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Friday, 31 January 2014

An unscientific look at K-Pop through album covers

While this Singapore nerd only started listening to Korean pop music (K-Pop) in the last five years, it is also the period where there's a huge explosion in the music scene with new acts mushrooming every other day and each one trying to drown out (pun intended) the competition.

Hence I thought it would be a fun exercise to look at the different styles used on the covers for albums, mini-albums, repackaged albums and singles through the years. I know there are rabid K-Pop fans out there who will tear me to pieces for writing anything remotely negative about their idols. Therefore my unbiased analysis revolves strictly on the merits of the covers and not on the popularity of the songs/singers/music labels.

Fans may argue that album/single cover art matters little since they will lap up whatever their idols release, regardless of how the cover looks. But one should also note that the cover visuals represent the act's branding and how their music labels are marketing them to cement their image.
It is ironic that in the digital era where legal/illegal downloads far surpass physical CD album sales, album covers play an even more critical role than before. You may chuck your CD cases aside after you pop the CD into your hi-fi, but for listeners on computers or mobile devices, the album cover will always be there on your playlist.

I don't claim to be an expert in K-Pop and I don't expect everyone to agree with my analysis. I'm just someone who enjoys listening and following the Korean music scene.  Read my full analysis below.

Musings on Korean Wave & K-Pop

APink showcase in Singapore 2013

 1. K-Pop idol

Don't be too happy if a female colleague said you look like a K-Pop idol - she could mean you look like Psy. 

2. Girl band

Only in the twisted world of K-Pop would the ugliest girl in a girl band be accused of pursuing her stardom dream by nepotism and not by the honest hard work through cosmetic surgery, anorexia and bulimia.

3. Cosmetic surgery

I'm 99% sure the British Royal Baby will inherit the dashing good looks from his photogenic parents, just as I'm 100% sure I belonged to the same factory as my sister looking at the shape and size of the product manufacturers. But the scions of the Korean Pop princes and princesses born with button nose and single eyelids would need to verify their hereditary with their showbiz parents by looking at the 'Before' photo prior to them going under the knife.

4. Song lyrics

IF you find English songs too vulgar and in-your-face with Flo Rida hoping that you will blow his Whistle and Katy Perry wanting to see your Peacock, evergreen Chinese songs like 明明白白我的心 (Understand How I Feel) and 月亮代表我的心 (The Moon Represents My Heart) could be too mushy and coy for your taste. Then K-Pop might provide the solution with Sweet-Yound-Things cooing common refrains like 어떻게 (eotteoke) - 'how', and 몰라 (molla) - 'I don’t know'. But it is a fine line separating youthful innocence and blatant acting blur.

5. Similarities between K-Pop bands and Samsung devices

1. All come in different shapes and sizes, there's bound to be one you like.
2. In a rush to market, each phone has only half as many features as you would hope for, much like the sea of singles and EPs with very few full albums.
3. How it looks on the outside has no bearing on the inside.
4. Building on foundation of western styles.
5. On the path to world domination!

6. Only a K-Pop fan will understand this

The father was planning a birthday party for his son.
He said:"son, tell you a Secret. After School at 2PM, I,U, your teacher Miss A and her Sistar will throw a Shinee Big Bang party for you and paint the whole SM Town red, A Pink, Orange Caramel, CNBlue or any colours of the Rainbow you like! We can have Kara-oke singing your favourite Girls' Generation tunes,till 4Minute to 2AM! " The son was elated."Super!" Junior shouted like a Beast.

Please read my other K-Pop post 'An unscientific look at K-Pop through album covers' here

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Three things everyone should never reject, and three things no one should ever accept:

Everyone should never reject:
1.A hug. It will soothe all wounds.
2.A tissue paper from a stranger. He could be hinting to you to wipe off that chilli stain on your cheek which you sported for the past 1 hour.
3.An invitation to be included in a photo. It could turn out to be your most cherished one.

No one should ever accept:
1.A free time-share talk no matter how enticing the sweetener is. You are never gonna recoup 2hours of your life.
2.A lunch/dinner appointment from a long-lost acquaintance to 'catch up', since it will be on the pretext for selling insurance, multi-level marketing junks, borrow money or all 3 of the above.
3.Anything at face value. Question everything and live an enlightened life.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Life’s ups and downs

At school, we were taught to sing ‘Stand Up for Singapore’, but were ordered by the teachers to sit down and pipe down.

At home, we were encouraged to hook up the broadband and surf up to enrich ourselves, but cost-saving parents will tell us to power down and lie down.

On the ground, we were told to speak up for the downtrodden but online vigilantes were reminded to calm down and not get easily fed up.

In life, we should live up to the Swiss way of life, but when costs are up in this economic downturn, some will downgrade while others move Down Under.

While this is not a downright uplifting piece, please don’t be downcast or upset. With our sleeves rolled up, let’s remain upbeat because I’m sure eventually, things will look up. :)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Six signs that you are in an old shopping mall in Singapore

1. The information counter is still located at the ground floor and manned by the senior citizen security guard who is watching TV half the time.

2. Toilets are accessible without walking through 100m of labyrinth passageway and clearly marked with universally recognised MEN and WOMEN stick figures and not some arty-farty pop-art icons that you need 5mins to decipher.

3. The electronic and music shop still sells VHS video recorder and cassette tapes respectively.

4. You will need to do a grand tour of the entire car park looking for an empty lot without the help of the overhead light indicator, and when you find one, you discover that it is smaller than the one you practiced at the driving school.

5. The shop tenants have names ending with 'Enterprise' or 'Trading' and have sold different products in the past years cashing in on the latest fads like bubble-tea and phone accessories.

6. There's always that one shop with CLEARANCE SALE as its signboard for the past few years and its boss looks suspiciously like he also owns the another unit close by with the name of REMOVAL SALE.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Anton Casey - can stay one

To quote a Chinese saying- things can anyhow eat, but words cannot anyhow say. For the former, the worst you can get is a personal stomach upset, for the latter, it is a national upset that no one can stomach.
I just feel that we should all live and let live since the man has apologised and willing to do community work. But he has since fled the country. I appeal to my fellow Singaporeans to give him a chance to come back to Singapore in peace and not tear him into pieces.  Moreover his name can  be rearranged to become 'can stay one'.
So how? Can lah.

Friday, 24 January 2014

I hate Lee Kuan Yew

I absolutely hate Lee Kuan Yew! Not only does he live a whopping 10yrs (and counting) more than the average life expectancy rate of 80yrs for Singapore men attributed to his healthy lifestyle, he also doesn't seems to be retiring anytime soon! It is a good wake-up call for junk food binge-eating lazy couch potatoes like me.

Update: 24 March 2015- My humble tribute to our Founding Father

Thursday, 23 January 2014

I'm a Racist

I'm proud to declare in my blog that I'm a Racist! I’m against the mad Rat Race, we should spend more time to smell the roses. I’m also against the Amazing Race for winning the Emmy Best Reality Series for umpteen times. Most of all, I’m against the entire Human Race for destroying this beautiful planet.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Three WTF photos captured in my neighbourhood

 Your career path is literally spelt out in front of you.

The Town Council staff must have a "buy 1 get 1 free" deal from the banner printer and feels the residents need an instant reminder.

(photo taken from the back of bus service number 307)
 tskfood- Will the company considered it a success if their food taste as how you would pronounce the company name?  

Friday, 17 January 2014

(Mis)adventures in blogging

Barely a week since I began promoting my blog extensively, I’ve received infractions from online forums and rejections from free classified ad sites left right centre! I would have better luck selling a used tissue paper than a humour blog which doesn’t fit into any Sale categories neatly. Even in the ‘Freebies’ section, I’m having trouble deciding what I’m offering my readers - Laughs? Eye-rolling exercises? I stumbled upon a foreign community site and was happily clicking the Friendship tab when I was greeted by multiple entries all showing close-up shots of their owners' erected manhood. It is a sight that can’t be unseen. It is a roller-coaster ride in Cyberspace theme-park so far and with a helmet and barf bag on hand, I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Don't get tongue-tied this Oscar season with this pronunciation guide to these difficult names

Best Picture/Director:
Alfonso Cuarón, (Gravity)
Pronunciation: al-FONE-zo kwah-ROAN

Best Director:

Martin Scorsese, (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Pronunciation: MAR-tin score-SEH-zee

Best Actor:

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
CHOO-ih-tell EDGE-ee-oh-for

Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
MATH-yoo Mih-KAH-nuh-hay

Supporting Actor:
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Pronunciation: JAIR-red LET-oh

Barkhad Abdi, (Captain Phillips)
Pronunciation: BAR-cod AHB-DEE

Supporting Actress:

Lupita Nyong'o, (12 Years a Slave)
Pronunciation: lew-PEET-tuh en-YON-go

The Oscar LIVE ceremony will be on Mon 3 March 2014 morning Singapore time.

Click here for the full list of the nominees

Serina 'Swee'

Looking at the media's (and my) insatiable appetite on fashionista Serina Wee, I firmly believe that if you are pretty, you'll look pretty no matter what you wear. And for the majority of us not in the same league, we can only stock up on our wardrobe and argue that it is the 'clothes that maketh the man'. And most often, we neglect the one attire we should be paying the most attention to- our birthday suit.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


You know how you tend to believe something the more you hear it being repeated? Ever since I joined the company,  the Office Despatch Uncle has constantly addressed me as "帅哥" (handsome dude) so much so that I've decided to give the next MediaCorp Star Search a go and give Tay Ping Hui and Desmond Tan a run for their money. I only realised recently that this Office Uncle couldn't remember names to save his life and is calling female staff "美女"(pretty babe). While I'm nursing a deflated ego, I dread bumping into him at Geylang or some night-spots as it could cause some serious misunderstanding.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Free food

I always love this time of the year when you can have a buffet meal for FREE at Chinatown! For starters, dig in to some prawn crackers with flavoured peanuts and pumpkin seeds; for mains, you can have Taiwan mochi in more than 30 flavours with seaweed and Japanese mushroom as side dishes. For dessert, why not try some cold refreshing Taiwan fruit jelly and flush down with a hot cup of coffee. For after-dinner show, you can watch DVDs of Chinese New Year songs. Who says Singapore is an expensive city? Burp!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Five reasons why Lunar New Year is better than Xmas:

Five reasons why Lunar New Year is better than Xmas:
1. You receive only one type of present from everyone- $$$, and with it, you can buy your own present, instead of the crappy stuffs you received over Xmas.

2. You can save $$$ and recycle your unwanted chocolates received over Xmas to treat your guests. If you have none left, feel free to tabao some from the places you visited and offer at your house.

3. Twelve days of Christmas celebration is long, but Spring Festival lasts 15 days- 3 more days to feast and gamble.

4. "Merry Christmas" and "Peace on Earth" are no match for more practical and auspicious greetings of Prosperity and Good health.

5. Only those homes visited by God of Fortune at the beginning of the year will have enough $$$ for good ol Santa to work his magic in December. Where you think Santa's budget comes from?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Chinese Zodiac

 It would be interesting to see how the design committee tackle the poultry animals in the Chinese Zodiac like Goat, Rooster and Pig. Perhaps they can draw their inspiration from tasty lamb stew, juicy chicken chop and mouth-watering bak kwa and rope in partners like Makansutra or Lim Chee Guan. It will be a big hit for food-loving Singaporeans!

 photo from The New Paper 9 Jan

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Movie download

Crowd of 100 refused to leave Rex Cinema after movie premiere was cancelled

It is reported that the cinema "could not download the film in time". While I'm sure it is all legal, with rampant piracy in the region, the cinema might have better luck searching bit torrent sites where different formats can be found: FLV, AVI, MOV, MP4, MKV, even in 720p or 1080p no less.

24 MRT stations to pilot free Wi-Fi service

Shouldn't all good transport systems strive to ferry passengers from Point A to B in the shortest time possible and not introduce features that will create more congestion? Will I see armies of retirees with their tablets invading the platforms and streaming their K-Dramas, adding noise pollution to the mix?

TODAYonline news story 


Those sick of the usual Chinese cheesy new year songs can listen to my favourite Korean babes Girls' Generation wishing all "吉 吉 吉 吉 baby baby" in both Korean and Japanese!



Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year resolutions

If you have already failed to keep your new year resolutions, just treat it as a warm-up since you actually meant to start after Lunar New Year. And if that doesn't take off, just consider it a test run since deep down you really want to sync with the start of April financial year as part of your collective KPI. Creative resolving is fun!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Do-Not-Call Registry

Similar to the country's new Do-Not-Call Registry, there should be a Do-Not-Post Registry for Facebook to stop parents from posting embarrassing naked baby photos of their adult children, and colleagues from posting unflattering shots of yourself from that wild company D&D.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

My wishes for 2014

My wishes for 2013: bigger stamps for my eyes to only look at people's strengths and not their flaws, Hobbit's strong feet to withstand office landmines, and The Rock' broad shoulders for friends to cry on.