Wednesday, May 24, 2006

May in Korea and the emergence of the Great King

What's hot in May in Korea? Well, judging by the photos and articles that I've seen in the Korean magazines... I guess the following is receiving quite some attention.

Yeonriji starring Choi Ji Woo and Jo Han Sun finally aired in Korea.

The movie is about the love between CJW, who is terminally ill and JHS, who is a playboy. Nothing new in terms of storyline but I would like to see if there's any chemistry between these two. Surprisingly I didn't find JHS looking too young for CJW despite their age difference. JHS has matured alot since his last movie, Temptation of the Wolves, which I enjoyed immensly.

The smoldering Jo Han Sun and the ever beautiful Choi Ji Woo. I think she is looks better now... she has that look of a confident woman.
Pictures from Premiere, May 06

The cast of Goong or Princess Hours are still receiving much attention, judging from the fact all 4 of them were featured in one magazine or other. The funny part was both Ju Ji Hun and Yoon Eun Hye went to Bali almost at the same time for the photoshoot, fueling talks that they were going on a holiday together. Haha! Actually JJH was shooting for Elle Girl and YEH for An-An. But both magazines came out in May.

And the other prince...Kim Jung Hun.

This drama will air in Singapore later this year. I think it will create much interest then.

Pictures from Screen Interview, May 06

And Lee Jun Ki, having just held his first fan meeting in Korean for 12,000 fans, is clearly still the favourite and darling in Korea now. I think he looks really cool and I know he put in alot of effort for the fan meeting. I am truely impressed and admire him for it. This is one young man who gives his 100% in his works and in returning the support that his fans give him. Truely looking forward to watching his movie, The King and the Clown here in SG soon. He has just wrapped up his latest movie, Fly, Daddy, Fly, originally a Japanese movie. Photos from Cine 21 and Movieweek

Ahh.. Lee Byun Hun. An actor whom I've not heard nor seen for awhile as I have yet to catch his last movie, A Bittersweet Life. He had a huge fan meeting in Japan recently (42,000 people????). Now filming a new movie, The Summer Story, with Su Ae (last seen in the drama, Hae Shin), it has already been sold to Japan for $4 million. That is a lot of money but it's still far from the highest movie sold to Japan so far...

April Snow was sold to the Japan market for $7 million. Wow!

And speaking of April Snow.... BYJ has just revealed a completely different look from April Snow...

Where is the sensitive In Soo that we knew in April Snow last year?

He seems to have disappeared, hasn't he?

I guess the great king will be emerging very soon.... ^^ Just look at that body! It's sizzling hot with sexiness....

Photos from GQ magazine. Scanned and posted on BYJ's Quilt by Style.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

BYJ- spreading his wings

As Joon’s Family celebrates its 3rd anniversary at the end of this month, I realized I’ve been a fan of BYJ for 4 years.

Like most BYJ fans, it was a first for me in many ways. Till today, I still don’t know how it all got started. ^^

Over the years, this feeling has changed subtly, especially over the last year or so. At first, I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that has changed.

Until I saw the photos of BYJ attending the SSH’s manager’s wedding.

Ahhh….. this young man is now all grown up….

During the last 4 years, as he went through the many big changes in his career…. He is no longer the shy young man that captured my heart in WLS and then proceed to almost take over all my free time as my fascination with him grew.

Where once I felt the need to protect this young man as I would like an older sister. Now, looking at him, striding confidently forward, taking on the world, it seems he no longer needs this protection but instead he is ready to protect the others.

And I guess in a way he is, as one of the boss and probably older than all the other employees in BOF, he is looking after the interests of the other fine artistes and staff there.

Do I miss the old BYJ?

I guess so… not that his character has changed. No, not that.

How do I describe it? More like someone dear in the family who is now flying, his wings fully fledged…. Making his own mark in his own way. He is the same and yet he is not.

He can’t hold autograph sessions like before.

His agency can’t disclose his schedule like before.

He doesn’t really have time to go online and leave messages like before.

He can’t really go anywhere he wants like before (does he still have time to play video games with his friends?)

His every move is scrutinized and analysed.

I remember having this conversation with bb once in 2004 after the phenomenal attention he received in Japan and all the Asian countries. Should we be happy for him as he gets more popular or worried? If he gets more popular, it would mean he will get further and further away from the fans. But as his fans, his family, we are at the same time very proud and happy that his popularity extends beyond Korea and Asia.

Ahh… the contradictory feelings of a fan. : )

Want to know more contradictary feelings?

I complain that there is no news and he is so slow to start his project. And yet, upon scrutiny, many of the artistes I know have ‘no news’ often for long periods too and many also do only one movie per year. So really, BYJ is pretty ‘normal’.... to a certain extent.

But how is it that I often feel that he is slow?

Maybe because I am consciously looking out for news about him whereas I don’t do so for the other stars. So time seems to pass slowly and I often wish he would hurry up with his projects. I can’t wait for him to start on a new work, so that I can ‘see’ him. Yet, in the same breath, I want him to rest so that he wouldn’t tire himself.

Told you there’s no pleasing fans like me. : )

So after such a long time, what is it about that still draws him to me? Making me spend time, effort and money in my support of him?

Not just the looks, that’s for sure.

He is good looking but he is not the only good looking artiste around. And at the risk of incurring the wrath of many fans out there… he is not the best looking either.

But then, my husband isn’t the best looking man in the world however I love him dearly.

What am I saying? It has to take more than looks for a fairly sensible, working professional to be his fan for 4 years. No, looks alone won't do.

It's more than just looks. It's his character, his beliefs, the way he conducts himself.

I’m not asking for perfection and I don't wish him to be. No one is and nobody can be. If he is, then he’ll be god. He won't be the Bae Yong Joon that we know and love so much.

But the process of trying and aiming for perfection…of doing one's best....of being earnest in everything he does…. These are what earn my loyalty and support. (Sometimes though, I wish he could be a little less serious and loosen up a bit.)

During the 4 years of being his fan, I’ve seen fans come and go. Even fans that were once very passionate. Some of his remaining fans lament about it.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything to be sad.

These fans who have ‘left’ will still watch his new movie/ drama as long as it’s good. Isn’t that what he wants? To be judged as an actor?

And if these fans ‘left’ to discover and support other Korean artistes? Isn’t that what he wants as well? For the Korean entertainment scene to become stronger?

Personally for me, because of him, I’ve discovered and enjoyed many other Korean movies and dramas. This has extended to music, language and food.

If anything, BYJ should be proud of the fact he has helped to fuel this interest, not just for me, but I believe for many of the non-Korean fans out there.

All this by just being himself.

I think he's done pretty well and should give himself a pat on the back. ^^

Great King Four Gods should be going into full swing at the end of this month. I can’t wait for this to start. I’m dying to see BYJ on a galloping horse and fighting like a great king.

This would be a sight to behold. Don't you agree?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Korean won

Just did a TT to my publisher today and had a heart attack.

The Korean won has shoot up to high rate of 1.738.
It used to be just 1.5 when I first went to Korea 3 years ago. It's been steadily increasing.

That's good news for Koreans.
Bad news for me like me who have business and leisure interests in Korea.

Korea has come a long way.... with its cars, electronic gadgets, tourism and cultural exports. It's riding high.

Think I should find a Korean investor. BOF? KeyEast?


Monday, May 01, 2006

Goong - 궁

Someone told me recently that she didn't know half the names mentioned here. Oh dear, they're not greek to everyone, are they? I must admit though, I think I know more Korean artistes than Singapore ones....

Anyway, a couple of months ago, I was totally captivated by the drama, "Goong" (Palace or Princess Hours). The casts are relatively unknown or new in acting- a model, 2 singers and a fairly new actress.

Their acting, frankly speaking, were so-so, though they did get much better as the drama progressed. But as another K Drama fan said, it was strangely addictive to many teenagers and to quite a few ajumas like me. Hehe! It shot the cast to fame and I added 2 more names to my growing list of Korean hunks to watch. ^^

The 2 new names in my ever growing list of Korean hunks.

Left: Ju Ji Hun as the Crown Prince, Shin goon

Right: Kim Jung Hun as the other prince, Yul goon


Anyway, the drama was hotly anticipated as it was adapted from a popular manga (comic), that is still on going. Many names were mentioned before the actual filming including Bi and Lee Dong Gun.

What captivated the audience? A few reasons.

The storyline for one. It was based on the assumption that the Korean royalty is still around today, shuttling between the 'old' and 'new' world. Royalty always attracts interest and the drama was able to satisfy this curiosity with right mix of facts, fantasy, humour, romance and presented it in a light hearted way.

It's almost like a Cinderella story, only that the Cinderella and the Prince in this case was not madly in love with each other till almost towards the end.

Gist of story: The Crown Prince unwillingly, marries a 'common' girl. The fun of course was seeing the conflicts that arose between the 'royalty' and the 'common', the 'traditional' and the 'modern', the straight-face protocal-trained Crown Prince and his hyper, happy-go-lucky, tomboyish wife

Yoon Eun Hye (formerly from the girl pop group, Baby VOX) as Chae Kyung. It's a big change in image for her.

I especially like Chae Kyung's parents and the Shin goon's grandmother or the Emperess Dowager. When you add in royal politics in the form of another very good looking prince.. well.... : )

This is a fluffy romance aimed at the younger crowd, so don't look for too many meaningful insights. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole drama.... up till ep 19. And then it got draggy until 22, only slightly redemming itself in the last 2 eps. Due to it's popularity, it was extended from the orginal 20 eps to 24 eps, which was a mistake. There is talk about a Season 2. I hope not. Even the ending was a little weak...

But the other major drawing point for many of this drama's fans was the lush, opulent and colour wardrobe and the wonderful palace setting. Never mind if many of these were based on fantasy and whims of the wardrobe team. So you can imagine my excitment when it was announced that the same team will also be in charge of BYJ's latest drama, Tae Wang Sa Shi Kin (Great King, 4 Gods). The vibrant colours reminded me very much of the costumes in Untold Scandal.

Just look at some of these photos....

The young Crown Prince and the grown-up Crown Prince:

But I think Chae Kyung's clothes and accessories were the most interesting....

Makes me want to go get a hanbok myself.

And the setting........

Actually, I read that many of these were CG (computer generated) but they looked great on TV.

But what really captured my attention was the following:

I love the clothes and the way the 2 princes galloped through the palace playing what seemed to be a game of polo. I would love to see BYJ doing that....

And lastly, I think everyone, me included, loves the teddy bears that are so much a part of the drama. They serve as a kind of summary/ highlight for the drama...

Aren't they cute? ^^ They are from the Teddy Bear Museum on Jeju Island.

So another reason for going to Jeju Island, in addition to visiting BYJ...