Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Surviving Your Trip to Korea Without Learning the Language

It is widely known that many Koreans do not speak English, so how would a foreigner survive a visit to this enchanting country without learning the language? South Korea is such a fascinating country, and because of its movies and TV dramas that are being subtitled in different languages, and its music groups and bands getting exposed to more Western audiences, many are eager to visit the country.

Many attempt to learn the language. Hangeul, the Korean alphabet is easy to learn. You can read and write it after studying it for about 10 hours or more. But constructing sentences in Korean is a different thing. First, the sentence order is subject-object-verb. For English speakers, this is totally alien, because they are taught to construct sentences following the subject-verb-object order. Here are some survival tips for you to get by, without learning much about the language yet be able to communicate and look like you have been in South Korea for a long time.

• Body language is very important. You might be hesitant to enter a store because you do not speak the language and yet you wanted to get a particular thing. There is nothing to worry about because you can always point to the object and pay for it. Hand gestures and facial expressions help a lot. Accept things with two hands. Learn to bow properly, with the thumbs interlocked and placed in front of you. The older the person you meet, the deeper the bow should be. It is rude to point at things and persons. If you have to absolutely do it, use an open palm with all fingers outstretched.

• Knowing how to read Hangeul will be of great help as you will be able to at least read some of the written words, which might also be English written in Hangeul. It helps to lessen the culture shock as well, as you will feel like you have lost the ability to read. Part of learning Korean is to sound out the things you read, (only if you have learned Hangeul).

• If you are fond of wearing short skirts, do what most Korean ladies do especially when climbing stairs. Hold your handbag or your tote bag behind you with both hands. This act will provide you with some form of covering for the edge of your short skirt.

• Learn to eat kimchi, which is one of the healthiest foods in the world, anyway. Even if you haven't learned the language, you would have earned the respect of many Koreans. Corollary to this, learn to use the Korean chopsticks as well. They are made of stainless steel, a bit heavy and flat. The long-handled spoon is used to scoop up rice and soup. Keep in mind that if you are with a bunch of Korean acquaintances, the food that you order will be served for the group, meaning that you will be sharing the food in one communal container.

• Even if you do not know the language, know that there is a hierarchy even when eating. If you are the youngest, you are expected to get the silverware, the napkins, spoons and chopsticks if these are not laid out. You also will fetch water, and man the grill if you order meat. You must not take the last bit of food left on the plate. Otherwise you will see a lot of disapproving faces. It's different when it is time to pay though. If you are the youngest, you utter a hollow offer to pay, which your older companions will find cute. The oldest in the group is always the one to pay.

Nevertheless, it would be a better experience for you if you at least know some basic words in Korean, such as kamsahamnida, cheonmaneyo, annyeong, oppa, noona, unni, hyeong, imo (instead of ajumma). You can use a phrase book, or otherwise find an interpreter in Korea.

Photo credit to Korea.net

About the Author:

Ronnie Avelino is working for Day Translations, Inc., a global interpreting and certified translation services provider with headquarters in Tampa, Florida, US, and offices worldwide. Its dedicated team of specialized and trained certified translators and interpreters are available 24/7 around the world to satisfy their customers’ translation and interpreting needs.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An OFW in Korea Shows How to Have Fun at Work

Who says working in Korea as an EPS is Demeaning, Dirty and Deadly? Well, not for a Cebuano OFW who somehow managed to change the meaning of 3D into Deviant, Deliberate and Dynamic. His funny videos went viral online, at least for OFWs here in South Korea. Most of his videos are all about his short comical stints at work. The working environment in a manufacturing industry maybe intimidating for some, but this guy made funny shows out of it.

An OFW dancing while working

The guy behind these epic videos is no other than Loth Orlanes Procurato. He is from Cebu City and he has been working here in South Korea as a factory worker since November 9, 2010. He is working in a company that manufactures icebox and thermos at Gwangju City at Gyeongi-do. However funny he may be in his videos, not everybody knows that he co-manage CebuPhil Korean Language training center presently operating in Cebu and Bohol. They offer Korean language training for those who want to study the language for future employment here in Korea.

His serious business and manly working environment did not stop him from dressing like a girl and entertain people with his innate talent of making people laugh. Just take for example this one video that made me chuckle. So he came to work one Saturday morning as a cross dresser factory worker. He acted like a TV journalist doing some documentary show introducing his work in a very funny way. Productivity wise, I guess the guy is doing the job properly, so the company can tolerate him for this. The video below was actually taken by his supervisor, enough to say that the boss supports him for this.

Doing some repetitive and no-brainer tasks will never be boring for Loth. He can just mess around with his "kakulitan" without compromising his duty. One good laugh is never bad enough at work place. How about dancing while working with permission from your boss? hahaha

He can even play jokes at some Korean co-workers at work. While others are busy doing their respective working assignments, he is also busy feeding his co-workers with Cherry...hahaha... I like how game are his co-workers at his antics.

Laughter is indeed a good medicine. No matter how hard it is to work in a factory plus the fact that you are being away from family, you can temporarily forget it once you start laughing. I guess it's not bad to being playful at work sometimes as long as your duties are not compromised. It's a Filipino trait after all, we always find a way to have fun even at a very desperate situation.

For you Loth, kudos for sharing with us your mishaps and misadventures at work. You made us all laugh.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

How Can OFWs Achieve Financial Freedom? – An Invitation to the Financial Literacy Seminar for OFWs in Korea

photo credit to http://www.jackrusl.biz/
A group of OFW in South Korea during the Financial Literacy Seminar

Ask any random OFW about the reason why he or she works abroad and you will get almost the same reason: To Help My Family and Provide Their Needs!

That reason would often translate to their desire of achieving financial freedom. No OFW would want to leave their family in the Philippines just for nothing. When I came here in Korea with a bunch of Filipino hopefuls, I remember one Filipino worker saying “Para ito sa pagpapagamot ng tatay ko!” with deep conviction as he stepped out of the airplane at Incheon Airport. I can still clearly recall his expression and for some reason, I pitied that guy. Actually, I pitied everybody I was with on that same plane because I can sense fear on them despite their hopeful facades. The promise of earning 5 digits salary in Korea maybe promising for all of us, but the lack of knowledge on how to handle vast amount of money would be no difference to earning just 4 digits salary in the Philippines. This is the reason why I find it necessary for everybody to strive for financial literacy because if you let yourself overwhelmed with the amount of money, your bank account will always remain at PHP 0 balance.

Let’s take for example the life of Mr. Floi Wycoco, I was so inspired with his life story because I can relate to him. Like us, he was an OFW in Singapore earning a whooping 6 digits salary. He was overwhelmed with the money he earned and he spent all of it to the point of buying a luxury wristwatch worth P70, 000. Take that! At the end of the day, no matter how big he earned from his daytime job, his pocket remained empty. His stint in Singapore did not work well despite the fact of earning more than what the usual 8 hour employee earned. From there, he began searching for solution to financial dilemma, and he found out that the only way to not become broke is to become financial literate. When he started to study Financial Investments and Management from books, youtube videos and seminars, he started to experience a remarkable turning point in his financial life. He learned how to invest, how to save and how to manage his finances. And now, a former OFW with the reputation of being a spender is now a certified investor and he used his story to advocate others especially OFWs to venture on different financial investments for a better future.  He went back to the Philippines in the arms of his family and applied what he learned to make the money effectively work for him.

Here’s the good news! That Mr. Floi Wycoco I am talking about will come here in South Korea. Yes, you heard it right! He will come here to share information we need to know on how to handle your personal finances and introduce the different investment vehicles that we can avail. Not only that, Mr. Randel Tiongson, a remarkable speaker who teaches OFW financial education, will also join him in reaching out to OFWs here in Korea. This is one rare opportunity for us to be visited by these financial advisors to give us heads up on how we can make the most out of our money and will help us return to our family without worrying for the finances and never leave them again. Attending seminars like this is one effective way to get yourself educated because you are getting first hand information from the experts.

The OFW Financial Literacy Seminar will be on September 7, 2014 at 4th Floor Pius Building at Incheon City. If you want to register for this seminar and know the corresponding learning fees, go head on to this LINK and contact the people in charge for the registration.

This seminar is a sequel of the first one which was held last June 29, 2014. You can check the video below for the highlights of that event.

If you are an OFW who wants to get out of the bondage of corporate slavery, you would want to find alternatives on how to make your money work for you. It's time to educate yourself financially for the better future of your family. Go attend this seminar and who knows, like Mr. Floi Wycoco, you can be able to open your mind and this may become a turning point of your life.

For more updates and information about the seminar, please like PINOY STOCK MARKET INVESTORS IN KOREA.

See you there!!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Claim Your Departure Guarantee Insurance? -Based on the New Law For Tejikom (퇴직금)

Image credit to blogging4jobs.com

Effective July 29, 2014, the Departure Guarantee Insurance can only be claimed only during the departure from South Korea to the Philippines. Let’s make it clear that the only workers affected with this new law are those who have employers subscribed to the Departure Guarantee Insurance.

What is this Departure Guarantee Insurance anyway and how is it related to 퇴직금 (Tejikom)?

Well, technically, the Departure Guarantee Insurance and Tejikom are the same. The Tejikom is the severance pay given to workers who have worked in a particular company for at least one (1) year.  The employers, instead of paying you your Tejikom, have the option to subscribe to the Departure Guarantee Insurance in order to relieve the weight of the payment. The Departure Guarantee Insurance was implemented by the Korean Government in favor for the employers. Should a worker decide to leave the company and have rendered a service at least one year, the insurance company will pay their Tejikom instead of the employer. After a worker left the company, he can file to claim his Tejikom right away.

However, the new law has presented a new alternative to claim the Tejikom of those who have subscribed to the Departure Guarantee Insurance. The transcript of the new regulation is very long but it wouldn’t hurt to read it anyway. You can download and read the whole transcript HERE.

The length of the information is very intimidating, but the most important thing to note is how to get the severance pay. This is the process:

      1.      One (1) month before your departure, submit your application to Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance Company. If you don’t know about this insurance company, your boss should be able to help you for this.

      2.      Choose your preferred way of receiving the money. There are two ways: First is through remittance to your bank account in the Philippines. Second is through personal transaction. If you choose the second option, the money will literally be given to you at the airport after you passed the immigration desk.

      3.      If you chose the first option which is through remittance to your bank account, you need to present the following requirements:

*Registration of release (If you transferred company during your tenure)
*Registration of employer

Note that your bank will be automatically notified with this.

     4.      If you chose the second option, which is through personal claim, you must secure an order from the insurance company during your application. Present this order to the bank at Incheon International airport before your departure and the bank will issue you the cash payment.

Make sure to process the application one (1) month before your departure so you can check if your boss paid the exact amount for your Departure Guarantee Insurance. Feel free to ask the staffs of the insurance company on how to compute the contribution so you could tally the expected amount to the actual amount on your account.

For other insurance claims, you might want to check this 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

North Korea Reacts to Hollywood Movie THE INTERVIEW

Hollywood takes aim at the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un in their upcoming movie The Interview. The movie, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, tells a story of two journalists who later turned into assassins by the CIA as they land an interview with the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang.

The assassination bid in this comedy movie has apparently offended the leaders of North Korea. An envoy from North Korea named Ja-Song Nam filed a protest to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (which happens to be a citizen of South Korea) requesting to ban the movie, failure to do so may encourage and sponsor terrorism. North Korea further warned that if the movie will not be pulled off from the distribution, they will give a merciless response.

This is not the first time that Hollywood mock a North Korean Leader in a movie. In 2004, the movie Team America scornfully mimicked the late Kim Jong-II.

All eyes are on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon now. As an addressee of the said letter of appeal from North Korea, how would he react on this situation considering the fact that North Korea and South Korea are not in good terms? But I guess he would be professional in handling this situation, the United Nations is supposed to stand on neutral ground anyway.

Also, the attention goes out to the producers of the movie. Will they pull off the distribution of the movie or treat the letter from North Korea as an empty threat?

Or is it too early for North Korea and for us to judge the movie based solely on the trailer?

The movie is supposed to be released on October 14, 2014. Watch the trailer of the movie THE INTERVIEW and see if it is somehow offensive.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Eat Yeot" - What Does It Mean in Korea?

The Yeot Candy. Photo credit to gwangjublog.com
This is the Yeot Candy. It is just like any regular candies you can see in the stores. It is a candy made with steamed glutinous rice, corn and sweet potatoes. And I think it is the most controversial candy now in the world, or at least in Korea, as of writing this article.

On the night of June 29, 2014, South Korean Men's Soccer Team went home to Korea after the failed attempt to win in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Korea has faced series of defeat from the competing countries ending up last among four nations in Group H. Some fans of the soccer team were not happy with the outcome of the competition and they have taken it against the players for not doing their best and for not putting the best men to play the game. So during the arrival of the team, angry fans showed up and started throwing Yeot Candies while shouting a phrase translated as "EAT YEOT!!!!"

If you are not Korean, you may interpret the throwing of Yeot Candies as a sweet welcome since candies always symbolize happiness and sincerity, let alone people asking you to eat it. But for Koreans, throwing a yeot candies and telling people to eat it has a very bad meaning. To "EAT YEOT" is a Korean way of saying "EAT SH*T" or somehow almost equivalent to saying "F*CK". An insult is just an understatement, it is meant to put somebody into shame and to show your hatred towards the person.

So what's the story behind this?

I traced back the history of the phrase and I found out that it actually originates in an entrance examination of a middle school in 1964. One of the questions was:

 "Which of the following ingredients can be used instead of yeot oil (엿기름, i.e. barley malt) to make yeot?"

Two of the choices were diastase and mu juice. The correct answer should be diastase but people protested that mu juice is also correct. This confusion affects the grade of some examiners and the parents protested in front of government offices holding yeot candies made with mu juice. They were shouting "Eat Yeot!!!" From then on, the phrase conveys a distasteful meaning to Koreans.

So next time you see Yeot Candies, you can eat it and keep it to yourself. As much as possible, don't offer it to people especially Koreans and say "Eat Yeot".

Here is the video of actual throwing of Yeot Candies to the Soccer Team: