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About Music, Orchestra, and Memories

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Somehow, there seems to be a branch (or several branches) of art each person is profoundly attached to. For my mom, it's paintings that she enjoys the best––she seems to be capable of imagining a whole story, or a complex mix of emotions when seeing a picture. It's a feeling I don't thoroughly understand. For me, it's music that penetrates my heart and makes me suddenly want to smile and jump around, dance gracefully, or have my eyes fill silently with tears.
      I guess that's why I always wanted to be part of an orchestra. It wasn't that some classical piece I had come across was particularly memorable, but that the idea of contributing to a melodic tune was so appealing.
Think of the sound of a cello as crimson red, violin as striking orange, harp as glistening gold, flute as lime green, clarinet as transparent blue, and so on. Each instrument produces quite a charming sound, yet they on their own can never be a rainbow.
Although I love music and admi…

Beware: This is not a sonnet

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Schooled Gaeun Kim

The dazzling sun and puffy cloud
Sigh sadly upon the empty ground.
"Why are all souls not out and proud,
But staring at books, barred and bound?"

Days and nights the children had frolicked,
Along the rivers, along the lakes.
Joy was what life seemed to depict;
A simple tale without mistakes.

And now just gaze into their eyes
Where shadows wander, fear appears.
Screams of history, scientists' cries
Have shed them drops of deep blue tears.

Outside a skylark sings a song
But no one stands up and sings along.



About the poem After learning in depth about the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I wrote a poem that was inspired by Romanticism, which is one of the important themes in the novel. Why do cheerful children somehow lose their bright energy as they become teenagers? In the case of Korea, it might be because they spend too much time in academies. But to think about it in another way, it could be the effect of what the children learned as they grew up. It's rep…

Back to Loving Green

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There's something I recently became an expert in: catching swimming tadpoles with bare hands.
     I still clearly remember that before, there was a time when I had been an innocent child who was never afraid of anything in nature. I had grown up in a neighborhood full of rows of apartments but had always been interested in insects and animals. I remember me taking my friends on an 'adventure' on the way home from elementary school, to observe the ants, find weird-looking berries, and even crouch down in a shelter made of some rocks (which I called a cave). I also liked to catch dragonflies with a vibrant pink net I bought in a small store in front of my apartment.
     As I became older, wandering around looking for insects somehow didn't seem to suit my age. I grew farther and farther away from nature and wildlife. And from some point, I found myself shuddering when finding an earthworm squirming or feeling a leaf brush against my bare skin while walking.      W…

Viewing The 2018 inter-Korean summit as a South Korean

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I still remember the moment--two months ago--when I had searched for Kim Jong Un's voice on the internet. The North Korean leader had appeared more than frequently in the news around the globe, but no one really knew well what he sounded like when he spoke. It was not different even for a South Korean: All that came to my head when I thought of Kim Jong Un was just a static image of him clapping his hands in silence while watching another missile being launched.

     So, it was quite shocking to see Kim Jong Un shake hands with President Moon with a smiling face, and even give a long speech during the inter-Korean summit on April 27th. His North Korean accent was not as strong as I had expected. Although his voice was a little stiff, if I had closed my eyes I could have thought of it as a voice of any North Korean young man.

     I could feel myself living right through history. I was actually alive at a moment that would surely be in future history textbooks! Just like when …

The Power of Macduff

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The Power of Macduff -Analysis of Macduff in the play Macbeth        A number of dramatic events take place in the play, Macbeth. The King of Scotland is murdered by his own trusted Thane, some noblemen flee to plot a rebellion, and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan even more treacherous acts to eliminate the ones in their way. The destruction of the Great Chain of Being creates chaos where the evil happenings take place like a speeding typhoon. In all this turmoil, there is a rather calm and humane nobleman who carefully takes action as these events happen: Macduff. Unlike many other characters in the play, Macduff stands his ground no matter what and remains loyal to his country.


Macduff is a figure who expresses his emotions honestly, having firm trust in the people around him. When he finds King Duncan murdered in the bedroom, he frantically comes back to his fellow noblemen and alarms them with an astonished and shocked voice, saying “Oh, horror, horror, horror! / Tongue nor heart ca…

Onion or not?

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It might have started all, from something not at all spectacular – a lunch tray at kindergarten. As a five-year-old kid, I found myself staring at a pretty large, whitish piece of vegetable placed in the corner of my tray, along with the Chinese-style sweet and sour pork. ‘So it’s an onion. THE notorious onion every kid I know hates to even look at,’ I thought. Normally I wouldn’t have thought of even poking the onion with my fork – I would simply have left it untouched on my tray, keeping myself safe from the hazard. But this time it was different because a thought suddenly flashed across my head. Eating the onion was actually a chance to test my courage. The adults always told kids to eat vegetables – and I, the solely brave kid, would risk my taste buds to carry out the menacing task of munching an onion.


     I proudly and solemnly carried the onion to my mouth, like a determined general marching to war. However, the next minute I was filled with the utmost surprise and aston…

The Girl Who Takes the Road Not Taken

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In the poem “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost writes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” Those lines were exactly what struck my mind on that day when I had a chance to ask a calligrapher at a flea market in Hongdae to write a phrase on a blank bookmark. I hesitated a little, and the old calligrapher looked at me questioningly, waiting for me to say something. Thinking of Frost’s work made me suddenly blurt out, “Can you please write… ‘The girl who takes the road not taken.’ ”

    That is how I got my one-and-only bookmark five years ago. At the time I was a twelve-year-old who had dropped out of elementary school. The teachers were astonished when they found out I was no longer coming to school. Why would such an obedient, high-achieving ‘model student’ decide to leave? They even suspected my parents of perhaps persuading me or even forcing me to drop out. Yet it was undoubtedly my own decision: a pa…

The Overcoming: getting through the most embarrassing moment in my life

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The Overcoming     With a big smile on my face, I left the classroom. It had been a fantastic discussion about whether the government should allow euthanasia or not. I loved the flow of my words and how it contributed well to the whole debate. Then a flash of memory suddenly came to mind as I hopped down the stone steps of the English Building. An experience that had made my face burn red hot and my hands tremble with sweat. Something I do not want to recall, but comes rushing into my brain sometimes.

    I was one of the few second graders (that would be 14 years old) at a Korean Debate Contest a few years ago. I had never been to academies that taught debating skills but was confident that I would do well. However, my firm belief in the ability to speak was painfully shattered into pieces when I encountered the real debate.

    As I stood at the podium, I could feel everyone's eyes on me, their pencils ready to write down every single bit of my speech. I took a long, deep breat…

Going to the adult day care center

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"Your hands are so beautiful," the old woman took hold of my hand and said. I looked down at it, and back at hers. I had never looked at my hands that way, had never considered it to be something that feels good just to gaze at. The sight of my hands seemed to make the old woman reminisce about the past when her hands were not a dry heap of wrinkles. I suddenly felt guilty about how I took my unwrinkled hands, my youth, for granted.


   After a few visits to the adult daycare center, I heard from the staff that all of the elderly there had at least a little bit of dementia. Their behavior was indeed, slightly awkward; many of them had difficulty folding paper while doing origami, some tapped anxiously on the sofa every few seconds, and some were even unable to talk or made strange noises. The old men and women needed the help of the staff to move around or eat dinner. They were like a group of toddlers, from the fact that they were incapable of doing daily things on their …

Some criticism on K-pop idol music

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The K-pop industry is enlarging, and now there are fans not only in South Korea but all over the world – Hong Kong, Phillippines, Australia, Peru, and so on. I have grown up watching the rapid growth of K-pop and its immense influence on people through different kinds of media. Although I think K-pop is pretty cool with all its energy and rhythm, I want to point out some of its downsides and unintended negative influences – especially for the K-pop idol groups.


The Lyrics The idol groups' songs are pretty good – most of them are quite catchy and addictive. That is certainly a crucial factor in K-pop's popularity. Yet these songs now tend to have too many repetitive melodies and lyrics that are simply easy to remember. Take a look at some of the most popular ones I have come across on the Naver and MelOn charts, both of which are quite authoritative. I have only extracted some parts, so please note that it is not the whole song.
(*Translation: Gaeun Kim)
1) An example of repeti…