The Science Behind Procrastination

Project due next week, and that temptation of another youtube video. Why do we procrastinate? How can we fix this?

Are you anxious about your early applications to your dream college? Maybe there is a new summative coming up. How far are you with the English reading? Please don’t tell me you’re still on chapter one. In the midst of this cataclysm, some of you might be organizing directories on your mac, trying out a new item build on online games, or just catching up with your newsfeed on facebook.

The scariest part about procrastination is not only that it might compromise the quality of your end products(School work and etc.) but also that it can happen to almost everyone. Even the most productive of us have fallen into the trap of temptation, delaying precious sleep for the next morning. Naturally, self evaluation follows.

Now, try not to be too hard on yourself. Procrastination is a spontaneous course of action – your brain’s automatic defense mechanism to your stress.  Hear out this guy:

“Psychologists see procrastination as a misplaced coping mechanism, as an emotion-focused coping strategy. [People who procrastinate are] using avoidance to cope with emotions, and many of them are non-conscious emotions. So we see it as giving in to feel good. And it’s related to a lack of self-regulation skills. … We all have a six-year-old running the ship. And the six-year-old is saying, ‘I don’t want to! I don’t feel like it!'” (Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada)

Based on his claims, we are repelling important work because we simply DO NOT want to work. On the other hand, there are different interpretations of procrastination.

According to a study published by Edward Jones (New York Times obituary) & Steven Berglas, procrastination is a type of self-handicapping to build an excuse for your poor performance.

“By finding or creating impediments that make good performance less likely, the strategist nicely protects his [or her] sense of self-competence” (pg 201).

“I had only two hours to finish this project. But, this does not prove my failure as a practical learner since I had a huge disadvantage!” This kind of attitude wins whether you succeed or fail. When you lose, your sense of competence is secured since you can externalize the blames on your procrastinating behavior. Of course, if you succeed, you can boost your self-confidence at enormous rate, because you have achieved something even when you were not in optimal condition.

A TED Talk from a famous blogger, Tim Urban makes a great explanation of the mechanism behind procrastinator’s brain.

https://embed.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator

Fortunately, however, procrastination is not a disease nor a condition. It is simply a habit that affects productivity. There are good ways to fight your demon.

  1. Accept that you have a problem. procrast2.jpgEvery first step to solving a problem is to recognize the existence of it. It might be hard but if you postpone your workload on a regular basis, you should start asking yourself if you are a procrastinator.
  2. Divide up the work and give yourself small rewards for doing each segment of it. proctast1.jpgBecause it is the motivation to do work that procrastinators are not good at gathering up, it is important to make big projects into less intimidating objectives. If ‘instant gratification’ is the reason behind indulging into digression, instant rewards for completion of work would be helpful to continue your overall progression. For example, you can divide your five paragraph essay assignment into five parts and give yourself 10 minutes of internet browsing for finishing each.
  3. Thing about the long-run consequences. procrast3.jpgThe danger of procrastination is not only the diminished quality of your work but also the sense of anxiety that comes along with the deadline. So, it is effective to raise alertness towards the negative consequences, which might hopefully raise the productive part of your brain from dead. In fact, these consequences are more or less real. Late submissions could lead to a failed grade (it is especially strict in KIS), and even expulsion if we are talking about an actual job.

This is not an easy battle. Plus, the devil can always crawl back under your skin without a polite notice. Of course, nobody is at fault if the work is just too much for you. When you are told to tame a dragon, wouldn’t most people run away instead? True, the dragon is a hard beast to tame. However, imagine how majestic it will be if you push yourself just a bit more.

– Paul Jeon (‘17)

(Featured images from neednudge.com, offbeat.topix.com, wikihow.com, and fortivoti.com in order)

Light ’em Up

What really happened at Gwang Hwa Moon Square last week? Hear from the field reporter who was actually there.

On the 5th of November, the day of revolution in the movie V for Vendetta, the citizens of Seoul lit up the city with candles as a non-violent protest against President’ Park Geun Hye’s continuation of presidency. As the scandal regarding Park’s intimate affiliation with Choi Sunsil emerged on the surface through investigative journalism, the public’s disapproval of her qualification as a president reached its peak. According to a poll from November 4th, right after Park’s second official response to the allegation on the day before, only 5% (Hangeorae News) responded that she should remain in the office. Among the surveyed subjects, the approval rating amongst the age group 20s and 30s converged nearly to zero. As the voice of the public demanded her resignation conflicted with Park’s decision to stay, mass rallies were held by political activist groups, the most notable one on 5th with two hundred thousand people. This is a first-person account of the scene of the protest.

I got to the square at 4 p.m. Countless people had already filled the arena. Everyone had one goal and one goal only: to get Lady Park to step down from the Blue House (Korea’s presidential office). The rally had already started out at 2 p.m. with the funeral of Baek Nam Gi, a farmer who died due to a severe head injury he got during the violent police suppression of another non-violent protest. Leaving the protesters’ demands for labor law reform unsolved, the government showed meagre sign of taking responsibility.

Never have I ever seen such a massive crowd, probably numbering up to one hundred thousand before the sun came down. The stone ground was cold, but the spirit of the people kept the venue warm. The leaders of various groups spoke shouting out chants with the crowd, speaking up for their reasons to fight with us. To be honest, they seemed more or less intimidated by the number of people gathered, which far exceeded the ideal prediction of fifty thousand.

College students led the rally, each university representative proclaiming its ‘manifestos of current affairs’ (or 시국선언). Personally, the president of Seoul National University’s student body Bomi Kim’s speech was memorable. Her charismatic tone and well-organised thought regarding the issue made the crowd ignite once more, even with the incident they are well-informed about. Her ability to grasp the audience made her presence more distinct amongst many other brilliant student leaders. She had already made her name through the social network media by being elected as the first homosexual female student body president in a Korean university.

Perhaps because most young Koreans have not yet participated in protests of = similar scale before, the crowd was not used to the ambience of the protest initially. However, they unleashed the outburst from years of deception and unfairness, in the most citizenly manner imaginable. We all marched down to Jongro, against the unconstitutional restriction by the police. The local station, however,  ended up securing the streets and emptied the traffic for safe progression of the march. Snowballing even more people, we came back by 7:30 p.m. with almost two hundred thousand people lighting the candles in Gwang Hwa Moon Square.

At the second assembly, notable political figures stopped by the stage. There was a speaker from Korea’s Secondary School Activist Group, independently gathering a fairly impressive number of younger participants. When one of the organizers emphasized our presence at the scene and the crowd cheered for us, I imagined, it might have been the first time our generation marked the footstep in the history of Korea.

Under the statue of General Lee, we were an army with spears of candles, igniting our yearn for democracy. Although our struggle is only at its initial phase, the November 5th rally was a leap to take us forward.

#하야해 #hayahae

– Paul Jeon (‘17)

Sources

http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/politics/assembly/768794.html  – Hangyeorae News

(Featured Image from myself)

Duterte’s Presidential Bloodlust

Excited for the November election? We have a preview from the Philipines, with Mr. Duterte.

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“F*ck you UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage…couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa…shut up all of you.” – Duterte at the UN conference on June 2nd, in response to the concern about Philippines’ human rights violation. (PC: Channel News Asia)

While the Americans are concerning about Donald Trump entering the office, a country in the Southeast Asia has already begun coping with a similar kind of problem from June 30th, 2016. The man’s name is Rodrigo Duterte – ex-mayor of Davao. Duterte’s battle against crime is drawing global attention with its inhumane nature, while silencing the opposition with its apparent effectiveness.

Born in a working class background, Duterte was a problematic child. According to Newsinfo.com, he was once expelled from college when he shot a fellow student to “teach him a lesson”. He did, however, worked his way through the bar exam and became a district attorney after graduating from college. He had already gained notoriety with his aggressiveness against criminals back then. After he entered politics, he became the vice mayor of Davao and got elected as the mayor in 1988, perpetuating the position for the next 22 years.

Duterte transformed the city from its bottom to top. Davao, just one of many cities in Philippines with serious public security and corruption issues, experienced rapid improvement since Duterte. His austere policies did not discriminate people of different social status and his personal army – Davao Death Squad – executed a countless number criminals without the standard legal process. True, people were aware of the illicit nature of his unique ideology. However, the outcome speaks for itself. Davao is ranked top as the safest and the least corrupt city in Philippines.

Much like Trump, Duterte gathered his support not through established political figures but with his populist appeal to the general public. Unlike other candidates, he had a tangible credential in the city of Davao. The combination of Duterte strong, charismatic impression and the people’s need for a competent leader called for the age of tyranny.

Duterte again received the global spotlight recently, for referring President Obama as “a son of a b*tch” in his adverse remark on Mr. Obama’s concern towards Philippines’ arising human rights violation. This statement directly led to the cancellation of Obama’s visit and the planned summit meeting. Even though Duterte officially apologized through media, the incident further exacerbated the diplomatic turmoil between Philippines and America, especially after Duterte’s open inclination towards China in his foreign policy.

The negative view on Duterte is not merely stemmed from his impetuous words (even if it involved Pope Francis). Duterte’s bloodthirsty crime fighting is beyond the imaginable scales. According to Yeonhap News, his vigilante forces have killed over two thousand drug-related criminals and led another hundred ten thousand to turn themselves in. While it seems like a rather promising set of data, various human rights NGOs are worried if it might be used for his political power control, which is more like a given sequence based on every one of his historical counterparts.

Meanwhile, the filipino citizens are overwhelmingly supportive of their new president. The approval rating that was just over 30% in May has now skyrocketed to 95% in September. At the same time, some foreigners, too, are expressing their neutrality towards Duterte. Considering the abysmal condition his people were put in, the proponents say that such violent methods might have been justified, bringing back the old philosophical debates on ethics.

As the conflict between Philippines and the rest of the world ensues, Duterte sis even considering Philippines’ abandonment of UN membership. It seems like there is one common ground for both sides at the moment: that the trajectory of Duterte administration is, for one thing, interesting. What do you think about Mr. Rodrigo Duterte?

– Paul Jeon (’17)

Sources:

http://m.news.naver.com/read.nhn?oid=001&aid=0008687460&sid1=104&mode=LSD

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davao_Death_Squad

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodrigo_Duterte#Education

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/793138/profile-rodrigo-duterte

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Philippines-Duterte-vents-anger-at-UN-30287295.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/780836/law-student-duterte-shot-frat-brod-on-campus-in-72

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/duterte-threatens-pull-philippines-160821063128459.html

Photo citation:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/philippines-duterte-vents/2842354.html#

 

What to Address for our Electricity Bill

The current taxation policy on household electricity in South Korea became an issue over the summer. Just like any progressive tax system, with this policy implemented, the tax rate increases when the person spends more. It is a fair system because it grants financial margin for low income population in exchange for a little more burden for the upper middle class.

Also, it creates an incentive for people to save more energy, which comes from resources that Koreans usually cannot internalize. In fact, when the policy was first introduced in South Korea back in 1973, President Park advocated for this policy for the exact same reason. Due to the 1973 Oil Crisis (the global oil price rose due to turmoil in the Middle East), there was a desperate need for moderation in electricity output then. Over time, the system evolved through renewals in Korean Congress every time the new administration was elected. However, the people are not so happy about it at this moment.

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Designed by: Hannah Kim (’19)

As the graph describes, the electricity bill increases every 100 kilowatt. The second hour of air conditioning costs 2.1 times more than the first and for the sixth hour, the number goes up as high as 11.7. The minimum fee would make the electricity bill in South Korea one of the cheapest in the world, but the level 6 fee makes it as twice as expensive compared to that of other countries.

The heat wave of 2016 was quite unprecedented in South Korea. This led to a steeper demand for air conditioning in every household. This made more households to be prone to costly electricity bill. Every media outlet including social networks and portal sites was rushed with complaints on the unreasonable tax policy. Meanwhile, the government claims (2) that raising the minimum fee to balance out the system would ultimately benefit the high income population. This might be true. For example, Chairman Lee of Samsung paid 24,000,000 won (approximately 22 thousand dollars) in one month. The elimination of the current system might reduce this number by half.

Nevertheless, the advocates for reform claim injustice in burdening the working class people with weighty energy tax in the midst of radical climate change. As the electricity bill for July started to arrive, hundreds of people on the internet and social media reported on how their bill rose from 80,000 won to 520,000 won just from using twice as much air conditioning due to the progressive billing.

In the end, the politicians did respond. Quite a few congressmen announced that they are working towards a new legislation to take down the current model (1).

Yet, the summer is already coming to an end and the legislation is not developed any further than a future tense. Even when the lack of attention created a national outcry, a tardy reaction is all people get. Get a grip, Congress!

 

-Paul Jeon (’17)

Featured Image: http://inuri.soaworld.com/

The Rise of Twisted Misogyny

Recent news regarding a young woman’s death has especially caught people’s eyes, for its relation to gender-related issues.

On the night of May 17th, a woman in her 20s lost her life to man, in a noraebang located in SeoCho-dong, Seoul. The reason why this tragic incident raised a lot of media attention is that Kim, the perpetrator, claimed he intended to kill a random woman because ‘women ignored him’. The night after the murder, many people showed up at Gangnam station and commemorated the victim. The media then began to report on misogynistic implication behind this incident, as viewed by the numerous attendees of the ceremony. This surely led to a heated discussion. In response to their claims, some people advocated that it is unfair to generalize males and aggressively highlight gender issues.

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(Chosun News)

As the self-proclaimed feminist groups like Megalia and Women’s Generation were involved in the event, the commemoration of the tragic victim tarnished into a big mess through a series of violence and controversies. In fact, the event itself is questionable of its intention because it was held by these very groups. For example, the ‘commemoration’ event entailed writing notes on post-its for the victim. Many of the notes had genuine messages from people. Some, however, incorporated the ideas raised by the aggressive feminist groups and fixed men on the safe and powerful side and women on the vulnerable and weak side. To those who posted contents involving a rather neutral perspective (i.e: promoting gender equality, hoping this does not cause division between men and women) were explicitly targeted for insults and humiliation.

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(Chosun News)

According to the police reports and responses from various criminal experts in universities, the murderer was clinically ill and had been suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia derived from his personal trauma involving women. Therefore, the incident itself is rather distant from misogyny. The general public is currently following this notion and condemns the aggressive feminist groups who are encouraging divisive atmosphere, deteriorating the victim’s unfortunate death.

Of course, sexism is a prevailing problem in Korea, more serious than that of other developed countries (including categories outside crime). In fact, some statistics show that 52% of crimes committed targeted women, while 48% targeted men (Korean media recently reported on 90% of crimes targeting women but this is without any basis). Moreover, almost every sex-related crime is committed against females, and their genetic characteristics make them physically weaker beings. Unlike men, women actually feel fear when noticing an unknown presence while walking down a dark alley alone.

Perhaps, the lesson we can learn from this incident is that we should rethink about women’s position in our society, whether or not we developed certain prejudice that makes women susceptible to any type of discrimination and violence. Nonetheless, it is important we do not resort to extremist viewpoints, as displayed by some of the protestors at the commemoration event.

– Paul Jeon (’17)

Korean Politics for Dummies

Don’t you want to seem, and become more aware of what’s happening in our country?

As students of KIS, we tend to be less exposed to the news about Korean politics compared to students from other schools. For example, the recent congress election did not gather as much attention as the preliminary in the States. However, the recent election results were quite meaningful. The paradigm of Korean politics shifted from its ten year long pattern on the night of April 13th.

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Korean Congress Interior (Seongnam Newstoday)

In order to make this more familiar to the readers of KIS, here’s some quick background information, going all the way back to 1987, when the military government led by Chun Doo-hwan ended its seven year long ruling. Because of the government’s undemocratic nature, the overall public of South Korea was very much against the continuation of militaristic governing. This even escalated to mass protests in June, 1987.

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1987 Protest (Huffington Post)

The dictator resigned. The 23 years of autocracy was over. Ironically however, the presidential election of 1987 ended with the victory of Roh Tae-woo, the political apprentice to Chun. In the next year, the congressional election only got the ruling party, Minjungdang, 125 seats out of 299; for the first time in Korean history, in which the ruling party was less powerful than the opposition in the house.

This was exciting at first. People expected more balanced politics from this composition. However, the leaders of two major opposition parties (Tong-il Minjoodang and Shin-minjoo Gonghwadang) accepted a merger offer from the ruling party. This led to a creation of a massive political party with 218 seats in the house; nothing was in their way now.

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From the left, Kim Young-Sam, Roh Tae-Woo, Kim Jong-Pil (CDN)

Since then, Minjadang, the newly merged party, stood as Korea’s main conservative political party and consistently earned major supports from the voters. It remained as the biggest party in the house to this day, despite being the opposition party half the times.

Why is this important? Well, the congress is where laws are created and reformed. If one party is substantially greater than the rest, the voting procedure will allow more bills to be passed under their advantage.

Minjadang existed as the major ruling party until 1997 (under President Kim Young-Sam’s administration), but it lost the presidential election due to two factors: one, the previous president’s failure to prevent financial crisis and two, the candidates from the party ended up dividing the votes because one of them ran for president without accepting the party’s decision. From then on, Hannaradang (Minjadang switched its name) didn’t have a prosperous time for ten years, until their victory in  the17th presidential election followed by great results in the congress election. Like before in their heydays, Saenooridang (changed named again since 2012) exercised their power in the congress

This article attempts to be politically neutral. However, it is the general public’s opinion both left and right, that president Park’s administration displayed rather poor decision making skills and exhausted their supports with constant inner conflicts. Additionally, the arising controversy over a number of their policies caused disagreements amongst the voters, according to political analysts major foreign newspapers including the New York Times, BBC, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.  I personally recommend the readers to take additional time to gather more information on this topic. There were many factors that affected the people’s judgements prior to the general election.

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President Park Geun-hye and her party had an internal conflict over reforming the legislative procedure (Tistory)

 

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The Saenooridang’s leader Kim Moo Sung had an internal turmoil with the President (Shinmoongo)

 

[세월호 참사] 이 편지 볼 수 있겠지?
The tragedy of the Sewol Ferry incident of April 2014, and the government’s poor damage control were definitely relatable factors to this election (자유주의)

The result of the 20th general election (April 13th) was a complete defeat for Saenooridang. The conservative party only managed to sustain 121 seats in the house, making the opposition (the Minjoo Party) the new major political party by 1 more seat in the house. Where did the rest of the seats go?

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The People’s Party – Ahn Cheol Soo (Joongang Daily)

 

Only a few months prior to the election, a new political party was created. The People’s party, led by Ahn Cheol Soo, known for his enterprise in computer security program, managed to get 38 seats in the house. No, this is not a big number. Yet, it was a great leap for a newly developed party like the People’s party.

The significance in this new composition is that for the first time in Korean politics, not one political party can assume the majority vote in the congress. Because at least two parties must agree on the issue before passing the bill, there should be more balance in the legislation process. At least for the next four years, people are expecting more democratic dynamics in Korean politics as public policies are less dependent on mere political inclination, but more based on public opinions.

That’ll be all for today. I hope KIS students pay more attention to Korean politics. It takes time to gain enough knowledge to have a justified stance, but it would be a required process for your votes in the 2017 presidential and 2020 general election.

– Paul Jeon (’17)

Featured Image: Washington Post

The Revenant: A New American Foundation Story

A story of one man’s intense struggle to win an Oscar — I mean, to survive.

Based on a true story, the movie “The Revenant” shows one man’s intense struggle for survival in the frigid winter of early 19th century America. Of course, it was Leonardo DiCaprio’s another leap of fate towards Oscar that got most people interested in this movie but it is a common response amongst the viewers to place greater value into this movie for its various, extraordinary qualities.

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Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and actor Leonardo DiCaprio on set of The Revenant. ( Kimberley French / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation )

The director of this Western adventure film, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is definitely verified from his works in the past. His other notable piece, Birdman, managed to sweep last year’s Academy Awards by winning four awards. Although oscar-winning directors are sometimes one hit wonders, his works not only focus on the artistic and subtle segment of movies but also entertainment from the viewer’s perspective, making him a truly remarkable artist.

What makes this movie unique and intriguing, aside from DiCaprio’s breathtaking performance and Iñárritu’s filmography is its approach to the story’s general context. The setting of “The Revenant” has deeper meaning than a mere background of a certain story. Revenge epics are definitely not the rarest of genre but this movie made itself an outlier through reflecting Iñárritu’s own perspective about 1823 America and its cultural reality.

As familiar as we may be with the summarized version of America’s foundation, we tend to ignore the more detailed contents under the surface and cover up the blood-stained history with a silly punchline to a racist joke. Personally, the movie has served as a great reminder to the true nature of America’s foundation: the battle for survival. Stepping back from the rights and wrongs behind the territorial conflicts between native Americans and the new settlers, life would have been pretty harsh for both sides in this time period. As shown in the movies, the Western settlers were desperate for weaving new lives in the new land of opportunity and had to be adventurers themselves in order to gain the fortune to do so. The natives were, on the other hand, desperate for protecting their traditions, lifestyle, and the freedom over their lands they had before the arrival of Europeans.

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The ‘real life’ Hugh Glass vs. the Hugh Glass portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio ( The Telegraph )

Even the main plot of the story falls in parallel with this ugly history. Hugh Glass, a man of Western origin, chooses the life on the borderline between white men and the natives. On the contrary, John Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hardy),  has deep-rooted anguish towards the Indians due to a few traumatic encounters he had with them. These two characters symbolize the rivalry between the native’s ideals, one that pursues harmony with nature, and the new settler’s value, which seeks maximum utility from nature, through exploitation and violence. Throughout the movie, this particular theme is well-expressed in varied ways.

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Tom Hardy, who portrayed John Fitzgerald in The Revenant, has been nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the 2016 Oscars. ( Twentieth Century Fox )

To directer Iñárritu’s credit, there isn’t really one specific part about this movie making it a great film but the combination of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s astonishing vision effects, DiCaprio’s haunting portrayal of Hugh Glass, Tom Hardy’s equally-great performance, and most importantly, the raw and brutal representations that emphasizes the intensity of the drama within the plot managed to turn into a potential masterpiece of his. To sum up, there is a greater quality about watching “The Revenant” than simple sense of enjoyment we find in most movies. In the vast omnipotence of nature, one will find sublime beauty about this movie that goes beyond average expectations people have from films in general.

– Paul Jeon (’17)

Featured Image: Twentieth Century Fox