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.
Nice twist to season 3. I remember in season 1, Spartacus was very happy to be just a gladiator, the champion of Capua, until he was forced to kill his only friend Varro at the whim of the magistrate's son. That made him realized that, no matter how popular he was with the crowd, ultimately he was just a slave and thus he decided he needed to "kill them all" in order to be truly free.
I can see Kore going on the same route after the rape and I certainly hope she will eventually end up helping Spartacus somehow.
Nice to see Rainbow finally have a comeback with this song call "Tell Me Tell Me", which proved itself to be extremely catchy, and it also showed their powerful live vocals. I especially enjoyed the bridge part, after the 2nd chorus, when the ladies will go "My love my boy", and then goes "Hey" and "Oh" and it will especially nice if the crowd also joined in shouting those parts with them like in the above performance.
I realized that, when kpop songs have english titles that are not translated to Korean, it really made it much easier to search for and download the correct performance out of a whole shopping list of different group performances. I recalled when Hello Venus "What are you doing today" and Dal Shabet "Have Don't have" came out, it was not easy to find out which are their performances out of all the rest so Rainbow's comeback song was a welcome change heh.
The first time I heard of Rainbow, like most people I guess, would be because of the song "A" which was far sexier and more powerful than this current one. I especially like the MBC special stage where it really advertise well the power of push up haha. Also, it incorporated some very nice special rainbow color effects of "A" in the chorus which I felt was very well done. Here, you can see for yourself
Like I always been saying, this new generation of kpop groups takes effort to sing live so I have to respect them for that. What makes Rainbow stands out even more, in my opinion, is that even in their Japanese performances, they also sing live, at least as far as my naked untrained ear could tell! I was like going, "Wow" when I first saw the Japanese version of A below. Now I don't think the rap was live as it was probably too much for non Japanese to do a credible rap in that language. But I feel we should give them praise when it is due, even SNSD don't dare not to lipsynch in their Japanese promotion! =)
Also, what was interesting when I first saw the above performance was how Ji-Sook looked really like a spitting image of SNSD's Taeyeon, and also interesting was that, for this Japanese version, she took to singing the first few lines of the verse when it was usually their leader Jaekyung that would do that in the Korean version. That is how I usually distinguish between the Korean and the Japanese version.
It was also interesting to see again that Japanese are less conservative than Koreans in terms of sexuality, in A, Rainbow often have to tone down the "showing belly button by moving the bottom of their top up" in Korea but here, they are free to do that in its full glory, plus the camera can even zoom in on the belly button as they do so haha.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23 NKJV
Amen, I never really see it this way but now I can really see how these 2 are very much related. In WOA, I always try to speak positive things to other people about themselves. I remember when I was in university, I noticed that, in Christian circles, people tend to suan people out of a supposed philosophy of "I can suan you because we are close". I remember always rejecting that thinking and I told myself that I will never suan people out of love because it is just plain silly, plus you will never know when you catch the guy is in a bad mood and your suanning makes it worse.
So, armed with this thinking, I made it a point to always say good things to other people and it was only much later that I realized its all part of the love language, Words of Affirmation, which I dearly embraced.
Synergy between Word of Faith and Words of Affirmation
After being in New Creation Church and learning what is this "Word of Faith" (henceforth WOF) movement, I begin to see its intimate connection between that and WOA. I think what WOF has made me realized is that, just like how I believe in showing WOA to the people that I am in contact with, I also need to speak WOA constantly and explicitly to myself, and it is biblical. God himself always speaks positive things about me and to me. He renamed Abram as Abraham because he sees Abram as the father of many. He appears to Gideon and calls him a great and mighty warrior. He calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Now, in the past, I used to think that I need to work in order to secure blessings from God beyond salvation. I chuckle when I used to believe in a story told by an FCBC Christian during the time when we can still select the exact bus fare to pay in our buses in 1996, something like, "You can always cheat in your bus fare, just that when all of us go to heaven, my mansion that God prepared for me will be bigger than yours!" Of course, like what Joseph Prince would say, it is always wrong to cheat in bus fares. If you are under the New Covenant, God writes his laws in your heart and the correct thinking is, because God says he is my provider, I do not need to cheat in bus fares. Also such FCBC thinking about doing good for rewards in heaven could easily end up making me internalize the wrong belief that, if I serve the Lord in the church more, if I pray more, if I fast more, God will bless me with healing and the other things that I am praying to him for.
Synergy between Joseph Prince and Joel Osteen
I am also beginning to see that these two WOF preachers combine very well. I think what Prince is doing, by focusing much more on the Grace message, helps to build in my soul (which is my heart and mind) a firm foundation to easily accept what is Joel saying. By focusing on Grace, I have learned that God will never be angry with me, that I am forever righteous, that he is blessing me not for my sake but for Jesus's sake.
Once I have internalized that thinking in my soul, I begin to slowly realize that, as a forever righteous Christian, whatever God promises to the righteous in the Old and New Testament are now mine to claim by faith. This is where I feel Joel Osteen comes in. He is excellent at reminding me every sermon to always speak out the right thoughts that God says in the Bible.
Now, it will take some time again for me to internalize this form of thinking after so many years living as a Christian who believes in getting blessed by following the law but hey, it is never too late to start changing my subconscious mind. So everyday now, I wake up in the morning declaring that I am the righteousness of God, that I am healed from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, that as he is, so am I in this world. Today will be a blessed day where goodness and mercies will pursue me everywhere I go. I am the youngest looking 39 year old in the world. When I teach economics, everyone who listens is going to be so enthralled and excited and they are going to learn the best economics from me! =)
Of course, many times, I pray for blessings but nothing seem to happen, even for years. In my early years in NCC, I believed that it is a matter of my spirit man being blessed but it will take some time before the flesh man manifest the blessing which is still correct.
But it can be tough after waiting for years. That will always be when I feel thoughts being placed in my mind by Satan. Just like how he tempted Eve, I would hear these thoughts, "Did God really say by his stripes I am healed? Did he really say that he forgive all my sins and heal all my diseases? It has been so long already and nothing is happening, maybe God really want to teach me lessons in being humble by not blessing me! I should not believe in these WOF preachers, they seem to be misinterpreting the bible!"
However, after more years in WOF, let me evolve by clinging on to these important verses that God is speaking to me, especially the first two.
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession Hebrews 3:1
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful Hebrews 10:23
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak 2 Corinthians 4:13
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Romans 10:17
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1-10
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
Let the weak say, I am strong. Joel 3:10
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 NKJV
Then the LORD said to me, "Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else. 3 But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:2-3
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” Luke 13:14-15
After watching Joel Osteen, I am beginning to also reply to my Satan-planted thoughts, "This is my Bible. I am what it says I am, I have what it says I have, I can do what it says I can do.
By God's grace, I shall hold fast the confession of my hope without wavering. I shall rest in the Lord and trust that he would put all the symptoms under my feet! I shall not see healing as a work but as something I deserve because Jesus has purchased me with his blood.
I remember the first time I like SNSD was when I saw this performance of "Into the New World". I thought, "Wow, these kpop girls really can sing live and kpop has now evolved beyond lip-synching!" I can believe when I read about how they have to practice and train for years before making their debut because this was a excellent performance, Jessica's voice cracking only made it more memorable.
Then I chance upon this fancam of SNSD performing the same song in Singapore recently and they certainly look much more relaxed this time around compared to their debut and my first thoughts were, "They have came a long way since their debut!" As I reflected upon that thought, I realized, "Hey, that term 'you have came a long way since' is one of my top 3 words of affirmation!"
Everytime I teach economics and after students came to the end of their first year where they have finish the microeconomic sequence of their course and moving on to macroeconomics, they will be introduced to macroeconomics in the beginning of their second year. Whenever I introduce to them macroeconomics, I always make it a point to go back to some basic microeconomic questions and make them think about how they will present their answers. Almost all of them are able to at least recognize that they have to use economic terms like Inferior goods, allocative efficiency, non-rivalry and so on.
It was then that I will emphasize to them that, compared to when they were taking economics for the first time in the beginning of JC1, there was simply no way that they could use all these terms so fluently in their answers then. I will always slow down to tell all of them, "Be encouraged! You have came a long way since the beginning of the year when you were fresh and nervous on whether you will ever do well in economics and look at yourself now! Aren't you amazed that you can use all these terms so easily and fluently
?" and of course flash my classic smile haha.
And then I will end off by stating that macroeconomics is the same thing, just use the relevant economic framework and the relevant economic terms. Of course, ideally, they will return that smile and fist pump and say, "Wow, I didn't realize that was the trick to doing well for economics until now, thank you so much!" In reality, they will just stare back at me with an expression-less face haha.
Haha, but those whose love language is Words of Affirmation, we are aware
of that reality but it really doesn't matter to me. But after watching SNSD performing this song again really reminded me why the phrase "You have came a long way since" is my favorite WOA and I can only smile thinking about how the Holy Spirit often reminds me of this whenever I go through tough times and am discouraged. I have no doubt that when I was saying those words to the students in the macro introduction, I am using the exact phrasing in which the Holy Spirit uses to reassure me when I am down, thank you Jesus!
Mnet Asia Music Awards 2011 was held in Singapore for the first time and I have to say, among all the performances, Suju's one tops them all! The SNSD one was disappointing for me but I guess this was also because I normally do not like remixes of songs, which the 9 girls did. While I did not bother watching that SNSD performance after the awards ceremony, I kept replaying the Suju one and enjoyed every part of it haha.
It was interesting hearing Suju talk about how they planned this particular performance. Since this Mama 2011 is trying to spread kpop to the rest of the world, they wanted to present a concept on how it would be like if there was no music at all. After I heard that, I thought, "Ahh, that explains the "Arrest" part at the beginning of a member of Miss A, and how Super Junior, through Siwon, managed to fight off the people trying to arrest him and thus saving music, leading to their "Superman" song." I thought that was very creative.Evolution of music sales in the Internet age
Also, I took this time to note more carefully the lyrics of the song "Superman" and I realized something interesting, the song is largely a tribute to their fans, especially with one part that goes, "I don't need to feel lonely because I have SM entertainment and Elfs", with Elfs meaing "Ever lasting friends", a term use to denote Suju's fans. No wonder all those young fans are crazy over them with lyrics like that haha.
With this realization, plus recalling my earlier article
on how Napster and digital downloading has changed the music industry permanently and I thought, "Ahh, Super Junior and kpop in general is really showing us how music must evolve." Basically, no recording studio can afford not to "get closer" to the fans and it would be an epic failure to just rely on selling recorded music in the age of Youtube and Mediafire.
As Suju have shown us, you have to develop a very close rapport with your "consumers". The basic economic principle again is that, while songs off a CD are largely non-rival and non-excludable, a close rapport with fans can be made excludable, thus allowing a record company to still make money.
While in that article I noted how holding concerts regularly will achieve that since the concert experience is largely excludable, I also learn this new term called "fan service" where in a concert performance with so many members in a band, each member can stand at one area of a concert hall and smile, wave and basically do a lot of "actions" so that those hardcore fans who paid the highest price tickets to stand near the concert stage can see you clearly and they will go gaga over you.
In the above video for example, Siwon was doing that for a particular section of the crowd in "Superman" and you can probably guess how those fans nearest to him will go gaga since he is supposed to be the best looking male in the group.
Basically, music is now a visual experience and that can be made excludable. Of course, songs with such lyrics dedicated to your fans will make them very loyal to you and also make them buy many of your calenders, towels and other stuff haha. In the Mama 2011 interview, it was also cute that the leader of Suju made a point to appeal for cheaper concert tickets. Although that may not go down well with the bosses in SM entertainment, I am sure that remark will further endear Suju to all their young fans hehe.
Although many critics seems to say that Kpop is all full of the same bubble gum pop and plastic people, if you are willing to adopt an open mind and just enjoy the music, you might find quite a variety of different groups out there. In this aspect, Secret has been very refreshing.
Ji Eun quickly became my favorite in this group and how I first started noticing them was their sweet "Starlight Moonlight" song. Prior to that, I never really found them interesting but I guess it was again the classic "smiling" formula in this song that made me took note.
For this particular song, it is this performance above by them in Japan that I started to like this group. It is also easy for me to notice Ji Eun since she is the main vocalist and her smile, to me, is the most charming among the four.
Love is Move
Then after that song, it was the very fast paced "Love is move" and it took some time for me to start to like it. I was initially disappointed that the sweet image of Ji Eun was no more but then, I realized another new thing about her from this new song, she is really "meaty" too haha. One thing I remember noting in the past is how I never really like SNSD for their legs and even now, I still find them a bit too skinny for my tastes.
So I was pleasantly surprise to find in "Love is Move" song, this group of 4 girls being so "meaty" and hence curvy haha. I mean, you may call them "fat" for kpop but as far as I am concern, I love their figures! What was even better was that they can really sing live and even with such a fast paced beat, they can still dance in their heels and have their voices sounding so real and nice. Kpop has indeed came a long way since the lip-synching days of SES.
So if you prefer females that are not skinny and can sing well live, Secret is a good group to go for. And as usual, once you get hooked on a particular new song, you always go back to their earlier songs and realized that they are quite good too. While Madonna was decent, I found their Shy Boy very cute too!
And I realized that Secret really like this particular dance choreography of the "making circular motions with open palms", as this was seen in both Shy Boy as well as well as in Love is move.
SNSD latest single, The Boys, is now doing its promotional rounds in Korea and I really love watching all their performances. After my experience
with T-ara's Roly Poly, where I realized they really lip-synch so much in their live performances, it was refreshing to hear SNSD singing live in all their latest performances.
From those, it is clear to me that the three singers in SNSD with the most demanding lines are Taeyeon, Seohyun and Jessica. Since the three of them are among the main vocals in SNSD, it is a wise choice but it was really cute hearing Jessica straining to sing in many of those performances haha. You can see that Yuri, Hyoyeon and Soo Young specialized in the dancing and rapping parts, according to their strengths. As for Yoona, she specialized in "looking good" I guess, which is clearly her main strength in SNSD haha.