Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Almost a star- Mr Yang Guen Hwan

It was Bae Yong Joon's birthday yesterday. He's only 34 but he earns more than me already. Sigh...

Anyway, I'm not going to blog about him. There's more than enough people/ fans out there doing that already and they do a much better job than me.

Instead, I'm going to talk about another equally popular guy, who could probably have his own fan club if he wants to. I know of quite a few girls who are great admirer of him.

Manager Yang (as he is normally known to overseas fans) has been with BYJ for at least 5 years. Today, he is the director of BOF and besides taking care of BYJ, he also helps to take care of the artistes under BOF- like So Ji Sub, Lee Na Young etc.

An artiste's manager is very important because that is the person you will come into contact more often than the artiste himself. He is the PR man, the bodyguard, the co-ordinator and the counsellor all roll into one. He is an extension of the artiste and his beahviour will reflect on the artiste. So if he behaves badly, then I will tend to think rather badly of the artiste too.

I first got to 'know' Manager Yang in 2003 when I went Korea to attend the Untold Scandal premiere. After BYJ left the cinema, Manager Yang went outside to meet the many overseas and local fans who were there. He was literally surrounded. We shook hands and exchanged name cards. But of course he won't remember a single thing.

When BYJ decided to do his Asia Tour in 2004, Ted, together with Manager Yang got in contact with us to help prepare for the fan meeting.

Now I'm not sure how the other artistes and agencies work with regards in preparation for overseas trip. But the 2 men took the whole thing seriously and came down to Singapore at least 3 times. They not only met up with the fan club but also the movie distributor and all those involved. And I'm sure these trips are not covered for by the movie distributor.

Is this normal? I don't think so. But it shows how important this trip was to BYJ and his managers.

Over the course of those few meetings and working together... I discovered something. Manager Yang smiles alot... like BYJ. And he is a very gentle, easy going person. He once told my Korean teacher that the hardest thing was for him to do was to say 'No'. Unfortunately it is part of his job to say 'No' and he has to say it often too.


Arrival at the Changi Airport. Looking a trifle stressed but still smiling. Good thing he doesn't sweat as much as my dong seng.^^

Over the last 3 years, I met him a few more times and saw him in action too.

He's always polite to the fans. If he has to reject you, he almost always do it apologectically. He will try to accomodate when he can. He smiles alot and is professional in his work. But there is still a commanding presence in him. Maybe due to his height? haha!

The only drawback for the overseas fans? He doesn't speak English much. Probably better as he will be beseiged by the fans if he could understand them.


Though he looks good in suits, (which is what I normally see him in) I think he looks better in casual clothes. (bb- you should see him in torn jeans. haha!) One thing for sure, he certainly loks alot better now, as compared to years ago.


(Credit: as tagged on photo)

I think this was in 2001. He was really skinny then wasn't he? And err... dressing could have been better too. Just look at him now!

And oh, did you now that he had a 2 minute appearance in Winter Sonata? hahaha! Most of us only discovered it later. Must remember to ask him one of these days how it felt.

Often, I wonder what the he and the rest of the staff must think of the fans. Do they think we are a crazy bunch of ajumas? If I was him, I would. But he does think so, then I have no inkling of it for he never once show it.

Because of the way he behaves, I have a even better impression of BYJ. For if his manager is such a nice guy and has stayed with BYJ for so many years, then that says alot about BYJ, doesn't it?

Unfortuantely like BYJ, I think he also has no time to find a girlfriend. (yes, yes, I can see all the hands shooting up immediately, offering themselves. Maybe you all should just send in your resume. hahaha!)

Anyway, I hope he will be happy always and find time to rest too amongst the busy schedule.



Ok, girls, you can stop drooling.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sweet Spy

I finally managed to finish the drama, Sweet Spy. I should say probably say I limped through. I almost gave up towards the end but felt kind of wasted to give it up when I've only 4 more episodes to go.... so I made full use of the FF button on my control. The FF button is a very useful button... especially in such a situation.

Sweet Spy aired end of last year, 2005. It stars Nam Sang Mi, Dennis O'Neil, Lee Joo Hyun and Yoo Sun. I'm not sure if Dennis O (he's Korean-American) was meant to be the main lead as he doesn't speak a word of Korean (like DH in MNIKSS) but I read that half way through, they changed the storyline as Dennis O became popular. And so you have a Korean woman who doesn't speak any English and hardly understands the language, falling in love with a man who doesn't speak Korean though he supposedly understands it. Granted, the man is rather good looking but still, it does seemed raher far-fetched. Though on hindsight, I guess it's no more far feteched than some of the Korean dramas that I've seen.

I must say I much prefer him to Daniel Henney... . I think Daniel Henney has this'I-know-I'm good-looking and I'm-God's gift-to-woman' look. Of course he may not be like that in real life but that's the impression he gave me...




Daniel Henney in Spring Waltz


So which do you prefer?

Gist of the story:
Han Yoo Il is a commercial spy. After stealing a pen that contains important information that could shake the world's politics, he lost it to a Lee Soon Ae, a traffic policewoman. The rest of the story involves him trying all ways and means to get the pen back. Of course, in the midst of it all, he fell in love with the slightly dotty and naive Soon Ae. Coincidentally, this is sort of related to Soon Ae's husband, a policeman who died 2 years earlier whilst investigating a case. And oh, I mustn't forget to add that the rather cool detective Lee Joo Hyun, who likes Soon Ae too.

Throw in the CIA, the Japanese yakuzi, South Korean politics and Chinese government, I can only say that it got rather confusing.

Frankly speaking, with such an unsual storyline, it could have turned out much better. And some parts are rather interesting. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out well enough. Corny lines, uttered by the super cool, super efficient spy, Dennis O didn't helped either.

"Because it's what my heart tells me to do." Aiyoh..... Maybe it's the way he said it...ok, ok, he's a newbie. I should be more forgiving.

And I really could strangle Nam Sang Mi. The way she goes about interogating her suspects and her clueless character frustrates me at times.

However, the character that really puzzles me is Dennis O's assistant/ father figure. He is actually a veteran actor but I don't understand why they would want to make a monkey out of him, with his frequent sommersaults? Even in his own house! From the hall to the kitchen. Why????

Ok, before you think this is totally not worth watching, it is actually not that bad. Well, at least, nobody dies or loses his memory here. Seriously, except for the middle part, the rest are watchable and it got more interesting in the last 4 episodes.

And if nothing else, you can always watch the drama for him...



Credit as tagged on photos.

hehe! I just found out that he shares the same birthday as BYJ but he's only 25. Sigh... such a young boy.

Further information on the drama from MBC

Friday, August 18, 2006

KBS World coming to SG

This news was in the Straits Times, Life ysterday.

Five Free Channels: Starhub viewers using the digital and digital video recorder set-up boxes will receive five channels - Australia Network, Deutsche Welle, TV5 Monde, TVRI and

KBS WORLD, a new Korean channel - FREE, from Oct 2.

hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehhahahahahahahahahahahohohohohohohoho!

마음이 너무기쁜데. ^^

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Food! Glorious Food!

As I flipped through the latest edition of Cindy the Perky, I was drawn to the following pages..... hehehe! I just wish I understand Korean more though...

If someone could translate them into English. I bet there would be lots of grateful hungry tourists out there.

Any takers? Tiffany says hopefully...*







There's a introduction of the best menu from 40 different restaurants. Guess which one made my mouth watered? The one from the top right... the restaurant 송정. Unfortunately don't know enough Korean to understand the description but understand enough to know that it's open from 11.30am to 10pm. Most importantly, the phone number is there. : ) hehe!



I really love the side dishes that always come with the Korean meal. These sides dishes, which come in small portiions, are meant more as appetisers. But they are refillable and there's been a couple of times when i ate more of the 'side dishes' than the main dish. hehehe! The best one I had so far was the restaurant in Samchuk, where BYJ often ate whilst filming April Snow. It cost only 10,000won and I think there's about 20 side dishes. The place is called 은헤식당. Yummy! If you want to read about my journey to Korea last April, you can go here



And these, these.. omo, omo... I'm practically drooling just looking at these pictures.

I really, really like those fish cake thingy (must remember to go find out the Korean name for it)

Actually, I remembered some of the best meals I had in Seoul was in those 'tents'. It's especially good when the weather is cold and you have the hot kimchi soup. Share the meal with a few good friends and I guarantee you'll have a most memorable experience.

These 'tents' are not cheap either , so do be prepared to pay, more if you are drinking. Which would really enhance the whole experience. hehe!

Soju anyone?

bb?



And speaking about food, Dae Jang Guem, the most popular drama in recent years has often been associated with food. There are even tours to Korea just to try the kind of food featured in the drama. Guess what? Someone from the drama is actually going to be in SG today (well, it is Wednesday already). No,no, not Lee Young Ae. Not Ji Jin Hee either.

It's Yang Mi Kyung or Lady Han in the drama. Seems she has been invited by the Korean Embassy here for some cultural events. She will arrive here on Asiana Airline at 7.25pm on Wednesday night. Then on Thursday, there will be various media interviews and also an autograph session. The autograph session will be held at Jurong Point form 12pm to 1pm (But why Jurong Point? Very far away leh. And such odd times too. How to be there???)



Ok, who's Yang Mi Kyung? This is Yang Mi Kyung. Quite pretty right? Very graceful looking.

So please do down and support her if you have the time on Thursday noon, ok?



And I can't talk about palace food without thinking about Gosireh (BYJ's restaurant in Tokyo). I wonder if it's really good... I heard it's fully booked till October. Sigh.... You can read more about it at bb's blog

Strangely, in my other blog tonight, Breakfast with Tiffany where I reviewed a local movie, "Be With Me", food also featured strongly there too...

All these talk is making hungry. 배고프다! Think I'd better to go to bed before I drool over my laptop.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Korean fashion magazines

One of the things I like about Korean magazines are the freebies that they give away. I remember when I was in Korea last year, they were actually givng away a potted plant! Singapore magazines have gotten into that act in recent years but they normally give away bags, scarves and sometimes sunglasses. They're ok, but not terribly exciting.

Ever since I started bringing in Korean magazines, I have always looked forward each month to see what the freebies are and some of them have been amazing---full size lipstick, handheld vacumm, sneakers and even boots! I kid you not. Plastic, colourful boots.

Anyway, back to the freebies. Oh! Actually, the Korean magazines don't call them freebies. they call them presents. haha! Sounds better right?

This is from Ceci












Quite sweet right? There's even lining in the skirt. And it's got elastic band..to fit the various sizes ^^

Personally, i would have preferred it in green or yellow but I guess white is universal and easier to match....




Ecole magazine is giving away 2 items- a hooded top






















...and a set of sample size shampoo/conditioner. A friend was just commenting today that she would be tempted to try the shamppoo as the ad by Cho In Sung and Ha Ji Won is quite good. I guess in this case, the advertisement did really worked.




















Well, I won't be rushing out to buy this shampoo but if it was BYJ on the product, then that's a different story.... haha!

But more than the freebies, I am also often fascinated by the fashion spreads inside...




I really like the colorful tank top and it being paired with the shorts. Nicely casual. But alas, don't think I'm young enough to carry off this look... sigh... However I like the vintage look too....and this style I can take coz I 'vintage' enough. hahaha!

And these 2 pages.... haha! all my shoe lovers friends will be drooling over them...



Must say I'm not easily seduced by shoes....not because I don't like them. But because I can't buy shoes off the rack as they have to be custom made... But it's still a thrill to pour over them. Nice right? It's summer now in Korea, hence the spread on sandals, I guess.

Sigh.... makes me want to go shopping in Korea.....
한국에서 쇼핑하고싶어요....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Korean wave

You know the Korean Wave or Hallyu has been truely embraced by the society here when:

1) The tv and cable station airs at least 1 to 2 Korean shows per week. And they fight for the latest drama.
2) The radio station plays Korean pop songs on air.
3) The magazines and newspapers all have regular columns on the Korean entertainment scene.
4) The video shops sell as many Korean dramas as they do Hong Kong dramas.
5) All the tour agencies organised tours to Korea.
6) Every single food court that I've been too has a Korean stall, next to the chicken rice and the char kway teow stalls.
7) Every other month, there will be a Korean fair in one of the malls.
8) The big, mass supermarkets have dedicated shelf space for Korean food and snacks.
9) The small mart at a petrol kiosk actually has a Korean food promotion.
10) A Korean theme mall opening in the heartland.

When it becomes mass market, then it is no longer a wave, but a part of the many colourful threads spinning the fabrics of the society.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Singapore is able to do the same too one day in the future?

In the meantime, here's a toast to the land of the Kimchi.

Dong Gam (Sympathy) 4



Well, they have just released the 4th Dong Gam or Sympathy series. As with all previous series, they have asked some of the most popular or 'in' artistes modeling for the album cover. Some of the artistes who modeled for this music series were Jang Dong Gun, Bae Yong Joon, Kim Rae Won and Won Bin.

Dong Gam is a compilation of the the most popular songs covering a certain period.

Eg- Dong Gam 1 covered songs from 1970 to 2001, Dong Gam 2 covered songs from 1980 to 2002 and so on.

The packaging has become much nicer in this latest album. Though I'm not sure if the content is better. In the previous series, there are about 6 cds, which means about 90 songs. However, in this latest album, there are 4 dvds of MVs and only 2 cds of songs. Though it is nice to watch the MVs, it means there are only a total of 34 songs. A lot less songs to listen to. Perhaps they're running out of songs? And oh, the songs on the dvds do not necessaily match those on the cds. Strange though, I could not find the time period that the songs cover in this album.

The artistes this time round are Yoo Ji Tae, Eric, Lee Dong Gun, Ji Jin Hee and So Ji Sub. The theme is the Four Seasons with Eric (Spring), Ji Jin Hee (Summer), Lee Dong Gun (Autumn), Yoo Ji Tae (Winter). So Ji Sub is on one of the cd cover.



Some of the songs
조성모- 너의 곁으로 (Cho Sung Mo- By Your Side) MV here
신화- Brand New (Shinhwa- Brand New) MV here
클래지콰이- Sweety (Clazziquai- Sweety) MV here
SG 워나비- 살다가 (SG Wannabe- While You Live) MV here
이승철- 인연 (Lee Seung Chul- Fate) MV here

인연 이 너무좋아해요. ^^

Short clip on the photo taking. Click here

This is a video on the making of Dong Gam 2. The stars then were Jo In Sung, Jang Hyuk, Kim Jae Won, Cha Sung Won and bae Yong Joon.

Wonder how come there doesn't seemed to be any "Making of" for Dong Gam 4.... Or am I wrong and there's a video lurking somewhere..Anybody knows?

By the way, another blogger, Yokee was also talking about this album... here

Seems both of us like the same song. hehe!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Men we love

The July issue of Screen Interview has Lee Jun Ki on its cover.


Together with the magazine, there was a special supplement- MEN WE LOVE


I guess they are some of the hottest men in Korea right now. But whilst I'm not surprised with their choices, I am pleasantly surprised with one... Can you guess which one?













There's Lee Jun Ki and Shinhwa (no surprise). There's Jo In Sung and Jo Han Sung (both with movies out not too long ago, so also not a surprise). There's Dennis O (I know both he and Danniel Henney are quite sort after in Korea, because of their looks).

But Cho Seung Woo?

Now don't get me wrong. I mean it in a nice way. I am pleasantly surprised and pleased with their choice to include him, despite the fact that he would not really be considered as eye candy to many.

Think I first saw Cho Seung Woo in The Classic. I think it was a fairly big hit in Korea when it was screened in 2003 and brought much fame for Son Yeh Jin. Cho Seung Woo grows on you and is really enduring with his shy sweet smile. The movie is simple and old fashion. And yet it does touch your heart...especially with the beautiful ost. I still listen to it often. You can watch the mv of the movie HERE
Btw, Jo In Sung was also in the movie but he played a supporting role.

And then I saw him in Marathon. And I was totally amazed by his acting. In the Marathon, he is autistic, who has a great love and the ability to run. His protrayal was so realistic that it even convinced even my friend, who does have a autistic child. You can get more information about the movie from YESASIA. The movie won 8 awards and is really worth watching. It dispels all notions that Korean movies are only about love or horror.

What can I say? I'm truly happy that good actors like Cho Seung Woo are recognised.

I wouldn't say he's a man I love but I would say he's an actor I respect and admire.


Screen Interview is available for sale in Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

SHINHWA



This 6 boys will be upon Singapore shores again next month. When they came 2 years ago, I wasn't interested, even though my teacher was the translator then. Don't know when I started to get interested. Probably started with Jun Jin in Legend of 9 Tale Wolves. Anyway, I found their latest album- State of the Art really quite good.

I especially like their song, Once in a Lifetime. You can watch their performance here

Must say though, it helps that the 6 boys are pretty good looking...hehehe!







Above photos from Junior, July issue

So come 10th september, I will be watching them in concert. Tix are not on sale yet. It starts on 10th August but I know ticket prices are $68, $98, $128 and $168. Haha! I know Shinhwa fans have already pre-booked a batch of the most expensive tickets. Thanks to my many good chingus, I had 3 groups contacting me about it. Unfortunately, I'm too broke and will have to buy the cheaper tickets... Still, it will be good to watch them in action.

Especially my Jun Jin. ^^



From Legend of 9 Tale Wolves as Mu Yong

And Jos will be looking forward to see M. ^^