All plans and no follow through

I’ve got a ton of posts in my drafts and I make plans to write about so many things, but then I procrastinate, and then time passes, rendering them all irrelevant in my mind. I’ve barely posted about all the places I visited while on exchange in 2014, when I travelled to Jeju, Geoje, Tongyeong and also Japan. So many beautiful places and experiences I never wrote about! Then I swore to myself I’d do better and update when I went to Korea again earlier this year. That so didn’t happen… I even brought my laptop there and everything!!

I think the problem with me is that I don’t know how to edit. When I get all absorbed writing a thing, I get so into it and I end up going on and on until it becomes this monster of a post. It’s too long to finish in one go so I vow to continue it another time, but that usually never happens so I end up with a bunch of 1000-word essays that never see the light of day.

So I realise it’s probably best to do my life updates in point form so here I go:

1) I finally have a full-time job!!! After I was done with FYP, I started freelance writing for Mediacorp whilst also doing part-time work at Jurong Regional Library as an Assistant Library Officer (lol that makes it sound so much cooler than what it actually is. Basically I (wo)man the customer service counter for a measly hourly wage). During this time, I was still looking for a job but I think I was being too picky / not trying hard enough because I wasn’t hearing back from anywhere. Anyway, point is, I heard about this position from a friend, applied, and 3 days later, I started work as a Marketing Executive for this company. I’m currently on a three-month contract so we’ll see how that goes. Fingers crossed, because I really enjoy what I’m doing so far!

2) I went to Korea again in August for like… 4 days. Short because I wasn’t working full-time then and had only about $1000 saved up for this trip. But the main aim was to go for 2 days of Elysium. It was something I’ve been thinking about ever since the concert was announced but when I couldn’t get tickets, I was like aww shucks, I guess it’s not meant to be. But then one week before the concert, Cindy was like Should we go? and I was still a little torn until finally, I was like, you know what, YOLO and so we got our tickets from some Starlights on Twitter, booked our flights and our accommodation and off we went.

Yes, I totally get that it’s kinda crazy to fly all the way to another country just for a concert but at the same time, I felt like I would have regretted it if I didn’t? If you thought the K-pop concert experience in Singapore’s good, wait till you see your faves on their home ground. They’re so relaxed and comfortable on stage, and the banter with the fans comes so naturally since it’s all in Korean. The sets also look so much more grand. It’s just a whole different experience! I really don’t regret it because at this stage in my life where I’m at, I don’t have to worry about bills and mortgage yet, so VIXX is something that I’m willing to indulge in on such a level. They bring me happiness and supporting them makes me feel good so that’s what I’ll do until there comes a time when my priorities shift and I have to reassess the way I spend my money. I’ve seen VIXX so many times this year and I still miss them. LOL *whines sadly about my first world problems*

3) I’ve started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race again since All Stars Season 2 has been airing and honestly, we need to have words, Show. Ru changed it up this season so that instead of the bottom 2 having to lipsync for their lives to stay, the Top 2 would lipsync to win $10,000 each week and then the winner would have the added responsibility of sending someone from the bottom home. I like that the queens (minus Phi Phi) this season are goodhearted people and genuinely nice to each other but come on, this isn’t RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!!! It’s honestly pissing me off how the good ones are being sent home week after week in favour of friendship (R.I.P my queens Tatianna and Alyssa). I swear to god, if Roxxy stays over Katya, I will burn with the rage of a thousand suns. #TeamKatya

Ok, I guess my point form is kind of a cheat since it’s basically 4 full paragraphs that I’ve ordered into a numbered list… Told you I suck at cutting down on words.

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Travelling and other things, but mostly VIXX

April 19 is the date of my final presentation of my final university semester but April 19 not only means freeing myself for good from the shackles of school life, because now it also means a new beginning in more ways than one…….VIXX comeback!!! *sad trombone anti-climactic sound* Sorry, if you were expecting something more profound and philosophical. Feeling just a little overwhelmed here because finally, a comeback! But more importantly, it’s happening as the same time I’ll be in Korea!

It’s just so amazing to me, how of all the times to make their comeback, it happens to coincide with the 4 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a year that I’ll be in Korea. There can’t be any other explanation for it… it’s… it’s fate. My destiny to see them during a promotion cycle. I guess I have no choice but to accept this fate. *proceeds to rewrite entire itinerary and plan it around VIXX’s schedule* Okay fine, I guess I’m only half-kidding…

I’ll be in Korea from April 27 and fly back on May 24, but will be spending the first few days in Busan with my mum. I’m actually really excited to be going back to Busan! I wonder how much it’s changed… It’s still quite unbelievable to me that I spent an entire four months in this beautiful city.

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All the huge lilac clusters that stretch out for miles are all cherry blossom trees!
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Igidae Park was torture to climb but holds some of the bluest seas I’ve ever seen

This place will always hold special memories and it’s gonna be that one thing that’ll likely bond Kiat Jiun, Gen and I for a long, long time, even despite not meeting up as often as we’d like to now. Busan will forever be what connects us together, and I love that. Sometimes I’ll see Kiat Jiun in class and we’ll catch up now and then, but most of the time, I have no clue what’s going on with her… which is kinda strange. To think, for a period of time, we spent practically every single day together as both classmates and roommates. We took almost all the same classes, had the same circle of friends and went everywhere together – even travelling to Japan! Life can be so amazing and unpredictable sometimes.

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Three Musketeers teehee

But I digress. After my mum leaves, I’ll spend a day and a half by myself (hopefully VIXX has something on or maybe I’ll try and make it for Leo‘s Mata Hari arrival just for fun) before Cindy, Fel, Alex and Mel arrive in Seoul. Squotongs, unite! Buuut if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little wary about travelling together as a group of five because I feel like there’s going to have to be a loooot of compromising.

Because I’ve been to Korea, I’m quite clear about what I want to do or don’t want to do (not that the list is very extensive), especially since I’ll already be doing some of the things with my mum the week before. So I’m afraid I’m gonna end up feeling like the bossy hard-ass that tries to impose her opinions on others (which is kinda a new feeling because on most travel trips, I’m pretty hands-off when it comes to the itinerary). Either that, or because two of them are first-time visitors (and thus willing to try everything) and the other two can be more free with their money, I may end up feeling obligated to spend on food or activities that I would probably prefer to spend elsewhere. Team player and all that. And I’d hate to keep harping on money, so I might just go along with it (as I weep on the inside).

Of course, I’m still really, really excited about spending time together in a place we all love, but I can’t help but worry. Travelling and living together for two weeks is a lot different from occasional outings to the mall and one another’s houses. But now that VIXX has entered the (love) equation (hurhur), I think it does make things a little easier! We can bond over that no matter what, and we’re all keen to try and make it for some schedules while we’re there so that does fill up a chunk of our two-week itinerary. Yep, gonna be lugging all my official Starlight merch there. No doubt about it.

And if anyone’s been counting, yes, that does leave quite a few days where I’m by myself (hashtag HanSeoulo). It’s mostly an opportunity to prove to myself that I can do it. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do during this time but I’ll probably try and go to all the places that I didn’t manage to in the three weeks before that. And if VIXX happens to have a schedule too… well. :-)

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.

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Blinded by the light

I know all I ever seem to blog about is fandom and K-pop and I’d feel sorry about it, but I’m not. If it makes it any better, I’ll try and keep this one short (hah who am I kidding).

  • WIN: Who is Next?

I started watching it last week and already, I can’t get enough. I’ve been watching the dance practice cuts over and over again because they’re so well-choreographed and executed to perfection. Here’s the one of Team B during the April Monthly Evaluations:

I’m still feeling Team B a lot more since they’re more bonded at the moment (let’s not forget the 불알친구–or testicle trio as I like to call them–made up of Hanbin, Jinhwan and Bobby). Bobby is probably my favouritest out of them all (including Team A) because he’s just a freaking ray of sunshine (his YG audition clip is the cutest thing ever, basically) and his Skype call with his family made me cry like a loser. And yes, he does kinda look like a younger, squishier Himchan.

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(GIF credits: hanb-i)

I’ve also got my eye on Hanbin because he’s so goddamned talented, not to mention he’s leading a team of six and he’s only 17 years old???? The other Team B members look really precious too but since they haven’t gotten much screentime, I don’t have much to comment on.

As for Team A, I do like most of them, particularly Minho (so. talented.) and Seunghoon. I really liked what we saw of Seunghoon in Episode 1 where he shared about how it’s always been his dream to be a part of YG Entertainment and how living in a rooftop apartment so near to the building really just makes him want it all the more. And I know he keeps getting told off for his countrified accent but I think the way he speaks is so so adorable. I do agree that it does affect his rapping quite a bit and he definitely isn’t as good a rapper as compared with the other trainees. However, he comes across as mature and hardworking and just a generally really down-to-earth likeable guy so he’s someone I do want to see succeed.

The good people at WINNER SUBS are currently subbing the episodes at lightning speed, and you can head over here to watch them (as well as send the team a thank you!). Also: if anyone’s interested in reading some of my thoughts about the show, feel free to click here.

  • Bangtan

Speaking of talented young things, I’ve got Bangtan’s concept trailer on repeat ever since it came out two days ago. BTOB‘s ‘Thriller’ didn’t amaze me like I thought it would, but I’m hopeful Bangtan’s will. At the very least, I’m sure there’ll be kickass choreography involved.

The first episode of MTV Rookie King: Channel Bangtan also aired recently and I watched the whole thing unsubbed because that’s the kinda thing people do when they procrastinate from doing actual work. It’s sort of a mish mash of different segments, including parody CFs and variety shows, all combined into 1-hour programming. I quite like it despite only understanding a percentage of what was happening. The whole concept is cute and refreshing and I think it does showcase the members’ bright personalities a lot (though Jin makes me want to punch him in the face sometimes…..but then he’ll go and do the thing that makes me want to hug him close because he’s such a sweet guy).

And because it’s always funny seeing how teenage boys react to being pushed up next to a busty lady, here’s a cut of the elevator prank that was pulled on them:

  • Idol Championships

The first recording for the Chuseok special for MBC Idol Star Athletic Championships happened on 3 September and it’s really unfortunate but Leo ended up getting injured during the futsal game, and had to be replaced by Ravi for the next recording. (Aaaand this is where I casually insert pictures of a sweaty, dark haired Ravi.)

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(Picture credits: Hypnotic Fantasy, DELETE | Do not edit)

Anyway, I don’t want to speculate but obviously, the injury’s serious enough for him to need to be in a cast so I only hope he doesn’t need surgery of some sort and that it’s a slight fracture at most. Get well soon, Leo! (You can read more about what happened here.)

B.A.P also took part in the recording and I heard they’ve been absolute angels, picking up trash as they moved from location to location. But more importantly, can we talk about how Himchan looked like he basically floated out of heaven and landed on earth? He exudes rainbows and butterflies in every picture and his hair is the lightest shade of lilac and the perfect amount of fluffy. I…cannot think of an idol who’s more beautiful than him, I simply cannot.

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(Picture credits: Taste of You | Do not edit)

  • VIXX’s goodbye stages

This shouldn’t be surprising because… well, when do I not talk about VIXX? As I mentioned, Leo suffered a leg injury and because of that he wasn’t able to perform this week’s set of goodbye stages for 대.다.나.다.너. He did the Show Champion stage on Wednesday somehow (even though they all look dead tired in that one) by sitting on a stool while the others danced next to him but today’s Music Bank stage was a five-member performance. Leo’s absence was definitely felt but I’m still utterly proud that Ken was able to competently take over all of Leo’s lines, high notes and all. My baby did so well!!!! *tear*

And just how attractive does Ravi look???? I love his hair so much and his whole outfit is just A++++. (On the other hand, I’m just itchy to rip off the pretentious-looking cardigan around Ken’s neck.) With promotions ending this week, I’m glad the boys can have a short rest before they have to prepare for their Milky Way showcase and start flying all over the place. I just hope Leo recovers in time and that he’ll be able to take part in activities as well because I can’t imagine having to rework all the choreo…

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It’s finally the weekend!!! I’ve got a ton of things to get done, including readings that have been gradually piling up. And I also need to put up all my VIXX posters once and for all because right now, they’re just strewn all over the floor and honestly, my room’s not looking very pretty. But first, I’ll probably watch the next episode of VIXX File because it’s still Friday in my mind and responsibilities can wait.