Been a long time since I saw Park Ji Yoon perform, since adult ceremony in the early 2000s. That era was the lip synching era of kpop, I have to say I have never heard her singing adult ceremony with her real voice before.
That was still her best song but here, she is crooning such a subliminally hypnotic song with all the Beep, what, and Vow.
2 things that I found enlightening from this speech:
1) Religion teaches you the same thing many times to get you to remember.
2) Religion uses very skilled orators to teach, hence you feel very good and even shout Amen, Praise the Lord, Hallelujah after every major point.
Obviously, I latched on these 2 points because my brain already has the neural network or schema call "New Creation Church".
In that schema, NCC constantly repeat the grace message in every sermon, until non NCC Christians wonder why would it continue to attract so many of us year after year. Also Joseph Prince is clearly a very charismatic speaker that so many people are great fans of him.
Repeating the same lesson 7 times or more
I then chuckle and thought back to schooling and education. Why is it that students resist repeating the same points, being made to do the same worksheet 7 or more times? How can I best convince them the wisdom of doing so as so many adults who go to NCC are so easily convinced until they are prepared to keep going NCC to hear the same grace message?
My first impression is perhaps the way I phrase the above paragraph shed clues to solution. Students are young, their brain are more wired up for emotions rather than for long term planning. In short, they think more with their limbic system than their frontal lobes, since the latter only fully develop in adulthood.
That is why there is this well known phrase in teaching that I always arm-chio to "Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." That means, they are basically emotional beings. They must like a teacher or feel that she cares for them, before they will learn something you teach 7 times.
Adults who attend NCC and choose to stay there, for example, could be a self selected group who realized the importance of reinforcing the same message repeatedly until they move from thinking to feeling, and finally, to being. Even though I am aware that some of them probably stay in NCC because they really like Prince and find him charming, I believe the majority are there by long term planning.
When I teach economics, I make it a point often to drop remarks like, "Isn't this great? Won't you be so happy that you can now see economics in the things you read? Your parents will be so glad you are learning so much economics that you can discuss the news with them!"
When I do that, I always get expressionless stares with some students occasionally arm-chioing. No one has, to date, stood up and fist pump and shout "Hallelujah for the free market! Praise Adam Smith and Milton Friedman!" Haha, but people are obviously excited to hear Joseph Prince and they will say "Amen" throughout many times. Why is this the case?
One reason is definitely that few teachers are as good looking or as charismatic speakers as Prince. The economist in me immediately went back to the "competition vs monopoly" schema for the explanation. It is quite obvious to me that Prince is one of those senior pastors that could only arise because our current church market structure is one that is extremely competitive, with very little barriers to entry.
Furthermore, I see the tithe, where Christians decides which church to tithe based on where she feels comfortable at, as probably a very powerful incentive to make church "compete" for them. This is probably similar to the kind of voucher scheme that has been proposed by Milton Friedman for schools, where parents decide which school to enroll their kids to by using the voucher.
Thus, with this tithe system serving as a voucher, churches that are good will grow big, as they attract more Christians and their 10% tithe, and churches who are not so good, will remain small. Anyone can start a new church if they feel that the current church they are in is not fulfilling their needs. That was how Lawrence Khong of FCBC came about, and probably also the same manner in which Kong Hee of CHC and Prince of NCC originated.
On the other hand, education in Singapore is largely a monopoly market structure. That makes it very difficult for the same things to happen in the education sector. To see an example, if there was a Ministry of Religion who is in charge of training all pastors. If this Ministry decide that you are to go to a church that is nearest to your house, or where your brother is already in or where your parents went when they were young. Under these conditions, I am very confident that a person like Joseph Prince or NCC would not have emerged.
Alain De Botton is such a great speaker with so much insights that I can relate to. I also like the way he links love and art in another speech. A book is meaningful if I read it and the author manages to express thoughts, emotions and feeling, that I already know and are deeply mine, but it is in a mess and hence I am not able to see and understand clearly until I read that book. In that sense, it is the same as love and relationships. When someone say something to you and you understand yourself better as a result. That is when you feel less alone, and the emotions and feelings allow you to easily fall in love with that person.
Joe Dispenza has a similar point about this in the 2nd minute below, when he said that when you meet someone new and you converse, you are basically comparing neural networks. For example, you went to NUS? I went to NUS too! You studied under Professor Tan Ah Kow? Me too! I found him to have this weird habit that always makes me laugh, you feel the same way too! Then you find yourself being attracted to this person basically because she reinforced the same emotions that you have, and reinforced the same neural nets.
This explains why it is harder for you to be attracted to people that are very different from you in various ways because both of you will have very different life experiences. The more both of you are different in life experiences, the harder it will be for your neural network to match each other, and hence you won't share the same emotions with them, and its these emotions that is responsible for people falling in love. You will find that when she talks to you, you are bored because you cannot relate to the things she say, and when you say various things to her, you are also bored because she also cannot follow up on what you say.
In that sense, Alain De Botton and Joe Dispenza, and of course Joseph Prince, appeal to me because they say things that make me feel I understand myself better. =)
What does Joseph Prince and other Word of Faith preachers mean when they say, "Right believing produces right living?" Every morning when I wake up and I declare that I am greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved, what exactly am I trying to accomplish?
In Evolve your Brain, Joe Dispenza is making a distinction between explicit and implicit memory. Every time I declare those things, I am mainly using my conscious mind, or the frontal lobe, which is in the neocortex. In the Christian sense, the brain belongs to the soul part of the body, which we are urged to keep renewing.
After many times of believing and then speaking, which is what faith is as defined by 2 Cor 4:13, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit which is living in my Spirit, it will come to a stage where the memory becomes implicit. This is the same hardwiring that happened to me regarding the "drenched in the bus-stop" scenario
. These are also termed non-declarative or implicit memories, because they are abilities that I no longer necessarily need to declare, but a behavior that I repeatedly demonstrate without much conscious effort or will.
Through the mind's ability to repeat or reproduce an experience at will, the mind has thought about, rehearsed, and planned so well that when the mind instructs the body to perform a task, the body now has an implicit memory of how to do it, and no longer needs the conscious mind. In this sense, my body is now aligned with my renewed and prosperous mind, and like what Creflo Dollar would say, my trinity is complete, Spirit-Soul-Body now works as one, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is how "Right believing produces right living"
Yesterday when I was walking to my workplace after I got off the bus, there was a huge amount of trapped water along the path I was walking and looking ahead, I could see that cars driving past me were splashing water along that path. I tried to move quickly but unfortunately, I could not avoid a car that splash water until I was drenched.
Of course, when that happened, I felt sian. I was wearing a black shirt two days ago but I chose to wear my light pink shirt yesterday and I thought, "How come this did not happen yesterday which would be better. Why so suay today?"
Nevertheless, after a short while, I could feel my optimism naturally kicked in with very positive thoughts. It was almost like a chatter in my brain that says things like, "My shirt does not look stained, it is just wet. I am so glad I am not a girl because if the same thing happen, it would be so awkward for my modesty if I was drenched like that.
So I start to confess that I am happy, this is no worry, I shall not let this external stimuli affect my mood and very quickly, I was fine on the inside.
From what Joe is saying above, its like my hypothalamus acting as a thermostat. After my body recognized that a wave of negativity is sweeping it, it immediately sends a signal to my brain that says, "Hey, we are feeling very negative here and it is not what I am used to. Quick, find any possible angle in the situation that can generate positive thoughts!" And my brain respond with all those sub-vocalizations and chatter.
So why change is difficult
With that experience, I begin to understand better what Joe Dispenza is saying in this book, "Evolve your Brain", summed up in this video. I chuckle and I ask myself, "If being optimistic is bad and I am trying to change myself into a more negative person now, it would be very difficult because my brain only need to think positive and my body will immediately know how to react, since it has been conditioned for so many years to always look at the bright side."
Like I have explained above, those positive thoughts came to my mind automatically without even me being conscious about the process. If I wanted to change to a negative person, I have to exercise my frontal lobe and keep thinking negatively and that requires a very active process to overcome all those automatic positive thoughts. My body will keep protesting all those conscious negative thoughts and I will have to keep actively thinking of negative thoughts.
The analogy I have read somewhere else, when you are trying to eliminate any habits, is like this, the frontal lobe is like the human rider, and the body is like the elephant. If the elephant has been trained to move a certain direction and the rider is trying to get the elephant to move in a different direction, it will be very difficult and the human rider has to keep manipulating the rope and keep on doing it until the elephant finally move in the direction the rider wants it to.
Application to relationships
Upon further reflection, I begin to chuckle and felt I now understood much better why it is very hard for me to be emotionally close to negatively oriented people. According to Joe, it is because my neural networks don't match those from pessimists. In that sense, we are all addicts in one way or another, even if it is not about the usual suspects of alcohol and drugs. Optimists have neural networks that are addicted to positive feelings while pessimists have networks that are addicted to negative feelings.
As a side note, I am addicted to talking about economics to any group of listeners, either because they are willing or, more likely, they are forced to listen because they think they will be tested on that in the future, is because every time I talk about it, dopamine fires in my brain and I get very positive feelings after that.
Thus when someone who is a pessimist tries to share all those negative feelings, she is perhaps expecting me to reinforce them through empathy and perhaps I should feel negative too so that I am reflecting those same negative feelings back at her. But here I am, after hearing those negative feelings, my mind immediately works automatically, without me thinking, to change those negative feelings into positive, and keep telling her the various ways to view any given bad situation positively, and she goes, "What the hell are you doing?"
Often I will be accused of not really listening. I have to admit there might be some truth to that, but I wish such people would understand that it is very difficult for me to be negative for more than a few seconds. I have yet to master the art of "listening intently to someone complaining about life and yet not be negatively affected inside".
But because of my lack of mastery, I cannot turn off my hypothalamus, I cannot stop my brain from not automatically seeing the positive angle from any sad event. I don't want to dwell on negative thoughts. Perhaps I should instead say, "I am not willing to change this aspect of me at this present time" =)
But this reminds me one important lesson of neuroplasticity, to change is very difficult. I must really master the skill of observation and mentally rehearse myself being the ideal self, so that my body will eventually learn to fit that image. In the meantime, let me follow the "Word of Faith" prescription of "believe and therefore speak!" and trust in the Lord for his unmerited favor in order to change.
As usual, once you start to like a group, when you go back to their older songs, you see them from a new perspective. I started with Wild
and now going back to Dolls, I see another aspect of them. This time, I begin to notice Hyuna and her powerful voice.
In Wild, it was not easy to notice her as her singing lines are only towards the end of the song. In Dolls, she was the main singer, starting the song, as well as revealing her extremely powerful vocal ability in the 2nd verse last line, before the chorus kicks in. With her height and her confidence, I can imagine her to be somewhat intimidating to stand next to haha.
Overall this Nine Muses is definitely a group worth listening to from now on! I did download this video in TS format sometime back but as it is not very catchy, I took no notice of it after the first 15 secs of viewing. Of course, once I realized how catchy Wild was, it was much easier to go back and appreciate this song.
I have never really got into songs from Sistar. Okay, I do note that they have very healthy bodies unlike the usual "skinny" kpop groups and they clearly are good singing live, due to Hyorin's status as probably the best current singer in kpop world.
However, I have to say that this song has made me finally realized who Dasom is in Sistar. Wow, it was probably her long hair this time round since I don't recall her having long hair in previous songs, and I realized her fair white skin contrasted very well with Hyorin's tan.
She has only a minor part in the middle part of this song, with that hat prop. However, that long hair of hers, the bangs, plus that soft voice, made me think, "Who the hell is this from Sistar that I have never noticed before in the past?" =) Now, if I ever watch performances of this song, it will be because of her haha.
Can't believe I missed out this song when I was reviewing May comeback performances among all the girl groups recently. This song is so catchy that I liked it immediately when I chance across it recently. I occasionally hear of this particular group in the past but their songs have never really stuck with me until Wild. Does this group passed my key "no lip synching" criteria? Well, to be honest, I cannot really tell whether they lip synch or not as yet, a bit like 50% of the time, I can roughly tell they are singing live but I guess I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Just like SNSD, they have 9 members but they are clearly a more mature group. In fact when I was watching their Wild performances, I keep thinking that this kind of song is what Rainbow should be doing at this time instead of all the cutesy song that they are doing now. Sunshine is fine but it is so bubble gum and a waste for someone with the maturity and figure of Jaekyung heh.
Going back to my previous kpop entry, I am certainly glad to see that 4 minute did so well for "What's your name", which kind of justified my judgement of the song being the best. As for Hello Venus, I was disappointed by their boring dressing which hardly changed among all their performances of "Do you want some tea?", in contrast to all their changes they had during their previous song,"What are you doing today"? In this aspect, seeing Wild and 9 muses's frequent changes in dressing was very refreshing heh.
After Rainbow "Tell me Tell me
" ended, I was watching Girls' Day "Expectation" for a while but I didn't really got into that. So I am glad that this time round, there were some groups that I was more familiar with, that were releasing new songs.4 Minute
What took me by surprise was that, out of these groups, 4 minute "What's your name" proved to be the most catchy song. Like many guys, I was only aware of Hyuna
thanks to "bubble pop" and I saw 4 minute more like "Hyuna and her backup dancers". But this was an amazingly fun song to listen to and through this song, I started noticing more of the other members and see their talents, for example, I now know that Sohyun is their youngest member (maknae) and she really dance very well in this performance in her purple top. They also sing live too which was commendable. I think the SBS Inkigayo show had their best performance as well as the best props so far but since they do not have a channel, I shall be using mainly MBC and Mnet ones.
The dance steps are not complicated and so far, I have been listening to this the most and enjoying it very much.Hello Venus
The next best song would be from Hello Venus. I really enjoyed their extremely catchy "What are you doing today" and it was easy to see that their leader Ara, bears a strikingly resemblance, depending on the angle, either to SNSD Yuri or Seohyun, that made me noticed that particular group. Their new song "Do you want some tea" is a typical "feel good" song, like Vitamin C's graduation song but it is still pretty catchy. It was only later that I realized that it actually sampled the classic tune of "Variation on the Kanon", no wonder I sense a familiarity in this Hello Venus song. I recalled shedding tears when I watched that Taiwan Drama "At the Dolphin Bay" whenever that tune came out years back haha.
What I really appreciate is that this group takes effort to sing live and like I said many times, once you do, I am definitely willing to give you some respect.Tara N4
And to further elaborate on that last sentence, I was quite pleased that this subgroup from Tara appears to be singing live more in their debut song. I mean, Tara was one of those groups whom I judged to be excessively lipsynching. I mean, the lipsynching was so extreme that, even after Areum took over from one of the member who had to leave, whom I forgotten the name, even when they performed Lovey Dovey and others, I could still hear that departed member's voice in the rap.
So I was quite pleased to hear their real voices in the comeback performances. I think it is also because in Tara, Boram is clearly the weakest singer so I guess, with her not being part of this subgroup, they can now showcase their vocals.
This song, especially the verses, also reminded me of Kara's Japanese song "Electric Boy" but I guess it was only a slight resemblance so no biggie. I would put this song as my third best.Secret
Thus, I have to say Secret's comeback song was the weakest this time around. I thought they have moved away from cutesy songs towards more matured songs like Poison and Talk that. This current song is like a throwback
to their Shy Boy and Starlight Moonlight days.
They have very good voices, they have excellent figures and to have this cute song seems a mismatch but well what do I know. To make matters worse, I felt Ji Eun's hairstyle when she had to tie her hair was so eeee. Let's hope eventually she will be allowed to "let her hair down" for future performances haha.Conclusion
Glad to see the tough competition in kpop has given us so many different groups and their different genre of songs. SNSD is clearly getting old now, Jessica recently turned 25, so I think its time for them to tone down and let new groups take over the kpop scene =).
Well, it was not as good as Inglorious Basterds to me but still it was still a great movie about slavery in the USA.
Slaves riding a horse theme
My favorite scene is definitely the scene when Jamie Foxx rode the horse into Candyland and the song was just perfect for that scene. To understand that scene, note that during the slavery era, it was illegal for a black slave to ride a horse. Now, I only learned this during the movie heh.
It was only when I watched the press conference that I fully understood that Foxx scene. As Samuel L Jackson explained, "Django Unchained", the scene when Foxx rode into Candyland on a horse and all the black slaves were watching with awe for this is the first time they ever see a slave riding a horse. The furious look of Samuel L Jackson made it clear that everyone who values the status quo will not appreciate having black slaves thinking that they could aspire to be like Foxx, thus he had to put Foxx in his proper place immediately.
This reminds me of Singapore and its political change. To me, it was interesting indeed to compare now with the past to see how the tide is changing. Many Singaporeans instinctively feel that politics, esp opposition politics, is "to be avoided at all costs" due to years of operant conditioning, years of seeing opposition members get crushed and sued.
Now, with social media and all, the PAP is probably viewing all these new brave people like Nizam with apprehension. The main fear is probably that more and more Singaporeans will look at Nizam and aspire to be like him, a process that will accelerate the end of their political monopoly.
Also from this show, I understand better about US and how important guns is to them in the preservation of liberty. From Django, it was clear that no black slave could carry guns, and this was how their white masters control them. So when the white guys were trying to put Foxx in his place, they were very surprised to see him actually possessing a gun.
Put it simply, so long as you have a gun, you have some power against people trying to enslave you. When others have a gun and you don't, you are surrendering your liberty to them. In the gunfight scene later between Jamie and the white guys after Waltz died, the same sentiments were shared by the white guys, "Who the f gave a n* a gun?"
And it was also interesting to see how the bosses from the The Lequint Dickey Mining Co was stupid enough to hand over a gun to Jamie and sealed their own deaths.
The final part of the press conference was excellent as Kerry Washington said something very touching,
We were shooting one of these days of picking cotton in the Louisiana heat and everybody was really hot and exhausted. You could tell that the waking up every day and putting yourself in the mental state of somebody whose constitution says you’re a fraction of a person and not a whole human being; you know it was just starting to wear on everybody a little bit.”
“We had this one background actor who was a pastor who kind of paused everybody and said, ‘We have to remember that we are the answer to these people’s prayers. That the people who did this work dream of a day where you could not be property, but own property. Where you could read, where you could vote, where you can get married, where you could have a job and be compensated,’” she continues, “Again, on that sacred ground it forced everybody to shift and man up, and own that fact that we can be so blessed to come here and tell this story, and not feel victimized by it, and know that it’s a story about a hero. That’s a profound opportunity.
Indeed, this sharing by her sums up why this movie was great!
Finally bid farewell to this fantastic drama series. I like the part when Spartacus was recalling how his dead wife Sura said he will never love another woman and he said he now sees Sura in every person he is fighting for so that they can be free.
Hah, I really smiled when I saw that. It reminded me of the classic theme, in Matrix Reloaded and Superman 2, about Man being more able to love the entire world, rather than a single person in the world.
I have written about this theme at length here.
As for Gannicus's death at the end when there were flashbacks to the arena, it reminded me of the power of synthetic happiness! The idea is that, even at bad times, you can always imagine yourself in happy circumstances and your mood will instantly change.
But overall, I love the first season the most, the politicking of Batitus, Lucretia and Illythia cannot be matched.