Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review of Tears Of Heaven Musical 천국의 눈물 뮤지칼

I had the honour to watch Tears of Heaven musical and it was a very moving and superb performance portrayed by the finest stage actors and singers of all times.
Originally written by an American composer- Frank Wildhorn who is also famous for his works such as Jekyll & Hyde, Bonnie and Clyde and Whitney Houston's hit song- "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?

The opening of the musical was unique whereby a middle aged inspiring writer Joon shows his daughter Tiana a photo of a Vietnamese woman. Then the story unfolds how the happy go lucky Joon meets his destiny...

Tears of Heaven musical is a very heart breaking love story set during the Korean-Vietnam War. A fellow Korean soldier- Joon falls in love with a Vietnamese girl, Linh. Linh happens to be working as a singer captured the attention of an American Colonel, James Grayson as well. When the American Colonel is jealous over the couple's lovey dovey relationship, he decides to break them apart by sending Joon to the most difficult mission war where the chances to return are very slim. One of Linh's friend who is in love with Joon conspires with the plot and tells her that Joon has died in the mission, so he will not be returning for good. Linh is so heart broken upon hearing the news so she went off to America with the American Colonel. Surprisingly Joon returned back safely only to find his lover is no longer around waiting for him. 

The Korean version has casted a few young idols as the main characters. JYJ's Kim Jun Su, Jeong Dong Suk, Jung Sang Yoon are the switching characters of Joon. America's famous Broadway Musical Actor Brad Little comes all the way to Korea to perform as the Colonel James Grayson meanwhile Davichi's Lee Haeri and musical singer Yoon Gong Ju will play as Linh.  

The performance of Tears of Heaven has captured the attention of the young and old. Whether you do like the Vietnam war or's all about the love story on this couple who were torn apart from war and jealousy. I felt my heart tugged when Joon sings in sorrow for Linh when he was at war. The separation song 'Can You Hear Me?' 

                                                             Like the sun that shines outside your window,
I will be with you wherever you go
Through the night, you’ll feel my heart still beating next to yours
Right by your side, forever I will stay
‘Til the morning comes my prayers will the speak the truth
Like a whisper on the wind, my voice will call to you
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
‘Cross the distance words take flight
Carried on the wings of angels
Are the promises that we both made tonight
I am yours
Just believe that I will be here always
That our love will last the rest of our days
‘Cross the miles, I’ll reach for you
and in my dreams, your memory will be strong , All through the darkest hours
                                         I will keep you close and when that’s not enough                       
                          Even though we’re far apart, angels will lift us up....can you hear me?

In the musical the song will be sung in duet and it sounds lovely...the women's voice hits out and reaches out to the audience with the high tones. I could see Junsu struggled a bit with the low keys for the song 'I Have to Learn' since he has high pitched voice. But apart from that, he has pulled it through smoothly with audience pulling out tissues wiping tears when Joon longs for Linh. Don't get me wrong though I am JYJ fan, I felt Jeong Dong Suk and Jung Sang Yoon did well as Joon too. They are the taller versions of Joon. Hahah! 

I must give credit to Brad Little for he is the only foreigner who came all the way to join this musical in South Korea. He was great...he has a wonderful voice and powers through the entire hall. Though he can't speak Korean, he tries his best to sing along with the casts.
*Yum....the performance brought me to tears too... * I will say no more- THUMBS UP!
2 words to describe - LOVE IT! Love it, love it, love it!

If you like Miss Saigon, this might be your cup of tea. I think men in uniform rock! 
JYJ fans- Junsu might be dorky as he is, but he's great when it comes in performing on stage. He is chirpyamd clumsy as Joon at the first act going after Linh and cries when he has to separate for good with her...  5/5 stars 

내 눈은 그댈 보지 못해도 
난 항상 그대 곁에 있어요
내 귀가 그대 얘기를 듣지 못해도 알죠 그렇죠 날 사랑하는 걸
어둠 속에 빛이 되어준 사람 나는 그대만을 바라보고 있어요

*들리나요 들리나요 내 마음이 하는 말
세상 어디 있다해도 같은 하늘 아래 있다는 것을 기억해요
눈물이 그대에게 닿으면 하늘에 비가 내리는 거죠
바람이 그대 두 뺨을 어루만진다면 간절한 내 손길인거죠
내게 미안해 하지는 말아요 지금 내 목소리에 귀 기울여 봐요

헤어짐이 두려워도 이대로 사랑해요 사랑해요
내 사랑을 믿어요 세상 어디 있다해도
오늘밤 우리가 맺은 그 약속 기억해요 기억해요 기억해요...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Korean Variety Programs/Shows

South Korea has been famous for producing some of the funniest, wittiest and sometimes no sense variety programs in this planet. Since early 2000s, they have been airing some of the greatest programs such as Love Letter, X-Man, Happy Together, Introducing A Star's Friend, Exploration of Human Body and Infinity Challenge.

Lately the ever popular Running Man has been snatching the top spot with nation's host MC Yoo Jae Suk, Kim Jong Gook, Ji Suk Jin, Gary, Ha Ha, Song Ji Hyo and Lee Kwang Soo. And with the talk shows such as Strong Heart hosted by Kang Ho Dong & Lee Seung Gi, it has many happy episodes relating to each individual's stories and experiences.

In early year 2000s, I used to get hook to watching Love Letter (리얼 로망스 연애편지), Happy Together (해피투게더) and X-Man (X맨) series. They are mostly hosted by Yoo Jae Suk & Kang Ho Dong. Guests celebrities include Kim Jong Gook, Shinhwa, SS501, Super Junior, Sol Bi, Hwangbo, Chaeyeon, Yoori, Shin Jung Hwan and etc...Love Letter program featured male and female contestants competing for each other in romance games. The guests have to dance in order to impress the person they are after.

 X-Man was hosted by Jae Suk, Ho-dong, our "beaver" friend Kim Je-dong, and soon being replaced by Gong Hyung-jin, Park Kyung-lim, and Lee Hyuk-jae. Do not be confused Hyuk-Jae for Eunhyuk from Super Junior. Although both shared the same name, Eunhyuk decided to use his stage name in SuJu in order not to be confused with a comedian. 
X-Man either features tongue twister games, couple missions, wrestling and chicken fight! X-Man guests include singers such as Shinhwa, Bae Seul Gi, Shin Ji, Kim Jong Min, DBSK, Yoon Eun Hye, Hwangbo, Ha Ha, Chaeyeon, Tim, Park Myung Soo, H.O.T, Super Junior and lots more. 

 Exploration of Human Body (인체탐험대) program is quite a funny & interesting as it answer curious questions about the human body.Super Junior members & MC Shin Dong Yub got all the answers by doing experiments with their own bodies. It's super hillarious and gained audience due to its comedic and educational contents. Particularly I loved episode 9-10 where it featured DBSK as guests- they were testing the hottest chillis in the world. Jaejoong proves he is the best when it comes to spicy food. However for Yoochun he screamed after biting in it and Junsu struggled after the spiciness hits his tongue.

Happy Together (해피투게더) is an entertaining variety show shown free on KBS World
and KBS channel. First few seasons it has the Metal Karaoke Room where I remembered Shinhwa members getting hit by the metal trays if they happen to sing incorrectly.Comes Season 3, they changed the show to Challenge! Memorize the Song and Don't Laugh in the Sauna. Yoo Jae Suk has been hosting the program since 2003 and proves to be one of the top variety programs. 

Introducing Star's Friend Survival (스친소 서바이벌) is variety show hosted by Lee Hwi Jae whereby idols or celebrities bring in one of their best or closest friend into the show. Often Boom is seen bringing his friends who are either pretty or handsome. The funniest episodes were some of their friends have to perform or dance in front of complete strangers. 

Lately there have been other shows such as Dad!Where are you going?, Hello!Chancellor and other programs which are less entertaining yet still gaining attention.


Which is your favorite? You vote it for yourself.... :)

Typical Scenes in a Korean Drama

As far as I loved watching K-dramas, but I can't help but to sometimes curse or fast forward certain scenes in the dramas gets on everybody's nerves but we love it...somehow we still find it bloody annoying.

A few factors that depicts a typical Korean drama are as per below:

  • There is a super urgent issue, they need to talk- they meet up with each other and yet couldn't bring themself to open their mouth. And often they said "Let's talk' and end up sitting in a coffee shop or some restaurant for 10 over minutes, but nothing was talked at all. URrrgh!!! - testing patience... 
  • Whenever someone is stabbed or shot, instead of calling 911 or the ambulance, they started shouting the victim's name and crying away instead of putting pressure to the wound. Most cases the victim ends up being dead before they could do anything. Will calling the victim's name save the person? NAH.... aigoo!!!
  • Family drama has tons of relatives and nonsensical people popping around the house out of nowhere interupting conversations or adding more 'fuel' into the fire talk. This is bloody annoying and it extends the drama for no reason for 50 episodes when it could only be 20+ episodes. 
  • Every K-drama will have scenes at the airport and the hospital. There is never one drama that doesn't feature an airport/hospital scene. Either the main leads will fall sick or injured themselves can be either way they decided to leave the country because of some heart-breaking relationship or decided to give way to the 2nd lead.
  • It seems every actor/actress must know how to 'piggy-back'... there are so many dramas with the leads piggying-back the girl...child...etc. Piggy back is a common thing to do when someone is drunk. 
  • When the lead actress gets angry and decided to leave/ refused to listen to any explanation, as soon as she starts walking off- within few seconds....the main actor will either speak up/tell the truth or grab her wrist. Ah...this is a common gesture in getting the girl's attention. Ha ha!
  • All CEO or President of the companies have their own rooms with black leather seats like in a mafia club, there're always secretaries/PA's following them around. 
  • Scenes when someone is having some problem or suffering, someone who is concerned will ask them if they are okay- the answer is always- "Nothing is wrong, "I am fine...etc. " Why suffer alone when you can just tell it out? Sighs...
  • The truth will always be known at the very last 2 episodes... either they find out they are long lost siblings, their parents' identities...etc. Heck! They beat around the bush just to find out the truth. Bleh!
  • Lately K-dramas are mostly featuring either a K-idol or singer in it. Whether they have acting skills or not, it must be either to boost up the ratings from the fans/public viewers or they just act as an eye-candy in the drama. 

Despite all these annoying scenes, we still love to watch K-dramas...why? The answer is there is nothing more entertaining to watch either our favorite actors/idols in the drama.
For new comers and idols in dramas, they are sometimes too lame to watch coz either they have no expression at all while reading the scripts most of the time...but for some are showing great improvement in their acting skills. 

I'd seriously give thumbs up to  new stars such as Park Yoo Chun (3 days), Kim Soo Hyun (My Love from Another Star), Seo Kang Jun (Sly & Single), Lee Jong Suk (School 2013), Park Hae Jin (Dr. Stranger) and Kim Woo Bin (The Heirs). These new young talented idols have shown great potential in dramas/movies they are in. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wizardy World of Harry Potter arrives in Japan.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has arrived on the shores of Japan. It comes with a price to pay when you enter the Universal Studios in Osaka. It all derives from the junior roller coaster from Orlando in United States- Flight of the Hippogriff. The roller coaster has a front head of an Eagle and a body of a horse. Strange, isn't it? A duplicate of this
attraction finally opened in Universal Studios Japan on 15th July 2014.

The roller coaster takes passengers on a test flight of the Hippogriff over the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid's Hut. Riders are instructed to bow to the Hippogriff before the ride progresses up the lift hill. The cars then travel over a track, to the top of the lift, where riders have a full aerial view of The Wizarding World, and then dropped through various dips and turns around Hogwarts Grounds before being deposited at the start of the track, where Hagrid thanks riders, who then disembark. [Courtesy from Wikipedia]

The attraction has proved successful whereby fans were seen boarding the Hogwarts Express train and Hogwarts Castle. Moving portraits and the Sorting Hat chat to visitors as they wander the halls of the School of Witchcraft. Apart from these, below are further attractions for Harry Potter fans:

  • "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" ride  
  • The Three Broomsticks restaurant 
  • Hog's Head Bar 
  • Honeyduke's Sweets Shop 
  • Ollivander's Wand Shop 
  • Zonko's Joke Shop 
  • Dervish and Banges 
  • Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods 
  • Owl Post (with live owls - new for Japan) 
  • Gladrags Wizard Wear 
  • Hogwarts' Black Lake
Okay enough of blabbing of this place- I will be planning my next trip to Osaka, Japan to see these with my own eyes. After all I've seen the Platform 3/4 in London and the Harry Potter shop as well. What's left is to get myself a wand and a scarf. 

Wingardium Leviosa!

A Must Eat Food list in South Korea

The first thing a westerner ever think of Korean food is 'Kimchi'. Either you will like it or hate it because of its pungent smell and vinegary taste after been fermented for days-weeks. Well to me, there are various types of Kimchi and I have a few to recommend to eat. But first- let me introduce some of the common and typical dishes you will be eating if you ever do visit South Korea.

Bibimbap- One of Korea’s most wellknown dishes. It is a meal both delicious and nutritious. Depending on the ingredients used, bibimbap can be a meat or vegetarian dish. Different regions have their own unique versions of bibimbap, but the most famous is the one from Jeonju-si in Jeollabukdo. The dish has changed over the years – most notably with today’s practice of using gochujang (red pepper paste) instead of soy sauce as in ancient times –likely in order to better savor the taste of each individual ingredient.

Samgyetang - Ginseng chicken soup - hearty, healthy and delicious, it's made up of stuffing a small chicken with ginseng, glutinous rice, garlic, jujubes, spring onions and chestnuts then slow-cooking the ingredients until the meat is tender. The chicken broth is slightly bitter in taste with the ginseng but good for rejuvenating tired bodies. 

Tteokboki - Spicy rice & fish cakes is a cheap and popular dish among tourists, students and workers. Most of the side stalls and carts around Seoul will be selling them at anytime of the day. Most tteokboki vendors also sell fish cakes,sundae and fritters with it. Visit the Sindang station (near to Dongdaemun) where is famous for its Tteokboki Alley. 

Jeon - A Korean style pancake where it can be spring onion, kimchi or seafood version. Bindaetteok is another version of pancake comprised of pork, kimchi and grinded mung bean. Although it is originally from the Hwanghaedo and Pyeongando regions of North Korea but it is now enjoyed throughout South Korea as well. You can customarily dip the pancakes in soy or other sauces to improve its flavor.

Kimchi- the signature dish of South Korea. It comes in various styles- Korean cabbage, radish, pumpkin, onion, and other vegetables with chili powder, crushed garlic and salted seafood, which is then left to ferment. Kimchi is a must in any Korean meal that no restaurants are charging them for side dishes. 

Samgyeopsal- grilled pork belly is a popular dish for youngsters and any event. It means 3 layered meat (sam-gyeogpsal) in Korean. It is an expensive meal and typically grilled in a pan, then wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaf with garlic and ssamjang (soybean dipping sauce). Often people are seen eating samgyeopsal with Soju. aarrrgh... 

Korean Fried Chicken- Lately fried chicken is a hit in Korean. The chicken meat and bits are deep fried and then coated either with spicy garlic sauce, soy sauce or its original taste. It is often served with maekju (beer). That's where you hear people ordering Chi-Maek (Chicken & Maekju) There are some restaurant outlets that serve these dishes such as Two-Two Chicken and Kyochon Chicken. 

Bungeoppang- it's a red bean fish cake. Bungeoppang was first introduced into Korea by the Japanese during the Colonial Korea in the 1930s. There are also bungeoppang-shaped waffles filled with ice cream and pat (sweetened and boiled red beans). These waffles are usually mass-produced and sold by retailers, not by open-air food vendors. They sometimes come in frozen sold at mart and departmental stores. This snack is popular during winter.

MCM Bags, Backpacks and Accessories.

When I first found out what a MCM Bag was in Seoul when i was following a guided tour and the tour guide happened to carry one black tote bag with dangling charms at the side. The charms have MCM alphabets and a heart shape. My mother was telling me the bag looks beautiful and classy. I never knew what it me, my world was just surrounded by Burberry (which is always my favorite) and rest of my friends are into LV, Prada, Gucci, Coach and Longchamp brands. 

This is the one carried in City Hunter
Then MCM brand starts entering my world when I saw actress Park Min Young carrying the bags and wallets in the drama City Hunter with Lee Min Ho heavily endorsing it as well.

When i went to Seoul- straight away I headed to Lotte Duty Free and got myself a black shiny leather women wallet for US$200+. It's not cheap but it's worth while. Until today I cherished it and haven't used it. Ha ha!

Then again when i went to Hong Kong- i went straight to the MCM Boutique in the Central and bought myself another yellow colour women wallet and costs me another $200+ over again. 

MCM is a popular brand in South Korea where it's been heavily endorsed and carried by famous celebrities. The backpacks were one of the popular items carried by boyband members and actors such as Kwon Sang Woo, Girls Generation, EXO, Big Bang, Rain, TVXQ, MBLAQ, SHInee...etc. 

Korean singer/actor 'Rain"@ Jung Ji Hoon at the Decor MCM Store in Singapore

Korean- EXO group latest to endorse MCM brand in 2014

For all I know MCM is a popular luxury Germany brand. MCM stands for Mode Creation München. It was founded 1976 in order to manufacture high quality leather goods for traveling purposes. MCM overwhelmed the next decade, watches, bags, perfumes, clothes. Unfortunately, the public fell for more traditional labels in the 90's. In 2005, Michael Michalsky who is the Adidas former creation director found a new home at MCM. He gave a 2nd life to the company and MCM got it shyne back by picking in the brand amazing range products and shapes and technics. MCM vintage products have seen their value increased lately, which is a rate of MCM's amazing success.

MCM flagship store opened in London near to Harrods Shopping Dept. and I went to have a quick look at the boutique. It wasn't big but carries various collection of the bags, wallets and accessories. They are still super expensive especially they are in GBP (Pounds).

The women handbags were easily ranging from US$500-$1000 for one and they are usually leather. Not cheap to start with but definitely cheaper than buying other luxurious brands in Europe. It's not a very common brand but something to look and cherish if you are into lux brands. One of my favorites got to be the Urban Styler and Elda collection bags. They are classy and super multi-purpose (either you can use it to work, shopping or anywhere!) Check out the latest models and collection on their main website at

The flagship stores and boutiques are mostly found worldwide in Europe and Asian countries. Australia and New Zealand are still back-dated so they dont carry these brands. *bleh!* .... The latest Flagship MCM Store has just opened in Myeongdong, Seoul in mid 2014 having EXO group to officiate the opening. 

I know I will be purchasing a MCM handbag in Seoul which I have been eyeing for years. It would either be the First Lady or Urban Styler collection. *Blinks* He he!

(Note: Pictures are all courtesy from MCM Worldwide Website)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reviews on Korean dramas 2014

I’d like to take this chance to review some of the good and terrible dramas which were aired in early 2014 via MBC, KBS and SBS broadcasting stations in South Korea.

Sly & Single Again 

The cast of this drama is rather interesting from various ages- Ju Sang Wook, Lee Min Jung, Seo Kang Jun & Kim Gyuri. A happily married couple ended up in some
misunderstanding and divorce. 3 years later wife discovers ex-hubby is a successful CEO of DONTALK IT company. In order to revenge back on her, he hires her as an intern to torture her with tons of work. Meanwhile cutie Seo Kang Jun as 2nd male lead and he has managed to capture the audience with his emotions and great acting. I will give it 3.5/5 stars for this drama. It’s a 2nd collaboration drama for Ju Sang Wook & Lee Min Jung after their first drama Kimchi Radish Cubes with Park Shin Hye (years back! That was an old drama where everyone looked so young!)

Joseon Gunman
Yes…Lee Jun Ki is back with another Sageuk period drama as double character- Park Yoon Kang and Hasegawa Hanjo. *Swoons*…honestly I must say Junki looks good in Sageuk and with his taekwondo skills, he fits well in action dramas. 2nd time he collaborates with actress Nam Sang Mi after the first drama Time Dog & Wolf. 

After the tragic death of his father and been framed as a traitor, Yoon Kang trades his sword for a Western rifle as he embarks on a revenge mission ending up becoming a hero for the people. Choi Won Shin as the ambitious stoned face assassin has an important role in this drama…he’s done it well for the main villain. Although his daughter’s role Hyewon played by Jeon Hye Bin was small and rather boring but she did it well too. Their ending for father-daughter was tragic- led by greed and plain jealousy. I must give credit to Otani Ryohei as the Japanese translator for Hanjo. He’s a Japanese actor who has stayed in Korea for 10 years and fluent in Korean. What a cutie! I will watch Roommate 2nd season because of him! Ha ha! 4/5 stars.

It's Okay to Love

Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In Sung) is a famous mystery novelist and popular radio DJ who suffers
from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When he meets Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin), a first-year psychiatry fellow at the hospital where he is being treated, they help each other work through their deep-rooted emotional issues. 

But how will Jo Dong Min (Sung Dong Il), Hae Soo’s senior colleague and first love, and Lee Pul Ip (Yoon Jin Yi), Jae Yeol’s girlfriend, feel about their growing closeness?

A great cast of Gong Hyo Jin, Jo In Sung, Sung Dong Il, D.O from EXO Group and Running Man's Lee Kwang Soo. Basically Gong Hyo Jin has gotten all the great handsome actors to work with. She's done dramas with Jang Hyuk, Seo Ji Sub, Cha Seung Won and now with Jo In Sung. Love...loved the chemistry of bromance among Soo Kwang, Dong Min and Jae Yeol in the boarding house. They are hillarious especially with Soo Kwang's antics. It's a first attempt for D.O from EXO group as the younger hallucination version of Jae Yeol. He's done it well. 3.5/5 stars 

Wonderful Days
This is a long family weekend drama which has taken top spot with top veteran actors such as Lee Seo Jin, Kim Hee Sun, Kim Ji Ho & Ok Tacyeon. Surprisingly 2PM group leader Tacyeon fits well in this drama despite being an idol but with his Busan ascent and acting skills, he has improved a lot and I love to see his character Dong Hee in this drama along with his pair of twins and Teacher Mari. Seo Jin is the hot blooded Prosecutor who left his hometown Gyeongju 13 years ago. 

There he meets again his first love, Hee Won and through many struggles-laughter’s & tears, they finally got consent to marry. One funny thing of this drama is their useless father who returned home with his 2 twin brothers who’re baldy and does nothing except floating around in this drama with nonsense talks. Kim Ji Ho’s Dong Ok role is interesting when she meets the innocent doctor who has interest in her even though she is slightly slow. 4/5 stars. Good drama and happy ending too!

How can I forget this touching drama on 3 long lost brothers reunited again after been separated for years. It’s the 2nd time for Jae Joong to work along with veteran actor Lee Bum Soo after their periodical drama Dr. Jin. ZE:A’s Im Si Wan as the youngest brother- cynical and spoilt Yoon Yang Ha is a rather interesting character to watch. Lee Bum Soo was the main lead in this drama but his spotlight was somehow taken by Jaejoong who has portrayed so well as the street petty gangster, Heo Young Dal earning a living in casinos. Oh Yeon Soo’s role as a psychiatrist and LBSoo’s girlfriend doesn’t have a significant appearance so the credit goes to Baek Jin Hee who plays as Young Dal’s love interest. The OST for this drama is moving when first 2 brothers were reunited; meet their mother for the first time and tears for remembering what happened to their late father. Every time I listen to Jaejoong’s smooth voice for the song싫어도 (Even Though I Hate It), it is so emotional . 4/5 stars for this one

You’re All Surrounded
4 rookie detectives in Gangnam police station- Eun Dae Gu (Lee Seung Gi), Uh Soo Sun (Go Ara), Park Tae Il (Ahn Jae-Hyeon) and Ji Guk (Park Jung-Min) arrive at the Gangnam Police Station for their first day of work. Their boss is none other than the hot headed Seo Pan Seok (Cha Seung Won) Dae Gu recognizes Seo. He hasn't forgotten him in 11 years when he was the detective asking his mother to become the witness in a homicide incident. He lost his mother to a murderer when Seo failed to protect them. From there Dae Gu has never forgiven Seo and intends to search for the main culprit. 

Seung Gi has always hoped to work with Cha Seung Won after appearing cameo in Greatest Love. Indeed they managed to work together. Go A-Ra’s bubbly character is interesting, loved it when she kept calling Dae Gu – ‘hey, my partner’ when he coolly ignores her. The best couple would be Tae Il and Guk. These 2 are cute and hilarious. For those who remember Cheon Song Yi’s little brother in My Love from another Star…he’s Ahn Jae Hyeon.  Cha Seung Won is great in his acting whether he plays the good or baddie role. 3.5/5 stars.

Jang Bori is here!

Another long family weekend drama of 50 episodes but it was typical draggy at the first 20+ episodes that wrecked my nerves. As a child, Jang Bo Ri (Oh Yeon-Seo) was adopted by a single parent woman without much money.

Unknown to her she is the missing daughter, Eun Bi of a wealthy family who owns the famous Hanbok designing house Bi Sul Chae. Bo Ri goes through the drastic change in her life and tries to become a successful designer of traditional Hanbok. Meanwhile, her adopted stepsister, Min Jung (Lee Yu-Ri) tried hard to win the heart of Eun Bi’s parents.

I must say Kim Ji Hoon’s as Jae Hwa is funny as hell…he’s comical and yet he’s smart. His step mother and father are a hilarious couple. Thumbs up for Lee Yu Ri as the main villain. Her eyes and expression gave it all when she is sneaky and frightening. She has done well for the 2nd time after she did in Twinkle Twinkle alongside Kim Hyun Joo. 3.5/5 stars.

Emergency Couple

A happy bubbly drama about a divorced couple who ended up meeting each other again at the hospital's Emergency Room. Choi Jin Hyuk and Song Ji Hyo plays the comical couple who were rivals at the start but ended up falling in love with each other at the end. Ji Hyo who is famous for being Miss Mong (Blur and dazed) all the time in Running Man program is hillarious at the start. She often gets into trouble in the ER especially with her boss. There's the sexy Clara in the drama who has an interest in Choi Jin Hyuk's role but realizes he still hasn't forgotten his ex-wife. I'd give it 4/5 stars though it's a cable network channel from TVN. As for those who remember Papa Gu (from The Gu Family book) - Choi Jin Hyuk was Lee Seung Gi's father in the sageuk fusion drama. Choi Jin Hyuk's acting has improved so much from his recent drama 'The Heirs' as Lee Min Ho's cold hearted brother.

Hotel King
The story unfolds revenge and love whereby a loner, Cha Jae Wan (Lee Dong Wook) is an outstanding General Manager in CIEL Hotel. He has been adopted by the ruthless businessman, Lee Jung Goo (Lee Duk Hwa) to revenge on the President Ah Sung Ahn. Ah’s only daughter Ah Mo Ne (Lee Da Hae) returns from US to take over her late father’s hotel only to realize everything is crumbling apart with the VP and GM against her.  

First few episodes were a drag for me even though Lee Dong Wook is one of my favourite actors. Visually he’s handsome and stylish but Lee Da Hae as his love interest in this drama somehow didn’t feel so right. She was great in My Girl with Dong Wook but I reckon she has done so much plastic surgery to her face that her expressions were so stiff. Lee Duk Hwa was the main villain and yet this old man has great acting. He’s been always a great veteran actor in so many dramas. I remember the first time I saw Lee Duk Hwa was in All In drama as Ji Sung’s father.  3/5 stars…a letdown… sighs…  

Monday, September 22, 2014

MBC Real Men (진짜 사나이) variety program

MBC Real Men (진짜 사나이) is a variety program that features actors/singers involved in the recent military life in various camps The original cast of Real Men has singer MBLAQ Mir, actor Kim Su Ro, comedian Seo Kyeong Suk, actor Ryu Shi Young, comedian Sam Hammington and singer Sohn Jin Young. However when Mir had to pull out, the TV station casts in action star Jang Hyuk and ZE:A group member, Park Hyung Sik to join them. The program brings many hillarious episodes of these people joining the camps and handling tough routines in the military programs. Military of 2 years is mandatory for all men in South Korea regardless they are actors or singers.

The best bits of the program is whenever a girl group or female singer turns up at the camp, all the military men go crazy and rushed to the centre stage like stampit of bulls. Popular girl groups such as Sistar, Rainbow, Girl's Day, AOA, Miss A and solo singer Ailee have joined them to celebrate some victory parties driving all uniformed men insane!

Recent program includes the departure of actor Jang Hyuk, Ryu Shi Young & singer Sohn Jin Young. The original team were joined by Super Junior M singer Henry Lau, actor Park Geun Hyung, actor Chun Jang Myeong into the team. They have visited the Phillipines to help out in the wash out city of Tacloban. This year 2014, Park Hyung Sik will be leaving the program due to his new filming of KBS weekend drama and music programs. The rest of the team will continue to film hoping to bring more laughter to the audience.

Legal suits continues with Entertainment Groups in Korea

Lately we have been reading news of K-pop groups breaking up or band members leaving for good. What is going on? It seems to be a trend in this era where members were just unsatisfied with the way they were treated, lengthy contracts, uneven profits distributed and unfair treatments.

This is no big ‘news’ for JYJ's Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun, Super Junior’s Chinese member Han Kyung, Kara’s member Ji Young, Nicole & Sunghee, T-ara’s member Hwayoung, EXO-M’s leader Kris Wu Fan and most recent incident is ZE:A’s leader Junyoung. For those who are lucky to resolve their unhappiness and problems with their management company, we give them a good handshake and nod. Unfortunately for many, it ended up in law suits and legal courts. 



Apparently their lengthy contracts were just ridiculous- they are tied down for 10 years+ apart from being trainees, underpaid for their hard work, CF’s profits to be distributed mostly to the management company and managers, health issues and accommodation (dorms) were not in good conditions. Whenever we see them perform on stage with bright smiles, we do not know what’s happening behind the screen. These entertainers were sort of ‘cheap labour’ and mistreated from the beginning. From what we can see from the media- S.M Entertainment takes the top spot for 3 cases. Kris from EXO-M group just couldn’t take it so he left to return back to China, so was the same case for Han Kyung from Super Junior. For those who do remember Ki Bum- another member from Super Junior…he has never appeared much in their performances after the last album Sorry Sorry. I wonder whatever happened to him too. 

Most recent case is ZE:A’s leader Junyoung sends his tweets across the social media expressing his regrets and unhappiness with his CEO and treatment. It was heartbreaking for fans to see he has to ‘wash the dirty laundry in the public’ about his management co. How embarrassing it’d be for the CEO Shin and Star Empire Group! ZE:A has never been a popular singing group but lately they are gaining fame from their members- Kwanghee, Si Wan & Hyung Sik from dramas, movies and variety programs. Fortunately Junyoung's unhappy case was resolved and came into good terms with his CEO. However for JYJ members, Hankyung and Kris- it went into legal court case!

South Korea generates so much revenues from Hallyu stars, K-Pop, Korean dramas and concerts around Asia and other parts of the world. But in reality it’s a super tough competition for these celebrities. Their private lives were invaded by fanatic ‘sasaeng fans’, undergo plastic surgery to beautify themselves even if they are reluctant to, their entertainment company mistreating them…etc. It’s such a sad thing and sometimes these troubled people ended up in suicide attempts. For example- the lead singer from SG Wannabe group- Cha Dong Ha ended up in suicide because of depression after splitting away and not able to succeed in his career, singer/actor Park Yong Ha was also depressed and took his own life and actress Choi Jin Shil was surrounded with debts from her husband. I remembered I was in tears too when I saw Park Yong Ha's funeral online where actor So Ji Sub was seen crying non stop.

Kris, Hankyung and KARA members seem to be doing well after spliting away from their old management group. And I am always happy for my 3 boys- JYJ who have taken the rocky path and yet accomplished so much for themselves & their fans. I am proud of those who are brave enough to stand up against their ex-companies. Chances to reunite in their old band and groups are unlikely & low however I believe to the point their memories starting out in the this industry will remain forever. 

As a fan, we can support them quietly and hope the best for them in the future whatever they do. 

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces,
never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again." 
-Flavia Weedn