Wednesday, April 6, 2016

There is no question on Penang

In the midst of Lim Guan Eng house-buying controversy, opportunist Ridhuan Tee urged that Penang be restored to Kedah. It appears clear that he has a sinister agenda. A remark that touches on the bottom line of Penangnites is unacceptable.
 
There is no denial that Penang was once part of the Sultanate of Kedah. Kedah ceded Penang Island to the British East India Company in a treaty signed 1786, in exchange for military assistance from the latter. When Kedah was attacked by Siam, Francis Light failed to provide military assistance that was promised earlier, thus dishonouring the treaty. Kedah tried to retake Penang in 1790 but was defeated.
 
The British East India Company, as the victor, dictated the terms of the 1791 treaty. In the 1791 treaty, the Sultan of Kedah cede Penang Island to the Company for an honorarium. The British East India Company took Seberang Prai in 1802 for an increased honorarium. An honorarium is a payment which the giver has no legal obligation to do so. There is no question that treaties signed between Kedah and the Company were unequal treaties.
 
The political reality is, Penang and Seberang Prai went under separate governance since Kedah ceded it to the British East India Company. Penang’s status was changed to Straits Settlements, then came under direct British rule as a Crown Colony in 1867. The handling of Kedah to British in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 did not change the reality of separate governance. Kedah became an Unfederated Malay State and Penang a Crown Colony.
 
Today, in the Constitution of Malaysia, Article 1 enshrined that Penang and Kedah are two separate states, and territories of the states can only be altered by Parliament with the consent of the respective states. Penang and Kedah are two sovereign equals as part of Malaysia.
 
The Penangnites have worked hard to develop Penang into a vibrant city-state today. Penang has her own values distinct from her neighbouring state. Terms of the treaties that have been executed are done, so there is no turning back. The call for Penang to return to Kedah is reflective of the pre-Independence mentality. There is no reason for Kedah to reclaim Penang today. 
 
There is no question on the status of Penang. There is no question of territorial integrity in Peninsular Malaysia. Anyone attempting to undermine the status of Penang goes against the Constitution and can be held guilty of sedition.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016

Today is Valentine's Day, so what to talk about? Hmm....

I'm still single as of now. Don't blame me for not having a partner now, but rejoice because I have a place available in my heart.

Whenever Chinese New Year comes, relatives will bombard me with questions of getting a girlfriend. I'm so annoyed with the question so much so that this question has become a taboo topic for the festive seasons.

There is no use in trying to force two incompatible people together because in the end it will just..... NOT WORK. I've even tried it myself and got hurt, because something that doesn't work will not work in the end.

I went up to the net to read stories of how incompatible people got married due to pressure from parents, only to fall apart later. I've read of how friends and relatives introducing prospective mates only to find that relationship didn't develop further. One can meet so many prospective mates and not meeting someone that suits one's heart.

A relationship must have a good foundation to start. There must be a basis for relationship for it to work.

It's said that the best person to marry are those you know since young. You grew up with them and got familiar with their strengths and flaws.

When I was younger I was so eager to get a girlfriend. Just yesterday I checked my Facebook for a down memory lane. I checked out the girls I've grown interested during high school. This feeling came to me. Now, I actually complain that they no longer look young as before. A relative of mine told me the same.

Every man will have it: prefer younger women. I was young when I first heard it, and it has kicked in when I started looking at my favourite idol group A Pink. I was 24 at that time.

Guess what? I'm looking at TWICE, an idol group debuted not long ago. All members are younger than me, the eldest is 6 years and the youngest member is 10 years my junior. They have the youth I'm looking for! To date, I haven't meet any girl like that in my personal circle. Yeah, I have gone through dry spells.

I can't believe that I'm looking at girls 10 years younger than me in K-pop videos.

There are such people in my university but to find love is not easy.

Postgraduate dating pool is just too small and the people too old and not having anyone I desire. Oh, I'm complaining non-stop.

There's this dream from every fan: To marry their favourite celebrity. There are a few success stories that should serve as inspirations for me. I really admire the persistence of Lee Min Ho in courting miss A's Bae Suzy. He repeatedly made requests to Suzy's side, but got turned down a few times. He had strong interest in Suzy and finally he got it!

It's obsessive of a fan to make such a wish, but it's possible right? :)

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.

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.