Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today is Eun Ji day #HappyVirusEunji

A Pink Jung Eun Ji

Today marks the birthday of Jung Eun Ji 郑恩地 정은지, member and main vocalist of South Korean girl group A Pink. If you are a fan, don't forget to trend #HappyVirusEunji on Twitter to celebrate!

Pronounced in Mandarin Chinese her name is Zhèng Ēn Dì (Zheng4 En1 Di4). When I mention her in a conversation in Chinese my friends will immediately mock her name because it sounds like 'aunty'. Please please please okayyy, next time I hear you mocking her name I will KILL YOUUUUU muahahahahaha

Eun Ji is a very popular name for girls in South Korea. She was named Jung Hye Rim 郑慧林 at birth, but it was said that Jung Hye Rim was not good for her mother (you know all those feng shui reasons concerning names!), so she changed her name to Jung Eun Ji at secondary school.

As the main vocalist, she is a talented singer. I call her one of the best main vocalist around compared with other groups, because she's the only idol to sing the ad lib while dancing and smiles when hitting high notes!

She has dreamt of being a vocal trainer just like her mother. But she changed her direction to become an idol singer after she passed an audition for A Pink. Indeed she picked the right direction!

She only trained for 6 months prior to debut (Wow!!!!).

This Eun Ji is actually a tomboy by nature.

And hell, she amazed me with her acting skills in Reply 1997. Hearing that it was a sensation I spent my time marathoning the drama after I finished my Honours course. Her wins for Best OST (for the drama) in many music shows were well deserved!

She hails from Busan. After debut she kept her Busan accent (her company didn't ask her to correct it). Her accent was the bomb in the drama earning her the title of Satoori Idol. But as she took on roles that required speaking in the standard accent she worked her way hard through it.

Eun Ji is now 20 years old. Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Translation of lyrics to enjoy K-pop: Is it even needed?

Hi readers! I'm back with another post! Are you crazy with the latest K-pop artists SNSD/Girls' Generation, Big Bang, Super Junior, 2NE1, G.NA and more? Or are you listening to Chinese songs @ Mandopop but not Chinese educated? Read on, because this is for you.

I've been enjoying K-pop for 3 years and going. When I stumbled upon a good song I'd always look for translation of its lyric as part of my appreciation for the song.

My friend from high school (now a musician himself) thought otherwise. He stated once that music are meant to be enjoyed as it is because music is a universal language. Quoting from a Facebook reply on my timeline dated Dec 12, 2012:
If people needed to have English to understand music, then music has failed to communicate as they require the fall-back on lyrics to give the song meaning. good music doesn't need lyrics, emotions are after all conveyed through sound. K-pop consistently proves that, considering not everyone will know the lyrics but the dance moves and promises of good times in the videos pretty much compensate for that and to great effect, the same way a well-placed guitar pattern moves one to tears.
I beg to differ with him.

What makes up a song? I'm satisfied if you can tell that a song has melody (the succession of sound pitch) and lyric (words). In the context of "music as a universal language", I am putting forth the argument that universality mostly applies to melody to convey emotions and ideas.

When it comes to K-pop, I enjoy my favourite artists' singing but I don't understand what are they singing because I don't know Korean. But I know roughly the mood of the song. Idol singers has so much more to do because they cannot neglect the importance of visuals. Consider the chorus of miss A's Goodbye Baby written in original Korean
Good bye, baby good bye
뒤돌아서 그대로 앞으로 가면 돼
아무런 말도 하지 말고 이대로 사라져 주는 거야
Baby good bye, good bye
To make things better I used transliteration (changing the script it's written in), I can see the beauty of vowels and consonants but still don't understand what the song meant...
Good bye baby, good bye
dwi doraseo geudaero apeuro gamyeon dwae
amureon maldo, haji malgo, idaero sarajyeo juneun geoya
Baby good bye, good bye
Finally I understand what the girls of miss A meant after I got hold of the translated lyric in either English or Mandarin:
Good bye, baby good bye, turn around and go on
Just don’t say a word, disappear as it is, baby good bye, good bye

Or I happens to be watching Girl's Day's Female President MV. What are they really talking about in their song? The sexy dance moves might provide a clue but not until I got the song translated:

Girl's Day never fail in their communication through their piece Female President but at the receiving end, I don't get what they say without a copy of translation. If not for the translation, I am wondering why someone would name a song Female President out of the blue? Nope, they're not glorifying the current President of South Korea (who is a woman also).

If you happen to read/hear a language you don't know and understand (I must say this x1000), you still gotta acknowledge that information is still there. Just that you can't make sense of the info and in need of an aid. That's why subtitles are there whenever a foreign language line pops up, whenever you are in the movies.

I have not mentioned to you about the origin of lyrics right? Simply, lyrics have their roots in poetry.

So, listening to songs I don't understand equate to reading a poem I can make no sense of. No translation = the poetic beauty of a song is just simply inaccessible. Once you have the translation, instantly you can see literary devices and social commentary. The conversion of information works like magic.
Don't bother to look for translation if the lyric are just unintelligible bunch of words

Without translation I don't even know A Pink is expressing their care for me during my hard times in their newest piece NoNoNo. So can you say translation makes no difference for me to enjoy K-pop or not? Love has no meaning if I don't understand it :(

A song may sound nice in its original language but I won't know it fully until I understand the actual meaning of the song, in a large part is conveyed through lyrics. So if you don't speak the language, I'd encourage you to make the effort and look up for translation.

That leads to full appreciation. Otherwise a large part is held back.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Looking for vocal covers of A Pink's NoNoNo? Here they are

It has been one month since the release of A Pink's comeback album Secret Garden. NoNoNo is a catchy track that gets more and more addicting the more I listen to it omg! I have lost count of how much I view not only the official music video but their live performance on music shows Music Bank, Show! Music Core and Inkigayo.

I'm so in love with the song now. It has amazing healing properties I'm just crapping

Who else can sing my favourite song of A Pink?

Korean covers

When I opened this I was mind blown! Definitely one of the best A Pink covers around. I can't emphasise more A Pink members are bona fide talents and sound great live.

A cute one.

Thai cover

I don't understand Thai, but she has a good voice.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Biorefresher: Pacific Rim + Namewee Tokok ep 18

Biorefresher 1

Pacific Rim
I have watched Pacific Rim! Awesome beyond words, I demand you to watch in cinemas!

Biorefresher 2

Namewee strikes again! He's not alone in tax rabates for local films. I think witholding tax rebates for local films (even though they may contain little Malay dialogues) is unjustifiable. Who can deny the sweat and blood of fellow Malaysians?

On the other hand, I can see that the government messing up with screening schedule of Namewee's "Kara King" as a subtle persecution. The only way to beat it: watch his movie in cinemas! Isn't that simple? :) He's not asking you to attend a protest rallyK

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lack of diversity in BookFest @ Malaysia 2013?

Just two days ago I had a Twitter conversation with my friends about the ongoing BookFest @ Malaysia 2013 held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Since Twitter isn't allowing me to elaborate further on what I want to say, so I'll tell you more about what I mean to say here.

I Love Reading 8th Malaysia BookFest 2013 KLCC

As I have stated in my Tweet, the Chinese name of the event 海外华文书市 translates to Overseas Chinese Book Fair. That isn't reflected in BookFest @ Malaysia, the official English name of the event. But since my friend Zaim Mohzani can't see the world in Chinese, I have to excuse him. That's a problem when you want to be nice and inclusive in English to appeal to the rest of the nation while your actual target market is in fact, Chinese-speaking Chinese community.

Before I dwell into my analysis, I'd say that BookFest @ Malaysia is a huge success given its target market while Pesta Buku 1Malaysia barely live up to its name.

If you have been to the Chinese section of the book fair, you'll notice that the books are divided into subsections according to their country of publication - China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. This has been so since the inaugural event in 2006. Interests garnered from overseas Chinese publishers signals the attractiveness and profitability of the Chinese market. The Chinese population, although making up a quarter of the Malaysian population, is a sizable market for their purchasing power. The attractiveness of the Chinese market is compounded by the fact that many of the Chinese here have inherited deeply rooted cultural ideals from their motherland, aided by thriving Chinese vernacular education.

Now that the organiser has decided on the target market, next comes the question of book offerings. Now that the book fair is divided into three large sections: Chinese, English (& a bit of Malay) and "Lifestyle". The representative section is the Chinese one, hence this is where the name "Overseas Chinese Bookfair" comes in. The critical mass of Chinese publications in the world actually lies in China and Taiwan. The purpose of the book fair is to provide an opportunity for readers to obtain books published overseas under one roof, where these books may not be readily available in Malaysia.

What about the English section? Clearly the organiser did not forget about this segment of the market! But bear in mind that the organiser is Popular Book Co. Malaysia, which sells predominantly Chinese books and reference books for schools. It's undeniable that offerings in the English section may not be as diverse. As much of the weight of the book fair was put into the Chinese section, the organiser has only taken the best attempt to cater English readers and it's entirely understandable.

To answer the question of why Pesta Buku 1Malaysia become a predominatly Malay bookfair, the safe answer I can provide now is the inability of government efforts (or just about anything in Malay?) to cross cultural barriers. So language accessibility does not necessarily translates into visits :(

Why has Zaim Mohzani lamented about lack of diversity in Bookfest @ Malaysia? He "sees" the bookfair in two languages whilst the Chinese section remains largely inaccessible to him. Offerings in the English section is somewhat limited but the Chinese section is actually diverse in one common language. Whether you are making huge gains at the bookfair depends on your language and cultural attributes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Biorefresher: Namewee slams Malaysian double standard

Biorefresher 1

Namewee slams government for many instances of double standard in the film industry! Well said bro!

Biorefresher 2

Malaysian PDRM double standard
The comic above was first published by Clifford Tan on Facebook.
This comic said everything well on the recent happenings. A Muslim dog trainer was swiftly acted upon for a video posted 3 years ago. But our police didn't bother about fighting real crime? Looks like we have a serious problem here....

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ring Roads in Kuala Lumpur

If you're living in Kuala Lumpur you may have heard about Inner Ring Road, Middle Ring Road 1 and Middle Ring Road 2. These roads form a circle from end to end, surrounding the city. In other countries, ring roads are known as beltways.

But how do they look on the map? I have waited to do this for a long time! After discovering about drawing routes with Google Maps, I have created this:

View Kuala Lumpur Ring Roads in a larger map

Inner Ring Road (IRR)  Middle Ring Road 1  Middle Ring Road 2

There are three main ring roads that serves Kuala Lumpur. While ring roads are actually schemes for transport planning, they are made up by individual roads with names:

Kuala Lumpur Inner Ring Road, IRR (Jalan Lingkaran Dalam Kuala Lumpur, JLD)
An urban and municipal ring road. The Bukit Bintang shopping precinct is located inside! The system is about 8.4 km long
  • Jalan Hang Tuah
  • Jalan Imbi
  • Jalan Sultan Ismail
  • Jalan Kuching
  • Jalan Kinabalu
  • Jalan Maharajalela

Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 1, MRR1 (Jalan Lingkaran Tengah 1 Kuala Lumpur, JLT1)
An urban and municipal ring road that forms the "boundary" of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Very busy during rush hour. Also known as Kuala Lumpur-Petaling Jaya Traffic Dispersal Scheme. It's about 18.5 km long
  • Jalan Istana
  • Jalan Damansara
  • Lebuhraya Mahameru
  • Jalan Tun Razak
  • Jalan Yew
  • Jalan Sungai Besi

Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2, MRR2 (Jalan Lingkaran Tengah 2 Kuala Lumpur, JLT2)
A ring road consisting of a freeway and two tolled expressways. The freeway consists of Federal Route 28 and 54; tollways are Damansara-Puchong Expressway and part of Shah Alam Expressway. It connects places near the border of Federal Territory of KL and Selangor. This road is approximately 69 km.
  • Federal Route 28 @ MRR2
  • Shah Alam Expressway (up to Sunway Interchange)
  • Damansara-Puchong Expressway
  • Federal Route 54 @ Selayang-Kepong Highway

When travelling on ring roads, you can state the direction of travel as clockwise or anti-clockwise (though you won't be using clockwise/anti-clockwise generally, but instead refer direction of travel as "destination-bound")

Happy Driving =)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Waze tip: How to choose an alternate route to destination


What's the hottest GPS in town? Make no mistake it's Waze. Unlike ordinary GPS, Waze is a social GPS navigation that enables you to beat traffic based on user submitted data.

To use Waze, simply head to Google Play Store (Android) or Apple Store (iOS) to download the app. Sign up for a username and password, and you're ready to go!

You'll need to turn on GPS and 3G/4G connection for Waze to function optimally since it depends on real time traffic data from road users around you.

To head towards a destination, just tap on the Waze button and tap Navigate from the menu. Everything is self exploratory and simple, right or not?

Of course there're always more than one route that leads to the same destination. Waze is an intelligent software that calculates the best routes for you, but you have a choice of which road to use. I wanna go to Bandar Utama from my house in Cheras; Waze calculates a route via Jalan Syed Putra. If I want to see which road I can take, I tap on the Routes button on the dialogue box.

Or, while navigating, I suddenly change my mind on the road I am going to take. I can open the Menu and tap on "Routes".

A list of possible routes will open. I can choose which road to use based on distance, travel time and road conditions. I have no problem with the second route if I'm not rushing but I wouldn't go for the third because the road is damn congested! This is the power of real time data.

Tap on one of the Route I want and Waze will take care of the rest :)

Waze lets you know if a route involves paying a toll as well. So choose your route beforehand if you wanna avoid tolls!

Have fun using Waze and happy driving!