Tag Archives: Ewha Voice

Making Miracles at the Ewha Voice

Published in Ewha Voice. June, 2001

When I first entered the small conference room to be interviewed, there was a row of professional-looking young women in dark suits sitting there quietly, watching my every movement before swooping down on me with questions sharper than claws. One in particular remains stuck in my head and I remember asking it again when I interviewed cub reporters a couple months ago: You already know what the Ewha Voice can do for you. What can you do for the Ewha Voice?

Perhaps John F. Kennedy is seething somewhere, accusing us of plagiarism, but the question is too good to overlook. Being a reporter for a school newspaper fills in a nice place on one’s resume- and you improve your writing and social skills while you’re at it. A dandy package deal. However, as all relationships need some form of ‘give and take’ I thought it was important that each reporter contribute something to our beloved organization– to prove to others and herself that her presence makes a difference.

As I look at our latest edition, I see that there have been many changes since I first entered. We have gone from four pages to eight, increased the number of copies printed, and changed the atmosphere of the office to a more comfortable one. We have also started to include advertisements; I was the first one to find a company who was willing to advertise in our paper. Of course, all the things we did together, under our editor’s direction, were difficult. But my own biggest accomplishment and challenge was a task that I had to do all alone– launching the online version of Ewha Voice.

An active Internet user myself, I was at first very surprised to find that we did not have our own homepage. Knowing the importance of online journalism, I was actually embarrassed. If a foreigner wanted to know about Ewha, where would he or she look? The first stop would probably be Ewha’s homepage and the second would most likely be the Ewha Voice, which is the only English media on campus. Considering the fact that the school administration has been actively pursuing relations with foreign universities, cyber lectures, and courses taught in English, it was hard to understand that the Voice did not even have a homepage where one could view current as well as past issues.

When I approached the editor (I was a cub reporter then) she was too busy with other affairs and when I insisted that I thought we should make our own web site she casually remarked, “Well, you do it then.”

So I did. I started studying web design and how to post our paper on the Internet. At last, I was able to open the site, which had no fancy design but was easy to navigate. Now it has been about a year since we went online, and we pride ourselves on being up to date. Although the site needs polishing, I’m sure I’ve built a good foundation for my juniors to work on.

So all in all, the Voice and I made a very good deal. I received my share of journalistic experiences, found great friends, and learned what it was like to be part of a professional organization. In return, I gave my enthusiasm and what skills I had to take the paper and our group of reporters one step forward. And now I can rely on my juniors to continue the work.

A newspaper is not just a bundle of words and pictures. It lives. Every edition is a new-born child, the miraculous outcome of gritty labor, long nights in front of the computer, and struggles to find the ‘perfect’ words. And like a child, each struggle and each reporter’s contribution is special and important in its own way. Because, you see, miracles don’t just happen at the Ewha Voice. We make them.

Computer Software Piracy Troubles Universities

Published in Ewha Voice. May, 2001

As the government made its biannual rounds last month inspecting the illegal copying and use of computer software, many companies as well as institutions in the public sectors hastened to delete illegal programs and files. Some venture companies, afraid of harsh consequences, even temporarily closed their doors, and alarms rung in both public and private schools.

“We were told to erase several programs on our lab computers,” says a Computer Science major at Seoul National University. Many students and officials at major universities in Seoul to small technical colleges, confirm that they had illegal software on their computers. Of course, all were erased before the government inspections.

Kim Yul-hee (Physics, 3) complains, “How can schools set such bad examples? We are taught not to plagiarize in our papers and yet they are stealing on a larger scale.” In the case of Ewha, programs such as Hangul, Namo, and the virus vaccine program V3 are legally purchased and can be used for any computer in any part of the school. However, many computers are still unequipped with foreign programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop. “When I do my homework, it is sometimes frustrating because many computers don’t have certain programs,” says Lee Su-jin (French, 2).

Luckily, Ewha is fairly supportive technology-wise, therefore, departments that use advanced programs are mostly using legally purchased software. But the problem arises when it is time for homework. Because these programs are extremely expensive, ranging from two hundred thousand won to over one million won, many students toast copies of the software CDs to take home, a case of “softlifting.” “I know it’s wrong, but I’m using four programs now which cost more than one semester’s tuition. If it is for personal educational purposes at home, is it so bad?” questions Ha Yoon-yung (not her real name).

Korea has a software piracy rate of 50%, which is far higher than the world average of 36%. Because the cost of software is enormously high, many companies and social groups demand that basic programs should be more easily accessible since computers are a part of our everyday lives.

But where do schools stand? As computer literacy increases and students start using more advanced programs in general, schools are finding it difficult to draw the line– caught between immense numbers and ethics.

Internet Addiction Takes Ewha from Cyber to Psyber

Published in Ewha Voice. April, 2001

To say that Hong Yoo-jung lives on the Internet is an understatement. When she’s not taking classes, sleeping, or moving, Hong is on the Internet, clicking away at her mouse, surfing from one site to another. She has more than 15 email accounts, all of which she checks several times each day, and is a member of 34 community sites, six of which she made herself. List the URLs of the sites she has visited and you can trace the way her mind works.

Hong is one of the many Ewhaians that spend too much time on the Internet. They are victims of Internet Addictive Disorder, more commonly known as cyber addiction. Like all other addictions, it is a disease that affects oneself as well as others.

Symptoms of computer addiction start with physical problems such as back aches, eating irregularities, and migraine headaches, and run down a long list of psychological symptoms as well ¡©including depression, lying to friends and family, and irritation.

“As soon as I go home, I start chatting until five or six in the morning. When I go to school, I can’t help dozing in class because of lack of sleep,” says Lee So-young, a sophomore. “I play Starcraft even in my dreams,” says Kwon Hye-lin. “My ranking bothers me because sometimes people refuse to team up with players who have low scores,” she adds.

Korea University’s Internet Addiction Center groups cyber addiction into three large categories: network, game, and pornography. Ewha students mostly fit into the first category, which includes chatting, mud games, surfing, cyber trading, and shopping, a pattern which differs from other co-ed universities, where game addiction or pornography addiction is more prominent.

The reason more Ewha students are becoming Internet addicts, is not only because of the universal trend of increasing computer use, but also because they are students and are female. Dr. Maressa Hecht Orzack, founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services, says in a written interview with the Ewha Voice that women are more likely to get addicted than men. Professor Kimberly Young (Psychology, Univ. of Pittsburgh) says that students easily become cyber addicts because they have spare time and are isolated from society.

Although Internet addiction is not a new topic, the characteristics are changing at a fast pace. Updated features of cell phones and PDAs are enabling students to log on to the Internet anytime, anywhere, and online gambling is crawling into the offline world.

“While playing online Korean poker, I sell my cyber money to other people,” says Hahn Ju-young (not her real name). As seen in Hahn’s case, cyber money is being traded for real cash by those who are obsessed in raising their ranks.

Although many people do not take net addiction seriously, it can destroy lives in the same way alcoholism or drugs can and needs immediate treatment. Professor Young’s book Caught in the Net, which almost serves as the Bible on Internet addiction, has a questionnaire one can take to find out if one is an addict, then offers practical advice for recovery based on case studies. There are also several centers in Korea such as the Internet Addiction Clinic at Korea University that deal with cyber addiction.

Internet addiction is something we should be careful about because there is no knowing to what extent it may go. Dr. Orzack says, “We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Our society is becoming more and more computer dependent and this trend is a potential problem for all of us.”

Ewha Kicks “Mad Cows” Off Menu

"They say he's not the cow he used to be"

"They say he's not the cow he used to be"

Published in Ewha Voice, March 2001

Despite the announcement made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on February 13 that domestic cows are safe from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopthy (BSE), otherwise known as the mad cow disease, students are still tentative about eating beef. Although there are few who have converted to being vegetarians, cautiousness concerning the fatal disease is prominent around Ewha.

One result of this fact is that the campus cafeteria makes very few dishes with beef. According to Kwak Ji-won, head nutritionist for the Shinsege Food System, which caters both the student cafeteria and the faculty cafeteria, feedback on beef menus is not very enthusiastic. “As we use Australian beef, we are sure there will be no problems, but students are not eating the beef dishes.” She adds that because of this, pork and fish make up most of the meat dishes and that the menus in the faculty cafeteria have become more vegetable-oriented. Even dairy products such as milk are declining in sales in the campus canteens.

Just outside campus, the sale of hamburgers has also considerably decreased. “Our main sales are pork bulgogi burgers and chicken burgers,” says Lim Suk-nam, manager of the Ewha-area branch of McDonalds. Burger King, famous for its Whopper and the slogan “Where’s the beef?” has introduced a chicken burger into its menu, and other fast food venues such as Lotteria are trying to shore up sales by cutting prices on “cow” burgers.

Of course, most of the beef that is distributed in Korea is supposedly from the U.S. or Australia and Korean cows are not known to be afflicted with the disease. However, even with no definite report on any traces of BSE in Korea and despite the efforts of President Kim and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) to promote beef consumption, students seem to be either consciously or subconsciously avoiding beef.

Undoubtedly the media has direct influence on students’ reactions towards reports on BSE and its effects. Professor, Yang Yoon (Psychology) explains that when exposed to both positive and negative news, people have an inclination to respond more strongly to the latter. “Especially when it comes to basic human needs, one can build a shield against the truth,” he says.

This reasoning translates into very simple language for some. “I know the chances are low, but I just want to be on the safe side,” says Oh Bo-mi (Architecture, 3).

College Students’ Spending Habits Carry On in Shaky Economy

Published in Ewha Voice. December, 2000

It is 6 p.m. on a chilly Friday night in Shinchon and an embarrassed girl steps off the elevator as it beeps from being overloaded. Up on the 6th floor, the elevator door opens to reveal the packed waiting room of a popular family restaurant. “You’ll have to wait at least 40 minutes,”says the girl taking names.

She looks like she’s ready to jump into a parade, wearing a checked miniskirt and a vest covered with plastic buttons, topped off with a glittering tiara. Then you crane your neck to peer inside and wonder why the place is called a family restaurant, with hardly a person over 30 in sight.

Did someone say that Korea is on the verge of entering its second economic crisis? You wouldn’t know it from the bustling streets and crowded pubs in the college districts. Although the stock market has dropped to half of what it was last year and more people are being laid off each day, the financial worries doesn’t seem to affect many university students, especially those who attend “prestigious” schools.

“My parents talk about economic problems at home, but it does not effect my lifestyle,” says Shim Hyun-suk (21, Yonsei University). “I hear about it during classes but it doesn’t relate to me,” say Suh Ji-yeon (22, Ewha Womans University). Sensitive to trends and frequent victims of their own tendencies toward impulsive consumption, college students are still spending a lot of money. However, many are concerned that these students are developing poor saving and spending habits.

In a survey conducted by the National Mothers’ Central Committee, 79.5 percent out of 1,000 college students responded that they receive pocket money from parents on a regular or irregular basis. In addition, 76.5 percent of the same target group replied that they had a part time job. However, less than 10 percent paid for their school tuition by themselves.

“I’ve never saved more that 1,000,000 won. When money starts building in the bank I always think of something I have to buy,” says Chang Jae-young (not his real name, Seoul National University). Chang is just one of many that spend most of what they earn.

One of the most popular part time jobs that add to university students’ high income is tutoring. Paid an average of 200,000 to 400,000 won per month and working 4 hours a week, a college student can sometimes earn more through a part time job than an average company worker. Students in the music department can earn even higher sums. A student majoring piano can receive 50,000 each session for accompanying younger music students at lessons, concerts, competitions, and so forth. The pay, which is high considering experience and actual labor involved, makes students unaware of the pains it takes to earn money, and of its value.

“Part time jobs for college students should be of preparatory nature, before students enter society. However, the problem is that Korean students have only a vague idea about why they are doing their jobs,” says Lee Hyun-chung, director of the University Education Association. Cho Jong-hee, a professor of education at Hanyang University also criticizes students’ spending habits, saying, “Foreign college students do part time jobs to pay their way through college. On the other hand, Korean students use their money for leisure.”

Statistics show that shopping and eating takes up a large percentage of what Korean college students spend money on. According to a survey conducted by Fabianne, a large cosmetics company, female college students spend an average of 60,000 won each month on skin products. On top of that, students’ food tastes are also becoming more expensive as they frequently seek out Japanese cuisine, family restaurants, and Italian restaurants for meals which cost almost 10 times what it would take to eat in a school cafeteria.

It is not until after entering society and getting married, that many graduates realize the value of money. “I used to drive a car and chat with my friends at cafes in Apgujeongdong. Now, I take the subway to save gas and meet friends at home. Knowing what my income is, it’s hard to spend more than 5,000 won on a cup of coffee,” says Kwon Mi-jung (’96, Graduate).

Sophomore Discovers Herself Through Voluntary Teaching

Published in Ewha Voice. June, 1999

Sitting in front of the main entry of the school, one can see students spill out of the campus as the sun slowly eases beneath the horizon. The bustling and chatter in the busy corridors fade as classes end for the day. Meanwhile, in another part of Seoul, school has just begun.

Lee Sun-mee (Mass Communication, 2) takes subway line number 5 and rides on and on until she gets to the last stop. She has a part time job, participates in a history club, and still finds time to study. Currently, she teaches social studies at Dasan Yahak, a school run by a volunteer. The school has no tuition and is open to anyone in want of knowledge.

Unlike such schools of the 80s, Dasan Yahak focuses more on the education of the individual student rather than providing a meeting place for demonstrators. Also, it is more of a school than a cramming academy and therefore values human relationships as well as studies.

Like any other student, Lee was anxious to experience all kinds of different things. Upon seeing a wanted ad posted in the ladies room, she started teaching out of curiosity. “Of course learning English or computers is important too,” she says, “However, I started teaching at this school to find the purpose and foundation of life.”

At Dasan Yahak, Lee discovered a whole new world. “Until high school, studying well was the most important thing. But in this society, I think that matters such as trust, responsibility, and hard work have more importance.”

There are all kinds of different people who gather to learn¦¡kids that dropped out of high school because of family problems, teenagers that go to the factory during the day, and aged men and women wanting an education.”They helped me throw away a lot of my prejudices and stereotyped thinking. I see people that work really hard for a living yet come here to study.”

Because she has classes every day from 7:00 to 10:30, one would think that she has no time for romance. In spite of her busy schedule though, Lee finds herself in a relationship with a fellow teacher at the school who is also a college student.

These days, where care and love for other people are becoming scarcer and individuality becoming more prominent, Lee is an example of one of the younger generation who is striving to make a difference. She is willing to share her talents with people that are desperately in need of them and in return is always open to new horizons. “I never think of my job as charity. Although I am the teacher, the students also teach me very precious things about life.”