I happened to watch a talkshow on Metro TV. Some men were fervently discussing about how to purchase a good netbook.  “Hmmm, think I gotta watch this…”. Then I texted someone to watch it, as I know he’s longed for a notebook since forever but his budget doesn’t permit. He writes a lot  and pursues a dream of being an accomplished and wealthy author like J. K. Rowling. So I think buying a netbook is the best solution for him. It was Monday morning and he replied my text saying, “You know I love my bulky desktop, coz I can’t afford to buy a notebook. desktop isn’t portable but at the very least it’s financially friendly to me….” I was wondering whether he had hangover that morning or heavily drunk or just woke up and texted me back while regaining consciousness. I replied patiently, ” Netbook…not notebook. They’re different, dude”.

Onto business, let’s take a look at its specifications:

  • smaller size, lighter weight
  • armed with Intel Atom processor
  • no optical drive (external DVD writer sold separately; approx. costs IDR 700,000)
  • 3G built-in modem
  • slots: USB ports, bluetooth
  • webcam (resolution ranging from 0.3 to 1.3 MP)
  • screen diagonal: 7′-10′
  • office softwares ready
  • Wi-Fi
  • more affordable prices (starting from IDR 3 million)
  • battery (3 cells-3hours/ 6 cells-6 hours)

Some say the down economy we’re experiencing now has triggered the skyrocketing fame of netbooks among users. Forget the space consuming desktop, or the unaffordable, wide and heavy laptop, since netbooks provide you the ease of mobility. The competitive pricing of netbooks positively contributes to the potential buyers’ shift of opinion. The second notebook market is gradually losing its edge simply because buying a brand new gadget is easier than selecting second hand notebooks. Unlike buying a new good, you have to sweat just to compare one to another, and maybe make a little, not-so-profound research about the specs. It’s time consuming! With IDR 3 million ready in your hand, you can grab a netbook produced by local manufacturers.
Some flaws we must be aware of are the less user friendly recovery method (with the absence of DVD writer, inserting driver CD is impossible), lower quality and non-upgradable feature of VGA (which makes gaming is less convenient), separately sold hardwares (modem and DVD writer, which means more burden on budget!).
The invited experts also suggested some tips to maintain netbook performance and lengthen its durability.
  • avoid over-charging: never leave your netbook (and notebook or any electronic devices you have) recharged and connected to the power supply longer than necessary. Unplug as soon as the battery is fully recharged. You save earth by saving energy and save your dear device too, at the same time.
  • buy a thicker softcase: in case you drop your netbook, the thick softcase may absorb the shock that may result in netbook’s failure to work properly.
  • make sure it’s turned off: always make sure your netbook is off when you keep it in the softcase because the heat resulted by the netbook may destruct the components.

Expressions: Introduction and Describing Ourselves

It’s so hilarious to watch the scene when Han Ji-Eun is introducing herself to Lee Yeong-Jae’s grandmom. The old lady is so demanding and ,like any other elderly parents, looks intimidating to our timid heroine. Hahaha…The grandma complains when Ji-Eun only nods her head when greeting the elderly, so she wanted Ji-Eun to take a bow (called “chol”). Ji-Eun says, “안녕 하세요, 한지은 이라고 합니다” (Good morning, my name’s Han Ji-Eun).Han Ji-Eun does this in a very awkward way and makes me laugh at once.
There are some phrases or gambits Korean natives use to use introduce themselves. Here you can see there are two alternatives that we may use according to level of politeness and formality. If you ask using a sentence with -까, it means you ask in a formal and polite way. Ending -다 is used in the end of formal statement/ positive sentence. Next, 요 indicates a closer relationship between speakers, and may be used both in interrogatives and positive sentences.

이름이 뭐십니까?/이름이 뭐예요?
(i-reum-i mweo-sim-ni-ka?/i-reum-i mweo-ye-yo?)
What’s your name?

제 이름은 ……… 입니다/ ……(이) 라고 합니다.
(je i-reum-eun ….im-ni-da/….(i) ra-go ham-ni-da)
My name’s …..

예(formal)/네(common)/녜(less common)


어디서 왔어요?
(eo-di-seo wass-eo-yo?)
Where’re you from?

…… 에서 왔어요.
(…..e-seo wass-eo-yo)
I’m from ….

한국 에 계신지 얼마나 되셨어요?
(Han-guk-e gye-sin-ji eol-ma-na dwe-syeoss-eo-yo?)
How long have you been in Korea?

한국 에 온지 2 년 됐습니다.
(han-guk-e on-ji i-nyeon dwaess-seum-ni-da)
I’ve been in Korea for 2 years.

한국에 이번이 처음이서요?
(Han-guk-e i-beon-i cheo-eumi-seo-yo?)
Is it your first time in Korea?

이번이 두번째입니다.
(i-beon-i du-beon-cae-im-ni-da)
This is my 2nd time here.

나이가 어떻게 되세요?/ 나이가 몇 살이예요?
(na-i-ga eo-teo-ke dwe-se-yo?/ na-i-ga myeot-sal-i-ye-yo?)
How old are you?

저는 스물다섯살 입니다/저는 스물다섯살 이예요.
(Jeo-neun seu-mul-da-seot-sal im-ni-da/jeo-neun seu-mul-da-seot-sal i-ye-yo)
I’m 25 years old.


Learning a foreign language may be made fun, and singing a song is unbeatably helpful to loosen up a bit the tense nerve we have after memorizing the theoretical discussion.
As I told you before, I once took a Korean course and had a native Korean called Kang Song Hoon as my tutor. At the same time, there was Full House (풀하우스), a Korean drama hit almost everyone knows, aired on Indosiar (2005). I found this drama entertaining and got addicted to watching it daily.

While watching it, I found  a very interesting song (which was sung by Lee Yeong Jae for sad Han Ji Eun). The actor Rain (Bi) had improvized the lyrics of the rhyme but here is the original version my tutor Kang Song Hon wrote for my Korean class. Grab your microphone now and let’s sing!!!

곰스마리가  한집예있어
(gom-se-ma-ri-ga  han-jib-ye-iss-o)
아빠곰 엄마곰 애기곰
(a-pa-gom eom-ma-gom  ae-gi-gom)
아빠곰은 뚱뚱해 엄마곰은 날씬해
(a-pa-gom-eun tung-tung-ae  eom-ma-gom-eun  nal-ssin-ae)
애기곰은 너무귀여워 으쓱으쓱잘한다
(ae-gi-gom-eun neo-mu-gwi-yeo-weo  eu-ssek-eu-ssek-jal-han-da)

Free translation:
“Three Bears”
There’re 3 bears in a house
Daddy bear, mommy bear, and baby bear
Daddy bear’s fat, mommy bear’s thin
Baby bear’s too cute, shrug shrug, good!


I used to think some folks are lucky enough to be born with writing skill. To me, what I feel when seeing people writing lots of short stories,  thick novels, superb blogs is like what an ugly dwarf feels when gazing at a slender, tall, gorgeous figure of Italian model. It’s sad but true, but then it dawned on me that the wretched dwarf can get some adept cosmetic surgeons to make a major, massive, total and thorough change of look! Weird analogy, haha..But the point I’m trying to make here is that writing ability is NOT a rare innate skill. It’s in fact a craft anyone can acquire, learn, study. At least that’s what I read in The Oxford Guide to Writing.

Here, in Indonesia, where anyone is more familiar with oral and audio-visual cultural products like songs, TV series, movies, etc; writing and reading tend to be less prioritized. Not many Indonesians intend to be a writer, author, or blogger, as far as I know. Writing is not taught in Indonesian schools, simply because (in my humble opinion) writing isn’t a skill going to be assessed in the National Examinations or UAN. Why must we sweat for something “unnecessary” to learn? Probably that’s what those elementary and high school students have on mind. The technology development is even aggravating the situation. People don’t write letters anymore, they prefer calling, have a chat/ IM on cell phone, etc.
But apart from what has been said, writing is worth learning. I’m not saying I’m an accomplished writer with lots of successfully published best-seller novels or books. Rather, I take this as  a chance to encourage other people and especially myself, to keep learning how to write well. So? Let’s write, shall we?


This second part will mainly discuss the double consonant group. There’re five double consonants we need to know:
  1. ㄲ : ssang giyeuk (pronounced as /k/)
  2. ㄸ : ssang digeut (pronounced as /t/)
  3. ㅃ : ssang bieup (pronounced as /p/)
  4. ㅆ : ssang sieut (pronounced as /S/)
  5. ㅉ : ssang jieut (pronounced as /c/ or /ts/)
I know how confusing it is to find out some sounds may be represented by more than one alphabets, such as /k/ which might be represented by ㄱ or ㄲ or ㅋ. But why don’t we enjoy the confusion rather than complain about it? Let’s say  this is the art of learning Korean. My Korean tutor even admitted that he sometimes finds writing Korean words trickier than speaking them. And you may not believe it, but it’s true that he several times makes misspelling while writing on whiteboard for us. So don’t worry too much about it..It’s about the travel, rather than the destination 🙂


Indonesian celebrated poet, Mr. Taufik Ismail, pointed out the other vital issue this nation is encountering. Ismail regretted the government’s feeble and wavering political will to strengthen Indonesian young generation literacy level. Most Indonesian students are now losing their ability to write as they are seldom exposed to reading activity. Ismail surprisingly compared our current literature way of teaching to the one that we adopted during the Dutch Collonialism era. At that time, Ismail went on, students were required to read more literary works and then to write compositions related to the works they just read.
The moderator reasoned this must be caused by Indonesian tendency to be an oral-cultured nation. The reason, however, was instantly rebutted by Ismail by stating that our literacy during Dutch colonialization was even better than now.
Ismail also lamented the government’s complete ignorance towards the development of literature publication in Indonesia. Indonesian one and only literature magazine is now trying hard to survive but the government isn’t even aware of that..
Another amazing aspiring figure invited by Metro TV to the stage was Rheynald Kassali. He was eloquently conveying his message about Indonesian inappropriately-designed education system. Kassali stated that Indonesia is a big nation with leashed creativity. He gave an example that Indonesian children have no option but being controlled by the authority (parents, babysitters, teachers, etc). Schools and teachers give boundaries to their students. Similarly, the government also employs a set of curricula that seem inconsistent unfriendly to students.
To overcome this, Kassali suggested a massive and thorough  educational reform which involves the teachers quality improvement. The unsuitable teaching methods Indonesian teachers are using are allegedly to be the culprit.
Other than that, Kassali mentioned this nation should start to learn how to compete fairly. Thus far, Indonesians have been so much acquainted with solidarity values. Solidarity is above all, that’s what they believe. What makes Indonesians fail to compete with other nations is that they tend to think  based on solidarity values, that togetherness is good, without exception. That’s why we easily find a group of students cheating during exams. They’re never told that some cases of togetherness/ solidarity are exceptionally destructive, unethical and improper.


I started learning English since my early childhood, but I couldn’t recall what actually I learned the first time I was attracted to it. As my memory can serve, my grandfather and aunts used to watch some Western TV series aired on the first and only state-owned TV station in Indonesia. It was damn fun to watch Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan was playing detective there), Little House on the Prairie ( the most inspiring American dream story to me), Full House (when the Olsen twin sisters were infants), O’Hara (a story about an Asian martial art guru named O’Hara living in the US), Bonanza (typically-cowboy story with lots of the Indians vs European first settlers conflicts), Silk Stalking , Melrose Place, Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks and a lot more. Most of the series above were broadcast late at night, because you know..some of the scenes were romantic. Kissing, seducing scenes were at times found and they were thus not very appropriate for kindegarten kids like me to watch. But who cares, I did watch. I remember one night I had to stay up late only because I wanted to see Pierce Brosnan with his dashing blonde hair. And I benefited..much, yes much by watching them. Without taking English course before, I could articulate some short phrases frequently used by the actors and actreeses, like “What’s the matter?”, and “What happened?”. The way they spoke the phrases was also unique, quite different from my native tongue, Indonesian. So I promised by heart that someday I’d be able to speak just like those American actors and actreeses did. Based on my own past experience I just told, a foreign language lesson is best given for kids at their early stage of brain development, especially brain part that takes control of their linguistic skill.
So back onto business, I encountered some people who keep asking “what should I do to be able to speak fluently in English?”. Many of us face the same problem and never manage to tackle that. Some make excuse that they simply lack vocabulary, fail to dispel shyness, pay too much attention to their sentences grammatical accuracy, and so on. However, one thing I could take conclusion from is the fear of making mistakes, the mistakes can be mispronunciation, ungrammatical sentences, or any other mistakes which can’t be enumerated here.
Recognizing the key cause may set us free from the unpleasant domino effect in the future. For instance, a huge number of English learners failing to tackle their fear of making mistakes are likely to fail not only in speaking, but other subjects, such as writing, vocabulary, etc.
So why did I tell you my childhood English learning experience ? Simply to remind us that learning a foreign language (not only English) like a child is the best way here. What I’m trying to say here is that most kids are carefree, they don’t have a concept of failure on their mind. To adults, a failure or mistake is something to avoid, something they dread for good. To fail is a sin, to fail is embarrasing and humiliating. But to kids or young learners, making mistakes or failing is not something to mind. Maintaining pride or self-esteem is definitely the least thing they think of. What they know is that they have to enjoy what they do. Whatever they play, they must enjoy that. So can we learn how to be kids again to drive away that unnecessary fear?? Only time can tell.


After the previous brief post on hangeul, now let’s discuss the consonants in a more intensive way. Consonants in Korean are divided into two groups; i.e. single and double consonants.

The first group is already shown on the previous post, but for the sake of recalling our memory, try to take a look at this.

  1. ㄱ (g, k) is called giyeuk
  2. ㄴ (n) is called nieun
  3.  ㄷ (d, t) is called digeut
  4. ㄹ (r, l) is called rieul
  5. ㅁ (m) is called mieum
  6. ㅂ (b, p) is called bieup
  7. ㅅ (s, t) is called sieut
  8. ㅇ (voiceless, ng) is called ee-yeung
  9. ㅈ (j, t) is called jieut
  10. ㅊ (ch, t) is called chieut
  11. ㅋ (k) is called kieuk
  12. ㅌ (t) is called tieut
  13. ㅍ (p) is called pieup 
  14. ㅎ (h, t) is called hieut
You might feel confused why some of these letters have two alternative pronunciations. Ok, let me explain simply by giving you some examples. These consonants must be spelled differently based on position.

1. ㄱ
initial : 강습 (gang-seup)
final   : 역 (yeok)
2. ㄷ
initial : 다음 (da-eum)
final : 잗 (jat)
3. ㄹ
initial : 라면 (ra-myon)
final : 거실(geo-si)
4. ㅂ
initial : 바람 (ba-ram)
final : 장갑 (jang-gap)
5. ㅇ
initial : 이름 (i-reum)
final : 노래방 (no-rae-bang)
6. ㅎ
initial : 한국 ( han-guk)
final : 밯 (bat)
7. ㅅ
initial : 손 (son)
final : 이것 (i-geot)
8. ㅈ
initial : 중국 (jung-guk)
final : 맞 (mat)
9. ㅊ
initial : 춥다 (chubda)
final : 몇(myeot)


I forgot to tell you, in case you all need to know how to type hangeul using your own keyboard, check this out!
Based on my personal experience, Microsoft Word 2007 and Windows Vista Ultimate enable you to set the language input as you wish. I’ve tried to find out how to do the same on my uncle’s laptop (installed with the earlier version of Microsoft Office and Windows XP) but failed.

  • First of all, click the “start” button
  • Find “control panel” and click
  • Find “regional and language options” and click
  • Click the “keyboards and languages” tab
  • Click the “change keyboards” button
  • Search and click the “add” button on “text services and input language”
  • Find “Korean” and click

Maybe you’ll find it confusing but it’s worth trying. And remember these steps won’t change the display language, they only change the input texts. So your menu or dialogs are still in English, except you’re already able to install a Korean language pack.
If you want to type on a worksheet (Microsoft Word, for instance) or email, you can activate the language bar so as to be able to type using Korean keyboard. By default, usually the language is set to English, but now you can opt for the Korean because you already choose it as one of the input alternatives. Check the “Korean” section, instead of the “English”. Afterwards, you’ll find a language bar and now check the letter “A” (Latin) into “가” (hangeul).
As my memory serves, if you manage to do the steps I give you, you can type ㅂ,ㅈ,ㄷ,ㄱ,ㅅ, ㅛ, and so on by pressing the QWERTY buttons stretched in front of you now.


After you learn the brief history and basics of hangeul (한글), now it’s your turn to practice.While doing the homework below, try not to open any books or anything to get the answer.

Instruction: Change the hangeul into Latin alphabets, and vice versa.
Example (보기)
천국의계단 = cheon-gug e gye-dan
ji-ha-cheol = 지하철
(For your information, cheongug e gyedan means “Stairway to Heaven”. I’m pretty sure if you’re one of those Korean drama freaks, you’re already familiar with this phrase. Ok now onto the business!)

1. ga-ge
2. seo-jeom
3. gyeong-chal-seo
4. san
5. gu-reum
6. hae
7. bu-okh
8. don
9. sijang
10. phyonji
11. 한식집
12. 공장
13. 극장
14. 식당
15. 대나무
17. 포장마차
18. 연필
19. 선풍기
20. 가울

You may do this homework on your own or else if you want me to correct or check, send your answers to my email address ( I promise to check and response your email.


First thing first: Korean is a language requiring us to study a new set of alphabets. The alphabets are called hangeul. King Sejong was known to be the creator of hangeul.
Hangeul was invented in 1443 or 1444 during the reign of Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910). Thanks to King Sejong and his innovative hangeul, more previously illiterate Koreans were then literate.
When first proclaimed by King Sejong, Hunminjeongum had 28 letters in all. Today, there are 24 letters remaining: 14 consonants and 10 vowels.
Chinese requires a long time to study, however, the Korean alphabet can be learned in a matter of hours or days to read and write. Because Korean alphabet is a phonetic system, it fully can recapture the spoken Korean words.

Korean Alphabet:
ㄱ (g, k) ㄴ (n) ㄷ (d, t)
ㄹ (r, l) ㅁ (m) ㅂ (b, p)
ㅅ (s) ㅇ (voiceless) ㅈ (j)
ㅊ (ch) ㅋ (k) ㅌ (t)
ㅍ (p) ㅎ (h)

ㅏ (a) ㅑ (ya) ㅓ (eo)
ㅕ (yeo) ㅗ(o) ㅛ (yo)
ㅜ (u) ㅠ (yu) ㅡ (eu)
ㅣ (i)


One of my great teachers once said rescuing other people from poverty is a form of jihad, too. And I can’t agree more. As we already witness, in most cases poverty has caused this nation lots of troubles. Poverty, to me, is the main cause of a series crime acts, terrorism, etc. Indonesia, like many other developing countries, is struggling to tackle tons of poverty-related issues. I’m not saying being richer solves all problems we have now, but at the very least this nation has reached a better level of develoment. In a nutshell, poverty may lead to a nation’s deteriorating overall state.
I also heard a Javanese proverb or motto: “wareg, waras, wasis”. I am Javanese myself and supposed to be familiar with this but I understood the wise words meaning for the first time when one of our vice presidential contenders, Wiranto, elaborated the meaning on a TV show. Wareg (literally means “stuffed/full (on stomach)”), as long as I can recall Wiranto’s explanation, means humanbeings basically have to be satisfied in terms of their basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing, etc). This is the very fundamental crave everyone absolutely needs, including saints, prophets, or anyone. Waras means humankind would be able to be physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually fit or healthy. Wasis means humans need to learn knowledge,enrich their well-being with more wisdom. Thus being a wasis man is the final stage where someone has to achieve during his or her lifetime.

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