RAS Korea January Newsletter
Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
I hope that you are all enjoying the start of a good new year, depite the cold and snow? On behalf of the Officers and Council I would like to express our gratitude for your constant support and encouragement during the past year. We will do our best to provide a rewarding program of activities during the coming months. My term of office as President expired yesterday, at the end of 2012, but the Council has asked me to serve for another 2 years so you will continue to receive these messages from me. I am always grateful for the enthusiasm of our Council members and office staff, without them our 'RAS Korea' could not exist.
I will try to compose a slightly more detailed annual report in the coming weeks and send it out when it is ready.
The start of the year is the moment when many of you will be invited to renew your membership for another year. It is no secret that our Society needs your contributions in order to operate. I do not think we could survive without an office and staff. Perhaps some of you who are in Korea for a longer period would like to consider becoming Life Members? That corresponds to 10 years of ordinary membership and represents a significant financial help. Talking of money, we have decided to ask non-members attending our lectures to pay KW 7,000. Several people have told us that KW 5,000 is too little. Of course, once a non-member becomes a member, the lectures are free!
This winter is proving to be exceptionally cold and snowy. I hope that you will not be discouraged by the weather from signing up for the excursions we have prepared for the coming 2 months. I feel sure that the snow will melt before long and often the sunshine in winter has a magical quality to it that transforms the winter landscapes.
Very soon the renovation of our office will be complete, making a visit a much more pleasant experience. Soon I will be writing to you about a planned book sale, and also about exciting new developments regarding our Library. We are also preparing new plans for the Reading Group, the Photograpy Group and the National Museum visits. More soon !
Again, I would like to invite you to send us suggestions for lectures, excursions, or other activities that you would enjoy. We are in need of volunteers to lead excursions as well as to help us with some administrative tasks, and we want you to feel that being a member of RAS Korea is something worthwhile and rewarding.
Finally, please note that the first lecture this year will be on the 3rd Tuesday, January 15, because the room is not available for the 2nd Tuesday. We are always most grateful to the management of Somerset Palace for allowing us to use their Residents' Lounge as they do.
Again, a very happy New Year to each of you. May 2013 be a year of new hope and of peace in Korea and across the world.
President, RAS Korea
Lectures for January 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 7:30pm
Letters From Joseon: 19th Century Korea through the Eyes of an American Ambassador's Wife
Lecturer: Robert Neff
This lecture will examine Korea - as seen through the eyes of Sally Sill, the wife of John M. B. Sill - the American Minister to Korea (1894–1897). Their stay in Seoul was during an extremely turbulent period of Korean history, and Robert has just published a fascinating book drawing on personal documents and correspondence between the Sills in Korea and their family in the United States. Copies of the book will be on sale at a special price!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 7:30pm
Calm and Dynamic: Two Differing Aesthetic Aspects of Korean Traditional Music
Lecturer: Professor Sheen Dae-Cheol (Academy of Korean Studies)
Korea's traditional music too often remains unfamiliar to people who have not learned to recognize its fundamental characteristics. Tonight's lecture, by someone who has spent his entire life immersed in Korean music, is designed to introduce us to some of the basic aesthetic features of traditional Korean music in as entertaining a manner as possible.
Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:30pm
In-Wang San Hike & Bugak Skyway Drive
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
A bus will be used for parts of this short excursion but so long as the paths are not too icy there will also be a chance to do some not-too-difficult walking, enjoying the crisp winter air and the lovely views of Seoul and nature combined.
Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Experiencing Korean spirituality through Buddha, Buddhism and Seon(Zen) etc
Leader: Mr. Jun (Y.K.) Shin etc
This new excursion, mainly conducted indoors, will visit the Int’l Seon (Zen) Center, Buddhist Museum and temple at Dongguk University, and relocated historical relics at Jangchungdan Park and Hotel Shilla. Expert guides from the University will help participants deepen their understanding of Buddhism, while a short walk around the neighborhood will provide physical exercise.
Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 8:30am to 7:30pm
Winter Break Excursion : Gwangneung & Sanjeong Lake
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
This excursion will take us to Gwangneung, the tomb of King Sejo and his queen, located near Seoul in a picturesque National Forest Reserve, and then on to the enchanting Sanjong Lake. After lunch, we have the option of going ice-skating or taking a hike around the lake, which takes about one hour. This has long been a favorite RASKB winter excursion.
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Fortress Wall of Bugaksan Hike
Leader: Ms. Won-Na Cha
Today’s hike is along the wall running behind Gyeongbok palace and the Blue House. The trail will start near Sukjeongmun (the North Gate) and trek to the peak of Bugak mountain; there we will enjoy the panoramic view over the capital, then we will walk down to Changuimun. The paths might be icy, please come with suitable footware.
Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sujong-sa, Hongyu-neung and Donggu-neung Tour
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
Today's tour will take us north along the banks of the Han River on a beautiful, scenic road. Our temple trek will take us on a path that passes under chestnut, elm and pine trees, while far below us the merging of the North Han and South Han Rivers forms a natural S curve. We will also be paying a visit to Hongyu-neung, the tomb site of the last two Joseon Dynasty kings. Finally we will visit the Dongu-neung (East Nine tombs). This includes the tomb of King Taejo, the first Joseon ruler.
Finally, our Special Lunar New Year Special:
Sunday, February 10, 2013 - 8:00am to Monday, February 11, 2013 - 8:30pm
Seorak-San National Park & Waterpia
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
In addition to the usual magnificent winter beauty of this scenic area, participants will have the option of enjoying the Cheoksan hot springs on the first night, and to extend the pleasure on the second day at the Seorak Waterpia, a large-scale hot-spring resort. For those who would rather enjoy hiking in the mountains, two options are proposed. This excursion combining relaxation and walking has long been a popular way of excaping fomr the cities during the Lunar New Year holiday. Traffic will not be a problem, we guarantee!
We are preparing additional excursions. Please see our home page for full details of all our activities. Or call our office (02) 763-9483