Sunday, January 10, 2016

MINX's Yoohyeon is your crazy 4D girl

I am now so in love with TWICE just like my partner at MINX Philippines fanbase. TWICE made us crazy.

TWICE members are known for their dorkiness and craziness. Nayeon is dubbed the successor of A Pink's Bomi for craziness. I knew that so much about Bomi's gorilla move already.

Months ago I discovered this group called MINX. They're a bunch of crazy girls too. I see that a lot through their web series, MINX Play. They're a genuine bunch of people made so relatable to us. I can see that the concept between TWICE and MINX is incredibly similar. MINX states that theirs is a mischievous tomboy concept.


It took me a bit of exploration and luck to discover MINX, and I struck gold. Now my job is to convince you I've found a piece of gold. I opened MINX Malaysia on Facebook for that.

Many idols can sing. That's my first pass. Next comes concept. I'm into looking at cute girls.

There I have it! MINX is a cute group. To top it off, they're based on the mischievous girl concept. I don't need to see anymore innocent groups for the time being. We have A Pink, Lovelyz and G-friend for that.

These days, MINX wanted to show us their hardworking side so they uploaded Minx Practice instead of Minx Play. They wanted us to see THEY CAN.


Yoohyeon showcased her vocal prowess in her cover of Urban Zakapa's "Drinking Coffee". No doubt she's the lead singer of MINX. Fans praised her for being such a angel in real life. And indeed she can be dim witted at times.

Whenever I give my photocard people were puzzled why MINX was never heard before. I should just answer, this is my proud discovery and you should check it out. Haha.

Henan girl's sweet revenge with soap made of her fat



A girl from Zhengzhou of Henan province in China send a soap made of her fat as a sweet revenge to her former boyfriend.

Her boyfriend dumped her earlier for being too fat and chubby. In return, she underwent liposuction and made a soap out of it. She posted on Weibo, "Yang XX, still remember our last New Year? I'm not going home with you, so I made a soap out of my fat instead, this is for your mom to use! It's New Year now, this is the gift for all men who is picky about looks!"

Her former boyfriend responded in SMS (pictured above): Jia Jia, why are you bad mouthing me on the net? We're over now, and do you need to disgust me with a liposuction? He/she [censored], and you accuse me of being choosy on looks? Do you need to disgust my mother? [Censored].


The girl posted a recent photo (left) and an earlier photo (right) for comparison.

The news drew shock from many netizens. Some agreed with her, "This bad guy deserves a nasty revenge", "If the guy is complaining so much, why were they together in the first place. I praise this girl for exacting this sweet revenge! Anyone judging based on looks is an asshole, whoever disagrees come and debate with me!"

Others pointed out the girl was not being psychologically fit, "If someone dumped you, you can prove it with your actions. Liposuction is enough, but making it into a soap is going too far. She's such a pervert."

Source: Kwongwah Daily


Saturday, January 9, 2016

TWICE 트와이스, reverse driving and how K-pop chart works

i.

TWICE's debut song "Like Ooh Ahh" climbed back up on the charts [1,2] and got to do another round of promotions on music shows. How excited I am when I heard that!



After three weeks of promotion, it seemed that Like Ooh Ahh would fall off the charts. But for some reason, the song climbed back up to 9th place 75 days after releaase. It occupied 10th place twice, on November 10 and then December 26. On January 9 the song is now 1st place contender for SBS Inkigayo.

This is a phenomenon called reverse driving. It happened to EXID one year ago and now it's happening to TWICE. Artists can be called back mandatorily by music programs for climbing back up the charts.

Thanks to ONCEs, TWICE had reverse driving through conventional means. That's also because of a 'vacuum' left on music charts. EXID's case was a more extreme case: months after they finished promoting their track, they shot back all due to a viral fancam.

Now we should treat TWICE 트와이스 for a first place on music shows shall we?

ii.

How the music chart shows of South Korea work is shrouded in mystery to most fans.

The K-pop and music industry is a saturated and competitive field. Artists consists of more than just idols. There are many types of singers competing for the limited space available on music program.

How limited are spaces available on music programs? There are six major music chart programs - SBS-MTV The Show, KBS Music Bank, MBC Show Champion, MBC Music Core, Mnet M! Countdown, SBS Inkigayo. Each show airs for around 1 and a half hour weekly and has space for 20 songs. Each artist promotes for 1 month except for special stages.

The space available for music programs is scarce and choosing which artist to promote is a fundamental problem that must be answered by TV stations.

In the age of Web 2.0, the decision to promote artists is partially democratized. The distribution company (like 1theK, CJE&M, KT Music) uploads the MV on Youtube and music streaming sites. The song is immediately logged onto the music charts, though the information is not shown to the public. When a song reaches a certain popularity, consideration can be made for artists to promote on music chart shows.






Friday, January 8, 2016

Food for thought on Zen俊倩

How should I pen this? This may be the hardest post to write for me. Let me tell you I know this debuted singer called Wong Zun Zen personally, and her stage name is Zen俊倩. This post is nothing against her personally, but everything professionally as a singer.

Just to let you have an idea of who she is:



Now that she's no longer a newcomer in the industry, it's time for an honest evaluation. I sum it up in one word: DISAPPOINTMENT.

When I blogged about her debut, I made my comments positive, because who knows she might make it. I believe, the time is ripe to change my stand about her.

It's now three years since her debut with only one release, that is "Understand Me 了解我". She has uploaded many song covers. I cannot help but notice the vast amount of negative reactions (comments + dislikes). I can see many harsh words in the comments. The like to dislike ratio approaches 1:1 in most of her videos. These numbers are valuable data and should not be dismissed as mere noise.

As much as the negative comments are trash for most people, they're gold for professors and graduate students in universities, in the relevant departments of course ^^

I actually own her debut album to support her as a personal friend of mine. But what if Zen俊倩 and I were total strangers? My neutral opinion is: I'm not buying into her.

What I ask you now is to leave your personal relationship with Zun Zen out of the equation. The question to ask yourself is whether you'll support Zen俊倩 and judge her by the professional standard of a singer.

Let me put it another way. All of us have Youtube to access contents from other countries. I can view whatever I want, but I do not gain an extra second a day to watch the videos. My income is also finite. Economics taught us that resource is scarce. How I spend my resource depends on my responsibilities and the matters that I value the most.

Don't say, the cutthroat competition in South Korea has nothing to do with Malaysia. Fans will always be drawn to the best artists they can find, that are compatible with their culture and value system.

As Thomas Friedman has fortold in his bestselling book, The World is Flat, that is to have a competitive advantage in the 21st century, one must not only be good but also be having something unique to offer. I am no longer limited to looking at my local celebrities. Even more, our local celebrities are now compared to international artists in terms of professional standard. The comparison with South Koreans may be deemed unfair, but it is now fact that the Taiwanese are disappointed with their entertainment industry. Industry experts have commented that the debut of Tzuyu in South Korea is a wake up call for Taiwan (article). The game was changed with the sudden rise of South Korea, and the next to watch is China.

I agree with netizens who think that Zen俊倩 is below par as a professional singer. To cut everything short, I deem Zen俊倩 unsuitable to be a solo artist. True fans can defend Zen俊倩 as long as they want but the money factor will determine whether she survives in the music industry.

Perhaps she should change her path to be a talk show host or radio DJ. Maybe we should leave this comment on her Youtube: 去转行当主持人或DJ更好。Sounds nicer, isn't it?



Saturday, January 2, 2016

TWICE member comparison chart and the family book confusion


How long has TWICE debuted? Not very long is my short answer. Describing their popularity shot up like a rocket blasting into space is not an exaggeration.

I've had so much of their debut song Like Ooh-Ahh - (Ooh-Ahh 하게) in their MV, dance practice and regular music shows - countless videos alraedy. The amazing fact is I never grow tired of it.

They become popular enough to be featured on Weekly Idol. Based on information from the show, someone (Instagram: @jihyo.twice) compiled a chart comparing members of TWICE.





The chart is a good summary of the show, and a very valuable piece of infographic indeed!

The obvious question is of course, the age of the members. The maker stated that "Jihyo (early 97-liner) is friends with 96-liners but Mina born in the next month considers Jihyo as a more senior person". So, why are Mina and Jihyo who are born in the same year are treated differently? And it appear puzzling that Jihyo treats those born in the previous year as people of her age. It appears that this "family book confusion" has no explanation, and Jihyo is playfully named the culprit.

Let me tell you this. There is an explanation for seniority in K-pop groups and it has to be done from an East Asian perspective. Are you ready?

Seniority in South Korea is calculated based not on the Western calendar but the lunisolar calendar. The lunisolar calendar was invented to mark seasons, each lasting two weeks, to facilitate agricultural activities. That's because China and East Asia in general were agrarian societies in the past. Interestingly, the date of each season is fixed in the Western calendar. The new year in the lunisolar calendar falls on 4th of February [in the Western calendar] each year.

What about the date of Lunar New Year? For the purpose of determining a person's age, the date of Lunar New Year isn't used. The same point has been iterated by Chinese Feng Shui masters for determining Chinese zodiacs.

Now look at the chart again. Jihyo was born on 1st of February 1997 and that puts her in the same rank of seniority to those born in 1996.

Next question: How do I come up with this explanation? First off, I am a Chinese and observe the lunisolar calendar. One fact is, East Asian cultures are very similar to each other because they stem from common roots. There are many things of East Asia that do not make sense from the Western perspective, but make a lot of sense to me. While the job of K-pop news sites is to present news stories, but readers are free to judge the stories from their own cultural perspective, which may not be entirely correct. To judge a story accurately, reading commentaries and opinion pieces may help, and the actual key is to have good understanding of East Asian cultures.

Lastly, I must commend the Koreans for preserving the Confucianist values better than the Chinese.






Thursday, December 31, 2015

Biorefresher: Comic Fiesta, FiiO E10K, Red Alert 3 & more



I've not been updating this blog for some time. Well, there's simply a lot to do, both for leisure and work. These week I've spent a bomb to pamper myself. So, I've been getting myself...

RAM upgrade for my Lenovo G50 laptop

I've bought games from Steam, one of them is City: Skylines (a city planning and simulation game). To better enhance my experience, I opted for a memory addition. On the advice of the vendor, I went for an 8 GB memory module - now I have a total 12 GB of RAM! Not only for gaming, my computer is now able to better handle itself during intensive web browsing sessions. After the upgrade, I noticed my computer now use over 4 GB of memory and I'm not even opening a game.

A machine does love additional space, what more a human like me!

Comic Fiesta 2015 @ The Mines



I went to the event for the sake of curiosity. I saw:
  • Lots of visitors dressed up as their favourite anime characters (cosplay)
  • Exhibitors selling stuff related to Japanese anime
  • New computer game titles & computer hardware + accessories for hardcore gamers

FiiO E10K DAC



I went to Jaben at their Subang Jaya SS15 outlet for this piece of audio equipment called digital to analog converter (DAC). I myself have been visiting such shops since the middle of year 2014, but made no purchase since I didn't know my true objective of getting high end audio equipment. Instead my friend has been lecturing me whenever I visits him, as if I have a no holds barred budget for these equipments *laughs*

Then, I found a way to couple audiophile equipment with my love for K-pop. So, I've initiated myself in the club of audiophiles with this entry level DAC. Why DAC, and not headphones? Read on!!!!

It functions like an external sound card, and when I let my friends tried it, magic happened. While they were using their ordinary earplugs to listen to their music, they were amazed at how this little device delivered home theater quality sound to them!

Red Alert 3

My friends have remarked at this classic game title of Red Alert 3, but I haven't had a chance to play it since its release in 2009. I grabbed the chance to own a copy of Red Alert 3 as well as its expansion, Red Alert 3: Uprising for RM 9.50 each, courtesy of Steam winter sales that'll go on till January 4, 2016.


image source

I know history is a boring subject in school. Playing the game is fun, and playing with military units and their awesome move is fun.

From an academic point of view, what I like about this game is how Electronic Arts depicts Japan as the Empire of The Rising Sun in Red Alert 3. I can tell that they have been studying the ideology of wartime Japan (Japanese militarism and imperialism), mixing it with elements of Japanese shogunate in order to present these beautifully in the cutscenes of the game.

I noticed that while Allied and Soviets can build airfields and have dedicated air force, the Empire of The Rising Sun get air units by transforming ground and sea units ala Transformers and Gundam. I can see how this is reflecting the military history of Japan during World War II: Japan had no dedicated air force. Operations from the air was carried out by Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, respectively.

The opening of Red Alert 3 was simply amazing for its cinematography. Notice the difference in appearance of the office before and after time travel; and how Cherdenko's rank changed by just a time travel and altering the past:



Watch this amazing cinematic of Japanese (Empire of The Rising Sun) invasion of Russia:



Even the names of military structures and units for the Empire of The Rising Sun holds much significance based on Japanese folklore and traditions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My song of the year called Me Gustas Tu



I've known G-friend 여자친구 since their debut but it was their second release that really caught my attention. The title song, Me Gustas Tu (Spanish phrase that translates to "I like you") is really an earworm that I got hooked the instant I heard it.

Me Gustas Tu reminds me so much of the innocent concept I'm so used to watching in my girl group taste. Does that remind of A Pink? Yes, certainly. I'm not alone: A satire piece from Asian Junkie remarked how similar Me Gustas Tu is to A Pink and J-pop.

The lyrics of Me Gustas Tu describes the budding love of a girl for a boy and the desire to get together as a a couple.

First off, I started with the MV. I just can't contain the innocent vibe that flows out of the girls.

Me Gustas Tu MV


I like the dance so much too! G-friend is very synchronised in their every move that I think of them as female version of Infinite. Dance moves are very powerful in Me Gustas Tu for this song of innocent concept, and look at how fast the members move across a distance. It's really an upbeat song.

Me Gustas Tu MV dance version


Then I checked out their live performance on various music shows. On the first few stages, I wasn't really satisfied with their stage outfit on the first few shows which I name it one of the worst stage outfit in history ever (source). Talk about firing their fashion coordinator....

You can check out by searching Me Gustas Tu plus either of Music Bank, Music Core, Simply K-pop, Inkigayo, M! Countdown but I'm showing one of the stage here.

Me Gustas Tu live performance at KBS Music Bank (comeback stage, 24th July 2015)


Since the song got popular it's good time to look for people covering the song. Me Gustas Tu is really easy to follow, trust me.

I like this Spanish cover! This is the best one ever!!!



Waveya will always add their sexiness into their dance moves.



I discovered East2West dancing to Me Gustas Tu through suggestions. Look at how the two guys learned the dance so well! Guys can dance to girls' moves!



K-Tiger's Taekwondo version is super impressive that you can't afford to miss it.



This is the bomb! In one of the live performances, slippery stage caused the main singer to fall down up to 6 times on stage. This incident went viral, got reported on international media and also propelled G-friend to another level of fame. Also, thumbs up for the level of professionalism!

Yuju (main singer) fell down repeatedly during performance


The incoming show host for MBC Show! Music Core has chosen to perform this too! G-friend must be so proud to know this. I've replayed this a few times because they rocked the song and also very adorable.




Me Gustas Tu has grown so much on me since its release around July, and I never get tired of it. It's my song of the year, really!