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Mar 15, 2012

We All Know Fear

But passion makes us fearless - Paulo Coelho

Another random post by my dear Wandering Quill. Frankly speaking I'm facing a crisis now - coming in terms with what I like, and what I'll really like to like. This is a hard question and I shall stop here before it turns into a whiny, lengthy post full of bombastic, overloaded words that even I myself would not care to read. 

In the mean time, I shall hug myself to sleep and dream of a wonderful journey in Seoul - 4 more months to go.

- 2:06AM (This is the only time I can post)
Mar 10, 2012

A Life Worth Living For

I'm a homeless wanderer right now. I'm stuck in a local Star Bucks with a mug of Earl Grey Tea (because it makes no sense to have another cup of coffee for the second time of the evening). The story is simple, I met up with a lovely friend, all was well until I boarded the bus that was heading home and I realised I did not have my keys with me. So I sat on the bus all the way until I was back at the station and wanted to charge my dying phone with my laptop - turned out that my laptop's dying as well, and there are no sockets (even though I armed myself with some dead heavy charger and plugs. Halfway through my post on deviantART my old HP companion CRASHED. I dropped my medicine and I can't hear properly, my mind is groggy - I'm so tired I can sleep right NOW.

And the feeling is kinda new, I wouldn't say it's good, but the feeling of typing-this-blog-post-on-a-old-laptop-that-is-going-to-go-flat-any-moment, in a place full of strangers and strange music a float in the Saturday-night air is pretty exotic and fresh, in my queer perspective.

Is this how a wanderer feels like? Is this the same kind of feeling I would get when I travel alone to Korea? I'm terribly worn out right now. Yet there is this strange sense of peace in me that is - well, glowing? A strange kind of warmth that is burning gracefully like an old hearth in an old cottage in an old town.

I'm grateful towards the stranger who looked after my laptop when I venture away from my seat and squeezed myself through the throng for the washroom. I appreciate the gentleman who smiled at me as I took up a seat in the corner and sort of intruded his privacy. I appreciate the people who left me alone to my own devices as I'm typing this out-of-the-world-post in a place that is SO familiar to me (my local Star Bucks that I walk by every single day) yet so faraway. And I'm glad that I just (finally) found a place to charge my poor gadgets.

Really, technology - power source = powerless.

Oh and due to my recent throat infection, my left ear is failing me. (Temporary, I hope) Talk to the Right ear. No pun intended.

How does it feel like to be partially deaf in a ear? Well, it kinda feels like I'm swimming through a fish bowl, or walking on air with a glass bowl over my head - I'm not kidding. I finally understand the importance of all our senses. Without any one of them, life just doesn't seem like it was before. And I told myself, even if I'm deaf in one ear and I could never hear properly again (I hope I'm exaggerating things here) I'll still go all out to pursue my dreams, all the more because I still have so many things worth living for.

Li'az Teira
Mar 7, 2012


I nailed the ticket deal! Gosh, it's 646.00 SGD. Really, really do hope everything turns out well :)
I'm keeping my fingers crossed - and hoping that the faculty (being broke itself) will be able to provide subsidies for students.

***2:44A.M.: managed to survive the night.
**Things accomplished: booking of flight tickets and completing an assignment regarding a badly designed web program.
Mar 6, 2012

그림을 그고싶어요...

아이고...I'm dying to get a tablet p.c. here* adamant glint in eyes* . All right, I admit this post doesn't belong here - I shall start an art blog when I have enough sketches and a TABLET P.C! (plus sufficient time) :D

Sheesh, I need to save up for the Korea trip too...돈이 없어요! Oh and GOOD NEWS!!! Domestic flight tickets to Jeju Island are available at roughly $38 each!!! That means I can leave Seoul on one of the fridays and spend one weekend at Jeju Island! :D Hehehe, gonna try out the sauna in Jeju :P

Here's the link:

For now, I shall

  •  study hard during this semester
  •  mug hard for my placement test in June
  •  get a part time job (and save up)
  • PLAN a REAL mind-blowing, super-de-duper trip to SEOUL <3

Mar 5, 2012

Using your 3G phone in 한국!

Li'az was diligently shouldering over her avalanche of workload when she heard someone calling her name. Crawling out from underneath the mountain of books, she dragged herself into light and wondered out loud.



Thanks to my lovely 어머니 who is more diligent than me when it comes to researching about such things, I got another piece of good news to share!

Not long ago, tourists can't really use their hand phones in Korea, they would either have to rent one at approximately $3/day; $1/min- or buy one like the locals. Even the locals themselves do not have a SIM like we do, and that's why you see them throwing the entire hand phone away when they decide to switch phones (because the no. is pre-installed into the phone itself)! (if the info. I get is reliable) 

But now, we can basically buy a prepaid SIM card at some local store and insert it into our 3G phone! Here's the link (sorry, it's entirely in Chinese and I've no idea how to get the info in English ><):

Oh here's an English link!:

Quoting from the kind blogger who posted the original content for people to share:
***(Credit goes to the original author)

" I’m writing this to share with people who might have the same question as I did.
KT Olleh (or Korea Media rules) has changed since January 2011, you can read about it here.

Venue: KT Olleh Square at Gwang Hwa Mun (Gwang Hwa Mun Station, Line 5, Exit 2)
[Note: or any GLOBAL KT OLLEH outlets] But KT Olleh Square is recommended because they are like the main branch and they have English-speaking staff.

What do you need to bring:
1. Passport (Very Important) and yes, you can get it with just your passport. (Insist that you can, give the staff the webpage from their own website. Don’t let them push you to another outlet.)
2. Your phone (Make sure that the phone is already in use in Korea). Your phone must also not be LOCKED (i.e. You can remove your SIM card from your phone)
3. Make sure you have your IMEI and Serial number of your phone. (I know iPhone has it in the phone settings, so there’s easy. Other phones, please make sure you have these information handy.)
4. Cash (Foreign credit cards are not accepted.)

Cost: 5,500KRW for the SIM card.
Top-up starts from 2000KRW.

A top-up of 10,000KRW should last you for a week.
Please go before 6pm, in fact go early. The processing takes some time BUT it shouldn’t take a day.
NOTE: The SIM card/number would only be valid for 3 months. If you are going to stay in Korea for more than 3 months, you would have to go to the shop to validate your visa so you can continue using the number beyond 3 months."

Adding on here's some more info from the first link:
  • Incoming call: free 
  • Outgoing call: W4.8/Second
  • Short texts: W22 ; 
  • Long texts: (>80 words): W33
  • International call: 00727 + 852(country code, eg: HK) + TEL : W395/Minutes
" 如果你韓文不錯的話,去任何一個KT service centre都可以買得到
(1) 光化門 :Line 5 Exit2, 轉右就可以看到olleh square
(2) 弘大: line 2, Exit 9對面
1. 3G手機(2G不行),不支援韓文字體的話,訊息會變成怪獸字~~
2. 電話的IMEI no
3. 護照
KT的”免費英語服務熱線” : 0161583
如果只是send text msg的話,一個W33, W5000/W33 = 151個msg
哇! TaebaK! "

I shall end it here, thanks to the kind bloggers who shared the info, I have lesser things to worry now! 안녕! :) - 12:01AM
Mar 3, 2012

Pre-Flight-Booking Follow-ups: Budget Airlines are not always Budget

"Get a hold on yourself!" The Ink Pot lamented, "You still have so much things to do!"


As I promised myself, this blog is meant solely for travelling. This would be a great place to record all the adventures and misadventures before, during and after my trip to Seoul! Subsequently, I may use it to record random writings and stuff because I highly doubt I would be travelling after the 3 month break and return from Seoul.

Anyway, I believe I've found another alternative airline to begin my journey with! Yesterday I forward an inquiry to SIA with regards to extending the "maximum 14 days" to 3 weeks so as to accommodate the educational program. Unfortunately (as expected) I was unable to do so and was offered a "Sweet 2 Go" tickets. Well, no confetti shower and yays, this dashed all hopes of beginning and ending my journey with SIA because the "alternative sweet deal" would cost me SGD1200++! But one commendable side of SIA is that they responded my inquiry with absolute speed. Cheers for the local air line!

Then my super efficient 어머니 realised that apart from SIA, almost all airlines have no straight flight to Seoul. This means for Air Asia, I would have to depart in the afternoon, get a transit at K.L airport (transit may last 2-4hours) and I'll only reach Seoul at night (after ~11hours worth of flight). In other words, the original plan would cost me up to one-day worth of time. Sounds like an unproductive journey for someone who's dying to utilize the full 3 weeks or more in Korea!

AND (Yes, prescriptive grammar states no "and" or "but" should be allowed to kick start a sentence. But I have tons of evidence from renowned novelists that sticking to just prescriptive grammar alone is a plain sign of inflexibility.) if I do end up booking the ticket from a budget airline, I'll need to pay the additional taxes, fares and surcharges on so forth. It's not really budget, really.

I'm currently checking up Air China (not budget) and apparently they have some awesome deals too! SGD645 for a 2-way ticket to Seoul, no maximum stay, all taxes, fares and surcharges included and date of travel lasts until 30 June, PERFECT! Plus, we get to fly off at midnight (transit at Beijing International Airport for 2hours, sleep all the way) and arrive at Seoul in the morning! This literally translates to a more efficient use of time!

Hmm, I shall have a word with my 선생님 on Monday before booking the tickets. There's so many burning questions to clarify!

That's all for now, I have a linguistics test and a Korean one next week *sniffs* 아자 아자 화이팅!
 - 8:40pm (I give up, can't change the blogger time)

Mar 2, 2012

The Mind Boggled Researcher

And then she slap her little laptop shut and banged her head against the door...

The problem with researching about a destination you haven't been to is that there is an OVERLOAD of information. You start to question the accuracy and validity of the details that are strewn across the web - so it kinda gets pretty sticky.

While it's a school trip organised suggested by the university for a 3week student exchange in Seoul's Yonsei University, it's pretty much a students-sign-up-and-organise-yourself trip. We have to settle the air tickets and find out about all the nitty-gritty details in our own time- no korean teachers would be accompanying the flight either. 

All in all: "You are very much on your own." *sniffs*

I'm half a bag-packer now.

Frankly speaking, the administrative stuff in itself is a GARGANTUAN barrier (full of spikes and nasty bites) because I'm a clueless jellyfish bobbing around in the deep waters of the ocean.

But the first step is already done (I've submitted the form, unfortunately, with my horrible photo on it) and so the next thing to do is MOUNTAINS of research. The initial hike around the mountains and mountains of information is a little daunting, because the net is a treasure trove full of interesting junks. Albeit the arduous nature of the info-hunt, I arrived at the conclusion that bag packing is exceedingly FUN!

So here's the to-dos and resources an amateur like me managed to harness over one night:

1. Air Tickets
  • What's more important than the ticket? Check all the available airlines you can trust your life with and grab the best deals. Beware of the "inclusive"and "non-inclusive" of taxes and fares before you nail the deal though. You never know how much of a price difference it can mean. Booking online is as easy as registering yourself as a member on the respective websites. 

  • For me, SIA and Asia Airlines provided lucrative deals, but SIA's $698 (all inclusive) to-and-fro tickets only provide you with max. stay of 14days in Korea. So that means I have to put it off the list because I'm sticking around in Seoul for 3 weeks. JetStar didn't provide flight routes to Seoul; Cathay's tickets cost $900++; China's Zhong Hua Airlines ---fully booked. Now the only thing left to do is to contact SIA and query about extension of flight plan (which I highly doubt would come through) and confirm the number of days I want to plant myself out of Singapore in somewhere supposedly greener :D I shall check Thai Airlines as well. 

2.   Accommodations
Well, if I decided to extend my stay beyond the Mu-Ak dormitory of Yonsei, then I'll have to grab a cheap guesthouse/ back-packers' hostel to bunk in. Yonsei University is located near the SinChon subway station (2nd, Green line). I'm currently looking at:

3. Smart Apps
My mom's faster than I am when it comes to research! Thanks to my lovely 어머니I now have 2 clever gadgets in my phone-travel-essentials. Physical map is a must, but virtual map is definitely a plus!

  • I Tourism Korea
  • Seoul Metro and Seoul City Map
  • Jihachul app

4. Full-fledged Cultural Research
  • This is another must if you want to enjoy your trip. I can't afford to travel to a foreign place without any inkling of its culture and history! It's like rubbing your chin in front of Mona Lisa in the Paris Louvre without any idea why people are fighting to smile at the picture themselves. I regretted not researching thoroughly enough on The Ruins of St. Pauls when I was in Macau back then.
  • Yonsei University is the oldest university in Korea, and it's established by Christian missionaries in 1885. It's not only an educational institute but also a well known tourist destination as well! If you enjoy Gothic Medieval architecture, then you'll have a reason to smile when you google for the campus images. I'm not going to describe the history of Yonsei further because the info can be found easily on the net! And no pictures either because I've no wish to violate the copy rights of anyone. Shall upload my own when I'm there :)
***It's good to print a copy of map for easy reference!

5. Transportation around the City

Ahhhh, I hate to label things here, there everywhere! Not every bits and pieces of info can be classified accordingly as they are not mutually exclusive -.- But anyway, it would be good to know more about the modes of transportation available before you pack your stuff and fly there.

Like Singapore and any other cities around the world, Seoul is characterised by a well established network of transporation system.

  • T-money is like the ez-link card we have in Singapore. You can buy that from 7/11 stalls I suppose and swipe the card in airport limousines, buses, trains, taxis etc. 
  • The Seoul City Pass is very much like the tourist pass we have in Singapore, and I guess the buses they provide in Seoul for tourists would be equivalent (somewhat) to the Duck Tour buses that ship people around the city. As quoted from the website: 

"The SEOUL CITY PASS is a transportation card for tourists. With just this one card you can use the subway or bus up to 20 times a day, regardless of the distance or mode of transportation, and you can enjoy the Seoul City Tour Bus that take you around the downtown and palaces as many times as you wish." 

***The Seoul City Pass also allows tourists to enjoy discounts in entrance fee to Seoul Tower etc. But the thing is that this pass costs 15'000 won per day and is very much a one-day-thing unless you plan to apply for 2 or 3-day pass. Unless you really travel a lot (max. 20 times of buses and subway) within the span of a dew days you may like to apply for T-money :) In this case, I would, because I would be there for a few weeks!

6. Visa Application

I'm a Singaporean student, so I do not need to apply for student Visa for this trip (as told by the FAQs my school provided) But I can apply for a tourist visa at the In'cheon airport that would allow me to stay in Korean for 3 months. 
***I didn't research a lot on visa 

7. Other FYI's I have on hand for now
  • It’s the Korea summer sale season! So do watch out for discount coupons and gifts when you are shopping
  • 17th July is the Constitution day of Korea, it's a public holiday so loads of shops will be closed. 
  • If you spend a hefty sum in Korea shopping center, collect all your receipts and head right to the customer service counter of the shopping center and ask them to print a REFUND TAX receipt that summarise your purchases there (If you do so, you'll have a easier time at the airport when you refund your tax.) 
***but the thing is that the administrative procedures in airport are VERY arduous as well, you may be asked to reveal every single item you wish to tax-refund so they can tally the stats. Unless you purchase a few items that cost you a bomb and you would like to enjoy tax refund, then don't bother to queue up  before the counter for a long time only to find yourself unpacking an entire luggage before the staff.
  • Yonsei University is a tourist destination located at a VERY convenient place, MRT is located in the GREEN line, so it’s very convenient to go Dong Dae Mun and other places!!!
  • Next to Yonsei (at least on the map) is another university Hong Ik University - there, you can find student organised flea markets selling artistic creations by the students themselves (I think it's a stone's throw away from Yonsei, since I have information that we can walk there.)
  • I have a few anecdotal comparisons of the shopping havens in Seoul and Singapore (from a cousin's friend):
  • Dong Dae Mun is equivalent to Singapore's Far East Plaza
  • Nan Dae Mun is equivalent to our Bugis Street
  • Myeong Dong is the Singaporean equivalent of Orchard Rd. (so things are going to be pricey)

  • The Lotte Mart (like Carrefour) provides you with duty-free shopping! If I'm not wrong, it's in Dong Dae Mun...

  • Hello APM (AM and PM) is a 24-Hour Shopping complex of 11 stories (2nd line, Dong Dae Mun Subway station) 
***my wonderful  어머니 gave me most of these information***


It's a bye for now, my eyes are watery and I have exams (apparently) next week. 

Mar 1, 2012

The Little Globe Trotter Book: Preparing for The Journey Ahead

And then she picked up her Wandering Quill and laid it over the thick leather-bound diary, wondering if she should ink her thoughts upon the yellow pages that smelt of love and a very old library...

The day was young and clouds were waltzing across the vast azure. In the distant horizon a flock of birds were leaving the woods for another world beyond the village of Little Arlms. She thought she almost saw something like dragon among the empires of clouds, just a little above the Southern dust road.

Li'az leaned her brown head against the sturdy oak and sighed as a White Rabbit nudged at her ankle. 

"I wonder when it'll be my turn, lil' Miss Rabbit." Li'az tapped on its pink nose and set the little furry creature upon her lap. It started licking the edges of her old diary. "You like it? It's a travel book for a globe trotter. I plan to be one- and I guess I'm still planning."

Alright, I admit this is way too cheesy for a university student but this is a start! I'm keeping the posts as simple as I can without boring people out of their wits. You see, I'm the little girl above, her pen name's Li'az. This is her little virtual Globe Trotter's Book (I'm narrating it) and here she is, scribbling furiously with a big, furry, Wandering Quill with an old Ink Pot pouting at her. 

The point here is, Li'az REALLY WANTS to get out of her little village of Little Arlms and she has NO idea what-the-hey is happening. The truth is she hadn't walked further than the sunflower field of her village. The scarecrow with a pumpkin head seems to tell her that the world beyond the dusty road is as empty as its head and as crocked as its pumpkin smile.

So one day she discovered an old book in her attic (knocking her head against the ceiling)(causing a family of spiders to perform an emergency evacuation as well.) And voila! That was her adventure book!

She decided to prepare herself for the journey ahead and in came an old Ink Pot thrusting out its glass belly. Then, she saw in the corner of the sun bathed room an ancient feather duster. 

"What a poor relic!" she exclaimed. To her amazement, it emitted a HUGE sneeze that was far from glamourous... (Ink Pot's ink almost curdled.) and when the dust finally settled, a smile tugged at Li'az's lips. 

The Wandering Quill.

And then their journey began.


Okay I believe I'm happy with the introduction. This pretty sums up my adrenaline for writing out-of-the-world stuff when I'm blogging. (After all, that's what I usually do when I write a book) And this is my little Adventure Blog to prepare me for my journey ahead ---my FIRST ever educational exchange abroad! To Korea Yonsei University! 

Oh man, I guess I'm the relic here - yes it's my first time going on an exchange - this explains the serene little village and the sunflower field with an ignorant scarecrow yea? 

Boy, I'm excited but there's a high possibility that in my excitement I'll forget all about blogging. So keep the fingers crossed! 

-Lots of love, Li'az