Opening new doors

I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog so much but there’s honestly not all that much going on in my life now that I’m on break and waiting for school to start in March. Most of my time has either been spent on the computer or settling exchange-related matters like insurance, medical check-ups and things like that, with the occasional meet-ups with friends. I’ll also soon be meeting Sadi for the first time!!!!!!! While 1/2 of tlist are living it up at TMW Paris, the two of us will have our own pity party for two over ice cream T___T I’ve also sort of given up looking for a job though I did impulsively take on two articles last week for Amped and Teenage but if anyone knows of any decent part-time job that can give me cash ASAP, I would be beyond grateful!!!!! For now, I’ll just do a random point by point update about what’s happened in the last week as well as what is to come.

  • Next Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll be heading back to school for a seminar with students from Hanyang University. I actually have no clue what it’s about but I think it’s got something to do with intercultural communication of some sort. All I really know is that we’ll be getting paid $10/hour to attend *__* It’ll probably only add up to 60-70 bucks in total but still!!! $$$$$$$M ONEY MON EY MON EY $$$$$$$
  • Cheryl and I spent last weekend covering Topp Dogg‘s fan meet in Singapore for Dinoseoul and now we have officially sold our souls to the 13 of them THERE’S NO TURNING BACK NOW. I still don’t have a favourite because (1) There’s hardly any information out about them besides a handful of interviews and (2) HOW DO YOU BIAS IN TOPP DOGG? You can check out our pictures/interview with the group here, here and here. Um, yeah, so my pictures are mostly of Hansol but it’s not my fault the boy is pretty and photogenic ok!!!1 He is actual anime ♥.♥ He’s tiny and kawaii and he was always clinging on to one member or another during the whole fan meet and when he dances I want to cry ㅠㅠㅠ

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

  • I’ve also begun admin duties at 920406.com!!! It’s so lame that I actually get a tiny thrill whenever I find new photos to post up on the site but I love Ken a lot and I honestly wouldn’t do this for any other person. I’ve never bothered with fansites in my life because it’s all too Korean and complicated for me to understand but now it’s part of the job as an admin and I actually kinda ///want/// to do it. I feel like the eager new intern at work who’s always trying to please ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) …but the feeling will probably pass after awhile…
  • You From Another Star has aired a total of 10 episodes and the tenth episode had me giggling and squealing and facepalming and I love Cheon Song Yi so much!!!!!!! She’s probably my favourite female character in a Korean drama ever. Not to mention, Jeon Ji Hyun is playing her so well *__* I hate when writers don’t know how to write women in dramas – often, the male characters are always so layered and well thought-out and the heroines turn out so disappointingly two-dimensional and annoying and worse, portrayed as the damsel in distress 90% of the time. Well, Song Yi can hold her own, thank you very much. It’s awesome. Other than that, I’ve been slowly watching Prime Minister and I, and also started I Need Romance 3 and while they’re not *drama crack* they’re still really adorable so far.
  • It’s just a little more than a month before I fly off to Korea!!!!!!!!!!! GURGLES INCOHERENTLY ASFHAKDSJF I’m really anxious because I’ve never been away from home for so long but also really really excited. Oh god, I honestly don’t know what to expect. I really hope it’s a positive experience and I’d like to come away from it a little bit changed – for the better.
  • Ending this post with Topp Dogg’s new MV for ‘Open the Door’ as well as their dance practice! This comeback is so great, Topp Dogg is so great and just…..Stardom…..please, please don’t screw this up.

NUGUS NO MORE

These past two weeks have been pretty crap and I’m thankful for VIXX being the one consistently good thing in my life right now (besides ya know family and all that) and I hate to have something as ~trivial~ as a K-pop group determine my happiness but at this point, I’ll take what I can get. I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met online and in real life (HEY VANESSA) because of VIXX, and just…I can’t imagine loving a group as much as I love this one. It’s only been eight months but I feel at home with Starlights, and they really are a lovely, welcoming bunch.

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(GIF credit: pash )

I’m glad I joined the fandom early enough to see the six of them through a few comebacks, and on 6 December 2013, they celebrated their first win on Music Bank. I still can’t believe it actually happened. This is perhaps as monumental as the time Block B beat the odds and nabbed their Inki win. It’s so great to see groups from much smaller companies who have constantly been overshadowed finally rise up and surprise everyone. And of course, to celebrate, I made good on my promise and treated my family to KFC for dinner last night. I’m definitely loving how chicken and #VIXX1STWIN has practically become synonymous in this fandom.

And finally, *shoves N‘s mermaid tears in everyone’s faces* WATCH.

The First Week: 저주인형

I know I seem to be posting on a semimonthly basis but school has my butt completely whooped and when it comes to fandom these days, I can’t seem to concern myself with anything other than VIXX. I reluctantly (and slightly ashamedly) admit that I now eat, sleep and breathe VIXX. This comeback is everything I ever wanted and more and I have little qualms in deeming it as The Era. It’s really their best yet, and how appropriate too that it happens with their first full-length album. I have so much hopes for this promotion cycle and I know Jelpi does too since it obviously invested a ton of money into this comeback. Just the wirework in the MV, the makeup and special effects, the (now deflated) giant voodoo doll that hangs outside their company building, and let’s not forget all the new merch that was sold at the Milky Way finale. Jelpi is small, we all know that, so it’s heart-warming to know how much the CEO believes in the six of them.

I didn’t plan on writing about VIXX since I can’t exactly afford the time to but I feel like if I don’t talk about their comeback somewhere, I might actually explode. So I decided to do a short round-up, now that first week’s stages are done with. Sadly, there was no M! Countdown this week due to MAMA (and next week too, I think).

1. Show Champion (13.11.20)

This is my favourite stage so far! It’s also the first time they perform ‘Voodoo Doll’ live (Milky Way doesn’t count for me and the shots were terrible anyway). It’s far from a perfect stage but it was definitely perfect in my eyes. This is also the only performance we get before they revised the choreography because it’s supposedly too violent and will influence kids to go around stabbing each other…or something. It’s pretty bullshit and I felt personally affronted when I first heard the news but after seeing the subsequent stages, it isn’t….as bad as I thought.

Show Champion‘s camerawork and editing are usually really straightforward and simple but I don’t mind it here because you get to see the full extent of the choreography and they’ve not only managed to strike the perfect balance of close-ups and long shots, they’ve also got the timing down pat so that the camera cuts to a close-up of the member just as he starts his line. Best of all, the part where Leo falls dramatically to his knees was captured perfectly. I won’t go too much into the choreography and the whole tie-in with their previous concepts because this will just turn into an essay so I’ll probably link to the article I wrote for Dinoseoul once that’s up.

2. Music Bank (13.11.22)

Ah, Music Bank, you never fail to disappoint with your shoddy camerawork. I always believe the Mubank cameramen sleep on the job because they always cut to a close-up a few seconds too late. I will always remember how during Ravi’s rap in one of the ‘G.R.8.U’ stages, the camera actually cut to Hyuk instead (probably because they’re both blonde) so the part where Ravi did his bunny ears intro was completely missed. Tsk.

Even though they completely missed Leo’s fall to the ground here, this stage was still pretty damn decent for a Mubank one. The boys are killing it each time with their energy but if the camerawork sucks like hell, it can still take the experience away from the viewer. I, for one, usually get quite affected by this because when all the key points of a performance isn’t captured as it should be, it just makes me very frustrated watching it. It’s like, the performance is perfect, but why are you only capturing a mere fraction of that????? ¿¿ I have to say though that I’m really really glad Mubank gave VIXX time to also do ‘Only U’ since the subsequent two major stations didn’t.

3. Music Core (13.11.23)

This was my second favourite stage after Show Champ‘s only because we don’t get the original choreo (yeah yeah I’m getting over it). Music Core seems to really love showing off their fancy slow-mo editing and well, I’m not complaining. It makes the stage look super cool and their timing was spot-on, I’m so happy!!! With this stage, it feels like the cameramen actually know the choreography like the back of their hands so they’re able to anticipate and cut to the right member on time. I don’t know what the significance is of having N be the only member who has his suit buttoned up but given the vigour of the moves, I can’t say I’m surprised the back of his jacket ripped right open midway through the performance. Still doesn’t take anything away from what a great stage this was though.

4. Inkigayo (13.11.24)

[No video link for the Inki stage at the moment because SBS is a shit]

There seems to be some sort of general consensus that this Inki stage was The Best Yet but while it was awesome, largely due to the amazing set (pyrotechnics, feathers and sheet ghost thingies at the back? uh hell yeah) and K-ST☆RLIGHTs generally being 짱, the shots weren’t all that great. What I’ve noticed about Inki is their extreme love for close-ups and while I have a lot of love for Inki stages normally, today’s fell a little short for me. There were odd close-ups of hands and feet that just didn’t make sense to me and it was just a bit off, overall. But as I mentioned, the fanchants were incredibly amazing and loud today (it seems to get louder with each stage) and I just feel so so so proud to be a part of this fandom, I really do. You can tell that the boys were strengthened too by the cheers because their energy was even better than usual.

I still plan on doing a post about KL/TMW as well since the pictures from the trip have to go somewhere but I’ll probably do it once my exams are over in early December. The ‘VOODOO’ album release is tomorrow at 11am and I can’t wait to hear the eight other new tracks. Particularly excited to hear Ravi’s self-composed track! This week is so important so let’s gather all our 별빛파워☆ and bring our boys to the top (I don’t know about you but I’m particularly dying for some chicken…….. ;)

And because someone needs to share my pain, please have a lovelorn puppy in the form of Lee Jaehwan.

 ow2  ow

우리가 누구?

Aaaaand… Bangtan‘s back! The BTS boys followed up their ‘N.O’ promotions with ‘The Rise of Bangtan’ starting from this week and this song is my second favourite after ‘Coffee’ so I couldn’t be happier. It’s also Taehyung‘s favourite track, with good reason. It’s so much fun and I reckon it’s gonna be 100x more tiring to promote despite being a more “fun” song because it’s four minutes of pure energy (I desperately want to take a towel and run it across Rapmon‘s forehead). Their comeback stage on Show Champion today showed off their hair all styled differently and how incredible does everyone look? Someone please tell Jungkook his hair looks good pushed back *__* I loved his little moment in the spotlight and it pretty much just seals his nickname for everyone as ‘Golden Maknae’. I thought Jimin held his high notes pretty well too and he looks utterly adorable with his hair wrapped up in a headband. Although it kinda looks like the cameramen are practically chasing the boys around to find them since there’s so much movement involved in the stage, I thought it was a decent job, nonetheless. I’m a little anxious to see how the Music Bank cameramen will handle this one. If I were a K-pop concert organiser in Singapore, I’d get these boys here pronto and strike while the iron’s hot because these boys are really steadily getting more and more popular. Good on them!

Time for change

The delightful combination of strawberries and nutella is a recent discovery that kinda makes me feel dumb for missing out on it for the past 20 years of my life. It’s so yummy, and it’s the perfect mix of sinful and sweet. Besides the usual past-midnight snacking, I spent the last hour tweaking my blog just so because I stupidly changed the theme without meaning to. Well, good thing I never really liked my previous one anyway, so hello new theme! I’m not a big fan of it but change is good, right?

I haven’t been blogging or writing or…doing much of anything, really, these days, but I did drag my butt to dance a few days back and it really made me remember how much I actually love dancing (despite, yes, not being very good at it). It was a back-to-back 2-hour class and we danced to Jojo’s self-choreography of BIGSTAR‘s ‘Run & Run’ and wow, how much do I love the song? I’ve had it on repeat since Thursday and also downloaded two other BIGSTAR mini albums promptly after. I don’t know them all that well but they seem like the sort of group I could really end up liking because they remind me of VIXX somehow with the way they’re constantly proclaiming their love for their fans. I mean, they made individual placards to cheer on their fans during Idol Sports Championships. WHO DOES THAT?! I’m a little partial towards Feel Dog and Raehwan (and Sunghak too ehehe) at the moment because /dumb 92-liners/ and their friendship is adorable. Here’s the group’s interview with Pops in Seoul in the infamous yellow post-it box (C’MON, RAEHWAN IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL).

They really are such dorks and they’ve put out some great songs too but I guess in K-pop, looks will always trump talent and sadly, they’re a little um, lacking in the former department (just a little!). I really gotta applaud labels that sub their artistes’ videos like Jellyfish Entertainment and Brave Entertainment do because it really helps make the groups more accessible to international fans like us and after watching a few of the BIGSTAR Show eps, I’m just liking them more and more (they’re all so squishy and small and adorable!!!).

Something else that’s been on repeat for me is The Tragic Thrills’ newly-released self-titled EP. I have so so so much love for this album, I cannot even put into words <3 <3 <3 I pre-ordered the album a year and a half ago when Allstar Weekend started a Kickstarter project to help fund their next album but somewhere in between, they grew up and changed their musical direction completely and The Tragic Thrills were born. I’m a huge ASW fan because they made such great happy music that’s impossible to hate so I was understandably wary about the change but this album surprised me in so many ways. Zach‘s voice suits the new style of music like a glove and the honesty that hangs onto his every word is captivating. I can’t even pick a favourite track because every song on there is incredibly-crafted and perfect with such lovely, poignant lyrics and I won’t hesitate recommending the album to anyone in the hopes that they’ll feel changed in the same way I do after a listen from beginning to end. It’s definitely making it into my list of top few albums well, ever.

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I also belatedly celebrated Amelia’s 21st birthday yesterday and just a few hours before I was supposed to leave the house, I baked a brownie in record time (thank you, Betty Crocker) and smothered it in M&Ms to make it look prettier than it is. We met at Clarke Quay and then headed to Chili’s, where we proceeded to eat our weight in expensive food. I swear to god we didn’t order all that much but how did the total come up to $116???!??!? One of life’s greatest mysteries, indeed. But it was nice catching up with one of my oldest and most refreshingly honest friends. Can you believe we’ve known each other for 15 years – 10 of which were spent in the same class? We’ve changed so much along the way that I think that if we were to meet one another now, we actually probably wouldn’t even be friends. But our childhood connects us so deeply, I can’t imagine otherwise.

Ying Xin, Amelia and I then migrated to the riverside to attempt to digest the massive meal we had and pondered life and shit. At one point, I think I might have posed the question, “When are you at your ultimate happiest?” and it got me thinking a little. Amelia’s idea of happiness involves being far away at some nice holiday resort but to be honest, I’m perfectly happy at home. I don’t need to be surrounded by a ton of people either and in fact, the lesser, the better. I think a happy day for me would be a really rainy one where my whole family’s home and I’m curled under the covers and reading a book or using my computer, and I can hear the strains of the chattering of my family from my room. And then maybe somewhere in between, I’ll crawl out of my cave and join them in the living room for a movie. It honestly doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. Pfft… And people say I’m high-maintenance.

And finally, I’m a little late but congratulations to Team A for becoming WINNER! I’ve long come to terms with the fact that Team B was fighting a losing battle and anyway, I do have a lot of love for all the Team A boys so I can’t complain…much. The only thing that makes me a little sad is the possible disbandment of Team B when they function so well as a group together. They’re so dependent on one another that I’m not sure splitting them up would be such a wise idea but I’m sure YG will come up with the best way to deal with them. He’s said too that he’ll be keeping the fans’ opinions in mind when he makes his decision so I’m a little hopeful even, that we’ll be seeing the guys again pretty soon. (And here, have some gifs of WINNER’s Mino because he’s painfully good-looking and him + glasses + smiling = my panties on the floor tbh)

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(GIF credits: taehyunsong)