락 Rock 樂 (락락락) (Rock Rock Rock)

I can’t believe this drama has not had a lot of publicity since its release in December 2010. Why?!

Disregarding the unbelievably good-looking lead actor No Min Woo (who, by the way, did a brilliant job at portraying Kim Tae Won’s character), the concept of this four episode documentary drama is very good in itself.

We all wonder what the secret to success is, believing that there is one somewhere, when in fact, there is none. To succeed, one must first find the seed of talent within oneself, and then endeavour to nurture it into something more.

This drama is about Korea’s renown guitarist, leader of Boohwul (‘resurrect’), one of the most successful rock bands in Korean music history, Kim Tae Won. Obviously, there was exceptional guitar-playing thoroughout the drama. I believe most of these scenes were done by No Min Woo himself as he is a very talented guitar player. One must commend the screenwriters for turning Kim Tae Won’s life endeavours into a compelling script in which director Lee Won Ik adapted into a well-made drama.

After watching this drama, I quickly did a search of one of Boohwul’s initial lead vocals, Lee Seung Chul. Being a fan of ballads, discovering the king of Korean ballads was like an early Christmas present. Forget crying to Adele’s songs (which I don’t, so I do not understand why people do…), I don’t even know what he’s singing about (I don’t understand Korean), but hearing his unbelievable voice, the way he sings so effortlessly, makes me want to cry.

Here’s a link to one of Boohwul’s most popular song, ‘Never ending story’ (2002) with Kim Tae Won on acoustic guitar and vocals by Lee Seung Chul:

The small things…

The other day my mother bought me a coat. Now, mother and I have rather different opinions about fashion, and so to prevent disputes, I had long told her never to buy me something without consultation first. She tends to forget. So despite feeling a little mean, I went and returned it. But deep down, I felt loved (especially considering she chose the right size).

Another event involved my dad. I have an OCD. Well, several in fact. I recently got a new mac keyboard, that unfortunately only came in white. This freaked me out because I knew that once I started typing, it would get dirty, and if it got dirty, a lot of will power would be required to overcome the smudges and continue using the thing. So I set out to buy a keyboard cover protection slip, …but didn’t find one. When I got home, lo-and-behold, there was a plastic cover on it! Makeshift though it may be, father remembered my ‘disorder’. And that made me feel loved too~

It’s always the small things…

‘Affirmation’ – Savage Garden

Savage Garden is one of my all-time favourite bands. I was devastated when they broke up in 2001. Darren Hayes is just not that awesome without Daniel Jones (still love his songs though).

This song was actually produce by Walter Afanasieff (multiple Grammy award-winning record produced and songwriter who has also produced songs for Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion!!). No wonder it was such a hit!

Just now I had my iPod on shuffle, and ‘Affirmation’ started playing. This is the THIRD time today that I have heard that song. One when listening to the morning radio station; another on the way home from uni on the afternoon radio; and now. As the saying goes:

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.” – [Goldfinger]

I have listened to this song numerous times since its first release back in 1999, but never had I actually concentrated on the lyrics and appreciated its meaning.

Now that I have, I think it’s all that more brilliant…

‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ – Muriel Barbery

A rather complex read, I opted to borrow this novel from my local library after finding myself thoroughly intrigued having watched a trailer of its French feature movie (will now endeavor to get a copy of the movie).

Despite its literary complexity, the author (and translator) has truly done a wonderful job. Simple things that we perceive in life, and things that we barely give a second’s thought, are elaborately philosophized  throughout this novel. I won’t go into the details, as frankly, I had a bit of difficulty understanding some parts, but was nevertheless able to grasp the concept. Perhaps in a few years time, I will have matured enough (and further developed my comprehension skills) to fully understand this brilliantly written novel.

It has been described as ‘the publishing phenomenon of the decade’ – Le Figaro. That alone should persuade you to read this novel. If not, you can find an indepth review of the book here.

My Life, A Journey

A long time ago I wrote this reflection on another site:

” It’s rather ironic when you think about it. ‘Life’ – a simple 4 letter word and yet no definite meaning behind it. There are many ways of thinking about life, too many to state or list.

I consider my life to be like a continuous journey. A journey to where? I’m not sure, but that’s the point isn’t it? I don’t know what my future is and so it makes sense that I don’t know where I’m heading.

A journey with many obstacles in the way because life is not an easy flat, straight road. Perhaps it is more like an obstacle course. When I am encountering a difficult situation, reflected on my journey, I am walking up a steep hill. There are many factors that define how difficult the situation may be; the steepness of the hill, height, type of road/path (rocky, sandy, etc), etc.

At present, I am probably at the foot of the biggest obstacle in my life so far. Year 12 is not an easy mound of dirt that I can just hop over, but as life is a continuous journey, I can not avoid it or stop. I know that once I reach the peak, it’s all downhill from there and satisfaction lies on the other side.

And when I reach the end of my journey and look back, I hope that I will be able to come to realise that my life was, in fact, just a journey. There are times that I can run and times that I must crawl, but it’s all a matter of taking it step by step. “

(Sometimes I marvel at my literacy skills… where has it all gone?! …)

Year 12 was indeed a big obstacle. Unfortunately, as I was continually looking back over my shoulder too see how much I’d accomplished, I did not foresee the much more difficult trek ahead – university. But of course, university is not the be-all and end-all of my journey. The future is still shrouded in mist. It’s possible (and highly likely) that another greater mountain remains to be climbed. I can’t see it at the moment. I’m still trying to do what I told myself so many years ago: “…taking it step by step.” Sometimes I want to just stop, sit down, and stare up into the sky. Days when I feel like this, I find myself wishing for a momentary lapse in time. Just a little one. Enough to let me breathe in the world around me, be thankful for what I have, and regain my composure to continue the journey.

After all these years, all this time trekking, I still feel like I haven’t ventured far from the beginning. And yet I have. And before I know it, I’ll probably reach the end. So, message to my future self:

“Feel the ground, dirt, or pebbles below your feet, no matter how sore they are. It means you are still traveling, still journeying, still living. And remember, the seemingly never-ending struggle, is really only a short journey.”

(A photo I took from the car on a family trip through the country.)

Khalil Fong 方大同

American-born Hong Kong-based soul Mandopop singer/songwriter.

Currently #1 on my music playlist. There’s just something about his voice – unique, soothing, very likeable.

Check out the links below of 2 of my favourite songs by him (so far). Yes, they’re english, but he covers Mandarin songs also.

nothings gonna change my love for you – khalil fong” (obviously he didn’t compose this one, but it’s a great cover nevertheless)

Snotty Sleeves~

Yes. Snotty sleeves. Gross? Definitely. But it was unavoidable. A singular event in my life (as far as I can remember…), hopefully it was also inconspicuous and I did it stealthily enough. Pretty sure no one gave me a disgusted look… Sigh. Should probably clarify that this happened a LONG time ago, though at that age, I should have probably had the intelligence to not use my sleeves as a canvas for my runny nose. But I did. In public. A ‘sniffle buddy’ would have probably come in handy at the time (fancy thing for US kids, lucky mites)… or a tissue…

Why am I recounting this? … It’s winter. A buddy was sniffling beside me in our morning lecture. He asked me for a tissue, but I had none. That’s when I remembered = sleeves. But decided not to recommend it in case he figured out my dirty secret. So he continued sniffling. For the greater good I guess.