Stars Rock Style Icon Awards 2013


Celebrity Overload one of my new friends described the night as we were clearly the lucky ones attending the Style Icon Awards in Seoul. I did not know what to expect at first since personally do not know that much of the Korean language or about the K-Pop scene and even less about fashion, however when Mentors Club, for exchange students, sent out the e-mail I thought it would simply a way to get out of the dorm for a few hours, however it proved to be so much more than that.

After we met up at Digital Media City subway station a nice mini shuttle bus brought us to the venue, where it was time to wait. I bit cold outside, but when I stepped away from the group I was able to see the red carpet area where the stars were slowly making  there way to event, however it was tough to see without fighting for a spot. The real fun began when we were allowed inside a small studio which was packed standing room only with probobly about 2,000 people. Once the show began it was a lot of fun. Although most of the speeches were in Korean there were plenty of performances and more than a handful of songs that I have heard listing to K-pop on Youtube and going out in the city. Pictured above are Crayon Pop. The second woman is holding the award with her right hand while the others have glow sticks in both both hands.  Somewhat of surprise was the appearance of ASAP Rocky, who won the Global Icon Award. In the end G-Dragon won the Style Icon of the Year Award.


With fashion being very important in Korea and celebrities who are willing to try almost anything out of the ordinary it should not have been a surprise that an awards show honoring style would be such a star filled and fun event for all. A great evening to remember and connect with the international image of Korean entertainment.



Preparing for Model Asia Union

What are the unifying elements of Asia? This is a very daunting question my partner and I realized while trying to prepare for this event. Unlike Europe, there is no common religion or race and comparisons to more complex Africa did not seem to be helpful either because that Continent has had the shared experience of colonization to unify around. However after much discussion we realized that the region is very diverse and huger to be rising star in the global perspective seems to be a common thread.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the preliminary round of the Model Asia Union Competition, in which teams of university students, 2 per, are charged with addressing the topic: Discuss how we can realize Asian Union. The first step after finding a team member, in my case a fellow Underwood Union member, was to write a short paper containing a proposal. This took hours as it was hard to agree on the reasons Asia Union should be realized and how to go about it without upsetting the individual states. Meeting in the school library, coffee shops and a computer gaming room, we finally got the job done.

After about a week of waiting, we received word that our proposal paper had been accepted it was time, despite midterms to prepare for our presentation, which required the use of a presentation program, thus we chose to use Prezi. Each team will be given 10 minutes to present and afterwords there will be some time for Q&A. After all the teams present  we will have dinner and those advancing to finals will be announced to be held next weekend. On November 1st Friday we are all invited to the Asian Economic Community Forum with the finals held that Saturday, both at the  Hyatt Regency in Incheon. Tomorrow rounds will be at Incheon National University.

In case anybody actually cares to read this, I will keep our proposal ideas a secret for now. Follow me today on Twitter for updates. @buildbynddebate

More event Information:



Midterms End Discovery Rebegins

The lull time several weeks after arrival and the midterm period is over. I have several exciting events over the next few weeks which should prove to be both fun and informative about Korea and the wider East Asian Community.

Tomorrow Saturday October 26: Model Asia Union,  Incheon National University

At the MAU conference, me and a fellow member of Underwood Union Debate, will present ideas on how an Asia Union could be achieved. This event is the preliminary round of a competition based on this subject matter.

Thursday, October 31: Halloween, Yonsei University and Vera, Hongdae, Seoul

Halloween is gaining popularity in Korea and our school is supporting two events.  

Next Weekend Friday, November 1 and Saturday November 2: MAU Finals, Hyatt Regency, Incheon

For advancing teams the finals will take place on Saturday after the Asia Economic Community Forum on Friday.

November 8 and November 9: Hyundai Company Tour

Mentors Club, for exchange students is having Hyundai Company weekend tour.

November 14 thru 18: NorthEast Asia Open Debate Tournament, SolBridge International School of Business, Daejeon

I am preparing to adjudicate at the tournament as Underwood Union is sending several teams and judges


Nationalist Consumption?: Fueling Korean Growth KIDA Tuesday

(September 24 KIDA)

Patriotism, the question becomes how powerful should it be? This debate:

This House Regrets the preferential consumption of products from domestically established companies on the basis of nationalism,

proved to be an excellent first inner collegiate event in Korea. The Korean Innervarsity Debate Association holds the weekly debating league KIDA Tuesdays in Seoul. Performance is evaluated through the semester by both standings in the round and bringing qualified adjudicators. Last week the host was located within walking distance of Seoul at different university.

The mega companies of Korea were the focus of the debate, some of which make America’s too big to fail companies look like toddlers. Samsung has not only managed to become the smartphone of choice but also holds large shares of the computer, television, and insurance market, while Hyundai stores resemble Macy’s. The Goverment team began supporting the motion by saying that excessive support of domestic markets keep product prices high reducing quality of life and that innovation is stiffled because companies are not motivated to expand to abroad markets. In the second supporting speech they also expressed fears that companies will believe they can sell lesser quality products on the base of nationalism. The opposition responded by saying that nationalist support is good for development, since it helped Hyundai and Samsung to become stable companies.  They also felt that nationalism is used as a sales tactic and is as legitimate as Coco-Cola using Polar Bears. They sited the bankruptcy of Detroit after the callaspe of the auto industry to say that some companies are inter-dependent with the government and that defending them is ok. In the second half of the debate, the Government side said that the government does use its power to unfairly help Korean companies when politicians and state media promote local mega companies. Reporting about these companies can be overly positive. Meanwhile the opposition stated that consumers could gain enjoyment from knowing the products they are buying help domestic companies.

Watching this debate was informative as both sides presented the idea that national unity helps Korean mega-companies to be stable and grow. After the round we discussed whether it should have been a debate set in Korea. In the US, the Made in America are hoping to promote domestic products in order preserve jobs. However it is clear that efforts to support domestic companies are more significant here.