Random Musings: Gifts A-Plenty, Music Bank In Paris, Body Proportions and Einstein

You know, when I first started this I was actually somewhat worried that I might have certain weeks where I won’t have anything interesting to cover, forcing me to drone on a bit more than I usually do. However I’m happy that last 7 days was anything but lacking in nice juicy news articles to sink my rather unkempt teeth into. Anyway plenty of news articles to cover, so let’s get straight into it.

1 – It’s like Christmas in February, gifts as far as the eye can see.

It’s like Christmas all over again, just in a completely different month. We’ve had SNSD’s Yuri give sweets to the “Fashion King” team, T-Ara’s Jiyeon treating the “Dream High 2” team to a meal, Wonder Girl’s Ye Eun paying for her friend’s tuition fees, IU giving gifts to her friends and Choi Min Soo providing Chao’s Park Tae Yang with…”best Doctor Evil imitation” ONE MILLION WON! Which is actually more like USD$1000 but you get the picture. Suffice to say there was a lot of gift giving being mentioned in February.

Yuri’s Sweet Sweets

Now you may be thinking, oh great he’s complained about everything else up until now, let’s see how he will whinge about the wonderful act of gift giving, and you know what? I actually have nothing to complain about. Shocking isn’t it? I just merely find it a bit hilarious. It’s like all the agency gathered at a roundtable and they all decided that February would be a great time to mention the various forms of gift giving their stars had done over the last few weeks. Mere coincidence that we’ve had so many gift giving articles over the last week or is there really some sort of secret meeting that occurs between agencies to flood us with gift related news? In other news, it also happened to be Valentine’s Day last week and I have continued my amazing streak of not getting any gifts for 20+ years.

2 – “1N2D Season 2” cast finally confirmed, slightly less worried now.

This is a topic I touched on loosely during last week’s Random Musing and I felt it’s now a good time to revisit this topic again since we’ve now gotten confirmation of the final cast members for Season 2. Cha Tae Hyun happens to be one of the cast members and we’ve articles discussing what his thoughts are about joining the show and how he is going to end up competing with his long-time friend, Kim Jong Kook, on the Sunday time slot. We’ve also had another cast member, Sung Si Kyung, provide some thoughts about the new show. As of time of writing, the 2nd last episode of “1N2D Season 1” has actually aired and it was quite the teary event.

The Cast + PD for “1N2D Season 2.”

I’ll be honest with everyone I was initially quite concerned about Season 2 before the cast confirmations. I just didn’t think that the cast members that were being brandied around were strong enough to really continue the success of the show. Kim Seung Woo is a relatively unproven character in real variety shows, with his only major variety show experience coming from his “Win Win” talk show, while the other mentions like Sung Si Kyung and Joo Won were also quite unproven in the challenging world of real variety shows. I can understand why they were at least selected, with Kim Seung Woo having worked with Lee Soo Geun for a few months on his talk show, while Sung Si Kyung has appeared on “1N2D” previously to great success but being a permanent members is a completely different kettle of fish.

A great addition to the cast

But some of these worries have been relieved with the knowledge that Season 2 will continue to have Lee Soo Geun, Uhm Tae Woon and Kim Jong Min along with the rather brilliant addition of Cha Tae Hyun. Yes it’s true that Cha Tae Hyun has never been a permanent cast member for a variety show prior to this but compared to the others, he definitely has a much more proven track record of doing well when he does make an appearance on a variety show and I believe his more childish character will do well to offset the more serious minded images retained by Kim Seung Woo and Sung Si Kyung. I’m definitely looking forward to “1N2D Season 2” with subdued anticipation.

3 – Music Bank in Paris, successful but it could perhaps have been better

So Music Bank held a rather successful concert in Paris recently, which one of our writers covered very nicely in her Recap Article, while some Korean Journalists used the opportunity to see how K-pop was doing in Europe and T-ara getting some flak for supposedly speaking in Japanese. The whole event was over 3 hours of everything that makes K-pop great, nice music, nice performances and a great fan atmosphere.

The 3 MCs, only one of which really knew what French is

And I still think it could have been slightly better, nothing is perfect of course. First point is relatively minor in some regards and I might have happened off-screen since my only experience of this concert was by watching the show on TV and reading the recap but if you’re holding a concert overseas, in a place where the vast majority can’t understand Korean, wouldn’t it be a smart idea to actually have the MCs speak in either a more general language like English or in the native language of the place where the concert is actually being held? I don’t even expect the MCs themselves to speak the language itself, but at least have an interpreter or even a 3rd MC that is familiar with the country present on stage as well. For Music Bank Paris, they had Announcer Son Mina on stage as a 3rd MC but at least on TV, all she did was provide small snippets of French for Korean viewers to learn. Hopefully someone that was actually at the concert will prove me wrong and say that they actually had Interpreters there for the MC comments etc but I don’t place too much hope on that, since that did happen during MBC Music Core’s concert in Sydney. They also had an incident where the audio cut out during Shinee’s performance. It’s like these music shows actually have some sort of quota they need to fill and so must have a few incidents during every episode.

Probably been in the news more often for complaints rather than their singing activities

Also are we still whining about idols accidently speaking Japanese? They probably speak more Japanese than Korean these days considering how hard these agencies seem to be pushing them in Japan and then you get shocked when they make a mistake like this? The domestic market would do itself a great service if it focused less on being shocked over such things and actually trying to improve the industry. Look I can understand why we have this negativity towards Japan, historical biases are hard things to overcome and I can understand that idol groups represent their own countries when they work overseas but we can’t keep throwing little hissy fits like this every time something like this happens, especially since we’re not much better at respecting over countries like I mentioned above.

Plenty of fans, not enough stores selling K-pop CDs

Anyway moving onto the next point, we had an article where a bunch of Korean journalists walked around France asking fans about K-pop and trying to see if they can purchase K-pop CDs over there. Well surprise surprise they couldn’t, frankly it’s hard to be shocked by this considering I’ve been ranting about it during my last 2 Random Musing articles. Now some commenters have mentioned that it is actually possible to get physical K-pop CDs in France but they are still pretty small stores that require you to actually spend quite a bit of time and effort to find. I suspect there is similar small stores in most other countries as well but from personal experiences, most of the places I’ve seen in Sydney that sell K-pop CDs tend to be overpriced, outdated or hard to find. Like I mentioned before but these things really need to be easier to find and more competitively priced if they ever plan to actually succeed with this in the long run.

4 – Proportions and Eye Bags, turning complexions into a positive feature

Immediately after I posted my Random Musing article last week, where I droned on and on about how proportions were more important than raw height, we had 2 articles discussing the very same thing. First we had Sunny’s proportions and then Wonder Girl’s Sohee’s lovely body proportions. I feel somewhat vindicated knowing that proportions are becoming more important as time goes on.

She has nice corneas

And quickly moving on to the somewhat bizarre topic of “Aegyosal (Cute pieces of flesh if we were to literally translate it)” or Eye Bags as we call it in English, um okay to be honest I don’t have much to say about this. We seem to have rather nice ways of turning strange complexions into positive features by giving them cutesy names. On the topic of names, I get a little twitch in my eyes every time I see Romanization of Korean words that have valid translations for them. It’s a personal pet peeve but I always feel that it’s better to translate words rather than Romanise them and then explain them.

This is how hard you have to study to memorise all these terms

Just look at the massive glossary of words we made a while back. If someone new to K-pop was to suddenly read an article where we discuss how an idol was showing off her aegyo and how she showed off the fact that she was a bagel girl with honey thighs in her selca, you would have no bloody idea what we were talking about. That sentence could easily be translated into English as an Idol was acting cute in a personal self-shot where she showed off her glamorous body with nice thighs despite the fact that she looks like quite young. It’s a bit longer but at least it’s understandable to more people.

5 – “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

Sigh, where to begin. I won’t talk in length about the article where a K-pop Songwriter posted Racist Tweets since the article is pretty self-explanatory and thinking about her any further is going to make my head explode due to the sheer amount of stupidity expressed in such a short span of time. I will however list a few thoughts I’ve had.

1) This is NOT a bloody apology, this is a snide little comment to try and relieve some pressure but all it ended up doing was exaggerate how mis-informed the person is about the topic at hand. Actually this is worse than just keeping your mouth shut because all this is doing is ridiculing everyone else.

2) I expect a very strong worded press release from the agencies that she worked with, firmly stating that she will never ever work with them ever again. This is something we should all demand from the agencies; we cannot possibly support an agency that chooses to hire such a vile and hateful person. The people that companies hire reflect the views of the company and if the agency continues to use such people then they are advocating the fact that they are ok with such comments.

The new face of racism daily

To be honest, I don’t really expect No 2 to happen soon. Racism in general isn’t something that is a big of a topic in the domestic market UNLESS it’s happening in the other directions. There was some major news coverage last week about how a Starbucks employee in the U.S. drew a Slanty Eye picture on a cup being served to a Korean person. Yet we still have the occasional comedy skit involving painting your skin black etc. This kind of racism is on a different scale to the person above but its racism none the less and it seems to be one of those things that they don’t consider to be wrong over in Asia. The same applies for some European countries, who believe it’s Ok to do the Slanty Eye gestures towards Asian (The Spanish Basketball team during the Beijing Olympics come to mind.) It’s a rather ugly situation and something that shouldn’t really exist anymore. Hopefully the lady above gets what’s deserved of her because racism and her extreme beliefs on racial cleansing does not fall under the realms of Free Speech in any form whatsoever. Seriously don’t people learn from history? Some of her reasoning reminds me of some of the arguments that Germany and Japan used to justify some of their actions in the 1940’s and anyone who’s studied even a bit of history will know how that turned out. For those who don’t, let’s just say that the Allies gave them a bit of a spanking for being so hateful and stupid. Disclaimer: I don’t promote violence to solve this sort of issue however pressure must be exerted to make sure this sort of person doesn’t work in the industry ever again.

How does this article make you feel?