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The Silent Town Where Only Cicadas Sing

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It's afternoon. When I look out the window, I find a familiar scene; endless rows of rectangular apartment windows, trees and so-called patches of garden here and there, playgrounds comprising red, yellow, and green plastic slides and swings. But they are always empty. It's summer break, but everything seems so quiet and deserted. No kids are running around. Teenagers are nowhere to be seen. Only the sound of cicadas fills the hot, humid air.

     This is not at all a surprise. People here just accept it. They do not raise questions – at least not out loud – about why there aren't any kids jumping about. We all know where they are. Instead of going to playgrounds and parks, children sit on chairs, listening to lectures and solving math problems in academies – hagwons in Korean. Some are as young as nine or ten. Others mostly teens.

     For high schools students like me, it is very natural to spend long hours in hagwons. I have never met anyone who loved being there, …

To Be Who We Are: Reflection on "The Mold of Yancy"

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My reflection essay is based on the short story The Mold of Yancy by Philip K. Dick. Here's the link to the story: http://defectiveyeti.com/moy.pdf Summary: Yancy is a virtual person made by the "Yance-men" who is loved by the people on Callisto(a future moon where people live). He has opinions on every single subject that could be thought of. This makes the people of Callisto unable to have their own opinions and rely on Yancy's thoughts when they face a problem.
To Be Who We Are
Time makes changes to people. It brings change to everything from one’s opinions on a certain topic to one’s appearances. Knowing this made me eager to search on Facebook for some of my friends from elementary school. I was curious about what time would have done to them. I found the search result quite shocking. Almost all of the girls looked similar in a way; they had no glasses on, had long straight hair, and had red – very red lips. Was that really them? I had expected a significant chan…

Some thoughts on La La Land: Dream, Love and Freedom

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When I asked what the movie "La La Land" was like, most of my friends said that they didn't like the ending so much. They said that it was very disappointing. I finally watched the movie a few days ago, and decided that I liked not only the ending but every single part of the movie.

Dream and Love. I believe that if the ending was different, the movie would have lost its meaning. If Mia and Seb had gotten together and lived happily ever after, the movie would have been nothing but a beautifully depicted love story. Mia and Seb did not think that being together was everything of love. They believed that even though they might get apart, they would be happy enough to imagine each other achieve their dream and live a good life. I think that is true love - when people care more about the happiness of each other than the fact that they are in a "relationship".

Scent of freedom. Another thing I liked about the movie is that I could sense freedom melted into it in ev…

Essay after U.S. trip: The World of Colors

I went on a school "Vision Trip" to the U.S. and wrote a short essay.
The World of ColorsBefore the Vision Trip, the United States seemed like a vast and deep ocean to me; a place where I could easily drown if I did not do my best to keep myself floating. I had spoken the language of that country for more than ten years, and still the U.S. had merely been an abstract and unknown place for me. As I spent night after night in the U.S., I slowly got the idea of diversity, noticing how different everything was from what I had been used to. The trip was definitely more than meaningful.  The biggest thing I learned in the Vision Trip came from the difference I noticed between Americans and Koreans. It was unfamiliar but actually pleasant. Whenever I entered a store and bought something, the cashier would say “Good day,” or even “How are you doing?” At first, it was kind of awkward to start a conversation with someone I had just met because cashiers in Korea never said such a thing…

Essay: Students should be required to complete community service hours in order to graduate

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In many schools, students are required to complete a certain number of community service hours in order to graduate. Some people think students benefit from mandatory service. Others disagree. In your opinion, should schools require students to complete community service?
The word “mandatory community service” gives us a rather compulsory sense. In today’s society, which is filled with all sorts of regulations, we usually dislike doing things that are forced upon us. Required community service is one of them. However, it presents students unusual experiences that teach them in a way far from that of ordinary school textbooks.

 The experience of community service impacts the students in many positive ways. “If you are not a fish, how do you know if the fish is happy?” This is an old Chinese saying that describes how hard it is to stand in someone else’s shoes. Students can “become fish” by doing community service and can learn in depth about ones who live in entirely different environmen…

TOEFL independent essay: Schools should focus more on science and mathematics than on humanities courses

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Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Schools should focus more on science and mathematics than on humanities courses. Give specific reasons and examples to support your answer.    A lot of countries around the world believe that they need more science or mathematics experts to boost the economy. In fact, some governments are so concerned that they give financial and employment benefits to students who major in science-related fields. This is causing students to switch their majors from linguistics and philosophy to engineering or mathematics. As a result, the humanities courses are dying, which is taking away opportunities for us to think about who we are. Therefore, schools should not only focus on science or mathematics but also treat humanities courses as an important part of learning.    To start with, the study of humanities is a crucial factor in learning. Language arts gives students the ability to read and write properly, history presents successes and failures…

Hangul, the wonderful invention of King Sejong

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One of the greatest Korean inventions ever is definitely Hangul, the Korean alphabet. "Hangul Day" is celebrated every year on October 9th, which is assumed to be closest to the date when Hangeul was finished in 1446.
*Hangulmight be more familiar, but Hangeul is the right spelling according to the current Romanization system. View Korea Times article: Use Hangeul, Not Hangul*Note that Hangulis used in this post to help the readers' understanding.    Hangul was created by King Sejong. In 15th century Korea, only elites could read and write, using complicated Chinese characters. King Sejong made a whole new writing system to let ordinary people easily express their thoughts. Quite a few scholars disagreed with his idea because they were worried about the relationship with China, but King Sejong was firm and did not change his mind. At first, Hangul was called "Hunmin Jeongeum," which means "The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People." The Haer…

Essay on "Hamlet" by W. Shakespeare

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Hamlet's Unfortunate Dilemma         “To be or not to be, that is the question.” The most famous quote I have ever come across originated from William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. The unfortunate Danish prince meets his end with almost everyone around him dead, including his parents, uncle, and lover. I knew how the play ended before reading the book but was still curious why Hamlet and the other characters had to face such a tragic death.
         Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark, but a terribly unfortunate one. His mind becomes very unstable after meeting the ghost of his father and being told that his uncle, Claudius murdered his father. Due to his determination to seek revenge plus the misunderstandings between the characters, almost everyone is dead at the end of the play. I was baffled when I found out how the play ended. What was Shakespeare, the great playwright trying to talk about? Why would he kill everyone when a happy ending with a triumphant new “king” Hamlet could be p…

My first app: WordEgg

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I still cannot forget how I felt when I saw this message in the Google Play Developer Console page.
We're processing your update. It can take several hours until it is available throughout Google Play. Several hours later, I saw this on my phone. Yay! After a year of fixing codes and drawing characters, I had finally reached my goal. 
Now my app, "WordEgg", is on the Google Play Store, both in Korean and English! You can search for "WordEgg(Eng)" or just "WordEgg"(which is in Korean). Or you can download it here:  WordEgg(Korean version) or WordEgg(English version)
The Story behind making WordEgg    I first met coding in a website called "Code.org." There I made a program that let Elsa and Anna run around on the ice and draw beautiful lines and circles. It inspired me a lot: I knew there was more I could do. From that moment on, I searched the internet to find websites where I could learn coding and computer languages. I found Codeacademy and …

THAAD: Is defense the best solution?

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Defense.
It might make people feel safer. But does it really mean safety? I think defense actually suggests threat and danger because countries defend themselves when they see another country defend itself. Countries claim that it is an inevitable act – you just can't blink and do nothing when there's a possibility to get attacked!
See "defense" illustration and post

     THAAD, aka Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, is a anti-missile system designed by the U.S.. Literally, it can shoot down missiles at a high altitude. It can also protect wider regions than MIM-104 Patriot and so on, but I'm not going to make further explanations because it is not the point of what I want to say.

     Now, the U.S. Army and the South Korean government are planning to deploy THAAD to the Korean Penninsula(and has almost decided) to protect South Korea from North Korea's missile attacks that might occur anytime. China and Russia are strongly against this plan because part of …