Hot Topics 2 Listening Transcript
Unit 1: The Race for the Best in Korea
Interviewer: Seoul National University ranks among the world’s best. Our alumni include 38% of the
CEOs of the top 100 Korean companies. The alumni list also includes 88% of the judges in the High Court,
and 60% of government ministers. We are also very proud that Ki-Moon Ban, the current Secretary
General of the United Nations, is a graduate of our school. In fact, 95% of our faculty have doctorate
degrees. Graduate survey results report a satisfaction level and a career advantage that is the highest in
the nation. Please tell us why we should admit you to our university.
Interviewee: As you know, Korea is a densely populated country. Over 70% of high school graduates
attend university. Further, 39% of the graduates from Korean universities, including yours, obtain
doctorate degrees. This is compared to 8% of American graduates. To put it simply, to be the best, you
have to be around the best. Your university is the best, you said it yourself.
“Education Fever” started early in my life. Like most other kids, my mother enrolled me in pre-primary
school. There, I studied in both Korean and English. This trend in my education continued all the way
through my primary and secondary school life. I studied at private schools during the day and hagwons
at night. I took art, Chinese, piano, and violin lessons privately. I also went to special schools for math
and science outside my regular classes. From birth, my life has had one purpose, and that is to attend
I don’t want to use my degree as a dishtowel. I understand that there is an overabundance of highly
educated adults in Korea. There are not enough first-tier jobs to sustain them all. However, I will not be
one of those people who waste their education. I am determined to make it to the top. Seoul National
University will guarantee my success in life.
Unit 2: Sports Fever
B1: I just saw highlights of the Korean Red Devils’ soccer game. They played awesome! I had no idea
Korea had world-class soccer.
B2: You didn’t know? Haven’t you heard of the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, as we call it in Korea? Korean
sports and culture are sweeping the globe! It’s an awesome time to be Korean!
B1: Well, I have seen more Korean restaurants, but “sweeping the globe”? That’s somewhat of an
exaggeration, isn’t it?
B2: No way! What about Ji-Sung Park? He’s the captain of our national soccer team and midfielder for
Manchester United. And, KJ Choi? He’s a PGA golfer with seven tour wins. Everyone knows him!
B1: OK, OK! I get it. I just didn’t realize those people were Korean. In America, we don’t really care about
soccer, individual players, or rankings.
B2: Don’t you know your country’s FIFA World Cup rankings? All Koreans know that we are 47th in the
world. The World Cup is coming up, and our team has a good chance to win! All of Korea is buzzing!
B1: Aren’t you being a little over the top about your sports stars?
B2: No way! Our athletes serve as heroes, role models, and representatives of our country. Most
children dream about being just like them.
B1: I see. I just think you should be careful. In my experience, while professional athletes are good at
sports, most usually end up being poor role models. I think kids should choose other types of people to
look up to, such as teachers or doctors.
B2: I disagree. In Korea, athletes honor our country and are very well-behaved. I guess that’s an
important difference between our two countries. Regardless, there is another soccer game on. Why
don’t you come with me? You might get the Korean Fever!
B1: Why not? I’ll try anything once.
Unit 3: International Marriages
W: From 2002 to 2008, the number of intermarriages between Koreans and foreigners jumped by 250%!
M: Unbelievable. It’s beyond me why Koreans would marry non-Koreans!
W: Men can’t find wives! I’ve heard that more than one-third of men in rural areas are married to a
foreign woman. If they can’t find Korean wives, what should they do?
M: True enough. Where are they all coming from?
W: Mostly from places like China and Vietnam, given their cultural similarity to Korea. Also, many
Vietnamese women look similar to Koreans.
M: Interesting, but I’m still not sold on the idea. Are there any advantages?
W: I think the biggest advantage will be the evolution from a monocultural, protectionist Korean culture
to a multicultural one. Multiculturalism will promote acceptance of others and will help to rid Korea of
M: Yeah. I guess we’ve always pushed for a ‘pure’ Korea, unwilling to accept others of foreign or mixed
descent. Perhaps this philosophy is outdated.
W: And one more thing … the Korean birth rate has plummeted over the last decade. Recently,
maternity wards are busy again. This time, however, it’s with multiethnic babies. In fact, some nurses
have had to learn the word push in several languages!
M: You certainly know your stuff! My father once said that foreign brides are easier to ‘handle,’ but I’m
not sure what he meant. Perhaps they aren’t as traditional as Korean women or are more adaptable and
therefore, create fewer problems. So, I guess that’s an advantage as well.
W: Maybe it’s because many are mail-order brides, and they feel like they owe their husbands once they
arrive. Either way, I think it’s great to have multiethnic kids in school. We can learn to understand and
appreciate international people and customs firsthand.
M: Well, considering that more than 10% of Korean families are now multicultural, we’ll have to adapt
quickly. We need to make sure our ethnic minorities don’t end up poor and alienated like those in other
Unit 4: Korea in the International Media
There are many Koreans who have made waves around the globe. Some of their names might not be
In the 1980s and early 1990s, the USSR was a country that frowned upon rock music. One aspiring rock
musician was Victor Tsoi. His father was Korean. Victor formed a group called Kino. Kino had a unique
sound, and Victor’s lyrics brought unity and hope to people during difficult times.
Cui Jian is a Korean-Chinese musician. He is nicknamed The Father of Chinese Rock. His song, “Nothing
but my Name,” was the anthem during the Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989.
Korean professors Tae Gwan Park and Jin Woo Cheon are prominent leaders in the field of cancer
research. They developed a way to fight cancer cells with limited use of toxic materials. In the near
future, cancer patients may benefit greatly from their work.
There are Koreans behind many well-known products. Samsung, for example, is the world’s largest
memory chip manufacturer. The Samsung construction group also built one of the famous Petronas
Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. LG is the third largest maker of cellular phones in the world. These
brands are popping up all over North America, as well as other countries.
There are many new Korean inventions on the market. For example, the “Raise Me Up” was invented by
Yoo Kyung Shin. For those who use an outlet power strip, this invention will help. You press a button and
unplug your device without the need of two hands. Another useful invention is the “Back of the Hand
Phone.” It’s a strap that allows a person to use their phone while using both hands to do other tasks.
These are a few examples of people and businesses that have impacted the world. Some of them might
not be very well known. However, their contributions are an asset to global development in many fields.
Unit 5: North and South Korea Reunification: Fact or Fiction
Some say Korean reunification is only a matter of time; however, I am here to tell you that it is not in
South Korea’s best interest to unify. Why, you may ask? To put it simply: the cost. The question is who
will foot the bill?
North Korea has been in terrible shape since the 1990s, when famine killed hundreds of thousands of
people. The problem is that the North lacks infrastructure such as power, railways, ports, and
communications. Add to this the poor shape of the North’s factories. These challenges alone add up to
billions of dollars to fix. However, the biggest expense lies in the fact that the North’s citizens are poor.
To bring their incomes up to the standards of the South would be almost impossible.
The proof is in the details. The per capita income of the North is five percent of the South’s. Further,
their population is rising, causing more concern. Finally, there is little trading today between the Koreas,
so there is little to build upon. If the goal is to equalize living standards, an incredible amount of
resources will be needed.
What is the real cost? At the low end, $50 billion, with only a modest rise in incomes in the North. To
achieve 80% of the incomes in the South, $2-$5 trillion! Who would pay for this? If spread across the
population of the South, that’s nearly $40,000 per person. What about China, the North’s largest
supporter and trading partner? Or Japan? Regardless, these contributions amount to almost nothing
compared to what is needed.
If reunification is to occur, it will ultimately depend on institutions such as the World Bank, as well as
countries like South Korea and the USA. However, many consider such an investment a waste of money
and effort. Without a change in leadership, they say it is just not worth the risk.
Unit 6: The Creation of an Asian Union
S: Professor, are you saying that having a union in Asia similar to the European Union would benefit
Korea? I have heard so many people speak against this idea. I’d love to hear your take on things.
P: Of course! Imagine if the economic trade barriers were lowered. Goods could flow in and out of Korea
at a much faster and more efficient pace. The potential for trade would be endless.
S: Great point. However, I’m most interested in the effect on travel. As part of this union, we would be
able to travel very easily to member countries. That would put to rest any discussion about travel visas.
What a relief that would be!
P: I agree. Another positive would be the development of a single currency. Establishing a powerful
single currency such as the euro would make trade even more efficient. The union would be able to
operate as a single unit from an economic standpoint. Negotiating and trading with the West would
S: Also, a common currency would make this region even more attractive as a tourist destination.
Currently, tourists usually hop between small Asian countries, having to bother with converting
currencies as they go.
P: Yes, exactly. With the formation of an Asian union, there would be no need for this. One would be
able to hop from country to country with ease.
S: Are there are other advantages? I can’t think of anything.
P: Of course there are! However, the trade and tourism benefits we’ve mentioned are reason enough to
strongly consider this idea.
S: I think we agree. It’s been great talking this through. Let’s hope that in a year’s time, we are living in
an Asian union.
P: Wishful thinking. But I think in time, it is bound to happen.
Unit 7: Conscription: Military Service in South Korea
F: In South Korea, you’re not considered a man until you’ve finished your military service.
S: Yeah, I know. I’m surprised people buy into that. Most other developed countries don’t need or use
F: That’s because most countries aren’t on North Korea’s doorstep! Many Koreans believe conscription
is needed. It provides their country with a stable supply of soldiers in case war breaks out. Personally, I
can’t imagine living under that kind of threat.
S: No kidding. My Korean friend says military service also helps to build national unity and pride. You’re
not even Korean, but you always talk about national pride and defense.
F: Of course I do. Protecting your country should be job one! In fact, I think serving in the military is very
good for young Koreans.
S: Very good for them? I’m not sure I agree. When I think about it, spending two years of my life in the
military seems like a waste of time.
F: A waste of time? Sure there are some problems, but look at the benefits! Young men get to learn
about respect, discipline, and work ethic. Korean boys come out of the military as men! In the end, it is
not a waste. It builds character! Compared to the young people in our country, I think South Korea is
ahead of the game.
S: Well, I do agree that the Korean military system can change a man in positive ways. Regardless,
military service is a tough business, and I think it takes a lot of effort and determination. Even though I
don’t agree with it, I respect Koreans for being able to endure it.
F: It doesn’t matter whether we agree or not. In Korea, they need conscription. Mark my words, until a
peace agreement is signed between the North and South, conscription will continue.
S: I think you’re right. Korean men must be tough…certainly tougher than me!
Unit 8: The KORUS FTA
A: This FTA is a terrible move for the US. It is very one-sided, especially in terms of automobiles.
F: Well, I’m not sure about that, but I am certainly glad rice was kept out of it. It’s part of our diet and
part of our cultural identity.
A: Really? Rice is part of your identity? I suppose we could say that beef is part of ours. That’s perhaps
why so many Americans are against the KORUS FTA. There are still tight restrictions on US beef imports.
F: Well, there is a reason for that. There have been issues regarding the safety of the meat. We must be
careful. About your first comment, I don’t see why this FTA is so one-sided. Perhaps Korean vehicles are
just more popular across the world.
A: That’s not it. The tariffs imposed by Korea on US imported automobiles are unfair. I just think the
KORUS will actually make this worse for the American auto industry.
F: I can understand how your country suffers from trade deficits with Korea, especially when it comes to
automobiles. As a Korean, I fear the effect of this FTA on our local economy. Western economies thrive
on international trade. They make very few items that are domestically consumed. In Korea, it is the
A: I have heard that. So, you don’t want to see the small farmer or shopkeeper lose their shirts because
of this. I don’t think that will happen. In Korea, you are rather protectionist about things.
F: We are; however, these smaller businesses can’t compete with multinational corporations. Those
small places have defined Korea, and will fall by the wayside in favor of big business.
A: I hear you. The same thing is happening in America. Let’s hope that our respective politicians can
work things out.
F: Well, I’m not hopeful. I’m against FTAs in general and this KORUS FTA was doomed from the start!
Unit 9: The Rise of Korean Brands
Professor: Next, we will discuss the superiority of import brands. Let’s focus on the automobile industry.
In North America, domestic brands such as Ford, GM, and Chrysler are popular. However, many now
choose Asian imports such as Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Honda. Today, we will discuss why this choice
There is a clear difference in the quality and craftsmanship involved in building American and foreign
cars. For example, German cars are long lasting and perform incredibly; Italian cars are made with
passion and have great handling and emotional appeal; Japanese and, more recently, Korean cars are
made to be dependable, with great attention to detail. In comparison, American cars are not made to be
long-lasting or to greatly appeal to our emotions, nor do they have exceptional fit, finish, or electronics.
Basically, they have failed to compete with top European luxury models and with lower to middle class
Asian models. The American automobile industry just hasn’t been able to build the same quality for the
The underlying problem is the lack of vision. Many foreign car companies focus on evolution. They
upgrade their models year after year, as mechanical issues arise, which leads to the near perfection of
many import models. American vision has been shortsighted. They tend to replace models rather than
evolve them. This means constantly starting from the beginning, and therefore always experiencing
growing pains. Because of this, domestic companies haven’t achieved the customer loyalty and
popularity of imports.
In short, North America is an imprecise society. Rather than creating the Asian “sushi” masterpieces, it
has produced imprecise “hamburgers.” Just as hamburgers are chosen to tide us over until our next
meal, in the West, cars are created to fill a hole until something else comes up.
In conclusion, whether people know it or not, they are correct in assuming that many import
automobiles are indeed superior to US domestic offerings.
Unit 10: Korean Currency
M: Look at this! My wallet is enormous. It won’t even fit in my pocket!
W: Whoa! Look at you, Money Bags! What’s with all the cash?
M: My boss is computer illiterate. He insists on paying me in cash. Since he uses the 10,000 won note,
he gives me more than 200 bills each month!
W: That’s unbelievable. My boss used to do that. Now, she’s gone electronic. Something definitely has
to be done with our currency. It’s such a pain having to deal with that many bills.
M: I know. Every time I get money from the ATM, I am frustrated. If we had a 100,000 won bill, things
would be so much better.
W: Well, they did introduce the 50,000 won note recently. That improved things a little. I just can’t
understand why other countries have large denominations but the Korean government won’t allow
them in our country.
M: No kidding! The government just doesn’t trust us. They don’t think we can manage such large bills.
They think we’ll spend all our money, and everyone will go into debt. In my opinion, we desperately
need larger bills. These days, when I go shopping, it is so annoying. I always miscount the bills, and I
probably end up giving people too much money.
W: Well, let’s just hope that the 100,000 note is introduced soon. You know, if it wasn’t for checks and
credit cards, we really would have a problem. At least with those, you don’t have to carry so many bills.
M: Of course. I like cash; I just don’t like SO much cash. I don’t know what to do about this.
W: Well…for the time being, I guess you’ll either have to go to the bank more often, or get a MUCH
Unit 11: Commercial Holidays
SC: Merry Christmas! May I help you find something?
C: Yes, please. I am looking for a Christmas present for my family, and I have no idea what to get. I just
don’t get the point of Christmas.
SC: Really? I think it’s a magical day!
C: Holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day use our emotions to make companies money. It is
especially bad on Pepero Day and Black Day, where you have to eat a specific food. These companies are
just using cheap marketing ploys.
SC: You may have a point. But, as a store employee, it is great to see people’s excitement during these
C: What about this? On the 14th of every month, there are love-related days in Korea! From January to
December, I feel pressured to give something to my girlfriend. We have Candle Day, Valentine's Day,
White Day, Black Day, Rose Day... These special holidays have gone too far!
SC: Sure, companies make money off of commercial holidays. It is up to you to put some spirit into those
days and make them exciting.
C: What about days like Haitai Confectionary’s Ace Day on October 31st, when we have to give Ace
crackers? Or other days, when we are pressured to give pork, tuna, or even produce. I have heard that
there are more than 50 special days in Korea!
SC: I see you are frustrated by this. I guess if you don’t want to participate, you can stay home and stay
out of the stores. But, I think there is a difference between normal holidays and the others. Holidays like
Chuseok celebrate history and tradition.
C: You know what? You’re right! I’m not going to take part in any of these silly days. I’ll just stay home
and away from all of the stores.
Unit 12: The Production and Sale of Knock-Offs
… In closing, I refuse to pay full price for anything. Things are just too expensive in North America. In my
experience, I have no problem getting 90 percent discounts on famous brands in a market or off the
I’m all for supporting the local economy, but really look at the amount of money these multinational
corporations are making in their trendy boutiques. Go to cities such as New York, London, or Paris. You
will see how rich the companies such as Chanel, Rolex, or Louis Vuitton are. I don’t think they need to
worry about the average Joe buying cheap knock-offs on their streets or from a Southeast Asian market.
But why are these companies worried about fakes? Ask anyone who has purchased a knock-off,
regardless of whether it was a handbag, clothing, or sunglasses. Do they believe they have purchased
the real thing? No! Even if knock-offs are high quality, they are still KNOCK-OFFS! Sure, I buy only high
quality fakes, but for me, it is intended as a novelty. These knock-offs are no threat to any company.
Additionally, when I buy them, I pick out exactly what I want based on the designer’s catalogue. So, they
are identical to the real thing, right down to the stitching, zippers, and the color of the inner material.
Most strangers can’t tell the difference between mine and the real thing. They love the look and are
interested in buying it. I can’t see how that cheapens the brand. In my view, I’m marketing their
products for them for FREE.
Finally, it’s amazing to me that people criticize Southeast Asian countries for producing these knock-offs.
The fact remains that the authentic products are still being produced in these developing countries. It’s
unfair that companies produce them for dirt cheap, yet get upset when their likeness is sold for the
Your take-home message today…I can pay several thousand dollars or several hundred dollars for the
same handbag. For me, it’s a very, very easy choice!
Unit 13: The Influence of UCC
There are many disadvantages associated with UCC, or User Created Content. In order to keep the ball
rolling, I will only mention three.
The first is simple: privacy. This is probably the one that most concerns you, so I’ll spend the most time
on it. People may not be familiar with the consequences when they post information online. Beginning
users may not know that their information and photographs can be viewed by everyone. This can cause
But feeling humiliated is the least of our worries. Loss of credibility can be even more serious.
Inappropriate images or text can be viewed by everyone. When you post photos online, do you want
your employers to see them? People have lost their jobs through this sort of carelessness.
Even this is not the most serious privacy concern. Users put themselves in danger when their personal
information can be viewed publically. There are people who would use this information for criminal
purposes. Identity thieves and sexual predators are two of the more unpleasant examples.
Copyright infringement is a second disadvantage of User Created Content. You’re free to post whatever
you want. Take the video-sharing website YouTube. Copyright protected material can be distributed
online for free. This means the original artists are not being compensated for their work. Fines and legal
problems can result from dishonest or careless online activity.
The third disadvantage is an overall loss of quality and professionalism. Publishers claim that the quality
of materials on the Internet is going downhill fast. Most UCC sites have no regulations and no editors. If I
have a blog, for example, I can call myself a journalist. It doesn’t matter if I’m a terrible writer, or if my
opinions are misinformed. It’s my blog, so I can do whatever I please!
That’s all for now. You are expected to be familiar with this material before the test.
Unit 14: Cellular Phones: Korea Versus the West
The most noticeable difference between Korean and Western cellular phones is how they are used. In
Korea, most people watch their phones, whereas in the West, people listen to them.
The reason for this is the development in Korea of DMB or digital media broadcasting. This allows
customers to watch TV on their phones from anywhere in the country. This is very popular. In fact,
Koreans watch more than two hours of it each day.
Korean cell phone networks also allow users to carry out digital financial transactions. Whether you are
sending money to a friend’s bank account, paying your bills, shopping online, or just checking your
account, it can all be done wherever the network exists, and in Korea, that is everywhere. This
technology is just now in its infancy in the West. In contrast, between 60 and 70% of Koreans use it
Finally, the apps make all the difference. Koreans have been using apps for years. One example is the
Polygraph. It’s a mobile lie detector that can help Korean girls tell if their boyfriends are lying about their
whereabouts. There is another that allows taxis to find your cell phone, regardless of where you are. It
also sends text messages to a person’s parents and friends, recording the name and number of the taxi
and its location.
Whether it’s the ultra-modern phones, the cool apps, or the TV beamed right to their screen, Koreans
certainly have their finger on the pulse of cell phone technology. So, next time your North American or
European friend tells you about their cool cell phone, rest peacefully in the fact that you had that phone
three years ago in Korea. Simply put, the West will never match Asia when it comes to phones!
Thank you for listening.
Unit 15: Malicious Comments
M: Why would you criticize the Internet? The Internet gives us anonymity. Don’t you think that’s a
J: Well, I suppose it can be wonderful, but it’s not always!
M: What do you mean? People find the courage to say things online that they would normally never
say. That’s the beauty of the Internet!
J: “Courage” certainly isn’t the word I would use! Many Internet users know that they can get away with
cowardly behavior. They can simply hide behind phony names.
M: That’s a glass-half-empty way of looking at it, don’t you think? I never thought of you as a pessimist!
J: I’m not a pessimist! I’m a realist. I’m talking about gossip and slander.
M: You may have a point. There have been a few malicious comments and stories in the news lately.
J: Exactly! Celebrities have enough stress in their lives! Always in the spotlight and having no privacy….
M: Maybe people are just jealous. Maybe being a celebrity is no picnic, but there are still a lot of people
who wish they were celebrities!
J: Jealousy is probably part of it, you’re right. But jealous gossip is one thing! Spreading rumors all over
the web is going too far.
M: I agree with you there.
J: Gossip and back-stabbing on the Internet can do real damage to a person’s life and reputation.
Especially for a celebrity, whose career depends on a good public image.
M: Okay, you’ve convinced me! But I still think the Internet has its good points, too.
J: So do I! I just wish people would think more carefully before posting anything that might be damaging
to someone else. Once something’s online, it’s like a permanent record. Anyone can see it.
M: That’s true! I think that for a lot of people, that idea hasn’t really sunk in yet.
J: You mean your college friends, with their embarrassing Facebook pictures? Ha!
M: I liked you better when you were a pessimist.
Unit 16: The Low Carbon & Green Growth Campaign
So, yes, Earth Day is a day to celebrate our planet. We should get involved in events such as climate
change rallies and petition signing. We can also clean up the litter from our neighborhoods. The problem
is that we will soon have to come face-to-face with the ugly truth. That truth is that some countries,
Korea included, are doing a disservice to Mother Earth.
Korea has a stressed relationship with the environment. This is a common problem in countries with
high populations and a small land area. Korea’s problems started in the 1980s, when it experienced
rapid industrialization. During this time, Korea’s economic plan emphasized heavy industry. This plan
skyrocketed Korea’s position as one of the world’s leading ship builders and steel producers. However,
this had damaging effects on the environment. Korea changed too quickly, with little thought put into
city planning and green space availability.
Despite standards set by the Korean government, the level of air pollution in Korea tops the list. This is
especially true in the winter, due to the mass consumption of fossil fuels. Even worse is the mammoth
number of motor vehicles on the road. In Seoul, 60 percent of air pollutants come from cars.
Another problem Korea faces is the excessive dumping of waste. There are economic, biological, and
land-use issues created by this extreme and unnecessary amount of waste. Korea does not have a lot of
usable land space. When it is filled up with garbage, it takes away from the Korean quality of life. To
sum up, Korea’s millions of people, lack of green space, and garbage problems have left a dirty, smelly
situation. To save the Earth, we have to focus on each country. Let's start with Korea.
Unit 17: Korean Cultural Revolution
M1: You look upset, Grandpa. What are you reading?
M2: A report about how some delinquents broke into a restaurant, stole some equipment, and
vandalized the place. Now the owners have to declare bankruptcy because they can’t afford to repair
their restaurant. This kind of situation is very disheartening. It is hard for me to understand how our
youth can do this. When I was young, we had respect for our elders and the community. Nowadays, I am
scared to walk past a group of teenagers for fear of what they will do to me. They are often smoking or
drinking alcohol in the park. This is going to be the downfall of Korea. We are losing our culture.
M1: We are not losing our culture, Grandpa, it is just evolving. We have to change to keep up with the
rest of the world. My generation has so many more choices and chances. I will have better education,
better health care, and more money than you did growing up. Plus, I get to text my friends, play
Starcraft, and eat cheeseburgers! My life is great!
M2: Cheeseburgers will make you fat! All those fast-food joints are creating an obesity problem in
Korea. We are going to have a country full of obese, lazy youth.
M1: Oh, Grandpa! It is not that dire. A lot of positive things are happening, too. Like the fact that I can
communicate in English. That is a very good skill to have for my future. Also, Mom has more rights. In
the last generation, women had fewer rights than men. Gender equality is good progress and something
that Korea should be proud of.
M2: Yes, progress is beneficial, and it keeps Korea high in the global standing. In my opinion, total
freedom of speech, thought, and actions is not always the best way to be. Anyway, I had better not
catch you smoking in the park or talking back to your elders!
Unit 18: Korean Wedding Culture
W1: Hi. Thanks for coming. I bet it was like night and day compared to yours in the West!
W2: No kidding. I was blown away by your wedding attire. It was so traditional and beautiful. We just
wear white wedding dresses. How did you put that on?
W1: My mother and grandmother helped me with that. How did you feel about the wedding hall?
W2: That was different, too. It was so business-like. Sure, it was efficient, but it lacked emotion. In the
West, the ceremony and reception are very emotional experiences for the couple.
W1: I know. I don’t like how “efficient” it is. In the West, what kinds of things do you get as wedding
gifts? We usually get cash. However, usually our parents control that. Much of it is contributed to the
cost of the wedding.
W2: That’s too bad. No, in our culture all of the gifts and cash go directly to the couple. Some guests give
cash, but mostly give gifts that can be used by the new couple in their married life. Things like linens,
housewares, and small appliances.
W1: Well, we get these things as well, just not from the guests.
W2: Another thing I noticed is that you don’t have a formal reception with a sit-down dinner. Also, you
don’t have a gift-opening event. Guests can’t come and watch you open your gifts and see what you’ve
W1: You’re right. In Korean culture, it is common to open gifts in private. Also, because the wedding has
to remain on schedule, the post-ceremony meal is just a buffet that people can enjoy at their own pace.
You’re right, there is no major reception.
W2: Again, a little impersonal. I like some of your traditions, but I prefer the emotion associated with
ours. Perhaps the perfect wedding would be a mix of both.
W1: Maybe you’re right! I’ve got to go. See you later!
Unit 19: To Live or Not to Live in Seoul
S: Dad, I’m not so sure I want to live in Seoul. Why do we have to move there?
F: It’s the business mecca of South Korea. If we don’t move, I’ll have to change jobs and take a much
S: Oh, all right! Actually, there are some things I am looking forward to. I think the schools and sports
teams are much better in Seoul.
F: I’m sure you’re right. Also, people in Seoul are much more cultured, and the city has much more of an
international feel to it.
S: That sounds cool. I’d love to try some international foods and make some foreign friends. Also, in
Seoul, nearly everyone speaks English. That will be great for me.
F: That’s for sure. Also, your mom will be happy. The shopping is so much better there. The outdoor
markets and department stores are second to none in Korea.
S: I’ll like that, too. I can’t wait to do some electronics shopping. I love the outdoor market in Yongsan.
F: I know you do. I think the most important benefit is cultural. There are so many opportunities to go to
concerts, musicals, and even ballets. I know you don’t care about those now, but they will make you a
better citizen and more cultured.
S: Sure. But what about our small town? All of my friends seem to be moving to Seoul. What’s going to
happen to these towns and to the farmers?
F: I’m afraid that urbanization is a fact of life. People want the opportunities in the big city. Small centers
can’t offer that. However, I am a little worried that soon there won’t be enough farmers to produce our
food. But we can’t worry about that now. We need to get ready to move.
S: OK. Sounds exciting! I’ll start packing my stuff.
Unit 20: Oriental Versus Western Medicine
….To continue, Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, focuses on the cause of the problem,
attempting to cure it with a bottom-up approach. Therefore, in a sense, Oriental medicine is proactive.
On the other hand, Western medicine is, for the most part, retroactive. Rather than focus on
preventative medicine and therapy, this system relies on the treatment of the symptoms of diseases and
injuries, focusing on medication and surgery.
TCM is well-accepted as mainstream medical care throughout East Asia. However, in the West, it is seen
as an alternative. This is because in the West, the field of medicine deals mainly with modern hospitals,
prescriptions, and invasive surgery. However, TCM relies on age-old techniques with a much different
focus. These techniques include Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy, and types of
massage. Further, Western medicine is relatively new compared to TCM, which is said to be thousands
of years old.
TCM is rooted in close observation of how nature, the stars, and the human body interact. In addition,
TCM views the human body as a small universe with a set of complete and complex interconnected
systems. It is believed that these systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy function of the
human body. Ideas such as yin and yang and chi, or "life force," are important in TCM. Also, TCM uses a
unique model of the body involving the meridian system. Unlike Western medicine, which uses an
anatomical model, dividing the physical body into parts, TCM is more concerned with function.
In general, while both forms of medicine attempt to treat patients, they do so from very different
directions. For some, Western medicine is the only way to go. For others, TCM, or alternative medicine
as it is known in the West, is by far the superior choice.