73 | Buoy

It’s been a very long while, hasn’t it?

I’m usually quite punctual with my posts, at least once a week or in the busiest of periods, once a month. But I’ve not been here for close to 1.5 months! Mainly because I’m trying to find new direction, both for the blog and for my life. I’m actually trawling through the photo roll for the past month and a half right now and I can assure you that you didn’t miss much, really.

The following four pictures are going to be a quick recap of the past 1.5 months so.. keep up!

IMG_4184140214 Operation Valentines’ with Chapter + 02’s Valentine’s Day celebration

IMG_4295140220 Concluding the last of our presentations for Year 1 w/ ITB group

IMG_4556140307 Lunch before ASEAN Connect w/ Cynthia

IMG_4563140307 Dinner at 18Chefs w/ Cynthia, Russ & Weiyong

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That was a quick run through, but basically, I’ve completed Year 1!

If you ask me to summarize what it’s been like these 6 weeks in a word, it would, without doubt, be burdensome.

Very honestly, I have not been happy all this while. Ever since the Rebecca Minkoff card case incident it’s almost like I’ve been jinxed. I know I’ve always been happy doing juggling 101 things at a go but I think I’ve reached a point where I finally realize: I may be busy, not productive. What then is the point? I’m basically tiring myself out with things that mean a lot to me but I do not truly work for. Because of bad time management and perhaps even bad workload management, I’m going through the motions but not truly achieving anything. This left me sad, disoriented and increasingly fed up with myself. It’s a vicious cycle, you can see. I was truly beginning to lose steam all the way towards exams, like an airplane falling out of the sky (if I ever did cruise that high) and I felt dejected. When the holidays came, I basically lapsed into a slump. For once I felt really alone and vulnerable but at the same time it was exhilarating to not have to account to anyone for once.

My current status is still as per stated above ie. dejected, but there are definitely some things that have changed about me. I have become increasingly certain about specific things, such as the people who truly mean the world to me, people like my family, Jean, Liansheng, Buddy, etc. I guess it’s the toughest times that show you who will hang around you still.

Secondly, I’ve still been lurking around in the literary scene. Or should I say, lurking as an audience of the literary/arts scene. I’ve still been watching shows (as you’ll notice the Been There Done That page is still constantly being updated) and so far I’ve covered two very wonderful plays, a Yue opera piece called the Good Person of Szechwan, and coincidentally my translation lecturer sat beside me and explained a lot of what I didn’t know to me. Of course, I came out grinning like a bobcat, and when my parents come to pick me they have to endure an endless tirade of how marvellous the show was. This then repeated itself when I went to watch a Cantonese opera piece titled The Mad Phoenix. Clearly I have inherited Mummy’s penchant for opera shows! On the writing end, I really haven’t been writing as much, because I’m busy with life, but there have been moments when I felt like I would have an actual unsavoury physical reactions to words not being put on a page (like vomiting) so I had to pen them down.

Lastly, the one thing that kept me sane through this madness: sodagreen.
You may or may not have heard of this Chinese folk/rock/pop/indie band called 蘇打绿 Sodagreen but when I really felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown, it was their songs that sustained me through the day. It came to a point where I was just desperately looking forward to breaks just to have their music in my ears. Their songs are all either curative or invigorating in nature, with a range of toned-down songs like 独处的时候 When I’m Alone that heals you when you’re at your weakest (and ends with a message to look forward) to upbeat ones like 小宇宙 Little Universe which invigorates the self and encourages being considerate for society. For the first time I found myself thinking, Ah, this is what music should sound like. It doesn’t hurt that Sodagreen is very down-to-earth and lead singer QingFeng is especially witty and charming. I mean, this is the kind of character I could fall for. Their songs are not gender-specific, which is a feat in itself, and add that to the powerful lyrics (all self-written and self-composed) that touch on Chinese history, use a range of euphuistic Chinese phrases and words (some of which I didn’t even recognize, shame on me), are spot-on when it comes to hitting you in the heart with raw emotion and you have got, arguably, the most prolific band in Chinese history.

I guess from here, the rest of the holidays will be spent sorting my room (and my life) out, but this definitely won’t be the last post for March. I’ll be back, I’m not sure with what material though, possibly with beauty reviews – I’ve been deliberating for so long already – or even just non-beauty favourites.. I’m not sure yet! We’ll see.

Ending off with a list of dramas I’m chasing: Emergency Couple, Three Days & Ugly Alert! They (sort-of) fill in the gaps between theatre shows and whet my appetite for the big stage. 😉

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68 | Heirs 상속자들

왕관을 쓰려는 자, 그 무게를 견뎌라 – 상속자들
The one who wants to wear the crown, bears its weight – the Inheritors

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Cr: x

My, my. What a storm this drama unleashed in my life.

When I first saw Eunice watching it, she told me I should begin watching it after exams. I don’t usually watch dramas on recommendation, even less so from first episode. At that point in time, Heirs had created a buzz in the K-netizen community, what with its star-studded cast. I still wasn’t tempted to watch it.

My first encounter with it was right before exams. Yep, you got it. No amount of persuasion except exams could have made me watch Heirs. It also turned out to be the most disastrous persuasion because at that time, Heirs was at Ep 16. Within 2 days, I went from Ep 1 to Ep 16 and became a completely obsessed fan. I covered 8 episodes in a day and even found a streaming link for the next episode so I could watch it live. Talk about obsession.

This drama is fresh in many ways, and this would have heavily influenced its success. First – it depicts the life of chaebol, which is not a subject matter you often see. Rich people, yes, but children of chaebol? No, not that I remember. Second – it had its pick among idol actors as well as seasoned veterans. They also chose their leads wisely, Park Shin Hye with 10 years of acting experience and Lee Min Ho with multiple blockbuster dramas like Boys Over Flowers, City Hunter, Faith: The Great Doctor, Personal Preference under his belt. He has more Facebook likes than Big Bang, by the way, and that makes him a force to be trifled with >) Jokes aside, the two of them lent a lot of help with their popularity to the drama. Interestingly, they cast breakout actors like Kim Woo Bin, Krystal Jung and Kang Min Hyuk. Last but not least, the OST. The OST is really a work of art. I’ve never been so obsessed with the OST of any drama before! The lyrics are not only heartbreaking but fit the context of the show to a T, so much so that when you hear the song on its own, it conjures up images of the show. Powerful, poignant parts of the show. If this isn’t a success formula, I don’t know what is.

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Credit: x

Of course, Heirs has had its fair share of detractors saying that Park Shin Hye’s character is a flat one, simply because she’s like a rag doll being pushed around by men. I beg to differ. All along, Park Shin Hye’s character, Cha Eun Sang,  as the object of desire, has always had the last call in her hands. The boys have nothing on her if she doesn’t want to have anything to do with them, and I think that’s where the charm in their love lines lie – two men fighting for one woman’s love fiercely, and the ultimate choice being in her hands. Or at least, that’s what it is for me. It’s interesting because the two men are such well-carved characters with very distinct caricatures. Arguably, it might be a bit formulaic, but the characters painted here got me hook, line and sinker.

I won’t talk about the Kim Tan x Cha Eun Sang love line because I jumped off that ship at Ep 16. It felt like it was dragging way too long for me – one running, the other catching, a constant hide and seek. If you want this love, you fight for it. I’m not going to sit around and wait for you to finally figure out (after a long series of trial and tribulation) that hey, you actually want it. So let me focus on the Choi Young Do x Cha Eun Sang love line first.

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Credits: x

I hated Choi Young Do from the get-go, I really did – a really douche-y, hard-bent on revenge jerk. He didn’t seem to care for anyone at all, and that’s why I hated him so badly. But as the drama progressed, I did an about-face and fell head-over-heels for him. How does one resist the way he does things quietly behind her back, protecting her in ways that she cannot see and will never acknowledge? He is reckless at times, but even in those times we see his humanity, the softer side of him that shines through. He’s also charming in his speech – Kim Woo Bin has done a mighty fine job of portraying him.

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Credits: x

Let me digress for a second and tell you how capable Kim Woo Bin is. He’s a model turned actor, and he is possibly one of the people I admire most in the industry, possibly because he has a girlfriend and he’s not afraid of going public with her because according to him, “The meeting of a man and woman is nothing to be secretive about.” I’ve been into K-entertainment since 2008 and so far, he’s one of the only ones who have ever dared to say something like that. He’s also a riot during fanmeetings. 😉 Since his breakout role in School 2013, he’s only come further in Heirs, depicting a more dynamic character as Choi Young Do. Where Park Heung-Soo was rarely emotional, in this drama he maintains a fine balance of emotion and that heady mix of charm. Now you know why I like him.

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Credits: x

Of all the scenes in the show, the ones I loved best all involved fighting. Not because it was two guys fighting over one girl, but because the way they fought was riveting to watch. Their words were like knives, cutting just at the right spots. They were self-controlled and played mind games more than physical fist fights which I enjoyed greatly. There was so much you could feel just from someone throwing his chopsticks down or from someone approaching the table. The animosity was well-portrayed and the actual fist fights beautifully orchestrated. I wish I’d see more of these rather polite, cordial fighting scenes in other dramas instead of the usual “Hey, you deserve this!” *punch* kind of scenes.

I honestly would have loved for Cha Eun Sang and Choi Young Do to get together. I think if Kim Tan was a character who could give Cha Eun Sang what she wanted, then Choi Young Do was someone who would pull all the stops to love her. Some would say it was childish of him to do things like use his empire’s website to look for her, but quite honestly, I think that’s bravery. Choi Young Do would stop at nothing and he knows no greater loss than the loss of Cha Eun Sang, but Kim Tan has more burdens and has much more to lose. Yet the show would never have been as poignant had it been Choi Young Do who’d ended up with Cha Eun Sang simply because Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang have come so far and had the stakes raised too high for them. Choi Young Do is the ideal character to lose in this game because of the amount of things he’d gambled away, which upped the stakes for him, but he was also assured an inheritance. Kim Tan would have lost thoroughly. The sad ending wouldn’t have done well for ratings at all, would it?

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Credits: x

Choi Young Do’s theme song in this drama was a song called 상장통 2 Growing Up Pains by Cold Cherry and it is by far one of my favourite songs in the entire show. Just a snapshot of the lyrics before we move on –

사랑 난 배운 적이 없는데 왜 이런 맘이 나에게
I haven’t learnt about love, so why do these feelings come to me?
감당할 수도 없게 아파서 다가갈 수 조차 없는 나
It hurts so much that I can’t handle it, so I can’t approach you.

이젠 더는 견딜 수 없는데 왜 이런 아픔 나에게
I can’t bear this any more, why has such pain come to me?
한참 동안을 이럴 것 같아 너로 인해 베어진 날개
I think I’ll be like this for a while, my wings have been cut up because of you.

How can your heart not hurt for him?

The cutest couple of the year also has to be from Heirs, none other than cloyingly sweet Chanyoung and Bona.

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Credits: x

This was probably the best written couple I have ever seen in dramas. What makes it so interesting is that we have two characters with very distinct impressions – Bona with her bratty, overly possessive self, Chanyoung with his straight-A, filial son self – fitted with quirks that are equally distinct – Bona’s way of showing love with her jealousy, Chanyoung who actually finds her jealousy cute – made to mesh and interact with each other. This couple gave the show an added dimension because of their links to their main pair, but they held their own as a subplot of the drama. Very well-written indeed!

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Credits: x

Hyo Shin and Hyun Joo were another couple in the show that I liked but felt was too flat. In contrast to Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang or even Bona and Chanyoung, there was no healthy push and pull. From the very beginning it was already established that Hyo Shin would always be the flailing boy who lost his first love, and Hyun Joo the one who only had eyes for another man. It was flat, predictable and not necessarily a pretty sight. In fact, other than counselling and mediating Kim Tan and Youngdo’s fight, it would seem that Hyo Shin served no purpose in the entire drama.

Heirs_Kim_Won Kim-Ji-Won-the-heirs-2Credits: x & x

Here we come to the characters with the most unclear motivations of the entire drama. Yoo Rachel, whilst having a really cool Korean name, has a really unhealthy obsession with Kim Tan, and in trying to get her way she does a number of odd things that even I wouldn’t understand. For one, why would you throw Eun Sang’s uniform in the trash instead of outrightly humiliating her? Why would you stop halfway, given your intensity of hatred? As for Kim Won, seeing Eun Sang and Kim Tan’s success in dating, why would you not go after Hyun Joo? Despite your occasional softening, you still manage to maintain a steely exterior, and your mistrust in Kim Tan after a while just gets old and can’t be backed up with a simple “He could steal my inheritance.” any more, so it was slightly disappointing, but I did enjoy Choi Jin Hyuk and Kim Ji Won’s portrayal of these two characters. True to character, but I feel that the motivations could be clarified a little further.

As Joonni put it, “I’ve watched too many dramas to be surprised by any direction this drama will take me. I’m ready for all the good and bad. But I still can’t help but cry, yell, complain, and laugh as I watch the characters I have grown to love and care for, despite all their faults and for all their faults, face the realities of life and growing up. Perhaps you believed too much in love, Tan, Eun Sang, and Young Do. Perhaps your love is not enough to protect the one you want. What decisions will you make? What paths will you take? What lessons will you learn? Let me walk this journey with you.” This drama has been a journey we’ve taken with Kim Tan, Cha Eun Sang, Choi Young Do and the numerous others, to learn what it means to wear their own crowns. I wish they’d produce a Heirs 2, simply because I need to see Young Do (and maybe, pretty please, Won too?) find a *cough* favourable closure, but also because it would mean so much to see what the aftermath of putting on that crown would be.

Heirs has earned its place as the best drama in 2013 for me, and I couldn’t find a better contender to have this title. 상속자들 최고!

66 | Augenblick

German (n.) lit. “in the blink of an eye”; a ‘decisive moment’ in time that is fleeting, yet momentously eventful and incredibly significant.

I’m finally back here after the hell that was presentation week. I finally feel like all my previous “hells” finally culminated into one blowup week, and I’m not even sure how 5/7 weeks of hell even occurred, but the important thing is, it’s over, and I am pretty much free to do whatever I want. Nah just kidding, I still have term papers.

I actually drafted this post something like 2 weeks ago, but because WordPress and iPhone photos don’t like each other, I couldn’t flip images. I tried everything, rotating on iPhone, rotating on my computer, rotating on WordPress, and nothing worked, until the idea hit me to try the iPhone WordPress app. Ya right? Slow. All these pictures here could date way back, but they’re here now, so enjoy!

Hit Cake Spade with Janice during HBL Week, and I had a really embarrassing moment there. Janice will give me grief for a lifetime with this one scene. All this hubbub started with that transparent cup you see. Usually in cafes they serve cappuccinos or coffees in general with white cups and or large glasses but I swear I’d never seen a cappuccino in a transparent teacup with a transparent saucer to match. Apparently I said “WOW!?” really loudly and Janice didn’t even dare to look at the server. Talk about shame hahaha.

Exciting incidents aside, I finally tried the tofu cheesecakes which were highly raved about. Was it up to the hype? Let’s just say I had 3 slices of cake that day. Just can’t get enough of that stuff. I mean, the fruits are fresh, the cheesecake is not too thick and it’s not very sweet either. Really appreciated the digestive biscuit base and it tasted delicious too! Bought more cakes to share with the family and busted about $80 on cakes alone. Now no one will believe me when I said I never used to be a dessert girl. In my defence, I am still not one, I’m just a cake kinda girl. 🙂

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Janice also ordered a ramekin which was way too sweet for me. This will tickle all you chocolate lovers out there, but I like dark chocolate and this was just sweet. Cloyingly sweet. Didn’t finish this but it was so pretty I had to take a photo of it!

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In most exciting news this week, my Daniel Wellington watch arrived! I’d been eyeing the watch from Justtangy for a few weeks and when Kwerkee had a preorder, I just couldn’t resist. I thought the Classy watches would be too small for me, although the Swarovski crystals were pretty, so I ordered the Classic with two straps – the Oxford strap was from Justtangy and the original Bristol strap. Changing the strap was the first thing I did – I mean, I see no sense in wearing leather to school everyday. Maybe for functions. I really enjoy the Oxford strap though, fall colours like navy blue, royal red and emerald green are my absolute favourites and I really can’t stop looking at the time now. 🙂

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Another event that nearly drove me crazy with happiness was when my little girl Charis came back from Beijing for a few days. She’s really got my me wrapped round her pinky finger. She is really good at manja-ing me, by the way. I can never resist her. Anyway I hope my little one enjoyed her stay. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I suppose that’s true. 🙂

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Outside matters aside, every day has been really enjoyable with 02. One thing about 02 is that we are all friends. If we bitch about someone, we’ll go and tell that person in their face, sooner or later. We trust each other, and we’re basically classroom hooligans. Asked Ms Juliana during PTN what her impression of 02 was and she said “dynamic”. ORLY? Just dynamic? Nah, we’re basically energy on legs. Whether it’s having class lunch or having unglams posted (cough, Micaela, cough) I really enjoy their company and they make me miss school on the days I decide to, er, call in sick. I hope we preserve this camaraderie until we’re in Year 3 and beyond, because God knows this is hard to come by.

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Also celebrated birthdays with my family this month. 🙂 Here are all the kids in a rare family shot (and probably one of the few that were actually successful) that a family girl like me would cherish for life. Stuffed myself at the Crystal Jade steamboat.. but then again I’ve not been watching my diet these few days.

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If I didn’t get my information wrong, I believe we’re the first and the earliest class in HR to take both presentations and boy, was it a rush. I basically slept all of 3 hours before DBE presentation, and slept 15 minutes for FOM presentation, and mind you these were on Tuesday and Wednesday, not to mention they came after a week in which I only slept 20 hours in total. That will explain the eyebags and the bad complexion. I have no idea why they choose to stuff a project with such a wide scope within one term, but we did it anyway. I mean, we’re used to this right? Business students are used to making miracles with presentations anyway. /sigh/

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More recent shots after our last presentation. I completely have no mood to study for my written papers now that I’m done with my presentations and that’s a really ominous sign. That also says that the picture above is me step studying. On the same day, Claudia and I both turned up in nautical-themed tops, and I discovered how many people in class were into Heirs.. basically about 1/4 of the class is hooked on this drama and we’re basically just catching up to each other’s speeds and trying not to spoil it for the rest.

Having said that, Heirs is a really good show. I mean, it’s rare for me to like a Korean drama because they’re so melodramatic, and truth be told I really go for actors/actresses – if there’s a few people I like you can be sure I’ll be watching it. All these are rather chanced upon because I don’t naturally start watching on my own. I watched Heirs because Eunice recommended it and I was bored after FOM presentation on Wednesday – and boy did I regret not heeding her advice to start after exams. With Chanyoung, Kim Tan and later Hyo Shin, they got me hook, line and sinker. I thought my heart would shatter for Cha Eun Sung’s plight but no, it shattered for Kim Tan’s predicament. 😦 I am now stuck at Ep 16 trying to wait patiently and not buy a ticket to Korea and rob the SBS studio for the remaining 4 eps. Worse still it’s broadcasted twice a week (and I thought waiting for On Call 2 was bad!) and I am not the most patient of people. Which you might have gathered already, from the way I’m speaking like a drug addict would.

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The past few weeks have been tough on me and the people around me. I’ve been easily irritable, although I don’t get angry easily. I keep babbling when I’m tired (because I just can’t shut up, can I?) and that must have irritated the people around me to no end. School wasn’t the only thing to hit, there were a few other things and deadlines going on at the same time as well, but despite being relieved that it’s over, I realized that I don’t really lament my busy days. I lament the days when I’m stuck at home feeling shitty with nothing to do but I don’t complain about the days in which I only have 3 hours to sleep. This amount of activity scares me because I’m never sure how much more my body can take, but the thought of having nothing to do scares me even more. In fact, it frightens me stiff. My time with SRT’s The Young Co. ends next January and other than some personal reasons why I’d be quite heartbroken to leave, I’m terrified that I’ll have nothing to while away my time. I’m currently tossing around the idea of going for another mentorship programme, or taking a second diploma in translation. Let’s see how much I can save, I guess. I quite like the idea of leaving my writing alone for a while and relaxing myself by indulging in languages.

SRT-TYC has been an amazing journey thus far. We concluded our last external workshop with Rikki, touring director of Peter Brook’s The Suit and have one last workshop with Bill on 7 Dec. Our short pieces will be going into production after that and the trepidation and insecurities are doing me no good. Next year on, we’ll part ways and though the industry is small, I’ll have no reason to meet my other lovely playwrights again. Over this year we’ve met almost every week. We’ve exchanged works, talked about insecurities, caught amazing shows together, and I’ll miss them dearly. I’ve grown close to a few of them and they’re all people I don’t think I could be here without. At this point of time I guess I’ll just have to reiterate my own point that every moment is fleeting and every meeting, transient. These are people I’ll continue loving and memories I won’t quickly forget. They’ve started me on a journey that I hope won’t see completion anytime soon, and where it goes from here is my own call. 🙂 It’s always nice to know I have buddies around though. It makes me feel like this is less of a steep cliff, but rather, just an uphill climb.

Exams will be over in a week, and then it’s partying all the way till New Year’s Day. Till the next time, then! x