[Why Less is More]

[Not language related- INFP friendly]


Taken in Egypt 9-21 Dec 2011. The happiest trip of my life.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, self discovery, life detox, mental detox, finding out how I am like as a company to myself, opening myself to thinking concepts, and most importantly, hearing my own voice. It sounds silly, but I believe everyone has an inner voice, one that guides one to truly being oneself, being aware of one’s interests, unadulterated by external influences and social norms. And oh boy. What a refreshing experience it is beginning to turn out!



  • Limit interaction with people & friends: speaking when necessary and forgoing all small talks. 
  • Keeping away from social media as much as possible (comments, chatter)
  • Embracing thinking and meditation 
  • De-clutter & minimalism – Less is more.
  • Embracing hobbies and new skills (<– insert language learning)
  • Reading more



  • New-found personal freedom
  • Happiness / Less stress (I’m actually happy!)
  • Change in preference and thinking
  • New appreciation for self & family
  • Personal Motivation
  • Independence and Confidence
  • I’m actually writing!


As an (INFP) introvert, less social interaction comes more naturally to me, but I believe a detox is beneficial to everyone. While it may not be completely realistic for people with many obligations and whose lifestyles don’t allow for hibernation, but I believe that anyone can definitely afford even a short quality time with themselves. 




I really love Egypt! Copyright minimalinstinct 2011

Isolation brings out certain things. For one, you will be left with your thoughts. To some, it will be scary and unfamiliar, it can get warped and go all weird and twisty and asocial. I don’t encourage complete shut down from all interaction with the world – I read the news, I just don’t read the comments, I read people’s blogs about THEIR self discovery, so I can relate and get inspiration. In particular, I find solo travelling blogs the most fulfilling. The culture! The sense of discovery! The history and architecture! The scenery! Independence and freedom!


Solitude, when accepted allows you to be more aware of your thoughts and actions too. For years, I’ve been constantly frustrated, constantly angry and upset with people, strangers, when things don’t go right, when there’s no time left, compromising self for others.. I personally found all these stressful, but I hadn’t realized it was chronic low grade stress. With poor coping mechanism, I was bitter, short tempered and cynical, engaged in gossip, watched horror movies and listened to loud dance music to drown the noise of the world. My writing was filled with despair and only plunged me deeper into darkness that I quit on my own ex-blog.


Self consciousness faded the moment I allowed myself peace to slow down and do things I wanted, go places I wanted. Have you noticed yourself being like this in the company of others? ‘I don’t mind! Is there anything you want to buy? Don’t worry about me, I’ll do that another time’ I have. Having nobody to alter my behaviour allowed me to find my own voice, to learn what I really liked without having to explain why I’m so boring or explain why my interests are cheesy and socially uncool. To myself, I only have to answer, ‘So?’ I don’t care I’m boring and uncool. Hee.


As a result, I’ve gone back to listening to ballads, old songs, reading, reading rom-com webtoons, wearing weird shit, doing loner things like sit by the river or browsing for hours at a bookstore/library.. I don’t feel as stressed to everyday things anymore. I accept that things out of my control are just going to be, and care less about what other people think about me.


I’ve also started making my living space more minimal (work in progress). Throwing items away that I would normally be sentimental about feels refreshing. De-clutter is one way to take control and physically cleanse your space so you get a clearer sense of where things are and a greater appreciation of the things and people you DO have. Digging up old stuff also made me reminisce about the past, and throwing them away was a gesture of embracing a better future.


I fell in love with the skies of Egypt. Don’t care what people think *MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH* Copyright minimalinstinct 2011

Now I’ve come to understand that forcing myself to live as others do, being in the moment, surrounded by people, noise, chatter.. these just aren’t for me. People have told me millions of times that ‘You think too much’. Yes, they are right. But their solution for me wasn’t. I am a natural born thinker, and my attempts at ‘dumbing down my brain – listening to club music, watching shows that required no thinking and no emotional involvement only forced me to do thinking in a negative way – picking at my flaws, being hyper sensitive, feeling a sense of despair over the future, collapsing friendships, feeling inferior, guessing people’s intentions. 


I’m free.


and I think I want to re-learn the piano after I’m done with Korean! (and perhaps pick up a third foreign language ^^)


(I don’t aim to teach or coach people how to live their lives, therefore most of what is on this blog is more of a self discovery and steps I took to get there type of thing. If this isn’t your thing, by all means 🙂 )



Best Chrome Extension Ever For Korean Dictionary!

Chrome Web Store – 네이버/다음사전 (Korean Dictionary).

If you use Chrome and love google like me, you’re in luck, because Google is committed to making everything as efficient and quick as possible. To make korean word searches, I have a permanent tab on Naver dictionary. Then I added an excellent naver en kor dictionary extension which makes my world go round. It allows searches by double clicking a (small) chunk of korean/ english text and a tiny window appears on the top right, and you can click on the text which brings you to Naver’s dictionary webpage.

This extension tops that because it opens a tiny frame where the page itself is displayed! All you have to do is to highlight a word you want to search! Or you can change that in the options. The problem is the option page is all in Korean. If it’s too hard, simply ask google to translate page.. The default is Daum. I have both Daum and Naver accounts, but have personally taken a preference to Naver instead, so most of my vocab and word lists are there. I can add new words directly from the small pop up frame. Also, it allows multilanguage searches, like French, Japanese, English, Chinese..! Though I suspect it translates to korean, since this was meant for korean users.. I’m not complaining!

Happy day today! ㅎㅎㅎ

Don’t be cowed, even when conversing in English~

영어로 대화해도 쫄지 마세요~

This. Is. The funniest troll message ever. This is a confused dialogue by an Indonesian girl and a troll Korean (I assume a dude – why would girls do this to one another?!)




– Happy Valentine day ^^

Thank you. –

– What this mean?


Said I’m grateful –

– I’m sorry, i can’t speak korean well


I can’t speak English either –


– Mianhanda=i’m sorry?

Yes yes that’s it. okay –

– Oh my god, i don’t understand 😦

Omaigad don’t do that I’m korean and you’re Philippine? –

– translate to english, please 😀


– i’m Indonesian

Ah, Indonesian person I see –

– Indonesian, do u know Bali? Bali is part of Indonesian Country.


– Good morning:D

Hi Good morning to you –

Did you sleep well? –

– annyeonghaseo~

Yep good day to you –

– Oh my god I understand korean lsnguage just a little


I can’t understand either don’t type to me in English I’m Korean –

– hangul -_-;

Yes, hangul the great King Sejong who invented hangul for the sake of the country’s people – 

– can u speak english a little,please?


No not even a little I’m Korean –

– Confused-_-

– I wanna translate your hangul.. Wait a minute..:D

That’s right you should know after translating –




For the sake of the girl, there were some comments who felt sorry for her, and said she was kind, he should write some english for her since he obviously knew what she was saying. 


I feel bad for her too. I tried penpal systems before, and I always overcompensate when typing to someone, I want to make sure everything is perfect before I say it in their language. Obviously, it’s harder than I think. I’ve since stopped doing the penpal thing.


Now I have an adjusted stance.. as long as my point gets across, I don’t care if I look stupid in front of the other person, since my assurance that I’m not an idiot comes from myself, it doesn’t really matter what people think. The advice is valid too. Don’t be cowed when communicating to a native in a foreign language.


I came upon this while watching Alice in Cheongdamdong, and a word inside that got me to do a google search on 쫄지 or 쫄다. I believe it’s a slang word, since this is not found in dictionaries. Well now I got such a good laugh out of it, I don’t think I’ll forget it anytime soon! Hahaha!


Webtoons From Naver

Webtoons! Fun, exciting, picture-filled funny colloquial user submitted stuff! Awesome right?

It’s harder than it looks. If you’re just starting out, reading webtoons can be challenging. I’m less than a year into my self study and I decided a challenge is welcome, hence I spent last afternoon reading a romantic comedy type webtoon called ‘Twenty’s Love Story’.

It’s always easy to look at the pictures and try to guess what’s going on, and for the most part, it doesn’t deviate from expectation. But! I was determined to read them over and over to make sure I understand the context they were being used in.

Image from naver webtoon 'Twenty's Love Story'

Image from naver webtoon ‘Twenty’s Love Story’

For example, I thought the above was hilarious. To set the context, the blonde guy acts as a ‘guru of women, solving men’s woes, one man at a time’ type of guy. The one in a cap is the unfortunate protagonist of the story, having no girlfriend in his life, which he stubbornly ignores ‘I’m going to enlist in army anyway, I have no need to make a girl wait for me for years, do you have any idea how painful that will be for her!?’ and the bespectacled boy is also another fellow wannabe in the journey of a Man-to-Be.

In that screen capture, everybody goes for the round of cheers (건배~~) and booze, while chipping in with a line to celebrate about. The blonde guy does his best hostly duties

“You (losers with no girlfriends) have gathered well~”. (잘[well] 다녀와[visit and come]라~)

The protagonist sullenly lifts his cup, but his friend beside goes

“No need to greet a long time veteran”, (고참[veteran]한테[towards] 맛[greet]지 마[don’t]라~)

and the most hilarious line from the nerd:

“Don’t pick up a soap bar~” (비누[soap bar] 줍[pick]지 마[don’t]라~)

=== and if you haven’t already gone one step ahead to figure what he was actually saying ===

You know how in male showers and everyone’s doing their business and someone accidentally drops a soap bar and things slow down and everyone watches the bar of soap slide in slow motion, everyone’s expression freezes.. waiting to see if anyone picks the bait? 

.. he’s saying ‘don’t turn gay’. Coming from him. LOL!!! I never knew they had an equivalent phrase in korean! Hahahaha!

And like that, they celebrated their loserishness together in a late night bar. ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

It’s not translatable to english, but they all used the same ending, so it sounds even funnier and witty. Just for once, I’ll romanize their words:

“Jal tanyeowara~

“Gochi hante matji mara~

“Binu jubji mara~

(This is what you miss out on when you skip stuff and stick to one language! And look how gross and unglam romanization is)

Because I really appreciate Yoseob’s advice

Yoseob went into advice mode. I love it when he does this kind of posts. Makes him deeper as a person. 🙂 Thinking ain’t all bad.

“하루를 꽉꽉 (squeeze) 채워서 (pack, fill) 살아봐요. 잠들때 기분이 굉장히 좋아요. 복싱에 헬스에 일어에 연습에 레슨에 솔직히 너무힘들다 싶다가도 ( 잠들때 오늘하루 참 잘살았다!라는생각이들면 그렇게 기분이 좋더라구요! 아! 어제 한 과목 (subject) 늘렸어요 (increased, improved). 한국사교과서를 사서 읽기시작했어요. 간만에 읽어보니 참 재밌고 스펙타클하면서 또 드라마같은.. 뭉클함과 존경심 자부심 같은 묘한 것들이 한꺼번에 몰아치더라구요. 이런 뿌리깊은 역사를 잊고 지낸 저 자신이 부끄러워지기도했구요..무튼 꼭 바쁜 하루 끝에 웃을수있는 여러분이 됩시다!”

“Try living each day to the fullest. When you finally sleep, it will feel pretty good. To be honest, boxing, health, Japanese, practice, lessons are all very tiring, but thinking before sleep ‘I (ultilised my day well and) lived well today!’ this uplifts my mood! Ah! I improved in yet another subject yesterday. I bought a Korean history textbook and have started reading it. Haven’t read (Korean history) in a while but after trying to read it, the spectacle of it was like a drama.. I was touched and felt respect and pride and such strange feelings hit me in a gush. To have lived, having forgotten such deep seated history makes me embarrassed.. ‘nyways, let’s strive to be people who can smile at the end of each busy day!

Investigation and Discovery

A simple distinction between two similar words which I’ve gotten quite mixed up and haven’t had the chance to set it straight are these two similar looking words:

(To investigate) 알아보다 and 알아내다 (To discover).

One of the most common words encountered in Korean is the word ‘to know‘ 알다 (知る in Japanese), attaching another word at the tail end modifies words that is still related with knowing. This is similar in Japanese language as well.

I’m not too sure about the workings of these two words in detail, but here’s what I found out that helps me understand the difference between the two:

보다 = to see

내다 = (out of a range of meanings, one of them was) result in, cause 

(^Click to check out other meanings of this word)

In Japanese, when attaching the verb ‘みる’ (to see) at the end of another verb x to form a compound creates the term for ‘trying to do x’ やってみる (try and see).

The concept is also similar in Chinese language where one does something and sees what comes out of the attempted activity, whether they hate it or like it, whether it turns out amazing or horrible. 试试看 (try and see)

Not unfamiliar in Korean, the concept applies:

  • to know + see = to try to find out something (알아보다)
  • to know + result & cause = discovery that comes out as a result of the action of searching (알아내다)

My analysis could be wrong, but this helps me understand the difference. Only time will tell. A future me could knock the current me on my forehead and be like ‘idiot, it wasn’t like this’. But right now, I’ve learnt something new.

Here’s How Language Learning Can Be More Meaningful

From footage.shutterstock.com

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to live as others do, being out, doing things, relying on people’s experiences for excitement in my own boring life, depending on the amount of interaction with people or the lack thereof that made me feel unappreciated and unaccomplished compared to my peers. People were my gauge of how I should be living my life. I looked at people’s methods and mimic them and wonder why they didn’t work for me. I never came full satisfaction or understood fully what I was doing and what for.

Despite an immature understanding of myself, I was naturally drawn to certain things I was often hungry and curious about. Among other things like art, photography, colours, nature and landscapes, animals, one was languages. I first picked Japanese up, started learning it off media, videos and music (like almost everyone) and began my interest from there. Not having a clear sense of which learning style best suited me, I started copying what I saw. I enrolled into classes where teachers kindly implemented their well-intentioned studying methods onto their students, and while it’s dry and a tad painful for my taste, it worked because I had the constant push and kick I needed to drag myself through rote memorizing, writing in workbooks with scenarios that served little to interest me. I had little appreciation for what I learnt at that time because I was fed what I was ‘supposed’ to learn.

It took me a while to re-appreciate Japanese and the efforts of my teachers. It truly, was ‘for my own good’. Even now, holding a JLPT N2 cert but not feeling very adequate (compared to N1 certificate holding peers), I could still remember phrases that I thought I’d forgotten for sure. Though left and right, my classmates got into jobs that made use of their newly learnt skill, I remained on the border, not quite fully submerging myself into that environment.

When I started learning Korean, it took me several tries. Firstly, the course materials at school really didn’t slide down well with me. Secondly, I was impatient and full headed. Imagine my shock when I found out I didn’t do so well for my Korean language classes. I decided I would self study instead.

Honestly, self studying is hard, especially at the start. Building a base, and foundation to work from took lots of self questioning. ‘Why am I doing this? Is this really worth it? It’s too hard. I should give up. No, I shouldn’t.’ What I often told people when they asked me was that I study a language just so I can watch shows without subtitles. Something simple, easy and nothing to be intrusive or pry about. But perhaps, right at the core, I am naturally drawn to languages because of my interest in studying people as a race. Language is a communication tool, a product of human society, where individuals gather together and built something for themselves, including a system of communication.

Language probably began when people needed to communicate basic ideas where team effort is required, where it evolved from basic body language and gestures to audible, spoken, arbitrary terms that also evolved in complexity and variety and became meaningful and contains value. People can track their physical growth based on the words they learn at different stages of their lives like how music can mark significant periods of one’s life, and listening to these songs can allow someone to relive their cherished moments. Why not languages?

I remember the time I gleefully told my mom who threw a pillowcase at me and I promptly ducked and avoided the cloth “I dodged it”. I was probably really young and had learnt the word ‘dodge’ from my Enid Blyton books. It was a proud and yet rather insignificant moment in the history of moments, and yet it carried a special place in my heart. In later years, I would continue learning even more complicated terms, including the above used term ‘arbitrary’ as part of my university studies in Anthropology, I understood what that word meant, and how it is used, the value of said word in its context.

In guessing words that I have yet to fully learn, it’s basically like a 50/50 game. Since I’m a feeler (meanings come in terms of a positive or negative feeling after having internalized it) I associate words with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘neutral’. Again, it’s all subjective, good or bad can mean different things, but in trying to understand, I place emotive meanings onto words to help me understand them better. A word like 신나다 (be elated, to be excited) would have positive emotions, and this feedback links me back to a certain point in a drama I once watched, played by this guy who had lost his memory and went back to a childish state of mind, and he found going out to play totally “신난다!”

At a later stage of my unguided freestyle self studying, I took apart the lyrics of Zico, who was apparently in an angsty stage of his life, and wrote a song about competition and his tough period in training as a celebrity in South Korea, I could literally jump into his skin, and ‘partake’ (another word learnt at a point where I was feeling spiritual and regularly went to the church to listen to spiritual goodness) in his misery of a routine, monotonous life where nobody is a friend and all are foes.

아군은 없다 동료 적이래
와 같은 참혹한 흔적이 된
연습실 못 견딜화장실
몰래 질질 짜 가능한 협소하게 처리해

There are no allies, they say colleagues will soon be enemies
Blood-like sweat became horrific traces
When I can’t bear the practice room, I go to the bathroom
I secretly sob, taking care of it as quickly as possible

Read more: http://www.kpoplyrics.net/zico-battle-royal-lyrics-english-romanized.html#ixzz2UDgr54m2 

In spending extra time, digesting language in contexts of drama and rap music may seem frivolous, but it carries special meaning to me. And I mean it when I say values can be subjective. Thinking about language, thinking about thinking, thinking about language and thoughts and placing it on a timeline, and newly learnt words are like a collection of useful gems that only serve to increase your store of knowledge and ability for expression. How else can one express wise thoughts if there weren’t a word invented for it?

Words are beautiful, and value on choice words can be decided upon by the masses; most of the ‘-isms’ and ‘ations’ are pretty important (Nationalism, Individualism, Confucianism, Democratization, Authoritarianism) – these are huge words that many people have agreed to decide that it is important. You could decide on smaller words to carry that same depth. Though it may not cost as much, words are free to use, and your usage defines you, it carries meaning. Your thoughts are realized through speech and action, significant along a timeline. The things people are saying changes all the time, and like twitter ‘trending hashtag terms’, you have your own trends. In self learning or general learning of languages, the words you choose to learn out of the array of new words to learn can be meaningful to you. And since thinking is free, words are free, meaning is personal and subjective and free, and people do retain value placed memories and events better than insignificant ones, what else can come out of this other than a lot of benefit?

Think about it.