Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Classes Without Homework?

I just thought I'd blog about this even though this actually took place a couple of weeks ago.

So you guys know that I had taken Beginner's Korean with a friend recently. Don't ask me Korean stuff please, the most I can do for you is to read Han Gul at super slow speed and I won't know what I'm reading.

Anyway this friend of mine is on a rampage to learn languages in the shortest time frame possible. Let me just illustrate this a bit.

We had decided not to continue the lessons with Lingo, with which we had taken the beginner classes. This was due to the fact that I had found another school which appears to offer a much more structured curriculum that also allows one to progress to more advanced levels if one chose to. Also, Lingo was not able to commence the intermediate lessons even 2 months after the originally planned start date.

My friend wanted to start Korean at this other school at the next available term, which would have been starting on the 30th of September. However, this is not ideal for me because I would be in Japan from 18th October to 3rd November. Given that the classes will be held every Tues and Thurs, this means that I would miss 4 lessons. I'm sure that you would agree with me that missing 4 out of 20 lessons for a foundation course is a very bad idea.

My friend would also likely miss at least 1 lesson, but she was very keen on starting the lessons ASAP.

Now, she also wanted to start Japanese classes next January. This is why she was so insistent on taking the Basic Korean at this new school. She wanted to make use of the time before January to cram in some classes. Unfortunately, as she still has degree classes, she would not be able to take Japanese and Korean concurrently. She was thus planning to start Basic Korean, stop it till she completes her degree course in June and then take up Korean again alongside Japanese which she would have started in January. Lost yet?

Anyway, I told her that it didn't make sense. For starters, we'll be taking Basic Korean all over again despite having taken basic Korean at Lingo because we didn't think that they'd be anywhere near equivalent in standard. Next we'll be taking a half year break in between the Basic part 1 course and Basic part 2 course. This is hardly a good idea since it is likely that we'd have forgotten alot of stuff by that time and we'd need revision anyway. Therefore since we will be starting from scratch anyway, we should just start it in June so that we wont have to mess around with forgotten stuff.

I also mentioned that I had thought that she wanted to start Korean now and continue it from there without a break, which was why I initially agreed to starting Korean ASAP. I joked that if she did not have degree lessons, we could theoretically do Japanese on Mondays and Wednesdays, Korean on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we still have Friday to Sunday left. My friend said that I could contine my German on Fridays! I further added that however, the Japanese lessons were highly likely to have alot of homework and we may not be able to handle all that homework which is why it may be a good to take only Japanese in the beginning to judge how we are coping with the syllabus.

Now, this next line is gonna be golden and is why I wrote all that stuff before this sentence.

She goes :"You mean there will be homework??"

I'm like: "Err.... yeah..? This course leads to JLPT certification, and what classes don't have homework? Even Lingo had homework, just that we never really did them."

She goes: "Hmmmm. I didn't think about that"

Me: "Well, for your information, it's supposed to be alot of homework."

Her: "Hmmm."

Me: "You seriously thought there'd be no homework?"

Her: "Well, uh..."

Me: "And you were telling me I could take German on Fridays. With Japanese on Mondays and Wednesdays, Korean on Tuesdays and Thursdays and german on Friday, when am I gonna get homework done? We won't even have time to finish homework for the first lesson of the week before we attend the second one! Japanese on Monday, but we can't do the homework on Tuesday because it's Korean."

Her: "Hmm. Probably not a very good idea huh?"

Me: "Probably"

Please note that I am actually a very lazy person when it comes to homework and I probably will not do homework. Just gotta put up the appearance that I actually care for it.

Then again, I have to say that I have entertained the thought of craming the week full of language classes. However, I'm not so crazy as to start 2 languages at the same time. I think one could try it, but it has to be phased as the basic foundational period is very important. Once you get past that maybe you can try to be funky.

So now the current plans are we won't be starting Korean. We'll be trying to get enrolled for Japanese classes next January.

My friend plans to take up Korean, Japanese and Spanish eventually.

So.. what languages do you guys like?

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kim's Family Restaurant

One of my friend (this is the friend who I was taking Korean classes with) saw an article for this restaurant in the newspapers and asked whether I'd want to go and give it a try. I usually do not choose to eat Korean food because I don't eat beef, vegetables, spicy nor sour stuff. You can see how far I'd get with a Korean menu.

Anyway, I thought I'd just give it a try. The restaurant is situated in the Bukit Timah eateries area. It's along Lorong Kilat. So we had a fine time trying to figure out how to get there in there first place. My friend insisted that it was between Bukit Timah Plaza and Beauty World as suggested by the article. I saw the map and told her it wasn't possible. She initially wanted to get off the buss at Bukit Timah Plaza, which would have meant a much longer walk.

She also wanted to ask the driver about the location of the area we were going to. I told her that there was no need and that she needed "a sense of adventure!". Seriously, how lost can you get in Singapore these days?

As we bumbled and stuff, we managed to find the restaurant nestled along a quiet stretch. We got seated and as I looked at the menu, it was pretty much confirmed that I hardly had anything to eat from the menu.

Nevertheless, I managed to get 2 items to eat. A huge bowl fo steamed egg for $5 and some pork belly BBQ for $17 which my friend would share. My friend ordered some mixture of beef and rice, as well as a bowl of soup.

I was wondering why she was ordering so enthusiastically, it turns out that she tought the soup would be a simple small bowl of soup. She thought that my bowl of steamed egg would be a small bowl too. To illustrate, she thought that it'd be the size of those they serve in places like Sakae. That was why she ordered a fair amount of food.

The reason for her assumption? The place was called a 'restaurant'. Therefore, items like a bowl of steamed egg at $5 'restaurant' prices would be small portions...............

Just for your information, the bowl of steamed egg was served in a bowl that is about the size of a chinese soup bowl. You know the type they use to serve soup for about 4 people? That's the type. So the soup naturally same in a similar serving portion. It also came with beef, some kind of vermicilli and egg. My friend's beef and rice mix was also in a similar serving size.

One can only imagine the amount of food my friend had to eat. Of course I wouldn't be helping her to eat because her food had beef.

The food at Kim's was quite ok. It's cheap, and since there were alot of Koreans eating there, I'd gather that it is fairly authentic. With the kind of food spread that we had, we spent $50.60 for the dinner and believe me, the meal was actually enough for 4 people.

Oh and they also serve boricha to you once you sit down! It's not something you get everywhere else.

I shall have to remember to remind my friend about food servings if I eat out with her again.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Waiting Begins

And so I finally sent off that long email to SIA (which I plurked about sending) with regards to some unpleasantness over my recent purchase of airfares to Japan.

Now, we see how long it takes for them to reply to me. Will probably update more details further along this minor fiasco.

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