloves
– Headgear, mouthpiece, groin protector
– No professional boxers or amateurs who have fought in more than 5 sanctioned fights
– Only boxing style punches are allowed to the same target areas that are permitted in boxing. No kicking, no biting and no wrestling.

The media: Left-wing or right-wing bias?

Like many who have written on this topic before, I would argue that the bias of the mainstream media is generally independent of the left- or right-wing (with the exception of the obvious outlets such as Fox News) and are instead driven by the profit motive. If we were to look at the motivation of the right accusing the media of being liberal (i.e. left-wing), or vice-versa, I would suggest that what both sides are really saying is that neither one is happy unless their perspective is the dominant one. Despite calls from both sides for a free press, I don’t see either the left- or right-wing being very interested in dissenting opinion.

That is not to say, however, that news outlets, for the most part, do not leave out much of the news and discussion worth knowing and listening to. That’s obvious. But once again, I would point that to the short attention span and intellectual laziness of the audience, coupled with the overwhelming obligations to advertisers.

Clarity of explanation and thought and its relationship to actual knowledge and understanding

Over time I have come to realize that you can decipher how well a person understands a topic by how simply and clearly they explain it. They know how to go from points A, to B, to C, and so on. That does not necessarily mean, however, that they are unaware of the nuances or are unable to delve into them. They simply possess a clarity of thought and aptly demonstrate it.

But there are also those with a particular disposition that causes them to either rule out topics as being “too complicated” for their audience or habitually goes from points A, to G2, to B1, to C4, to X, and so on, to make their point. I suspect the latter individuals don’t actually know what they’re talking about and try to hide it behind a continuous barrage of blather in hopes of beating their audience into mental submission.

I am afraid that, quite often, I fall into this latter category. Whenever I say that something is really complicated or explain something in a very convoluted way (as I’ve described above), it is probably a dead giveaway that I don’t know what I’m talking about.