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Seoul Day 1

Saturday, January 29, 2011
Hello everyone! I've been pretty busy because it's Alaric's birthday this Sunday. Starting on Day 1 of my Korea trip!

Anyway the whole trip was really last minute. In the 2nd week of January, my agency called me and asked if I would want to go Korea - free. Free hotel and free airfare. All I had to do was to go there and attend a modelling festival and accept an award on behalf of Singapore.
The Korea Models Association (the one behind the whole event) basically needed 2 models from Asian countries at the festival - 2011 Asia Model Festival Awards.

Tutorials at this point (till now as I'm typing this in fact) hadn't even started. All I would be missing were... two lectures, both of which are webcast.

The actual event was on the 21st of January. Originally I was due to fly there on the 18th, but the details continuously kept getting shuffled around. I finally got my confirmed flight on the 19th of January; I was told I would be flying off for Seoul on the 20th at night.

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My bed a war zone as I pack! (I'm lying, it looks like this every day before I clear it for sleeping). Since I never knew at any point whether my trip was 100% confirmed (only on the very day before), I didn't bother going out and spending much on winter wear.
I had some basic stuff, and besides I was only going to be there for 3D2N!

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Trying on clothes!

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When I landed it was like -8 degrees and there was still SNOW on the ground. I was totally like... "Crap. It's damn cold."

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Haha I found it super cute that they provide these reading glasses for people to use in filling up forms!

Anyway at the airport I was met by an English interpreter holding up a sign with my full name. It was my first time getting picked up by someone with a sign just for me!

The English interpreter's name is Shin (actually that's his surname, but his normal Korean name is too complex for us foreigners). He basically became my main friend for the entire Korea trip, and brought me out both nights!

I was also met by the vice-president of the Korea Models Association (KMA), who used to be a model himself. We were all picked up by a chauffered car and driven to Novotel in Seoul center.

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This is Dior, a singer from Malaysia. He sings Malay songs with some Korean! He took LOTS of photos in Korea (3 Facebook albums worth) and I took quite a few from him so just thought I'd introduce him here at the start!
Anyway his blog's URL is watermark-ed into all his photos so you can check it out if you like (:

My flight left Singapore at 1.15am. It was really empty so I had 4 seats all to myself. I laid down totally flat but I absolutely could not fall asleep despite being really tired ): I landed in Seoul at 8.40am without having slept a wink (Korea is one hour ahead of Singapore if you're curious).

Reached the hotel at maybe 11am? Dropped off my stuff then had lunch with Shin and the vice-president. Crashed out in my hotel room for a pathetic 2 hours before having to gather in the lobby to be brought to the event place.

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The first night was supposed to be pretty casual. It consisted of a dinner while watching the crowning of a modelling contest called New Face (haha yeah it sounds really similar to Singapore's New Paper New Face).
New Face had contestants from Korea, China, Mongolia, Philippines, Japan etc... (obviously the bulk was formed by the Koreans) but no Singaporeans or Malaysians. No idea why.

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Anyway that's Ian! He's supposed to be the male model representing Singapore (I mentioned they need 2 models from each country - one male and one female) but... he's actually Malaysian.

I don't really know how that happened (Malaysia had their own male and female models if you're wondering). Kinda odd cause he doesn't really know how to speak English?

On the second day we had to go onstage to accept our trophies and give an individual thank-you speech. I obviously delivered mine in English, while he said one line in English and then switched to Chinese. But doubt the Koreans would realise anyway. Majority can't speak English themselves haha.

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The New Face contest! The contestants had to wear traditional costumes according to their country of origin.

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Erm? Some boy group called Touch. Crazy beach-streaked blonde hair. They look really young!

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More segments of the New Face contest.

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Male contestants.

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Crowning of the winners.

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The male winner was from Korea and the female from China.

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That's Amber Chia from Malaysia! She's not one of the models representing Malaysia; she's kind of their manager! Amber Chia is a really famous model in Malaysia, and she has recently started her own modelling academy in Malaysia with her husband.

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Really yummy fruity cocktail drink thingy. It's only 4% alcohol and comes in bottles that were placed on the table.
Oh and Alaric made me hang a four-leaf clover on my handphone to give me luck for the plane rides and the trip alone.

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Starter.

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Main.
The steak was pretty good. The cucumber kimchi on the left is a variation of your standard kimchi. I hate the normal kimchi (sorry Koreans)! I much prefer the crunchy cucumber kimchi.

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Dessert.

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BAHAHAHA GOT A SHOCK.
Up till this point I wasn't even sure of the exact nature of my purpose in Seoul, till I saw the booklet with all our faces labelled under - Model Star Awards

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Bloody hell I can't believe they unearthed and picked THIS photo. I don't like how I look here...

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Had to take photos with tons of products by the sponsors after the event ended. We all got a super heavy goodie bag filled with Korean skincare, vitamins, socks etc.

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With some of the other models onstage with our goodie bags.

Shin (my English interpreter and new Korean friend!) waited for me to end. In the end I had to go back to the hotel first for a briefing... which was basically just them telling us to report at the hotel lobby at 11am the next day.

He took a cab to my hotel and waited downstairs, then brought me to hang out with some of the other interpreters (whom he had introduced me to earlier on)! Thank goodness they're all interpreters (either English or Chinese) so we can understand each other, because the average Korean's English is honestly awful. Even the hotel staff have really bad English.

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That's Shin!
And this machine is so cool! They have little "neoprint machines" dotted along the roads in Seoul. It's basically a camera mounted above a screen and it takes a picture of you on the street. You can add borders, designs, write stuff etc - exactly like neoprints - then tap in your email address for them to mail it to you!
For free!

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Walked to this road with lots of bars/restaurants. This is at 10+pm and it's still so lively!

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The drinking holes there are a mix of bars/restaurants. You order soju, and drink it while eating spicy clams. The tables have holes for you to drop your clam shells, and yes you can smoke indoors!

I tried half a shot of soju (I do need to get up at 10am the next morning). Shin and the others described it as Korean Vodka, but it's quite a bit milder. The taste isn't as strong and it goes down the throat more easily too.

In Korea the alcohol doesn't come with any mixers though - no Coke, Sprite, Green Tea etc to drink with your Vodka/Rum/Whisky - just plain water and clams.

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Clams! Seafood seems to be a pretty big thing in Korea (sadly not my favourite thing). This was pretty nice! It comes with little cooked rice cakes as well and squid and other miscellaneous stuff inside the foil.

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The Koreans are really SUPER friendly! They were really enthusiastic in talking to me and insisting I don't pay. In Korea modelling is a pretty big thing - they even have modelling as a university major - so they kind of treat me like... I'm not an ordinary university student and bombard me with tons of queries about the modelling industry.

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And... this was my room after just one night. Total mess. Stuff strewn all over. The bed is soooo comfortable.

Gonna crash! I have quite a bit of research to do for part 2 of my Korea trip. The awards were the next day so I need to find out which celebrity won which award and which group performed etc. Too bad I stopped watching Korean dramas in 2007 so it was a little wasted on me because I couldn't recognize any actors/actresses!

Watch out for Seoul Day 2 ~ goodnight!~

Hair/Hare

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Went to Bugis Essensuals to get my dark hair roots touched up before I left for Korea!

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Now to everyone amazed by how I *sometimes* don't always wash my hair... Well it looks like this. And my fringe will be pinned up.
On the right you can see how wispy my hair is at the middle area!

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Ta-daaah! All done! Had my fringe trimmed too.

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I like how the hair ends curl in slightly!

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Been wearing this top quite a lot! It's light and airy and has cute zebra prints; from TheBlogShop.

So WHERE IS Bugis Essensuals located at?

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If you're standing facing Bugis Street, Burger King will be on your right. Look up! Essensuals is located ABOVE Burger King.

The fact that it's located beside Bugis Street is awesome cause I always stock up on food and drinks before going up!

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Between Burger King and Bugis Street there is a little alley.

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Up the stairs!

Bugis Essensuals has a FORMSPRING account too, where you can ask them lots of questions ranging from the costs of hair services, what so-and-so blogger did to their hair, what would best suit your kind of hair etc!
Do click their banner located at the side of my blog to get more info (:

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Random picture of my nails. Looks better IRL (in real life) I swear! Colours are both China Glaze, Hey Doll for the base and Jitterbug for the tips.

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Pardon the chipping. I'm really bad at maintaining my nails. Brought this (Ruby Pumps) to Korea and painted my nails while I was there. Looks a lot sparklier IRL!

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Last semester's school planner. That was my previous timetable on the left; the half squares/triangles mean that it's a tutorial that's every alternate week.
On the right are my module codes and exam dates, a cute ice-cream cone I drew, and a photo of Addie, Chloe, Jeannie and I on a wall with everyone's face but mine very conveniently blocked out by the flash hahaha.

Red Dot

Sunday, January 23, 2011
It's Sunday 10.30pm and I've been back from Korea for approximately 24hours. Probably should have blogged earlier but I feel kind of sick ):
Korea was beyond cold and I can't say Korean food is really my thing. More on that next time.

For now, a quick update about dinner Alaric and I had at Red Dot (located at Dempsey).

It was my idea to go there cause I had eaten there previously and had quite liked the food. The food this time was not bad but my order came extremely late.

We had ordered starters first (shared), and then Alaric a steak and me this fried portobello+chicken. His steak came first and we kept waiting for mine to arrive. I mean seriously, how hard is it to fry a mushroom?
Asked the staff about my order and 5 minutes later they came back with this dismal salad for me and said the kitchen was very busy so it was taking a little longer than usual.
A.k.a.: they had completely forgotten my order and had only just started preparing it.

I mean okay I kind of appreciate the idea of  the free salad but it was really pathetic. They had forgotten to add any sauce so it was basically just tasteless mixed salad leaves in oil.

The food at Red Dot isn't super cheap so the massive delay kinda ruined the meal for me -_-

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Our starter, which was called Beef Cappacio. It's basically raw beef with salad. It was pretty good! That's my lychee blend drink which was quite nice too.

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Side of fries and Alaric's steak.

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My food, after it had FINALLY arrived. I was so hungry I finished the whole thing and usually I'm not a big eater.

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Weird dog-statue by the entrance which looks kind of real from afar and in real life.

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My rosebud tulle dress! This would be super apt for Valentine's Day. This dress is from Vanilla Lollies; they carry lots of other good quality dresses.

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Okay for the last time, to get the above light-streaks effect you need to:
- Set your camera flash to Slow Synchro mode.
I have no idea what this would be called in other camera brands, but for Sony that's what it's called.
- Shake your camera when you're taking a picture.
That's all! Of course you need to have light sources available and it won't always turn out nicely; depending on the lights (like the above are just average).

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Sorry for the short update! Every time I go overseas it feels like I've been gone ages even if in reality it's only been 2 days (e.g. Genting). I'm probably too accustomed to continuously being connected to everyone and everything via the Internet.