Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Till the World Ends" Episode 3

"Ray, sweetie!  Your first few outfits for your concert are ready!" Raymond's wardrobe stylist Hannah said.

Raymond's short break after his series of concerts in the US were was over, and it was back to work for him.  Today was his first costume fitting for his upcoming concert at the HK Colesium, and he wasn't sure what to expect.

Bosco's words from the other night echoed in his head.  "Hey...HK Coliseum concerts usually have some bold and outrageous costumes", he had said.

How bad could it be? he thought.  His stylists knew him and his style, simple and classy.  Surely the outfits couldn't be too bad.

"Here you go!" Hannah came back with a rack of costumes.  Raymond looked up and felt a pang of panic.  One was a bright yellow colored jumpsuit with rhinestones embedded on it, another was made of transparent fabric, and the last one looked decent at first sight, but then he realized there was something that looked like a tail hanging off the back of it.  Outrageous didn't begin to describe the costumes.

"Uh...Hannah, don't these costumes look a bit over the top?" Raymond asked as he bit his lip.

"Of course not, you need to stand out on stage!  You can't just wear your normal boring clothes," Hannah said as she looked Raymond up and down in his button down shirt and dark jeans.  "It's the Coliseum for crying out loud, you need to look like a star!" the enthusiastic stylist said as she waved her hands in emphasis.

"Now go try them on!" Hannah urged.

Raymond went into the dressing room and hesitatingly tried on the jumpsuit.  He closed his eyes to keep himself from seeing how he looked until the jumpsuit was all on.  He opened his eyes slowly and shuddered.  A star?  I look more like a lemon, he thought.  How could he even walk out like this, never mind perform in front of millions of people?  This wasn't him.  This wasn't even him at a drunken Halloween party.  He looked fake.  He felt like a phony.  He...

"What's taking so long!  Let me see you!" Hannah yelled, interrupting him from thought.

Raymond slowly opened the door.

"Well come out here, I can't see you from here!" Hannah complained, then caught a glimpse of him and gasped.  "Raymond, darling, you look fabulous!"

"I do?" Raymond asked shocked.

"Yes, now try on the second costume!" she said, pointing to the transparent one.

Raymond obeyed his stylist and drudgingly went back into the dressing room to try it on.  It exposed his whole bare chest and back for everyone to see, and he didn't even have that much muscle to show!

"I feel objectified," he muttered as he walked out for Hannah to see.

Hannah turned him around and gave a nod of approval, completely ignoring what he just said.  "The girls are going to love it!" she said.

"Now just try on that last one for me please," she added.

Raymond looked at the costume with the tail with dread.  He did not want to try that thing on.

All of a sudden, his phone rang.  Yes, a distraction! he thought.  "Excuse me," he said to Hannah, and answered the call.

"Hey Ray, it's Ella!" she said.

"Hey!" Raymond replied, breaking into a smile.

"Are you busy?  I cooked some soup and thought I'd bring some to you when you're free," Ella said.

Raymond's ears suddenly perked up.  He smelled opportunity.  "Oh, mom, you fell?  Well, are you okay?  It could be serious, let me come visit you!" he faked.

"Wait, what?" Ella asked, confused.

Raymond cupped his ear over the phone and turned to Hannah.  "My mom got hurt!  I need to go see her right away, I'll try the last one on tomorrow, same time!" he told her as he started to dash off.

"Wait, get back here!" Hannah cried.

It was too late, Raymond was already off.  "I'll explain later, you can come over now", he whispered into the phone and took the first taxi back to his place.  He'd have to try on that animal costume eventually, but chatting with a good friend and getting his mind off it for now sounded more promising.

He arrived back home before Ella came had just kicked his shoes off and made himself comfortable on the couch when he heard a knock at the door.

He opened the door to see Ella and his face instantly lit up.  The bright and sweet aura around Ella always made him a little happier.

"Hey!  I made you some soup.  You need the nutrition, it's good for you," she said, holding up a thermos.

Raymond moved his face closer to hers and stared at her intensely.

Ella made a nervous face.  "...What?" she said.

Raymond blinked and said "Oh, I was just checking to see you weren't my mother in disguise," he joked.  "You know, bringing me soup and telling me how I need more nutrition."

Ella blushed.  "Well, I was cooking at home and made a big pot of soup.  I brought some to Fala too," she replied, then proceeded to make herself at home on the couch.

"So what was that about your mom falling?  Is she okay?" she asked with a genuinely concerned expression.

Raymond laughed.  "I was using you as an excuse to get away," he answered.

Ella raised her eyebrows.  "Why...?"

"My wardrobe stylist gave me all these costumes to try on for my Coliseum concert, and they all looked ridiculous", he told her.  "I was just about to be put into a get up with a tail when you called and saved me," he said.

"Oh come on, how bad can they be," Ella replied.

"It had a tail!" he repeated with emphasis.  "This other one made me look like a bedazzled neon lemon, and then this other one was all see through so you could see my whole torso," he described.

"Oh...that sounds bad," Ella said, wrinkling her nose.

Raymond stared at the floor pondering.  "It's not just the appearance of the clothes.  I feel like I'm becoming more of a machine made idol than a musical artist," he said.  "I definitely don't mind having so many girls fawning over me," he said as Ella rolled her eyes.  "I want to be known as an artist though, not some glorified blow up doll, but I can't just refuse to do what I'm asked."

She listened with understanding.  "I get what you mean.  You're just going to have to find a way to satisfy both.  Own what's been given to you, no matter how much you think it resembles a lemon, but also show everyone who you really are," she said.  She looked down at her watch.  "I have to go!" she said, getting up from the couch, causing Raymond to look slightly disappointed.  "Don't forget to drink the soup!  Bye!"

She opened the door and started to walk out.  "Oh, and one more thing Raymond," she said, stopping and turning around.  He looked up.  "Remember that you love music, and that's the reason you decided to enter this industry in the first place," she said with a smile, and then closed the door behind her.

**********

"No, this just doesn't give me the right feeling," Myolie said, stressing the word "feeling".

Kate gave her a puzzled look.  "What do you mean it doesn't give you the right feeling?" she asked.

Bosco, Myolie, and Kate had spent the afternoon checking out sites up for rent to place their cafe in.  They had looked at five different locations that all showed promise, but Myolie had found something wrong with all of them.  "This one's too small!"  "This one's too big!"  "Do you think we're opening a cafe or operating a drug factory?  This place looks so shady!" were just a few of the things that had come out of her mouth that day.  

"It doesn't make me feel anything, doesn't exert anything special," Myolie explained.  

"It's just an empty room right now, of course it doesn't feel overly special.  We still have to renovate and decorate the place!" Kate said, rolling her eyes.

Bosco inspected the place.  "This is a pretty good place," he said, and began poking fun at his girlfriend.  "Not too small, not too big, doesn't look like drugs are being made here," he said into Myolie's ear from behind, making her jump.

Kate looked out the windows.  "It's a good location too," she said.  "It's near the local university so we'll attract a lot of students, and a moderately busy street," she added.

"I don't know," Myolie said.  "I feel like it's missing something."

Kate sat down at a seat by the window and signaled Myolie to sit down next to her.  "I don't think so.  Just imagine what it'd look like once we renovate the place," she said.

Bosco joined the two girls in their vision.  "Yeah, come up with a nice color scheme, decorate the walls, a large display of cakes could go there, the sitting area there," he said.

"Ooo, we could decorate the cafe by theme!  Do something different as the seasons change," Myolie proposed.

"That sounds like a great idea!" Kate replied.  "See, don't you think we could do a lot with this place?"

Myolie looked around thoughtfully.  "Yes we could," she said.

"So is this going to be the site of Myolie and Kate's to be named cafe?" Bosco asked.

Kate and Myolie looked around again, putting together a vision in their minds, and smiled.  "Yes," they both said at the same time and laughed.

"Ok, I'll call the landlord," Bosco said with a smile, and walked to the other side of the room to make the call.

"So what are we going to name the cafe?" Myolie asked Kate.   And that was the next big question.

**********

Now in a good mood, Myolie was back to cooking and making her delicious but healthy dinners.  Bosco and Edwin came over to join Myolie and Kate as usual.  It was just the four of them tonight, and they were throwing around possible names for the cafe.

"We should combine our names!  What about Myate's?" Myolie said while placing the plates onto the table.

"No," Kate said, slightly cringing at the idea.

"Kayolie's?"

"No."

"Mate's?"

"You're not going to say yes to anything I suggest now are you?" Myolie asked.

"Probably not," she said back playfully.

Edwin browsed a list of the things they planned to offer including different hot chocolates, smoothies, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweets.

"Gosh, everything on this list makes me want to give into my sweet tooth," he joked.  "Hey, how about  Little Sweet Things?" he asked.

"Oh, that's cute and catchy!" Myolie said excitedly.

"I like it!" Kate replied.  "It's short and sweet."

"No pun intended right?" Bosco teased, and the other three rolled their eyes at the joke.

Edwin put his glass of water up.  "Cheers to Little Sweet Things, the next cafe to hit Hong Kong and take it by storm!" he said, cheerfully.

"Cheers!" Four glasses clinked together in joy.

===============================================

Author's Note: It was nice writing again!  Having already come up with the outline for two episodes, the writing process of this went a lot more smoothly.  I like how once I know what I want to write, I'm able to go with the flow more and let the dialog just come to me, which makes it more enjoyable.  There's focus on Raymond and Ella for the first time, and continued development of Myolie and Kate's cafe!  I hope this sitcom of mine is still enjoyable and fun to read!  Comments appreciated.  Next episode's focus will be on Fala and Edwin.  One relationship will be explored, and a new character will make their entrance!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Song Review: Mr.'s "方向感/Sense of Direction"



Following the release of catchy but overly simple and repetitive anthem "What R We Fighting 4", Mr. makes a change in pace with "方向感/Sense of Direction". The new plug is a midtempo, more laid back, and uplifting song. I love how it still sticks to their usual rock sound while being such a mellow and relaxing song to listen to. It's a nice change from the more opposite soft rock ballad and upbeat and loud number. The song is meaningful, carries an air of thoughtfulness and optimism, while still catchy and also empowering, especially with the guitar solo.

The music video pairs with the song well. The members of Mr. are seen running in their Adidas-sponsored clothing, promoting going outside to exercise and conquering your ambitions. The song, along with the video, fuels the listener with a feeling of sweetness and motivation. Although a more laid back song, "Sense of Direction" is something to listen to while running (or jogging) to get a surge of motivation and optimism!


Song Review: Kelvin Kwan's "孱弱/Fragile"


Although unable to release another album before the end of the year like he wanted, Kelvin Kwan goes out with a bang with his new single "孱弱/Frail", which is also the theme song for his short film "茶木邂逅" co-starring Shiga Lin.

When I started listening to the song for the first time, I thought "Oh no, another slow ballad".  While I like ballads and Kelvin has a strong vocals fit for them, I was hoping for something more impressive and less generic from Kelvin, who is able to pull off more musical styles than the average Cantopop singer.  However, "Frail" turned out to be much more.

"Frail" opens with a piano intro and softly sung verse full of sadness.  At first, it doesn't sound too special.  The song then develops into a slightly gritty, grunge influenced song full of angst.  Having loved his earlier alternative rock oriented singles "Occupation" and "People of My Generation", I'm pleased Kelvin continued exploring this sound.  "Frail" is not as heavy, but still rock influenced and the song has a very thematic feel making it addictive to listen to.  The edgy electric guitar and music works well against Kelvin's husky and strong vocal performance. The song flows well from a slower to faster tempo and back without every feeling choppy or sloppily put together.  I'm satisfied with the musical direction taken here and think it fits Kelvin very well.

Although the song is pleasantly edgy and gritty, the music video is a bit disturbing.  While I like the cinematic feel with the dark lighting and sleek filming style and how it matches the thematic feel of the song, but the kidnapping plot seems far fetched and off topic (but it may be because of my lack of full understanding of the lyrics).  The sight of Kelvin being locked in the truck of a car, getting yelled at by a presumed ex-girlfriend in Korean, before finally being (assumed to be) killed with a hammer by the girl is rather unsettling.

Overall, "Frail" is yet another great song released to be Kelvin this year and continues to show his potential and talent as a musical artist by exploring a more heavy sound.  "Frail" has managed to become one of my favorite songs of the year just shortly before 2012 closes.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

AE Experience Staff Performs at High School's International Night


On December 20th, AE Experience staff and friends including head writer Niki, guest writer Pinki, Dani, and Jeremy performed at their high school's 5th annual International Night, a school event where culture and diversity is celebrated by students with food booths and performances. Niki, Pinki, Dani, Jeremy, and other members of the school's Korean Club (first started by Niki, Pinki, and Dani!) represented the country and served as the opening act, which ended up being a very fitting decision. A two part dance performance, the freshmen opened with BEAST's "Shock" before AEE's very own staff took the stage and brought the house down with 2NE1's "I'm the Best". It got the crowd pumped and they went wild, and the performance was full of energy, edginess, and just pure awesomeness. See for yourself!

Iris' Review:
There was quite a bit of conflict preceding the performance along with a lot of practice, sweat, tears, and misunderstandings between peers. However, it all paid off and the final product ended up being phenomenal.  After seeing them practice and work their butts off for months, they made me so proud as a friend, supporter, manager figure, and fan.  There are some improvements that could be made and the performance is not one without mistakes, but the amount of energy in it is fantastic.  I'm impressed they ended up being able to bring so much stage presence and fun to the stage.  I was not expecting that sass!

Niki, who is usually a very shy and reserved girl but looked natural, bold, confidant, and kick ass on stage, particularly during her solo when she bends over backward and does her little hair toss.  Dani made significant improvements in her stage presence and looked much more comfortable this year.  Pinki, who I constantly make fun of for being one of the most passive people ever, looked adorable with her huge smile and enthusiasm.  Last but not least, Jeremy brought his sass on and despite only appearing for a small part of the performance, made the best of it.  The crowd went crazy when he first came on to start the song, and even more so when he emerged again unexpectedly mid song.

The last part where the four of them are joined by the freshmen for one last pose was the perfect way to finish.  It was so much fun to watch and I was practically fangirling for them.  The crowd absolutely loved them as well, which you can tell by all the cheering and screaming.  (Side note, following the part near the end where Niki points her hand "gun" to the audience and Jeremy aims his fist at the crowd when the song goes "Bam!", he is actually holding a shaker with glitter in it, throwing glitter at the stage and audience!  Amazing touch!)  I've been rewatching this performance again and again, and every time it makes me jumpy with excitement and happiness for my friends/almost family.  This definitely goes into one of my favorite moments ever.

Other Comments:
If anyone's curious, no, I am not in this performance.  Iris can't dance, but is going to be joining in the fun by learning a new song with them soon and getting taught by Niki.  Wish me luck folks.  I had more of a "behind the scenes" role in all this, as International Night is a student run event organized by the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club and I helped in managing the event itself and headed the Booth Management Committee with fellow guest writer SeraDev.  Also, thanks to Anthony, Michael, and all our other friends who helped make the food, run the booth, and did general maintenance.  This was truly a student run event.  International Night was a success, and FBLA earned more than $1,000 from it.  I'd say we did a pretty darn good job!  :D  As someone who hopes to pursue business, it was a great experience.  I also got to play wardrobe stylist as I put together Niki's outfit, which consists of a leather jacket, gold tank top, black skinny jeans, and combat boots (I lent her the jacket and tank top!).  Doesn't she look awesome?!  I also shot the video, which is why it abruptly ends. I quickly stopped the recording and dropped my phone to applaud like a maniac.

This post ended up being a lot longer than intended.  Overall, would I say I am proud of Niki, Pinki, Dani, and Sully?  Hell yeah!  Congratulations for kicking butt guys! I love you so much!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"The Last Steep Ascent" Review (by Lynne)

The story behind it all
"The Last Steep Ascent" is based off of a true story of a couple who eloped to the mountains. The man is 10 years the woman's junior and to add onto that, she was also a widow with children. This was not accepted by society back then. Then up in the mountains, the man spent 50 years to carve a trail of steps for his wife. This is a truly inspirational love story that touches all it's readers.

TVB's remake, "The Last Steep Ascent"
No doubt Lee Tim Shing successfully brought back another couple that managed to make my heart ache for them again. It was indeed a touching love story between Sun Yuet (Maggie Cheung) and Miu Tin (Moses Chan), yet it didn't fulfill what I expected it to. Of course as a remake, I will forgive that, and won't link it to much of the original story.  Besides the idea of a younger man loving an older woman and the stone steps from the original, it's a typical TVB series.

So let's talk more about the series!


Maggie Cheung as Sun Yuet
There's a reason why Lee Tim Shing insisted to use Maggie Cheung for the role and nobody else, since she fitted into the role perfectly. She has the elegance that suits the pre-modern period and her eyes delivered the emotions of Sun Yuet perfectly, especially the scene in episode 19, where she walked away from Miu Tin. That scene teared me up there.

 As for the role of Sun Yuet, I like how she endured everything with a smile. I wouldn't describe her as a "strong/independent" woman though, as I feel that she's rather weak and trusts too easily. Overall, not the type that is career-minded or with the capability to resolve issues that I had initially suspected her to be, but rather an ordinary woman who only wants a simple life with children and a partner.  That's why I found it easy to connect to her character: not much complications.

Moses Chan as Miu Tin
Once again, not a role that shines or that interesting to watch as these characters are the typical main leads. What saved Miu Tin's character from becoming incredibly boring is his dedication and faithfulness and care for Sun Yuet that spanned for over 20 years. As for the portrayal by Moses Chan, it's the usual Moses Chan we see...nothing outstanding.

***Oh!  One scene that cracked me up:  Sun Yuet climbed up the hill in order to find Miu Tin.  And when she did...haha the expression on Moses face.  I know that it's suppose to be touching and all but I couldn't help but laugh!  Maybe it's just me?  Moses expression was really odd haha.


Miu Tin and Sun Yuet
Their relationship took a smoother turn than I had expected.  Of course there were obstacles, but they were not as "dramatic" since Sun Yuet got a loving mother-in-law behind her.  As far as the issue of age, it wasn't the talk among the people but rather an internal conflict within Sun Yuet's.  I am surprise that "society" didn't get more involved with this, since age difference like that between a man and a woman would have been a big deal right?  Not to mention she's from a well-known family, so things should've been more intense....leading into why they had decided to live in seclusion.  Let's just say, "The Last Steep Ascent" turned out much happier than I initially thought.

 Overall, I really enjoyed seeing them together.  Their relationship was bitter at times, but in the bitterness there was also some sweetness.

 ***In the original story, Moses character is ten years younger than Maggie's but the age difference is nowhere noticeable at all.  I personally think that they should've replaced Moses with someone else.  BUT then in one episode, Miu Tin said something related to that and it cracked me up.

Sun Yuet was wondering how the boy (Miu Tin) that she touched the teeth of on her wedding day grew up to be like, and was thinking of how old he may be now compared to her (she also kept on referring to what an "old" lady she was).  In reply to that,  Miu Tin told her that, maybe she's not as old as she thinks.  Since she lives in a wealthy family, he said that the guy may also look as old as her since he had to work on a farm...therefor aging more than he should (in terms of looks).

 So that's how TVB explained that!  I like how they put that part in though, because it does make sense when you think about it....?

 
Kenny Wong as Cheung Kiu 

Cheung Kiu is just like his friend, Miu Tin, a guy who will whole-heartedly love one girl and would do anything for her.  At first, Cheung Kiu was rather hot-headed and I did not like that as it is a similar characteristic to Kenny's roles.  But of course, he's still a good guy and therefor is quite likable, especially how protective he was of Oi Tai.  I am not particularly a fan of Kenny's but I still like to watch him.

***Whenever I see Kenny, I think of Moses.  Whenever I see Moses, Kenny pops up!  Lols  They've had so many series together! 

Aimee Chan as Oi Tai 
Oi Tai is indeed a very, very tragic character and you can say that Aimee improved in here.  She gave a decent performance.  Still, even though she's improving in her emotional scenes, I don't think it's up to the level where such a tragic character like Oi Tai is meant to be at yet. 

Something else that I'd like to talk about is Oi Tai's miscarriage.  Her pregnancy is brought upon by the rapist, so I can understand why Oi Tai may not...how should I put this...want to think of the baby too much?  So maybe that's why there was not much talk about the miscarriage?  Honestly, I really wished that TVB could've shown how Oi Tai felt about that miscarriage.  Afterall, it was still her baby....

Cheung Kiu and Oi Tai
I like the pair but their relationship seems more like friendship than anything else.  Still think that the person Cheung Kiu loves the most is his wife.  Overall though, I was very happy that they got a happy ending.

Edwin Siu as Sai Ho
Edwin plays the main antagonist of the series, who wanted to destroy Ho Ching Tong.  Surprisingly, Edwin did not have much screentime since the series was pretty focused on the couples (especially Cheung Kiu and Oi Tai).  Anyways, after this performance, I would love to see Edwin in another evil role.  He has this charming smile that he often shows in his sweet and nice roles, but he can also use them in this evil role!  Very nice!

  ***Yvonne Ho plays as Edwin's wife.  I really like the actress, but just found it odd how she played as Sai Ho's wife since she looked abit older than him.  Look wise, it's not Moses and Maggie who have the age difference, but Yvonne and Edwin.


Joel Chan as Boss Chai
I'll say that this role can represent as Joel's breakthrough role, as it was the most eye-catching of the whole cast!  Boss Chai is neither a good or bad guy, but likable in a sense because he's got a dictating yet loving personality.  When he cares about someone, he does not tell them because he wants "face".  That is his greatest fault, but I think his sense of "brotherhood" can make up for that.  Whenever Miu Tin was in trouble, Boss Chai was willing to let go of his pride to help him out and that's what very sweet of him.  Boss Chai can be arrogant, but towards the ones he cares about, he cares for them whole-heartedly.

  ****There are rumours of Joel taking a "break" from acting for awhile since he's getting married soon.  Such a pity, because I enjoy watching him onscreen alot....

Samantha Ko as Madame Yim
Madame Yim is Boss Chai's third wife.  Even though she still has to work on her crying scenes, Samantha definitely surprised me as Madame Yim.  Not to mention she also rocks her attire!  I like Madame Yim alot because she's not the "traditional" kind of woman you'd see, so we get to see the fun side of her, but at the same time she's not the kind of woman that goes after men for money.


Boss Chai and Madame Yim

They're going into my top 10 couple list of 2012!  Unlike the others, they're not so serious but rather funny though still sweet.  Then there's this mutual understanding between the two, making them an even lovlier couple.  As I stated before, Madame Yim likes to flirt but Boss Chai never gets mad, not because he doesn't care, but because he knew that it's her personality, and that she's faithful to him.  On the other hand, Madame Yim reads Boss Chai like a book, understanding when he's upset, etc.

I personally found them to be quite a touching pair, especially towards the end where they continued to support each other through the roughest time when Boss Chai went blind.  With Boss Chai's bad attitude at that time, I honestly wouldn't blame her for leaving, but she didn't.  She stood by him the whole time and endured his attitudes.  My eyes got teary when he finally gave her a ring and told her to be his wife (I'm guessing that she was just a mistress before?  I don't know, but don't care either.  Just know that it was a very sweet scene).

 
Helena Law as Granny Ho
I've been wondering why Helena Law came back to TVB (starting in The Hippocratic Crush)?  For whatever reason though, it's TVB's fortune to have a veteran like her back!  She pulled off the role of Granny Ho effortlessly, and was great in her emotional scenes.  As for Granny Ho, she's also a great and fun character to watch onscreen!  Unlike the usual arrogant mother-in-laws we see, Granny Ho was very understanding and considerate towards her daughter-in-law, Sun Yuet.  I admire her complete trust for Sun Yuet despite the negative rumours, and the interactions the two shared.  If only I could have a mother-in-law like Granny Ho, I would be very happy.

***The scene where Granny Ho asked Sun Yuet to leave.
I think this was one of the most touching scenes of the story, and I'm glad that the two got to share this one last scene together.

After the family got back their business (thanks to Miu Tin), Granny Ho decided to pass on the business to her son-in-law (Matt Yeung) and move out to live with her son (Benjamin Yuen) at a different place.  She did all that though because of Sun Yuet.  Granny Ho wanted Sun Yuet to go live a life she wanted (with Miu Tin) and be happy.  The most touching part of the speech was when she told Sun Yuet to take her children with her too.  It's obvious that Granny Ho loves her grandchildren alot, but at the same time...she knew that they had to be with their mother (Sun Yuet).  It as heart breaking to see her leave Sun Yuet and the grand children.  Despite how much she loved them, she was willing to let go in order for Sun Yuet to find true happiness.
Sze Hang's POV
I'm glad that the later generation (Sun Yuet's kids) got a say in what they think of their parents' relationship.  I thought it was really cute how Sze Hang (little Raymond Wong) complained how his "parents" (Miu Tin and Sun Yuet) always looked lovingly at each other.  "I mean...what is there to look at?" -Sze Hang

Then there's how Sze Hang grew up (Raymond Wong appears as a guest star).  Like his "dad" (Miu Tin), he thought he could love one woman for his entire life but instead his relationships failed one after another.  That's when he realized how hard it was to keep on loving someone.

I particularly like these scenes very much because they reflected on how loving someone is not as simple as one may think.
The Ending
What Miu Tin said to Sun Yuet before he died was touching, but the scene could've been better if Moses actually sounded like a dying man.  Honestly, his voice was the same as the other scenes he was in...

Overall
This series was nice to watch, even though you may have to be a bit patient with it.  Recommended for fans of Maggie Cheung, Law Lan, Joel Chan and Samantha Ko.  Maybe Edwin Siu's fans too since you get to see an evil side of him, but I thought there were just too little screentime of him.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Song Review: Pakho Chau's "Death Row/斬立決"


Pakho Chau impresses listeners while touching on their emotions and bringing their attention to an important social issue with his single "Death Row/斬立決".

"Death Row" is a commentary on one of today's most problematic social issues: bullying (more specifically, cyberbullying).  The lyrics compares and makes a metaphor out of a victim of bullying and someone on death row.  They're shunned from society, and not given the chance to "repent", even though they did nothing wrong.  The chorus paints the picture of an execution, and how people gather to watch the victim die, without shame and without making a move to stop it.  The lyrics paint heart breaking imagery and inform of the horrors of the effects of cyberbullying while the haunting melody leaves you feeling conflicted.  Pakho's deep voice allows the song to be sung with power and raw emotion.

The music video illustrates the metaphor used in the song.  Its concept is in a more artistic direction with simple expression.  The video is shot in black and white with a bleak setting.  Taking place in an empty room, Pakho is shown getting poisoned by an apple, and waking up to be on death row.  He is then executed (off camera and through angle shots) and lies in the arms of a masked and tattooed woman as flower petals fall around him.  There is a dominant use of unique and dark masks and other head pieces, which probably hint at more symbolism.  Also, there is an additional scene after the song ends where Pakho is shown eating the same apple, but this time is not poisoned by it, showing he has received a second chance to live his life.  The music video is executed very well.  Though simplistic and a bit frightening, it carries a lot of meaning.

Pakho Chau's "Death Row" is a fantastic song for all the reasons above.  Due to heavy content, it does also leave you feeling depressed and conflicted.  Overall, it is one of the year's best, with well written lyrics, a melody that sticks with you, raising awareness of one of the problems of society, and leaving a lasting impact even after the song has stopped playing.


Song Review: Hyuna's "Ice Cream"


HyunA makes a hot comeback with her new mini album "Melting". The album consist of five songs and the title track "Ice Cream." This new hit song has reached 20 million views on YouTube in just 10 days. Although this song has reached popularity and broken a record by receiving the most views in the quickest amount of time by a K-pop artist, I honestly did not like it. 

The song:

The song is very upbeat, and I admit it is catchy, but it's was not the song that I would like to listen to. It has meaningless lyrics, not to mention the word "cream" is overused. Throughout the whole song is basically mostly a girl talking about how great she is, comparing herself to ice cream, and how she can "Melt you down like Ice cream". I don't mind that it has those type of lyrics, it's just the lack of verses. As I looked deeper into the lyrics, I realized that this song has a lot of repetition. I feel like she only says five sentences throughout the whole song. 

The MV:

I am not going to lie, I think the MV really fits the song because like the lyrics it's meaningless.  In other words it doesn't really make any sense. The first thing you see in the MV is "Gangnam Style"'s PSY walking up to a very big and colorful ice cream truck. He walks in, gets a vanilla ice cream, and starts to devour it. That's when you spot HyunA yelling at him for eating her ice cream. 


There is some kind of protest going on. The people are holding up signs that says "Ha Ha Ha" and "Batman he is gone" during the protest, while she is driving her big ice cream truck she runs over a clown. Then they cheer and all the guys runs towards her. 


Spraying people with liquid ice cream? I don't know what to say. 

The bubble bath scene was not needed. 

I don't even know what this scene has to do with the song.  Nothing to do with ice cream.


The dance to this MV follows along the same line as her dance in "Bubble Pop." I don't mind the whole sexy dancing, but she could have thought of something else. This dance has that whole "get on the floor" and a lot of "body movements".

Overall:

This song is upbeat and any upbeat song to me is catchy. The first time I heard this song was going to be released, I thought of something cute, fun, and sweet like ice cream, but my guess was way off. Even though I was very very wrong the song and dance didn't surprise me at all. It was most likely expected. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Ghetto Justice" Review (By Iris)


"Ghetto Justice" unexpectedly became the sleeper hit of the year when it was released in 2011, becoming a critical and fan favorite.  Since then, many people had anticipated the sequel, including myself.

"Ghetto Justice 2" was set up very nicely.  It was one of the few sequels that truly felt like a continuation from the original.  All the principle cast members had returned, the ones who did not were heard from and had explained absences (Eddie Kwan and Joyce Tang), and the new characters (Raymond Cho, JJ Jia, and Crystal Li) were introduced well.

It all goes downhill from there though. The cases were weak, forgetful, and overall just uninteresting.  They failed to command attention, and with the excessive family related cases settled out of court, it strayed from the fact "Ghetto Justice" is a law series.  There were no captivating court scenes here.  Even the cases that had potential, such as the building collapse, were written poorly and ended abruptly. 


The heart and soul of "Ghetto Justice", embodied in the character of Law Ba made infamous by Kevin Cheng, lost his touch.  His ego seems to have inflated since the original, making him go from lovably cocky to just plain obnoxious at times.  His laziness and playfulness has elevated, and the brilliant lawyer failed to be exhibited much.  All of the subtle characteristics and flaws that made him special and likable in the first one were unnecessarily magnified.  He's still a likable enough character, but just not the same Law Ba that the audience came to love.

Myolie Wu delivers a repeat performance.  She reprises the role and shows small improvements, but doesn't present anything too new or impressive.  She and Kevin still have a great amount of chemistry together, and appear very natural.

"Ghetto Justice 2" wins the award for bringing in the most unnecessary plot device for its story ever: the love triangle.  The sequel saw challenges for Law Ba and Wong Sze Fu through Law Ba's ex-wife Lynette, played by Christine Kuo, who somehow managed to remain unknown to any of the other characters for so long.  The idea already seemed bad in theory, and its execution was no better.  Lynette was irritating, and almost singlehandedly makes the series a long draggy, mess.  There were some redeeming traits in the character, such as her wish to truly help people as a doctor, but her foolish love for Law Ba masks her potential likability.  Christine gives a mediocre performance with jumbled Cantonese and unnatural crying scenes, but the scene where she challenges Myolie to fight for Kevin showed she can be pretty fierce. 

Between the weak cases and overall storyline, the decline in Law Ba's level of likability, and the addition of Lynette, it was the supporting cast that kept me watching (that, and I didn't want to just drop the series since I enjoyed the original so much).

"Ah Dan" (Sam Lee) was already likable in the original, and continues to be.  In fact, I held a higher appreciation of the character of Ah Dan and Sam's subtle yet real portrayal of him this time around.  He is kindhearted and concerned of the well being of society to a fault, but has a tendency to neglect family.  Regardless of how small the appearance, it was also great that Sharon Chan was able to make a cameo as Ching Ching through the form of Ah Dan's memory and mind. 

I had major doubts of the pairing of Sam Lee and JJ Jia, but they turned out to be the pair I enjoyed watching most, from their initial dislike and misconceptions of each other, to their friendship and mutual understanding, to their eventual realization of their love of each other.  At first, JJ Jia's character Ah Sum seemed like she'd be very annoying, but she turned out to be a sweet, kind, caring, but smart girl.  JJ performed quite well, bringing out the heart and wisdom in Ah Sum.  She knew to remember the memories forever, but not let the past keep her from being happy in the present and future.  Her unwavering care of Ah Dan and willingness to help him through thick and thin was touching, particularly when she steered him to learn to accept his mother's death and mend his relationship with his father.  It was a plot line that could have been draggy to watch, but one of few things that were executed well in the series. 

Jazz Lam reprises his endearing performance as the adorable and gentlemanly MJ with ease, and it continues to shock me how he emerged into the character so naturally with his record of playing more rough and immature, younger characters.  Raymond Cho as "Leung Bao" was an appropriate replacement for Eddie Kwan, and had no trouble filling the void left in Law Ba's gang of friends.  Crystal Li did not have much development or screen time to work with as "Grace", but was very likable and shows potential as well as a certain aura of sweetness and intelligence to her.  However, the oddest character and casting decision was Elena Kong, who is pictured on the poster and initially appears to be a main cast member.  Her character had potential for development and another storyline.  Yet, she disappears after her divorce case and is never heard from again.

"Ghetto Justice 2" is deceiving.  It looks the same and as good as the original the outside with the return of its original cast and smooth entrance of new characters, but it's not.  The overall vision and point of the series did not mirror up to the first one.  It tried to expand on what made the original so beloved, but along the way ruined itself.  The sequel holds little novelty and things to praise about, but is full of weak and sloppy writing.  Perhaps it would have been better if the original producer Tong Kei Ming had returned, as he was replaced by newly promoted producer Joe Chan after announcing retirement.

Overall

"Ghetto Justice 2" feels more like a chore to watch than a pleasure, and definitely does not live up to the hype or the original.  With the exception of Christine Kuo, the series does boost solid acting.  However, the point that good acting can not save a bad script has been made and beaten to death by TVB a thousand times over, and "Ghetto Justice 2" is just another example.  The story is not engaging and sloppily written and should not be linked to the original.  There were some entertaining moments and I enjoyed watching the cast (mostly Sam and JJ), but the bad and weak outweighs the good.  Now that this review is written and done, I can now pretend there was never a sequel made for "Ghetto Justice".

Rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Raymond Lam's "Self-Portrait" Album Review


Since debuting in the music industry five years ago, Raymond Lam slowly traveled off the path of being an actual artist and instead became an idol. However, Raymond shows redemption with the more mature yet diverse "Self-Portrait".

In past albums, Raymond's albums have been heavy with ballads and upbeat dance songs. Although ballads showed his voice and range nicely, it started to become boring and gave off the feeling that he had a "sleepy" voice. I wanted something different. His upbeat songs such as "Chok" and "Hello" lacked substance and were even somewhat laughable for their lyrics and composition and didn't fit him.  Rest assured, "Self-Portrait" is one big step in a positive direction.

Every song on the album is a bit different and there are many different feels and styles exhibited here.

The main plugs "頑石/Stubborn Stone" and "Because of You" are the closest the album has to ballads, but aren't quite ballads, which is a nice change. Instead, they simply have a slower tempo but carry a lighter and more serene feel.


"頑石/Stubborn Stone" possesses a beautiful sound from an orchestra and band in the background and the subtle yet obvious hint of sadness and pain in the lyrics are brought out by Raymond's signature emotion-filled voice.  The Mandarin version is also nice, but as usual, the original is better and flows more.


"Because of You" has a similar musical composition and feel but with a contrasting tone. It is sweet, calming, and sounds very romantic. Both are definitely highlights of the album, but far from the only noteworthy tracks.

The videos for both were splendidly shot.  It was nice for EEG to invest more money for Raymond to travel to New York to film the music videos.  "Stubborn Stone" was shot in the city, while "Because of You" is shot by a serene dock.  Both looked simplistic yet visually beautiful with the location filming and soft lighting.

"寂寞星球/Lonely Planet" is another stand out with its mysterious aura and subtle old Chinese influence. The song leaves you feeling intrigued and even slightly spooked from the mesmerizing melody. This is unlike any other song he's ever released.

"年時/Years" and "暗中作樂/Concert in the Dark" are also enjoyable tracks. "Years" carries a lovely melody and tempo that gives off a very soothing and thoughtful feel. "Concert in the Dark" is a more upbeat but playful song. "膠椅/Plastic Chairs" is another upbeat and playful song but has a slightly funky feel that's fun, but not fantastic.

"一刀切/One Size Fits All" plays like a song for a movie soundtrack with its suspenseful and strangely thematic feel. An interesting and dynamic song.

With my history of not liking dance tracks, at first listen, LFX 6.8 was not music to my ears, and the excessive auto tune did not help. However, as I listened to it more, it grew on me. It's catchy and has a great infectious beat. The hip hop influence is there but not over the top.

Aside from the main singles, "The One" and "I'm Okay" are my personal favorites off this great album.

"The One" is infused with a R&B feel, which is very refreshing and fitting with Raymond's voice. The song also has a slight mysterious yet romantic vibe to it that makes it so pleasing to the ears.


On the other hand, "I'm Okay" is an endearing and sweet song with an airy feel.  It's a fun track you can easily sing along to.  The female voice over near the end of the song rendered it more cheesy than necessary, but doesn't ruin the overall effect.  The music video co-starring Oceane Zhu is also very cute and smile inducing.

Overall

As an idol singer that has been sweeping up awards more because of the lack of singers and disagreements between record companies than his music itself, perhaps it's become easy to forget Raymond genuinely is talented.  He has good range, singing low as well as high notes with ease, and of course, the charisma and stage presence.  His recent material made him lose credibility in my eyes, but "Self-Portrait" comes as a true and pleasant surprise.  It is his album of redemption.  Here, he shows he has the versatility to sing different styles and types of music and has the potential to become known as an artist, not just an idol.

All of the songs here are worth listening to and able to set themselves apart instead of blurring together, something a lot of Cantonese albums can not do. Instead of having songs residing at polar opposites of the spectrum (slow ballads and upbeat dance songs), the album explores the things in between. Raymond Lam may have taken a few steps backward in the last few years, but with "Self-Portrait", he takes a huge step forward, and it's definitely worth nothing.  He is someone to start taking more seriously.

"Self-Portrait" is one of the best albums of the year and has quickly become one of my favorites.  Raymond's always had the talent, and for the first time in a while, he is able to show it.  Hopefully, he will continue in this direction.

Rating: 4.25 stars

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Till the World Ends" Episode 2

"Wait...so what exactly happened?" Bosco asked Kate the next, who had just found out the two girls were now unemployed after coming home from work early.  Kate had called Bosco and Edwin after she and Myolie arrived home. Edwin, who was working at home, immediately came up from he and Bosco's apartment downstairs, which was located directly below the two girls.
Kate opened her mouth to reiterate, but Edwin repeated for her instead. "Basically, Kate stood up to the wicked Rachel for Myolie. Myolie got overexcited, as if some supernatural force got into her, and decided to stand up to her as well. Rachel bursts, and fires the two on the spot", Edwin said, making hand motions as he said it to make it sound even more lively and exciting.

Kate nudged Edwin. "Don't forget, as we walked out, she turned back and yelled 'See you suckers!'" she said, with her fist in the air.

"You two sure had an interesting day", Bosco said. Of course he felt bad about what had happened...but the way it happened was rather amusing. His girlfriend would do such a thing. He turned to Kate.

"Getting fired may not be the worst thing in the world though. Now you don't have to work for that Rachel", he said.

"I know, but what if we end up working for a boss that's even worse? And now it'll follow us to any companies that we apply to", Kate replied.

"Also, if I'm worried about this, I can only imagine how hard Myolie's going to take this when it all sinks in", she said as she bit her lip.

"Speaking of which...where is she? I haven't seen her since we came up", he said. He and Kate looked around the apartment for her.

Edwin, who had gone to the kitchen for a glass of water, popped his head out from the other room. "No need to keep looking, I already found her", he told them.

Bosco and Kate came over, but didn't see her. "Wait, where?" they asked.

"Wait, she's about to come up", he said as he playfully shushed them.

Myolie popped up from under the kitchen counter with a large batch of cupcakes. "Has anyone seen my frosting utensils?" she cried.

Bosco and Kate looked around with widened eyes. Trays of cookies, cupcakes, and muffins lied on every surface in the kitchen. There was enough to feed a whole classroom of hungry kids with sweet tooth's. Myolie had cracked.

"What did I do? What did I DO?" Myolie wailed.

Bosco came over beside her and started to massage her shoulders.  "You let out something that you've been keeping bottled up for a long time", he replied.

Myolie budged from Bosco's grasp and went to pull a kitchen knife from out of the drawer.

Edwin's eyes bulged.  "Ahh!" he screamed when realized what Myolie had taken out.  "Myolie Jeh, we know you're feeling frazzled right now but don't need to resort to this!"  he said.

"I want to cut the brownies!" Myolie pointed at the fresh batch of brownies on the counter with the knife.  She looked like she was more prone to passing out from the stress she was feeling at the moment than actually inflicting harm on herself.

Kate reached over and cautiously removed the knife from her friend's hand.  "Let me do that for you...", she said.

Myolie failed to react to Kate taking the knife from her, and instead sank her face into her hands.  "What am I going to do!  How am I going to find a job in this economic state?  And why did I have to pull you into this?" she said as she turned to Kate.  She leaned down and buried her face in Kate's shoulder and started to sob.

Kate, Edwin, and Bosco all looked at each other.  What were they going to do?

**********

Ron exited the elevator to enter the floor of Fala's work place with a bag in hand.  He could see Fala diligently working at her computer through the glass door and smiled.

Opening the door, he tip toed across the room and put up a finger to his lips to shush the puzzled co-workers who caught sight of him from their desks.

Once at Fala's desk, he reached over from behind to cover her eyes.

In response, Fala started to scream.  "Who's this?!" she yelled.

Ron burst out laughing, and Fala immediately recognized the sound of his laugh.  

"Ugh, it's you!" she playfully scoffed.  "What brings you here?" she asked in her normal voice.

"You've been so busy working on your story lately, I thought I'd visit you during your lunch hour and bring you food or you would totally forgot us humans need to eat", Ron replied, handing her the take out bag.  

Fala peered into the bag and took out a hot sandwich and cup of soup from her favorite cafe.  "My favorite!" she said happily.  She reached up and cheerfully pat Ron on the head, who was leaning on her desk.  "Thank you!"

Cindy, one of her co-workers and fellow reporters nudged Fala.  "Your boyfriend?" she pointed at Ron.  "Very handsome", she whispered to her, but not quietly enough so that Ron could still hear.

Ron started to break into a big smile at the compliment on his looks.  "Why thank you", he said.

"Him?  Yeah right", Fala laughed.  Ron rolled his eyes.

He put his arm around her and said "This thing here is just my good, good, very good friend".  He paused, and added "However, she is quite a handful".

Fala elbowed him in the chest lightly for that last remark, and Ron responded by mocking great pain.  "Ow!" he mouthed.

"Could've fooled me", Vincent (Vincent Wong), another co-worker of Fala said with a laugh.  "Bringing you your favorite lunch during your lunch hour, that's not something I ever did for even my own girlfriend, he said.  "And did you notice her eyes perked right up when she saw it", he poked Fala's cheek.

"No wonder she dumped you", Fala joked and pushed his finger away.

Vincent pretended to take offense at the playful assault.  "Aww..." he said, and went back to work.

"Yeah, and she can't go more than a few hours without food.  Try starving her, it's like purposely inflicting pain on yourself because she becomes so irritated and irritating to the people around her", Ron said about Fala.

"That's not true!" Fala said.

"Aw, you two are like an old married couple", Cindy teased.

"Shouldn't you guys be taking your lunch break now?" Fala asked, in an effort to shoo them away.

"We still need to finish our stories too, no lunch for me today", Cindy replied.

"Then get working!", Fala said, and everyone turned back to their computer screens.

Ron turned to Fala again.  "Are you going to the gym after work today?  My last session ends at 5 but I still have to squeeze in a workout for myself too", he said, then poked her arm.  "Looks like you should too, your muscle's going away!"

"It is?" Fala said and looked down and poked at her arms.  "Aw man!  Yeah, I'll be there, I should have this story done by the end of today", she said.

"Ok, see you then.  Don't work too hard", Ron said.  He patted her head then started to leave to go meet his first client of the day at the gym.  As he left the office, from the corner of his eye he could see Vincent sneaking looks at Fala from his work station, then quickly looked back at his computer screen.  Fala, of course, was oblivious.

As Fala finally started to turn her attention back to her story, a new distraction appeared.

"Ahh, he's so handsome!" "He makes me melt!"  "He looks so good in that suit!" a group of girls huddled together in the office flipping through a magazine.  Raymond was on the cover.

Fala raised her eyebrows as the girls fan girled over Raymond.  She heard a lot of remarks on his looks and how "cool" and "hot" he is, but nothing about his talent.  The fan girling continued, but no productive praise seemed to come out of it.  She had a high appreciation of music as well as Raymond's.  She saw him go through vocal training and work hard for so many years before getting where he was today.  Did they not realize her friend Raymond was more than just a pretty face?  He's an artist, not a glorified idol.  Fala sighed.  None of these girls seemed to really appreciate and like Raymond.

**********

Later that day, Fala and Ron ran on treadmills side by side at the gym.  Fala was ranting to Ron about the girls at the office who were cooing over Raymond.

"There are so many more things to praise Raymond about!  His voice and range, stage presence, work ethic, why do the girls only comment on his looks?" she pondered, annoyed.  

"Well, not every girl is as thoughtful and observant as you", Ron replied.

"They're not teenage girls anymore, surely they can show more deep thinking than that", she said.

Ron shrugged and said "You'd be surprised. Not every adult is as bright as they should be."

"But you do have a point. Raymond spent years studying music, training his voice, and searching for opportunities to become a musician, not just the subject of ogling girls", he said seriously. Then, he thoughtfully added "Not that I would mind if girls wanted to fawn over me."

Fala stared at the suddenly daydreaming Ron. "You were doing so well being serious for once until that last part", she said.

He snapped out of his daydream and turned his face to look at her. "Hey, of I was serious all the time you wouldn't find me so fun to hang out with, would you?" he asked in his typical silly and playful tone.

Fala rolled her eyes. "I guess not, she said with a smile.

"And she finally smiles again!" Ron said, pumping his arms in the air as if he had achieved victory.

Fala laughed wholeheartedly at her silly friend. Life would be so less entertaining and fun without him.

**********

"So what are you going to do?" Ella asked Kate later that evening.

"Well, I got fired, I didn't resign. It's not like I can just go back and ask for my job back", Kate said.

It was dinner time of the same day, and the whole group sat in the living room eating instant noodles. While Myolie had downgraded from hysterical to just super worried and unsure of what to do next, she was still in no mood to cook. When everybody showed up ready for dinner, she handed each one of them a noodle cup.

"We'll probably be blacklisted by every PR firm in the area once word gets out about how we were fired", Myolie said sadly.

"You have a decent amount of money saved up, you can just take a break then start applying to jobs again and go from there", Bosco said.

"I'd barely call that a plan", Myolie mumbled. She couldn't go with the flow the way Bosco did so well.  She needed a structured plan she could carefully follow to feel at ease.

Edwin returned from the kitchen with a small plate piled with various baked goods from Myolie's baking spree earlier.  "Myolie, these are delicious!" he said while chewing a brownie.  "You should open your own bakery!"

Ella's eyes lit up.  "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea!" she said.

Edwin looked up from his plate.  "Wait, we were being serious?" he asked.

Bosco stood up straighter.  "That actually is a good idea!  Maybe not just a bakery, but a cafe too!" he replied.  He turned to Myolie and Kate.  "You two studied business in college and have experience", he said.  He pointed at Myolie.  "You're a great baker and love to bake and you're the most organized person I know", he stated.

Then, he pointed at Kate.  "You work great with Myolie and you know how to deal with all types of people and customers well", he said.

"If nobody wants to hire you, become your own boss.  You won't need to deal with unreasonable superiors anymore and you have all of us to help you out too.  People love sweets and it could be a great place for all kinds of people to come relax at", he proposed.

Myolie's ears began to perk up and she started to get excited.  "I can bake and decorate different pastries and create a serene atmosphere that will make people want to come and wind down", she said.

Kate nodded thoughtfully.  "That does sound very nice", she replied.

"And I can help you with the money to start it up and go visit potential locations with you", Bosco said.

"I can help you design the look of the cafe!" Ella exclaimed.

"Oooh, and I can write the first review of the place!" Fala said.

"I can advertise it on the web and create a website for it", Edwin added.

"I can come to the grand opening of the place and attract more people to come", Raymond offered.

"I can..." Ron started.  Unable to think of anything he could do for the cafe related to his job as a personal trainer, he said "I can try all the baked goods and give feedback!"  Everyone laughed.

"I think Edwin has that job covered", Kate said as Edwin continued to indulge.

Myolie and Kate grew more excited and at ease with the idea that had just been born and their friend's support.

Bosco put his arm around Myolie.  "Do we have a plan now?" he asked sweetly.

Myolie paused to think, and everyone waited intently for what she'd say.

"I guess we do!" she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

Everyone started to cheer happily for the great cafe that was about to be born.  Ron picked up his cup of noodles.  "A toast to new beginnings and the unnamed cafe of Myolie and Kate!", he said, goofily.  The friends chuckled at the silliness of the action, but all obliged and touched their cups together.  "Cheers!" they all said in unison.

======================================

Comments: After four months, I finally got the second episode done.  Yay!!!  I suddenly had the urge to start writing it again.  I already had part of it done a while back and finally got a chance and the inspiration to finish it.  I hope everyone enjoys it, that is if there are still people reading.  While I feel like I probably created too many main characters, I love writing their interactions together and have plans for all of them (some more detailed than others).  Fala and Ron's friendship was mainly set up here, and Fala is revealed to have a potential admirer.  And of course, Myolie and Kate quickly found new opportunity.  Next to come, Raymond will be going to the first costume fitting for his upcoming concert!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Brown Eyed Girls




Background and Career:
Brown Eyed Girls, also known as B.E.G., is a South Korean band under the Nega Network label. They originally debuted as an R&B vocal group, but has branched off and they have experimented with other types of music since then. The group comprises of four members: Jea, Miryo, Narsha, and Ga-In. Before officially debuting, the girls held small concerts under the name "Crescendo".

On March 2, 2006 after spending several years in vocal training, the girls officially debuted as "Brown Eyed Girls" with their first album Your Story. The album did well critically, but did not have the same success commercially. They then re-released the album to include "Hold the Line" and received further popularity as the song became a hit. However the group still had to face hard times as their second album followed the first in commercial disappointment as it was released around the same time as the "Wonder Girls" hit "Tell Me".

Then in 2008 the girls had made a breakthrough as they branched off from their R&B ballads to take on a lighter sound. Their mini-album L.O.V.E. became an instant hit and garnered the girls attention as it became their first #1 song.

Further success awaited the girls as their second mini album "My Style". The retro-pop sound became a big hit among k-pop fans and the girls rose to the position of being one of the top girl groups.  In 2011 they, like many other K-pop groups, expanded their promotions to Japan with "Sign". In the last few years, B.E.G. branched off to explore to explore other different genres and has had tremendous success. Now, the girls are going into different areas such as acting and working on solo promotions as well. 

Member profiles

Jea (제아) the leader of B.E.G. was born on September 18, 1981 with the birth name of Kim Hyo Jin. Before B.E.G., she was in a group called "3point" and was recording songs for drama soundtracks. She is the one responsible for the creation and selection of members for B.E.G. She is one of the main vocals for the group.

Narsha (나르샤) was born on December 28, 1981 with the birth name Park Hyo Jin. She was recruited by Jea to become one of the main vocals for B.E.G. Jea chose her because they had been school mates before and Jea had remembered Narsha as an incredible singer. After debuting with B.E.G., she gained popularity and the nick name "adult-dol" from her variety show appearances. In 2010 she started her solo activities with her first solo single "I'm in Love", a slow acoustic song.

Ga-In (가인) was born on September 20, 1987 with the birth name Son Ga-In. She is the youngest member and was recruited to be in B.E.G. after getting cut from the auditions for a reality show called "Let's Coke Play! Battle Shinhwa!". She was found crying in the bathroom by composer Ahn Jung Hoon who recommended her to audition for B.E.G.  Now, she is the most well known member because of her appearances on "We Got Married" and "All My Love" beside 2AM's Jo Kwon. In 2010, Ga-in came out with her solo album "Step 2/4" with the title song "Irreversible". The song earned her a win on Inkigayo, a popular South Korean Music Show.

Miryo (미료) was born on November 2, 1983 with the birth name Jo Mi Hae. Miryo was a well known rapper even before getting recruited for B.E.G. She was the main rapper in the group "The Honey Family". Jea was aware of her ability and recruited her to be in B.E.G.  She was also the first to be recruited into the group. She had recently released a solo mini album titled "MIRYO aka JOHONEY" with the title track "Dirty".

Music Recommendations:



"Hold the Line" is B.E.G.'s first hit. It is fun, playful, and catchy with its flirty lyrics and funky beat. The girls showed off their cute and silly side with this MV which makes it really fun to watch.




It was no surprised that "I Got Fooled By You" became another hit for them, their vocals here are so powerful and just beautiful. I love the jazzy sound and the incorporation of Miryo's rap, because this is the type of song that I wouldn't expect to have a rap.  However, it fitted in perfectly with the song.




"LOVE" is a lighthearted and fun song.  The song is a mix of pop and R&B. It's like a crossroad in their changing of genres; it still posses the R&B sound, but it also has a lighter synthetic pop beat. The MV is nice, simple, and really lets their charismatic personalities shine through. This song is ridiculously catchy and I have had this song stuck in my head after only a few listens.



"Abracadabra" is an electro-pop song that has become one of the iconic songs of k-pop. I wasn't too fond of the song at first, but it eventually grew on me. This is a very different sound for B.E.G., as they had shed their previous image and sound completely.


"Sixth Sense" is undoubtedly the strongest and most powerful B.E.G. song.  Everything about this song gives off a sense of strength. The girl's vocals and especially the high notes at the end gives me goosebumps every time I listen.

Personal Thoughts:
B.E.G. has always been one of my favorite girl groups and perhaps my first K-pop girl group that I had fallen in love with. In K-pop, there are countless girl groups and new ones that debut every year, but despite the rough competition, B.E.G. manages to stand out like a shining diamond. B.E.G. is not a mainstream K-pop group for all the right reasons. Being older than many of the teen idols today, they're able to break the normal idol image. The girls provide a different, more mature sound and look to K-pop. They also go above and beyond with their involvement in music by constantly exploring and experimenting with different genres, and their solid vocals and performance skills is just the cherry on top of an amazing band. What makes me really respect and love B.E.G. is their passion for music and modest personalities. Their live performances are bursting with charisma and energy. Just one look and its easy to tell that they are truly passionate about their music.