#09042017 – Perseverance Everyday

My workload and workout plans recently do not allow me to blog everyday, at least not this month. 😦 But there are still a few things on my mind that I want to share about.

  1. The responsible domestic worker

I was on the bus one day, when a domestic worker boarded the bus with two Caucasian children and they were all standing because the bus was packed. Boys being boys, the two kids were rather playful, fidgeting all around. From time to time, the maid turned around to tell them “don’t block the way”, “stand properly and hold on properly”, which struck me how responsible and alert she is.

Made a mental note to share about this incident because compared to what my teacher once said – a mother was with her son on the train and the latter was swinging around the pole. My teacher prompted the mum to get the son to stand still, but the mum said, “Did he fall? Did he hurt himself? Then what are you so worried about?”

Stark contrast in upbringing, thought-worthy comparison.

2. About working out plans

As I’ve said at the start of this post, I’ve been keeping myself busy with work and workout, the exercise kind of workout.

Initially when I started exploring my own gym bike, I planned to cycle at least three days per week. Then I realized the problem – I have an excuse called “tomorrow”. As work picked up pace in March, I practically skipped every chance I had to workout because, well, “tomorrow”.

So at the beginning of this month, I decided to try something new – exercise every single day. So I would have no excuse, I’d be like, what the hell, why haven’t you exercised today?

But the down part is that… My Daily Diary time became workout time, while catching up with TV shows. Recently really loving Late Night with Stephen Colbert and Sisters Slam Dunk season 2! Not to mention, GOT7 binge.

A week has passed and the routine has more or less settled down – no sleep until I’ve completed at least an hour of workout, whatever it is. Had fun with gym bike, hula hooping, core workout and stretching exercises. The biggest change I feel is that I feel more refreshed in the day, as if my brain has got more oxygen than it previously did, if that makes any sense. 🙂

20170404_222840

One thing I kinda learn from the workouts is that… Life is like a workout. You can always tell yourself, you’d start living tomorrow. But you’re just wasting today. If you’re going to stop just because you feel pain, you’ll never surpass your limit or improve.

Just like working out, learn to persevere everyday – in pain or not, busy or not. 

3. Change in diet

Aside from the family get-togethers, I’ve been trying to make some changes to my diet too. Much less takeaway food, bringing plain water with me when dining out (to reduce intake of sweetened drinks) and also trying out food that I used to reject.

Some of my absolute… fear? Such as celery, beetroot, baby tomatoes… I can’t say I like them, especially beetroot, which made me smell soil for the subsequent hours, but still, it was worth the shot? My conclusion is juicing is the only way I’d ever consume them again. (inserts prayer)

20170403_201851
DIY Boost Juice for the family – beetroot, celery, orange, apples, pear, baby tomatoes and carrot.

3. GOT7

Last but not least… Let me take some time to talk about GOT7. :))))

When I first heard of them I was like… wtf how do you even pronounce that? Incidentally, I started watching Dream High 2 and fell in love with JB. Not because of his character but because I feel that we are similar in some ways? The real JB, not the character in the story.

Then I started to find out about JJ Project and then GOT7. My absolute favourite thing about GOT7 is how they gel so well together and you can see how they care for one another through the little details – the hand gestures, how they cheer each other up, how they try to push the introverted ones into the limelight and cheer them on.

Don’t want to throw names out there but I have to say… There are a lot of talent in the Kpop industry. So many of them can sing, dance, ace variety, but there are some attitudes I don’t like, and some group dynamics that I have a problem with. Such as forming cliques within group ousting other members, one member getting all the attention, or some attitude problems where they don’t feel the need to do their best.

And GOT7 is the opposite. I appreciate how they have explored different music styles and image since their debut (from cute, cheeky to chic). I also appreciate how they work hard to show increasingly challenging and impactful choreographies. I like how they are sensitive to the feelings of each other and can get a good balance of fun, mutual respect and serious professionalism in their actual work.

There are going to be Kpop groups that produce good music. Some of them are going to be such heart-stealing visuals. But GOT7 charm lies in their positive and ever-improving attitude. They are constantly trying to get better in all aspects. 🙂

As the saying goes, there’s no bias in GOT7. Everyone of them is. :))

Jaebum for his big-hearted motherly leadership and introverted cuteness.
Jinyoung, who I didn’t like initially because of his straightforwardness, won my heart when I notice how sensitive he is to the needs and feelings of the other members.
Jackson for making a clown of himself to make shoots interesting, to protect members from MCs.
Mark for his quiet charm and now-increasingly-often outburts of energy. Not to mention, his tumbling, which has been perfect from YG-vs-JYP to date.
BamBam, who comes up with all the random things that become GOT7 traits. Also, how he worked hard to go from the maknae-cute to maknae-badass.
Youngjae, from the time he was so excited to be assigned a part in ‘A’ and talked about wanting to sing for the fans, till this day when his dancing is getting better, getting more protected and loved by his members, and rising to be one indisputable vocal talent. And ‘Sign’, my favourite slow-tempo GOT7 song.

That’s all. Nah, I’m kidding!

Of course there’s Hit the Stage Yugyeom who is seemingly savage but looks after his seniors with a special kind of warmth and tenderness. His passion for singing in Never Ever is also apparent, improving a whole lot since their debut. 🙂

At the end of the day… I guess I’m still #TeamJaebum. Or.. #TeamGOT7 . Yep.

4. Joker Xue

Speaking of GOT7, there’s another singer who caught my attention recently – Joker Xue. His performance caught my attention, his press conference attitude won my admiration and laughter, his life story earned my respect.

 

*****

On the whole, all the stress aside, I’m feeling very positive and inspired lately.

Advertisements

#20022017 -TWICE & Taeyeon

TWICE and Taeyeon are back with new singles, yay! TWICE actually released theirs 2 days ago but I didn’t get the notification from YouTube.

TWICE ‘Knock Knock’

I love how TWICE is taking a break from their Halloween theme and funky rock theme! It’s refreshing to see this side of them and the music is so enjoyable, a little more cutesy Japanese style and distinct them from the current KPop works.

Another thing I noticed that’s changing about Kpop is their line distribution.

Ages ago, it was those vocal leads and popular getting members getting most and the best lines, like Super Junior, Miss A and 4MINUTE era. I remember my Kpop friends who were sad that their idols didn’t get as much screen time, sometimes just one or two lines in a song.

But nowadays, companies seem to be so much more aware about the dangers of over-promoting a certain member. And this time around, it’s nice to hear Jungyeon’s vocal range, more of Mina and less of Nayeon. Screentime-wise, also less of Tzuyu and Momo.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them. But I feel that taking turns to be in the limelight can prolong an idol group’s career as there can be a change in music style and help all members to grow together. 🙂

Oh, and and and – HOW CUTE IS JYP! I appreciate how humble he can be as a boss, not always wanting to be the cool dude. I actually like his goofy and bully-able side, the latter as seen when he was helping Sisters Slamdunk season 1.

The only scene I found cringe-worthy was towards the end when TWICE members were standing at the door, listening to the knocking. Their expressions were just… unnatural? So derailed from the whole MV.

About the YouTube comments

My favourite was someone saying yay, thank goodness JYP isn’t on the toilet bowl this time around. (falls on floor laughing) Then again, there are the narrow-minded fans who want to shoot all other idols down. You do realize that Kpop isn’t and cannot be made up of just ONE idol group right? When that happens, it would mean that another regional pop is on the rise and taking over K-Pop. Do you want that? Nope. So shut up about how your bias is better. 🙂

These idols, they put in some of the best years of their lives into this industry. They studied while they learn to dance, sing and make the best of themselves. Who are YOU to say that someone isn’t talented?

Taeyeon ‘I Got Love’

I’d be totally honest – I don’t like this release, mainly because of the MV. What is wrong with Kpo MV directors nowadays anyway?

The song is dope, but I believe there are fans out there who understand why I feel the way I do – Taeyeon is SUPER talented so what’s with the pretentious MV? The whole American-wannabe scenes, the diamonds and whatnot just made me cringe.

The set and fashion for the scene in front of mirrors is actually GREAT and I think with voice like hers, sometimes less is more. A pure dance MV in that set would have poached my heart.

If this is what she wants to try, great for her. But if it’s the company trying to make her into someone she isn’t, I sincerely hope that this is the last time this is happening. And this seems to be an SM problem, not knowing when to simplify MV to make their artists stand out.

Another recent example I can think of, is Red Velvet ‘Rookie’. The song is great, it’s more cutesy but the MV was horrible. You can obviously see the members being slightly uncomfortable and stiff, which probably explains why people commented that ‘that isn’t Red Velvet style’.

But when you see their live performance, it was great! Why waste the money making those weird MVs when your artists are so outstanding? Cut down on the fanciful stuff! It works great with SHINee and EXO, but not all artists have to be that extreme when it comes to MV aye.

Now I’m just looking forward to Taeyeon performing this song live. Going to be SO much better than the MV.

 

On a personal side, work’s just work. Endless working. Oh, and Pokemon GO! I finally reached level 30! (pops champagne)

Perks of Being an “Unpopular” Band Fan

A background introduction – Jessica was a member of the popular Kpop group Girls’ Generation (SNSD) until August last year, when the company announced that she has left the group.

Not the first of its kind and definitely not the last, but I’d call her departure from the team and the rumours that came with it “typical”. I wasn’t a fan of hers but I came across articles defaming the company as well as her “incapability to put the group’s interest first”.

But what got my attention was how much more relatable she became after leaving the group.

No longer the ice princess, and having to keep in touch with her fans, it seemed like she connected better with the fans after leaving the group, which is a good thing IMO because it means that she’s learning to become independent, humble and eloquent. It’s nice to see her being interviewed solo and talk about things outside of the SNSD image.

So that leads me to my topic today – the perks of being a fan of an “unpopular” group/idol. Unpopular meaning they aren’t at the peak of their career, but rather, idols who are just making their way up.

 

1. Having an idol who has the time to connect with you

Compared to idols who have full house concerts and overwhelming crowds at their fan sign events, you get more face to face time to chat with your idol. That means a few more seconds at the fan sign, being allowed contact up close and personal, sometimes even doing a bit of chatting.

2. Having an idol who listens to your comments and suggestions

The up and rising idols tend to be more receptive to fans input, and even more so on the management company level. They are more concerned about what the fans think, and what they want or do not want to see. You don’t like your idol to be too sexy? Okay. You want to see her perform in your school? Cool. More behind-the-scenes or talking? Sure.

There are popular idols who care, but there seems to be so many cases where the company begins to takeover and make them do what is commercially favorable, ignoring what the fans may think.

3. Easier to foster a relationship

Sounds a bit sad, but if your idol only has 40-100 fans, she’s more likely to recognize you than if she has 50,000 fans at fan sign events and concerts. It means a lot to some people, when they call out their idol onstage and he/she waves back giving you the look like “oh you’re here today!” It’s like the fangirl equivalent of being cared for.

4. Learning to be objective and realistic

This is something I noticed from YouTube in general. The comments on popular idols’ performances are often pointless arguments – fanclubs rivalry, why so and so get lesser lines and camera time, etc.

The comments on unpopular idols/groups are much more interesting, almost like a direct dialogue between the fans and the companies. “They started out as cute idol, why the sudden change? It’s hard to accept and awkward.” or commenting that so and so is surprisingly outstanding. There’s much lesser cyber noise and more constructive discussions on what works and what doesn’t.

5. Better financial investments

It’s back to the logic of huge versus small crowds. If your idol is not so popular (yet), there may be lesser events for you to meet them but the ones held would be so much more valuable – it would be your rare splurge to catch their concert, but they would have more time to interact and perform. Compared to popular groups where fans have to keep forking out money for events, their endorsements, birthdays and whatnot, I think being a fangirl of “unpopular” idols is so much kinder on the wallet.

6. Seeing the “real” part of your idol

With power comes responsibility, with fame comes limitations. The popular idols tend to be more conscious of their reputation, idol image and contract limitations, some even having to be mindful of what brand of bottled water they hold in their hands.

On the contrary, “unpopular” idols are relatively free souls, being able to chat with the fans and talk in front of the camera in ease without having to worry about the judgment. It’s nice to see the glamarous side of them on stage, but it’s equally uplifting to see them fool around and talk about their opinions in interviews and video clips.

BUT THEN…

The truth is, it’s unrealistic to expect your idol to be unpopular forever. They’d either have to disband, regroup or hopefully, rise to fame someday. But as what fans would tell you, there would always be a core group of them who have established relationship with their idols because “they’ve been through the growing phase together”. 🙂

Leave while there’s still Love

2012-09-19-17.38.41

Haven’t had the time to sit down and pen my thoughts in a while, but one issue has been bugging me lately.

I am an avid reader… of YouTube comments. I often see fans leaving comments like “Thumbs up if you’ve been a ___ fan since their ____ (first debut work)” but it never really registered to me the gravity of the statement.

Why do I say that?

I am a fan of YouTube, and many YouTubers from Singapore and overseas. There’s a someone I really liked from a long way back and really enjoyed the videos – puts forth about his/her life. As time goes by, life changes, things changes, his/her lifestyle changes and I begin to see changes in his/her videos. It wasn’t about “I hate that you change”. It’s disappointing because I see what fame can do to people.

It’s ironic to me how many well-known people often say they love their fans, their followers, and they wouldn’t be where they are if not for the support, only to see them turn their backs to the fans in a second.

The sad thing is, I’m quite blind to my idols’ mistakes. They are always perfect to me. Until someone points it out.

One day I was watching his/her video, and a good friend told me to skip it because it made him cringe. The sincerity and love said didn’t seem real to him. I was taken aback – are you doubting my choice of idols?

But then, slowly bit by bit, I understood what he meant.

I know famous people have a lot of ideas on their minds, their own lives to live and are ultimately, busy. But having the sincerity to make the words you put forth in your videos count when the recording light is out, is just as important if not more. You can keep saying that I am busy, I’m planning my next big project, I can’t possibly reply everyone. 

Here’s a fact too – of all the YouTubers people see, every one of your fan chose a selective few too. And you’re one of them. They also have their own lives to live, their own plans, their own career. Don’t you think they deserve respect and your understanding too?

Then came a chance to meet my idol in person. And I became even more disappointed.

If fans really mean so much to you, why are you in such a hurry to shake everyone off?

Of course, I would like to say, I wish he/she hadn’t changed into such a hypocritical person because of fame. But is that fair to him/her? No. Because he/she worked hard to get to where he/she is. If he/she cannot stay true to himself/herself, I’d just have to let it go. I just think it’s a pity but maybe that’s just me. And a little sad that the idol image in my mind is a thing of the past.

It isn’t a big deal though – some fans would be equivalently upset to see their idols fart or dig their nose onstage. It’s just a natural stage of infatuation-support-faith-believe-doubtful-letting go-moving on. It happens all the time, everywhere.

My point is – if you see that your idol has changed, don’t deny their hard work from the point when you first started to appreciate them. Take a step back, and be a less vocally-supportive fan. Check out how he/she is dealing with fans who are vocal with their opinions. If you think he/she isn’t worthy of your love and support anymore, just unsubscribe and unlike. Move on. There is no point leaving hate on their videos every single time. You’re wasting your time because ain’t nobody will change for you.

Leave while there’s still love, or you’d meet along the path of hatred next. 

My Thoughts on Ellen’s Design Challenge Finale

I came across the show by chance on YouTube when it was a recommended video and I started to follow up on it.

Personally, I didn’t like the judging and the judges playing the gender cards during the evaluation process. Just because something is made of wood and/or steel, has a sense of bulkiness and it’s labeled “mancave” or “masculine”.

As a female, I do feel attracted to Tim’s pieces. Even if I’m a stereotypical girl, can’t I have a masculine piece to balance out the soft colours or girly design in an interior space, say, to change things up or create a focal point? Why is masculinity equivalent to losing out half the consumer market? Isn’t that too narrow a definition?

The second problem I had with the show was the judges dropping by during the production process – it’s almost like they have no concrete feedback. Take for example, Tim Gunn from Project Runway may not agree with a designer’s work, but he’d give them a fresh perspective or direction like “think about how you can interpret this piece in your style”, “you have to learn to hold back”, and “think about how practical it would be”, which would have helped Carley when she planned to design a table with a gaping river in the middle.

Okay now to the controversial finale –

Tim deserves to win. 

Because he has won, in the hearts of the audience.

Of course, plagiarism is wrong, but he made the design better.

As someone as pointed out on Facebook, Katie’s cow table was a disaster and she should have been disqualified. It’s not a small slip-up. It was a great disaster. No disqualification is justified when there is no distinct worst, otherwise it tends to feel like they have already decided on a winner.

Also, that table isn’t original either. And compared to Tim, she did not make a better cow table for the record.

Tim has displayed great qualities during the competition process –

During the first episode, he jumped in to help Gaspar out during the final 15 minutes so that the latter could present a finished piece.

During the third episode, he gave up the piece of wood he wanted because he saw how badly Carley wanted it. Using an alternative, he still wowed the judges and mentioned nothing about it to the judges. How’s that for professional attitude?

Lastly, let’s talk about the final challenge. Unlike what the narrator explained at the end, the two judges did not mention anything about creating something original. Here’s what they said –

Christiane Lemieux –

“Tim, Katie, for this week’s challenge, you can do anything. Any materials, as long as you wow us.”

Amanda Dameron –

“It has to be smart, innovative and surprising.”

Host –

“And you’ll have 72 hours to complete your final piece of furniture. Your time starts now.”

None of the three judges mentioned anything about originality, or even style, surprisingly.

Was Tim’s design smart? Yes.

Was it innovative? Yes.

Was it surprising? Yes.

In a debate of plagiarism, Katie designed an unoriginal cow table and it was still horrible, and she called it the cow table. She did not accomplish the marble effect that she set out to do.

Tim designed a creative piece that was intensive on measurements, techniques and time management. He had his own aesthetics sense to make the side planks irregular for an organic feel. He angled the legs with a bolt, leaving the soldering marks for a consistent natural feel, and also, taking into consideration what he was previously told during the couch challenge – leave the raw material raw.

Tim Ellen's Design Challenge Finale 1

He had wanted to make a vanity space for the middle section, it was the judge who was against it. Even if you call his design plagiarism, look at it this way – his plagiarized piece had his own style. The original design doesn’t look like his style. Doesn’t that prove his distinctiveness?

Could Tim have duplicated Katie’s piece? Yes.

Could Katie accomplish what Tim did? No. Technically, no. In terms of precision of measurements, no. Metal work? No. A sophisticated style and sensibility? No.

Even if you say that the whole piece was plagiarized, at least he came up with a story that convinced me – a table that I could hide things in. I love that idea.

Constructively, what would have pleased me as a viewer?

1. Forfeit his HGTV magazine feature, give that exposure to Katie

2. Halved his cash reward for Katie

3. Given Tim the chance to explain himself

4. Elaborated more on who and how they found out

Just like a tennis match, winning the finals because your opponent forfeited isn’t a worthy win. The Ellen Design Challenge competition lost its value and so did the champion title.

Maroon 5 – Bringing love and smiles

Maroon 5’s Sugar has been trending for a while now but it’s only today that I finally decided to watch it.

Usually I wouldn’t click on most of the music videos that are trending. There’s no reason at all. Okay maybe for the most part, I’m afraid there would be scenes that are NSFW.

But I certainly didn’t regret watching this MV! I mean, how awesome would it be for those couples and guests? Maybe some of them had a long day, had a hell period planning out the wedding? Imagine the excitement when those couples look at each other wondering is this a surprise for me from you?!

Maroon 5 - Sugar

Anyway I just think it’s EPIC! And in the modern age, it’s also rare that flashmobs are meaningful and full of love in an organic way.

We certainly need more of this than those spreading fear! Like, the Merlion TV guys from Singapore. Or those pranking people who actually have the intention to do good.

So yeah, spread the love!