Football Highlights: South Korea v Uzbekistan

Latest South Korea team World Cup qualifying match highlights.

Making Money While Living Abroad Part 1: Sports Betting

I wanted to do a series of articles about ways to make a living when you move abroad. Obviously one is to get a job, but for some people the reason they move abroad is to experience a different life, culture and surroundings. If that’s your aim, you probably don’t want to spend 40 hours a week in an office.

Fortunately there are alternatives. Thanks to the internet, there are now many more opportunities to make money at home. They are not all easy, nobody is saying they are. But if you work hard, anything is possible. So I’ll start today by talking about professional sports betting.

Facts About Using Sports Betting Systems

In order to increase your chances of making a profit with sports betting, you can utilize various sports betting systems available in the market. These systems rely on past information and data from a league or sport to find and exploit odds or lines that are poorly priced by sportsbooks and oddsmakers.

Betting systems can utilize many factors like situational, psychological, statistical, motivational or a combination of these factors and past performances to support picking a particular outcome over another in a game. The events that favor an outcome are referred to as angles and these systems often combine different angles to provide bettors with a higher chance of winning selections.

An illustration of how a simple sports betting system works is that it may ask bettors to place a bet on any NBA home underdog of six points or more coming off of a road to win. This system requests a bettor to look out for an NBA basketball team that is an underdog on the point spread by six points or more and the team is coming off of a win on the road.

Sports betting systems can also be complex and some include factors that are hard to think of. If the system proves to have a winning track record, it is worth checking out. Some systems available in the market may not work and it is therefore important to consider a number of things before investing in a betting system.

The first thing to consider is if the product you want to purchase has good reviews from many professional sports bettors or gamblers. You can just look at the reviews of betting systems posted online. Recommendations display the fact that the product and the people who created it are legitimate. You should also make sure that the sources of these recommendations and reviews are reliable.

Another thing to consider is if the creators of the product you want to purchase used sound data analysis. Find out about the person who formulated the system. The best betting systems are usually created by reputable and experienced professional sports bettors. When using betting systems, you should be patient because the first few bets may not yield extra huge winnings. Study the product you bought so that you can know whom to place bets on and when to bet to increase your chances of winning.

Top Ten Ways to Survive a Korean Company

Originally published on Hub of Sparkle

My time working in a Korean company has been a roller coaster. Some days are great, and others are miserable. However, every single one of them has been educational.

I’ve been working at a desk in a field of cubicles for about two years now and, though I’m far from an expert, I do believe I’ve learned a few things about the life of a foreigner working in the lower levels of a Korean company, so I thought I’d share by offering my ten principles of working in/with a Korean corporation without going insane (in no particular order):

  1. Draw your line and stick to it. Don’t stay late unless overtime pay is on the table. Know for yourself what areas you’re willing to compromise on, and where you have to draw the line. Once your coworkers and managers know your boundaries, they’ll be happy to respect them, as long as you’re nice about it (see #6)
  2. The first answer is not the final answer.
    When it comes to negotiations and conflict resolution, the manager’s first instinct is going to be to lower your expectations. Your chain of command fully understands that you are not Korean and are subject to a different set of rules that the rest of the employees.The problem, I’ve found, is that as understanding as the manager may be, he/she knows full well how the director would react if they were to voice the issue on their own behalf to the higher-ups.

    My Korean managers have always sought, first, to lower expectations. This, in turn, just infuriates me further. If you’re a Korean manager reading this, you should know that the #1 thing you can do is to simply make your expat employee feel HEARD. They understand fully that you have a chain of command and we know that we sometimes make special requests that are highly unusual. But to us, it’s not unusual at all to speak frankly with your direct supervisor (see #3). We don’t expect you to solve this problem or commit to a course of action right then and there. We just want to feel like you’re listening to us and are aware of the issue.

  3. The final answer is not the final answer
    Contracts in Korea do not mean the same thing as they do in the west. Whipping out your contract when the boss asks you to do something above and beyond is not the best way to handle a situation. A better approach is to appeal to precedent and employ my fool-proof method of conflict resolution (see #8).This can also play out in other situations. A project that has gotten the green light and you’re busy working on may be abruptly canned without warning.

    Koreans aversion to officialdom (signing contracts, paper trails, etc), on a bad day, seems like they’re just trying to reserve the right to reneg at any time. On a good day I recognize that it wasn’t so long ago that appealing to authorities, or, ‘the law’ in Korea meant going to officials of the dictatorship meaning that, in a way, you were betraying your brethren by appealing to a system for help that ultimately exists to oppress your people.

  4. Understand and consider the ‘Korean way’ of dissenting. Understand the rules, then, and only then, break them.If nothing else, consider this an exercise in cultural awareness. You’ve got to learn to judge when the Korean way is going to serve your purposes the most, and when it’s time to revert to metaphorical gunslinging.

    Westerners know how to approach a conflict straight on, speak frankly and logically, and not back down, all while not taking anything personally. We’re not afraid to go directly to what we see as being the source of the problem. Converesly, we respect the ability in others to face down an opponent in a tough negotiation and then shake hands and smile after.

    When raising issues, Koreans tend to beat around the bush, but it is not seen that way. Rather, my Korean colleagues have always gone through intermediaries to get their complaints known.

    I actually think there is some wisdom to this approach. This way you can preserve the relationship with the higher-ups and everybody has plenty of time to consider their responses to issues that arrive, without the risk of saying something you might regret. We like to say, ‘it’s just business,’ but how many of us can honestly say we don’t harbor secret grudges against out western bosses that shoot us down?

    I’m not saying this is a perfect system at all, and a clever boss can certainly manipulate the system to ensure that your complaint falls on deaf ears. All I’m saying is, I think I have an inkling of an understanding of why things play out this way.

  5. Never be the first to compromise.
    This is mostly true in the beginning stages of your employment with a new company. The company is probably going to push you to see how much ‘like a Korean’ they can get you to act. Be aware that working ‘like a Korean’ means deferring to the chain of command for all decisions and always having a smile on your face. It’s a good strategy to, after the company does make the first compromise, offer a surprisingly substantial compromise on your own. This gives positive reinforcement for the company to go your way in the future.
  6. Reward desirable behavior; flat-out ignore the undesirable.
    Truly an extension of #4, but worth noting on it’s own. Although this is the golden rule of ethical animal training, what are humans but big animals ourselves? I have taken this so far as to resolve a last-minute hang-up in a contract negotiation. We’d already agreed on all the contract terms, and I was simply taking a day to read over the contract before I signed it, when I got word that HR had a nit-picky protest about one of the conditions, and wanted to take off a significant portion of my vacation days. I was pissed, but after cooling off, I just took out the contract, signed it, and took it to the director. I put it on his desk and said with a smile, ‘It’s a done deal. All you have to do is sign it.’He signed. Faced with the prospect of going back to the drawing board and starting negotiations from the beginning, going back to the previous agreement is hard to pass up. JFK did something similar to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  7. Take a lesson from Hapkido.
    A softer approach is always advised when dealing with your managers, coworkers, and directors. A smile will always get you farther than getting upset. Before you open your big stupid mouth, even if you think the company is trying to screw you over, step back, think it over, and figure out how to frame your problem in a constructive way. Hapkido students learn to counter force with leverage, so that the opponent’s own force turns out to be their demise. Learn this lesson well.
  8. My go-to method of conflict resolution
    To put it simply, when I need something from my company, the first words out of my mouth are, “Here’s the problem I’m dealing with…” I then outline the reasons leading up to my request.Then I say, “I hope you can help me find a solution to this problem. The way I see it, we have to either… or we could try…” This presents two options, and if I’m really hoping for one of the options, then I’ll set one up as kind of a ’straw man’ that has glaring disadvantages, and I am full well the company will not pick it.

    This actually employs the ‘Korean way’ of thinking. When a Korean embarks on an attempt at persuasion, they start with all the details and lead up to the main point. Sometimes they won’t even state the main point, hoping that you can infer the conclusion for yourself.

    You can turn this all on it’s head by using the methods against your superiors, and they may actually appreciate you for framing the issue in this way, rather than a more direct, western, approach.

  9. Give your company some credit
    I have, on a few occasions, gone too far in my low expectations of the company. I’ve finally learned not to assume the worst case scenario when I hear the answer to my proposal or rumors about some new company policy. In fact, I find that things usually pan out in my favor and that people are pretty cool about it over all. The problem is in the cultural differences and communication issues at the front end. Your time at the company is going to be much more productive professionally as well as personally if you step back a little and don’t take anything too seriously, at least until there is more information on the table.
  10. The chain of command needs time to make a decision.
    Countless times, I have heard about some big new project that I’m going to be assigned to, only to never hear about it again. When people start talking, take it to mean that it is merely an idea under consideration.Western business people in Korea are well aware of the importance of the company dinners and the after-hours drinking parties (…and the after hours.. uh.. other stuff…). What is happening is your Korean counterparts are bonding and becoming comfortable with you while they consider the deal.

    Also, you may have waited three months for their deliberations on your proposal, but when you finally get the go-ahead on it, they expect it to all be finished on a ridiculously short timeline. I mean, like, NOW. The best defense against this is to be clear up-front about the necessary timeline, giving reminders that the project is going to take some time to get going.

    Personally, I think this is the biggest reason Korean employees burnout, get sick after months of sleep deprivation, and suddenly change jobs without warning.

    I have found it necessary to regularly send emails asking for a ’status update.’ Otherwise, these long decision times makes it very easy and convenient to kill an issue without actually having to do the ugly business of informing the interested parties.

    Don’t take it personally. I can’t even count the number of times a project has been nixed or deemed ‘finished’ and no one bothered to tell me, even if I would have been happy to hear the news.

These are all true in my own, limited, experience. How about yours? Anything to add to the list?

KOBUS–Express Bus Lines Association–ONLINE, in ENGLISH!

Just stumbled upon this early this morning–on a completely random search of the internet. I figure that most of our readers don’t know about this, since i’ve been here for 6 years and i didn’t know about this.(unless i missed that memo that went out to all English speakers about the site :)

What does this mean for you? It means you can check the bus schedules without having to go directly to the bus station or without pestering your Korean friends.  It also provides a supposedly 24hr English hotline.

SO, i present to you, KOBUS  Go forth and discover!

Ice Skating

Greetings and Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone is staying nice and warm–it certainly has gotten quite chilly outside.  And what better way to enjoy the cold, bitter air, than by spending time “ON ICE…”

For those who missed it, the Joongang Daily ran a great informative piece called, “Champagne on Ice.” It listed all the places in Seoul for you to hit the ice and pretend you are the next ice skating sensation. Or, if you are like me, you’ll go, freeze your tail off, and spend more time ON the ice.

So, go out and make a date out of it.  Make sure to pair it with some nice Hot Cocoa or Coffee and some warm clothes. Enjoy.

Time to hit the Slopes

The JoongAng Ilbo put out a guide last week about where to go in Korea for the best Skiing and Snowboarding.  The article is here.

My personal favorite is YongPyong Resort. I went there quite a few times last season. I would wake up at the crack of dawn, get out over to Lotte World(you can also catch the bus near Express Bus Terminal) to catch the 4am bus–Sleep on the bus, and be on the lift by 9am.  In my opinion, the AM sessions are the best by far in Korea–the runs just get more and more packed as the day goes on.  After a day of boarding, head back to the bus. Take the 4pm bus and you’re home by 8:30.  Not too bad, if you ask me.

There are a few renovated and new resorts this season. Stay tuned for updates on them. Readers: if you have any personal favorites, please let us know. Also if you have any advice in regards to going skiing/boarding–let us know.

Oh yeah, if you have big feet like I do–bring your own equipment from your home country. The odds of finding it in Korea are slim to none–all my stuff is ordered and shipped to Korea.

Home Entertainment for Expats

The Metropolitician discusses the merits of purchasing an HD projector, rather than big screen TV on this lovely Sunday morning. He also chimes in his thoughts on buying a BluRay player.

I never seriously considered a projector before, but his post made me go “hmm… HMMMmmmm…”

I have a couple questions to research though:

1) Is a projector a viable option for channel surfing?

2) Is it easy to set up and hook up to cable/dvdplayer/game console/computer?

ROKon Magazine

Have you checked out ROKon lately?

You should. It’s starting to rise above the fold to become one of the more professional-looking expat rags in Korea. In other words, it’s starting to look like a “real” magazine. I wonder if they plan to start charging money soon. The only problem would be that they’d likely lose a lot of the expat readership if they did.

Anyway, check it out.

Rock Climbing in Seoul

Here is a great article written by the Seoul City Gov’t about rock climbing in Seoul. Most people don’t really know about this great activity, and even if you are a climber, odds are you don’t know where you can do it in Seoul.

All the information you need is right here. It’s got detailed information about where to go and how much it costs…Just to let you know ahead of time, the cost for these walls is FREE. That’s right. If you already have your own equipment and gear, you can use these facilities free of charge. If you are in need of instruction, there are several companies that offer lessons at a reasonable rate.

Online Dating: Finding A Seoul Mate

When you move to a different country and adapt a different culture, it can sometimes be especially hard to integrate into society and that means meeting new people can also be a big challenge. If you’re single, this means you may struggle to meet someone especially if you’re not naturally outgoing. If this is your situation then maybe internet dating can help.

I’ve read a few articles about online dating, all with different opinions. Some people think it’s awful (I guess they either don’t need a date or tried it and couldn’t get one). Some think it’s great (obviously the people that tried it and it worked for them). Others are downright sarcastic in their editorials, which might mean they think they’re above online dating, or failed and are trying to justify it to themselves!

My advice if you do find yourself in a foreign country, are single and are struggling to integrate, is to give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s a quick and easy way to meet people from the same background and culture as yourself, and get together. If you like each other then great, if not then no obligation.

My advice is as follows:

  1. Have a look at the top dating sites that most people use. There’s no point joining a dating website with only a handful of members as you have little chance of meeting someone suitable in your area. Stick to the biggest and best sites.
  2. Find one that best fits your criteria and open an account. Many offer a free trial.
  3. Fill out as much info as you can in your profile, and be honest! No point making things up, you’ll be found out eventually.
  4. Don’t be shy of a meeting if you find someone you connect with – after all why else did you join?
  5. Most of all, have fun! Good luck.