Tuesday, December 16, 2014

KPop CloseUp #3

Hello and welcome to the third installment of KPop CloseUp! :D Today I will be talking a little about a KPop Idol's schedule, and what their day-to-day looks like once they're signed on with a company.

I started to become interested in this side of the KPop world when I started seeing just how much KPop Idols worked, and how little rest they seemed to get. I saw how members of my beloved SHINee would do a comeback (new song) or a new video, or they would do a song for a drama, or be an actor in a drama. Or they would sign on for a modelling deal. My bias, Jonghyun, is still a regular feature on a Korean radio show, as of this year, which means he's doing that pretty much every day as well as whatever other things he needs to do to be a part of SHINee. Crazy, right?

But that's not even the whole story. The schedules that KPop stars - even rookies-in-training - are expected to keep are absolutely brutal. It is normal for a KPop Idol to work more than 60 hours per week (to give you an idea, the average hours per week worked by people in Australia in 2011 was around 38). As soon as someone is signed on to become a KPop Idol, the dream can quickly turn into grueling hard work.

When I started looking into this sort of thing, I came across a (now slightly old) article done on GreenTeaGraffiti, which discusses the lifestyle of someone working in KPop. The writer, Jason Yu, put up a sample of what a KPop Idol Schedule looked like...

I don't know about you, but I can't really imagine working to a schedule like that (granted, I don't really work to any schedule).
And the fact of the matter is that KPop rookies are often trained up for a year or two before their official debut, so they've pretty much got this schedule ingrained into them by the time we even really know they exist.

Understandably, this sort of lifestyle takes its toll. I think we, as fans, are often groomed to forget that KPop Idols are still human, until something shocking reminds us suddenly. Just a simple search of 'KPop fainting' on youtube will show you just how common it is for members of these groups to be worked so hard that their bodies just give up on them - right at what might be seen as a crucial moment. Even members of SHINee are not immune - Taemin has semi-collapsed onto band members at least once in the past. BIG BANG have had all members in hospital at least once, with Seungri only recently having serious issues with liver damage after a rather nasty car crash.

I think a lot of this kind of feeds into our view that work is kind of the be-all-and-end-all of life - if you're not working, you're not contributing. So, obviously, working all the time means you're contributing a lot, right? But at what cost? I am just a regular fan of KPop, but I worry about their ability to live normal lives - particularly in the face of so much demand.

What are your thoughts? Do you think you could stick to a KPop Idol's schedule? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

KPop CloseUp #2

Hey guys and welcome back to another installment of KPop CloseUp! Wow, don't I sound like I'm on a talk-show? Anyway, this time I will be talking about the other groups and artists that I like! This list is kind of ever-expanding, and I don't want this post to be suuuper long, so I won't be saying nearly as much as I did about SHINee, just a short mention of each one, and maybe some info on my bias :D

Let's get this started!


I discovered my love for G-Dragon around the same time that I started adoring SHINee, and I found a completely new side of myself at the same time, too - the side that actually really enjoys Korean Rap. Huh. Well there you go. Anyway, G-Dragon is actually a member of a five member boy band called Big Bang, along with some other rather famous individual artists (other artists are: T.O.P., Taeyang, Seungri, and Daesung). Big Bang is HUGE - just so very popular. But we're talking about G-Dragon. He is known for his sense of style, and his rather weird taste in fashion and such. He is also extremely driven and works super duper hard. One of my favourite songs of his is Crooked, find it below.

BTS - Bangtan Boys

BTS actually stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates to 'Bulletproof Boy Scouts', or so Wikipedia tells me (I can't speak/read Korean. Yet.) To be perfectly honest, much like G-Dragon, I didn't like these guys to start with. I thought they were just always trying hard to be 'badass' and show that all the time. But these guys are actually absolutely adorable and extremely talented. My biases (there are two) in this group are - Rap Monster (shown above on the right in the foreground) and J-Hope (back, second from right). The other members of the group are as follows: Suga, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, and V. These guys have some awesome dance routines and some stand-out rapping talent (particularly Rap Monster, who is the leader of the group, J-Hope, and Suga), but they are also known for their goofing around and impressions of other groups. They even have a YouTube channel called BANGTAN TV that shows them goofing around and doing random things. This group is quite new, having only debuted last year in June. Below is one of my favourite dance routines/songs of theirs: Boy in Luv (this video is a dance practice version of theirs).

Other favourites...


Gasp! A girl group! I know I know... I don't show much love to the ladies. I do have a soft spot for f(x), though, and I also have been known to sing along and adore another girl group, Girls Generation or SNSD, fairly often. But f(x) won out here because they have Amber (fair right) and she is awesome.

Akdong Musician/AKMU

These two are possibly the cutest thing ever. Just. Oh my. These two are actually siblings who won the second season of K-pop Star, which is kind of like Australian Idol or similar, I'm told. They both have lovely voices, and are quite quirky, and there is so much to love here. They only debuted under YG Entertainment this year and already they are one of my favourite groups.

And to avoid making this blog any longer, I will leave it there! I do have other groups that I like and keep an eye on, but not really as closely as the ones above (and, of course, SHINee). I hope to return next week to look a bit more closely at a KPop idols life and schedule! I hope you'll join me :)


Monday, December 8, 2014

little pieces of poetry #2

I recently changed phones, as my old phone was getting surprisingly slow and finicky in it's old age, and when I went through my list app, I found some poems I had written down randomly - usually during the night when I couldn't sleep. I thought I'd just write them here, unedited, and see what you guys thought.

Poem 3
I wish I could let love flow through me
Instead of grabbing on
But I begin to hoard if
As if I suspect it gone

Love can be all around me
While I retreat within
And yet my heart beats onwards
To make my defenses thin

I have a few windows
Of time spent with open heart
But it's an ongoing battle
That I often fear to start

Poem 2
I heard that once
A mother said
Of her dearly departed son

That 'his was a life of ten years,
that did not continue on'

I cannot quite allow myself
To grasp that height of calm
When nightmares of your death
Begin to plague me

And so, sweet love, the best I can do
Is to love you with fervor
For now
Come what may be.

thoughts and feelings welcome. love to all who read.

P.s. this is my own work. please don't reproduce/repost without permission :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

KPop CloseUp #1

I have been promising (threatening?) to write blog posts about KPop for some time now, and here I am - finally getting started. What held me back so long, you ask? (Even if you didn't, just hush and follow along anyway.) Well, I started to think too much about myself and what I was doing. Who am I to talk about KPop when I've only really been a 'committed' fan for a year? Who am I to talk about things that I don't even fully understand it myself? Who am I to write about KPop on a blog where I mostly write about books and tea?

But, the thing is, I never intended these posts to be anything other than getting my own thoughts down and perhaps connecting with others in the meantime - there are a few things that are quite unique to KPop idols and fans, and I wanted to talk about them on my blog. Because that's what I do, really. I talk my way through things.

Some of the topics that I'd like to look at are: obsessive fans, love for your bias and OTP (if you're not familiar with the vocabulary, here, I will explain further down the road), idol 'slave' contracts and legal battles to escape, and also how KPop idols lead their nowhere-near-close-to-normal lives.

To start this first blog post, though, I wanted to talk a little bit about my favourite KPop group and my bias within that group.

bias [buy-us]: a fan's favourite member within a group. sometimes used for more than one member, but usually just one. [example use in a sentence: my bias from SHINee is Jonghyun.]

So, as you may be able to tell from my little definition above, I have a soft spot for SHINee. They are my favourite group and have been for a year now, at the very least.

SHINee (pronounced like 'shiny') are a five-member boy group who are well-known for their amazing dance abilities (particularly Taemin, the youngest member of the group, shown above second from left) and wonderful singing/rapping combo. My bias, shown above on the far right, is called Jonghyun, and he is one of the main singers in the group, along with oldest member and the leader of the group, Onew (shown above in the center). [Oh, by the way, it is normal for each group to have a leader. I will try to let you know which member is the leader of a group as I go.]
The other two members - Minho (shown above second from right) and Key (shown far left) are wonderful singers, too, but are more known for their rapping abilities.

I love this group because they all have really individual personalities, but they work so well together as a group. In the last year or so alone Shawols (fans of SHINee - derived from the fan group name SHINee World - also the title of three concerts and an album by the group so far) have seen each member do their own stuff, and that has been wonderful, but I am always happy when the group continues to come back together to put out albums and do concerts. This year saw Key release a mini-album with another artist, Woohyun from another group called Infinite, under the band name ToHeart, and also saw Taemin release his first solo album - leading many Shawols to stop calling him Taemin, and start calling him TaeMAN. Evidence below...

The group has been active since their debut in 2008, when they began performing their first single 'Replay'.

For now I will leave it at that! Next time I will talk about some of my other favourite artists and groups, and then we shall move on to other things within the KPop world! I hope you enjoyed this, but even if you didn't I will be reviewing some tea soon, and will still be writing about other things anyway :D


Monday, December 1, 2014

{2014} November Reading

Books bought:
~ Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach (ebook)
~ Written in Red by Anne Bishop (ebook)
~ The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare [and others]
~ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Books received:
Aurealis Awards...
~ The Godless by Ben Peek
~ Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson

Review books...
~ Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Books read:
~ Honour's Knight by Rachel Bach
~ French Milk by Lucy Knisley
~ Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
~ Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach
~ Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
~ Seraphina: The Audition by Rachel Hartman (Short Story)
~ Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan (AA)
~ The Eternity Gate by Traci Harding (AA)
~ Aftermath of Armageddon by Christopher Jackson-Ash (AA)
~ Evertween by Laila Savolainen (AA)
~ The Book of Days by K. A. Barker (R)
~ The Walking Man by Jiro Taniguchi
~ Written in Red by Anne Bishop
~ Forged by Desire by Bec Mcmaster
~ Inside Out by Will Elliott (AA)
~ The Shadow's Heat by K. J. Taylor (AA)
~ Wall of Spears by Duncan Lay (AA)
~ North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier (AA)

Eight Aurealis books this month! I'm making progress :D I need to keep upping that, though, as we are getting to the pointy end of the year, now. Nomination are coming in now before the final cut-off. Onwards and upwards! (up the ever-growing pile of books, that is... :P)

I finished the Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach at the start of this month, and I really enjoyed it. I found it to be a good space opera type trilogy and, while I know some people had trouble with the romance, I still loved it. It showed a good mix of strong woman meets strong man, and also the choice to give in to love/connection with others. I am still thinking about it, and vaguely considering buying the trilogy in physical copy for my re-read shelf.

This month was actually really good for different stories/books that nonetheless pulled me in. Many of the books I read this month have had different reviews - some hating them, some loving them, some feeling not-so-much about them. Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is a good example of this - many people picked it up with great excitement, only to find they didn't get what they expected. And I was one of those people, but that doesn't mean I didn't still love it. Auri is a fascinating and unique character, and I think Rothfuss gave her room to tell her own story, and I connected with it deeply.

Seraphina was another instant win with me - I am now impatiently waiting for the second book Shadow Scale, scheduled to come out next March.

And, just as a final mention, I am really loving Anne Bishop's The Others books - I am about a third of the way through the second book and finding it an excellent blend of danger and dark humour, but I have been a fan of Bishop for a while now - ever since a friend introduced me to her Black Jewels trilogy.

Currently I am reading: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop, a review book, and a couple of AA books. What are you reading at the moment?

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Distorted View

Often when I have finished a semester's work, or gotten through a particularly difficult period of sickness, I will go into overdrive - trying to do everything that I missed out on doing while I was busy with other things.
I will keep lists of things I want to do once I am 'able to' and then try and fulfill them all at once.
You know what else tends to happen after I get through periods of sickness or work? I get sick again. Because I have pushed myself to do SO MUCH, my body just sits right down in the middle of the road and says 'No. No more.' and no amount of cajoling or encouraging or bribing will get it back up again.
I am at this place right now, sitting in the middle of the road and observing how I react to things. A lot of old stuff has been coming up for me in the past few days - recognition of how much I've been through, and how much I have left to go. Old fears - of my body, my mind, possible futures or losses. Realisations over how many friends I have lost in the past few years, and, in particular, the ones that I have had to let go of this year.
That last point has been needling me for a few days now. It doesn't upset me as much as it used to - lately it is just a gentle 'oh, I miss them' that arises, and a kind of melancholy that hits me. It doesn't help that my subconscious is sending me dreams of these people - people that I haven't even seen in YEARS in some cases - and letting me wake up thinking that I have restored a friendship I thought of as gone.

I think all of this is a reminder from my body and my soul to take things slow at the moment. A reminder of everything I have been through and how I now need to just take time to remember who I am and what I'm striving for - that's all become a bit lost lately in the medical appointments, hospital visits, Uni work and stress, and the other stuff that has popped up this year. I have a few things that I haven't been able to mourn properly yet, and I need to remember that it is my calling to look after myself - not anybody else's calling.

I sometimes fall into this drive to push myself as hard as those around me - it seems like an excellent idea and perfectly normal. Until I realise that when I push myself as hard as they do, I hit the ground twice as hard. This, it seems, is a lesson I may have to relearn over and over.

Anyway, how do you deal with old issues coming up? Do you try to force them away and power through, or do you take a moment to acknowledge them and let them go?

Love to all who read.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sparkle Points #8

  • collect the piece of pottery I painted... one dayyyyy
  • draft up my first blog post on kpop idols~ more thought has gone into this, especially since there are a bunch of things happening in the kpop world at the moment. Perhaps soon. [still true.]
  • new slightly scary medical thing happening in November. Prepare for this and breathe~ it happened, and it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought. And I recovered quite quickly! :)
  • plans for Xin and my seventh anniversary of dating? working on this. We went to a cafe, and then had a picnic in King's Park. It was absolutely gorgeous.
  • read 16 books in November, with at least 8 of them being Aurealis books :) hmmm well I'm at around 12 at the time of writing, so we shall see!
  • work on my writing more, get into a regular routine of writing and try to stick to it.
  • more exercise! a walk every second day at least, and more yoga. maybe swimming?

UNI To Do:
  • maybe ask for help from someone re: how to enrol in online units? it's a bit bewildering, even with Open Uni people trying to help... I did! The process is happening! :D
  • Finish research essay! Celebrate! working on this...  donnnneeee! :D
  • finish enrolling in units for next year!

WISHLIST (current):
  • G-Dragon Album - Heartbreaker
  • Film for my instant camera! I got some more recently (just a little) and I forgot how much I love this darling device.
  • Crash Course DVDs?
  • a ukelele? maybe? this is a thing I have been semi-considering for a few weeks.
  • maybe a new art print for my wall. slowly choosing one at the moment, I want it to be just right.

This has been very helpful in keeping me active, actually. I hope these posts aren't too boring!
All content owned by Bethwyn Walker unless otherwise stated. Simple template. Template images by gaffera. Powered by Blogger.

butterfly elephant

creating a place where rest and rejuvenation are paramount