Oct 142013

The Universe of the Age of Feeling Drama

Kim Hyun Joong’s drama, the Age of Feeling (and other versions of the title) promises to bring us to another world, whose era most of us have only heard about or read about in history classes. Hyun Joong, himself, was born 56 years later. Yes, the 1930’s today is more than half a century away, that universe the kdrama wants to recreate, so that we the viewers will feel its reality.

Thanks to cities like Suncheon in South Korea which preserved that past life through its houses and buildings, arranged and built in characteristic fashion closely clustered standing together as if it was gathering strength from each other. Here the roads are narrow making driving almost a luxury weaving through the pedestrians. Imagine walking through the physical realm of a memorable period between two world wars as if time stood still. The ghosts of the past lurking around and like drawings of an artist on a board come alive through the drama cast will provide a subjective experienience of a space.

Shanghai in China will also be another backdrop to the story of Shin Jung Tae and the myriad of characters in the drama. SJT is a fictional character whether he is in fact the KIm Do Wan, the general’s son as suspected by some remains to be seen. What is clear is that we will get to see Kim Hyun Joong in a younger persona struggling against how he grew up in the society of the 30’s and in the subsequent years older trapped in the milieu of the historical-political events of the time.

Kim Hyun Joong in his universe will romance the ladies with his good looks and all that he represents. He will make us forget we are in the first decade of the 21st century. His surroundings will pull us in as he traverse a coming-of- age in that exciting era. We will witness, be entralled by a slice of life about empowerment, his conflicts and quest for solutions. As Shin Jung Tae he will be searching for the truths he will inevitably uncover. I can imagine his truimphs and angst will be almost touchable,yet its fragility we would like to hold so dearly in the clasp of our hands.I don’t know about you but I will leave behind my every day cares and woes to orbit in Shin Jung Tae ‘s universe in the Age of Feeling. I am sorry Kim Hyun Joong, I will forget about you. I heard you’ve gone somewhere.

Oh, drama gods and fans don’t let me see the shootings, the behind the scenes. I don’t want to see the work in progress, the props and cameras. I want to suspend disbelief. To enter the magic frame of Age of Feeling as its story unfolds -and to be lost there. I want to taste how it is to live in the ’30s. Maybe meet Shin Jung Tae and fall in love.

The long wait is agony. But every episode should be worth it.
Someone make January, 2014 come faster please.

Jul 272013







credit to owners of photo; no infringement of rights is intended


Idols,or pop idols are a subspecie of celebrity usually in their early to late teens.Their attractiveness are hinged on their cuteness and being adorable with talent or otherwise. They are found in many major cities  of the world and seem to share certain trends in dressing up or styling their hair, their choice of music and dancing. Due to their popularity they have been parlayed into the field of acting, endorsing and gracing public events where their presence will command not only attention of the media and the legion of fans. but more of ROI of talent companies.

Becoming an idol means undergoing a process. Not so different from other professions or occupation except that because these wannabee performers will show their flawless talents and skills homegrown or coached in order to have that competitive edge over others are said to have undergone them more rigorously.

Idols train in their specialization as entertainers in two or more years till they debut. We have read or heard about how hard these training were on young bodies, minds and spirits. Survivors of the system have gone through what seemed to have been standardized methods anywhere you go be it in Hollywood, Japan or South korea. Perhaps what sustain the trainees are their dreams and ambitions, the lure of fame, spotlight and fortune enough to brave them all and leave their families behind and their relatively comfort zones.

These idols do facebook, tweets and other networking ways to make the public know of their presence. Media technology made the big difference in the growth of fandom between first and second generation idols in South Korea. Besides the internet, SK idols also travel, have their performances live and meet with their fans. The whirls of glamour and fame of being an idol can be intoxicating. They exist in a very  stressful and  highly competitive world as they strive to retain success and popularity.

Unlike other occupations and professions, being a pop idol rely on being at a certain age and being worshipped  by followers aka fans of certain age bracket. But as one blogger said they can be unfollowed. There is  no tenure in being a pop idol. Being a pop idol don’t last long. As they  outgrow being an idol so do their  fans who also age, pursue other priorities and move on.

Perhaps Kim Hyun Joong, an alumni of SK idol making academy, a veteran of the stage for eight years now, already has started to feel his time will soon be up. Realistically, he said early on in his career, the limelight will not be on him for a long time. Then in a recent interview, he as good as having  said  is now outgrowing his idolhood. Amidst the glamour and adulation of having reached peaks of success in his dance music in the “ripe” age of 27 (28 in Korean counting) years, he now talks of having presented a more mature music genre in his latest work Unbreakable. He has also moved away from pretty boy looks and pretty boy, high schoolish acting roles.

The yesterpast went by for Hyun Joong in almost a wink of an eye where he wished he had been more energetic. His trajectory in a pop idol’s path was to become a solo performer. He could say- ‘been there,done that’, multi awarded and  internationally acclaimed as well. He has also gone enterpreneurial with his friends with the chicken restos. He has also given back to the community through charity donations and supporting causes.

There are other ‘to do’ in his list : another drama and a world tour before the mandatory  military service of two years. MS for male idols in SK is usually  that intervening period between being an idol and going to the next phase (if there is one) of their being a celebrity.

Idolhood is a stage, a phase in the life of the lucky, persistent youths with the will to succeed. The short years created mountains of memories and unique experiences. Is there a reluctance to leave when the time is up? Or do idols feel it is a relief – it’s over and an opportunity to move on ?

Kim Hyun Joong is a man of ideas,plans and action; he must have seen there is life beyond being an idol. Though it is not worrisome what he will do when he finally outgrow his idolhood, it is fascinating to see what that life’s going to be.

May 152013

Barefoot Friends Episode 4 Recap

Do I really need to do a recap of this episode ? The only thing I remember was I died laughing watching it.

Just kidding. I have completely recovered.

The mission oriented episode (does that make the barefoot friends missionaries, a fan asked me. My answer: We never can tell in the long run what might become of them. If ever they metamorphose into them, that would make a nice sequel aka season 2 ) had their tasks first  in colored envelopes, then for the second one in their backpacks.

Their first mission was to get their  food in their local names upon landing in Jogyakarta, Hyun Joong with his worried face and piteous voice made his hasty lookover in the market in search of his  “Nasi Bakar(u). YSY just like in the previous episodes was enterprising enough to ask for his Ronde from the crowd. The others were just as apprehensive to find their “lucky” meal and to make it back first to the bus for a prize. But thanks to HJ’s ,YSH’s and UEE ‘s whose popularity were hampered by the crowd to move around, to the delight of Shin,HD, Bum Soo and Se Yoon who had success finding their meals faster.

At last Hyun Joong found his meal assignment only to realize it still needs grilling, and he, had to help stoke the fire. SYS couldn’t make his hot soup transfered to a plastic bag (like cola?) if not for the offer of a fan’s empty plastic jar. HD made it back to the bus first and HJ last . But at least hungry HJ was able to wolf down a big bite out of his meal. Nasi Bakar must be yummy or HJ just famished.

The early morning after sleeping dorm style, the group learned what they had to do. Swathed in Batik sarong the group took to heart their task of doing the Kendong or fresh produce market porter for a fee. Fruits such as watermelon, pomelo, young coconut , vegetables such as tomatoes,potatoes whose weights were from more than 5o kilos were   no joke to carry in one’s back .

HJ with his plaintive voice and apprehensive expression offered his service diligently. calling out Kendong , kendong, kendong .  Initially his call fell on deaf ears. Even his dancing Gee efforts went naught. Not discouraged HJ found a woman who needed his service. He did his  trademark sunshine smile amidst his groaning. Well, getting paid and a consolation massage at the end of the transaction from one of the market men was not bad at all. HJ,why did you get that special treatment ?

HD, the most muscled and biggest was the loudest complainant. Tiny Bum Soo ever energetic seemed to have carried a load heavier than his own weight. He literally sunk to the ground as soon as his back load was released into a waiting van. The others had to lower their service fees competing with each other to get customers. UEE also carried some papayas on her back but she was more for the moral support for the guys. We found out later our Kendong hero was HJ who earned the most money they pooled together for their meal.

Though they complained of the back breaking labor, what silenced them were the sight of small, old women scurrying about carrying loads on their backs. Another eye opener for our barefoot friends who were doing this for the camera for a day and not their actual means of livelihood.

What a difference this episode made  as they were all together minus Hyuk. The two sunbaes, HD and Shin saw to it that the group’s dynamics remain healthy and funny. The group  seemed jollier and their esprit de corps several notches up.

Episode 4  is still on the travel, food, fun and living like the “natives”(not in a derogatory tone)though the group found their show is also about the people  and the goodness in their hearts and actions. A similarity I found with NYC Chef Anthony Dourbain’s Unknown Parts of CNN -also a   newly launched show . Who knows they might cross path one of these days filming their programs.

By the way, Anthony’s show rated very high, so what gives SK ? Though the BF rating for episode 4 went back to its episode 1 rating , I have to say , South Korea needs to do way,way better than that.

Get that SK?

May 052013

Barefoot Friends-Episode 3 Recap


All credits to owners of the photos ; no infringement of rights intended  


Hyun Joong and Ho Dong went back  to the sand dunes. This time  to experience sand boarding . HD got stuck midway due to his weight,  while HJ also got stuck but only slightly. The sand gave way and let him go. Nice and cooperative sand. A tiring and exhausting activity to do under the scorching midday sun. Who said being a celebrity doing this kind of show is easy?

Shin’s group split into two.

Shi Yoon and Se Yoon went around the local and colorful market. It must be the designated market day to attract women and men to sell vegetables, grains, quick ready to eat food and other wares. Typical scene anywhere in South East Asia. But what’s this, another shampoo cum head massage this time from Shi Yoon. Sight seeing for the two viewing the sea and later the cultural heritage structures came next.

Shin and EunHyuk on the other hand, visited a monastery and ate with the children novitiates. Not meaning  to be disrespectful, if you noticed, the hairstyle of the kids were more cool than those of Kpop idols. ‘Kaya nyo yun’ (transl: can you beat that)?

At last the two groups reunited sharing exciting stories of their (nosebleeding ?) experiences. As they prepare for their last day in Vietnam, what was there to do but perform for their host country. True to form nothing extravagant but a shake. A shake ! If the whole world fell head over heels on the Gangnam Style Horsie dance -they can return the favor by doing the HARLEM SHAKE. But it needed some prodding on the members led by Kim Boo Soo’s funny wriggling like a worm set on fire.

Contrary to the BTS we saw KHJ teaching the group, in the episode he was just watching the antics of his group mates. Even the pro  needed practice with HD providing the instructions on how to look bonkers. But Hyun Joong topped HD’s with his nuts and bolts totally unscrewed.

Earlier HJ and SH had a session with the arts students with SH enacting a scene wth a girl. HJ is practicing for his directorial debut ?

Scared no audience will come for the last day performance? Bum Soo and HD went around the park advertising. So with UEE and Se Yoon who waited  at the traffic lights intersection.

That afternoon all hell broke loose! Audience- barefooted, dancing, screaming, while the cast members danced their Harlem Shake without fear  and with complete abandon.

At last the show told us what the ‘barefoot friends’ means: being natural and carefree, tasting life as is where is,  getting connected to the grass roots, doing how others do their ways. Eye openers, good for soul searching, source of letting go life experiences for celebrities. How the others live no matter how simple and basic, are after all, instructional.

Though the barefoot friends’ cast and staff stay in Vietnam had been short and quick it still left some marks. As in every encounter, learning is never one way. What did the other people learn from  being up close with the scrubbed down almost squeaky clean celebrities they only see on TV and the internet? That is a question hopefully the show answer next.

As in any show that require personal proximity with one another it will be a revelation soon how compatible and comfortable they are with each other. Perhaps in the next episodes we get to know their terms of endearments.

KEEP WATCHING ! Indonesia gets a visit from the barefoot friends next.


May 012013

Educating Hyun Joong

credit to owners of the photos; no infringement of rights intended

Thanks to Lina Perez for her ‘ fanart


This leader of the formerly active boyband, actor and solo artist,multiawarded performer answers to the name of Kim Hyun Joong. He is a self confessed workaholic, eats challenges for breakfast and for the rest of his meals everyday. Opportunities frequently knock at his door and he opens to recieve its mandate. Hyun Joong is the epitome of the SK man who is guided by the ethics working hard and doing sacrifices for a well planned future.

He has arrived so to speak. Fame and fortune he’s got them all. He could be a guro of self management with himself and what he has achieved in his 20’s as example. People can very well learn from him but now he professed recently after shooting for days and nights in two countries of South East Asia he learned from the ordinary peoples valuable lessons in life.

The stark contrasts between the way he lives and the way many others do had provided him continuing education. Not that he actively sought this, rather it came via Barefoot Friends -the current ongoing series at SBS Sunday offerings where he is part of cast. For now the series shoot overseas in selected countries in SouthEast Asia. Their main task is to live like the ordinary locals.

Learning has often been said isn’t confined to the four walls of the classroom. Yet getting education from schools has been the means to a successful adult life . At least Rita a fictional character from Educating Rita, a highly acclaimed drama/comedy film in 1983 knew that is what she should do to improve her social conditions. There are many Ritas around us including you and I. Hyun Joong, on the other hand, is a real person, was told to stay in school but who opted to acquire practical lessons during his tender years. Consider that as the first of the many installments towards his preparation for adulthood.

If Rita attempted the means to go up the social ladder because that is what she thinks she should do, Hyun Joong, in his own words,also ‘fulfilled what society expected him to do -get school educated’. In between schooling he fast tracked his preparation through working for wages in restaurants, delivering newspapers and doing other jobs here and there.

While doing the ‘Barefoot’ series his proctracted “learning ” resumed when he gazed upon social life through the eyes of the others whose life challenges were similar yet dissimilar to his. He had to be in their shoes, as fisherman, as seller, as a handy man in the market, as washer man of motorcycles working in the humid heat of the tropical paradise as what tourists call those places. He had to battle with mosquitoes, make do with little water outside a “proper” washroom to clean himself, work hard to earn money to eat. He must have longed for the comforts of home, yet comforted knowing all his hardships were only temporary. South Korea is just one or two planes away yet the milieu he found himself were everyday realities for many people difficult to escape from.

Hyun Joong realized the people whom he met when he immersed in the missions for Barefoot Friends were as hardworking if not more like himself. But a world of gap between them and him is that he has choices. He has the liberty to do what he wants, explore unlimited niches in his world of work. Now he uses the word ‘lucky’ like a precious gem for himself.

Hyun Joong’s best teachers were the faceless, perhaps even voiceless many others he encountered. How their lives made his life perhaps more meaningful in a sense he alone understood . These are the lessons needing no tuition except his absorbing mind, heart and soul.

Apr 302013

Barefoot Friends-Recap  episode 2

This episode continued with the attempts of the two groups to earn their living the Vietnamese way. Although, scenes in this episode were the continuation of episode 1, the show emphasized Vietnam as typical representative of how a sector of Southeast Asian peoples earn their living. Two of the more well known are providing transport services and basic food needs using manual labor. Unmistakably recognizable if you are from the region or had been there were the narrow busy streets, the tourists, the local markets, the fishing communities with traditional touches and most of all how the people get easily attracted to the source of the commotion: celebrities in their midst.

I laughed the most watching Shin’s group’s persistency getting their passengers. HD’s group had an absorbing activity at sea  but the group’s  dynamics was most of the time  focused on Hyun Joong and  HD who dominated  the group and the screen with his chatter, laughter and face . Shin’s group had allowed Eunhyuk and Shi Yoon to shine with their natural effort calling the passengers and entertaining them as well while pedaling the cyclos and making do courageously with their limited English. Even the low key Se Yoon was amusing trying to be a tour guide. It was fun watching their interaction  with the Australian couple in the first episode and as they became bolder with the couple from Texas,USA and the man from Rome in this episode. I should commend the tourists for tackling their cameo roles gamely and with gusto like the lady tourist sunbathing while riding the colorful open faced cyclos driven by Shin.

KHD’s group went to the sea to get crabs and seashells to sell in the market by riding the basket boat then transferred to the fishing boat. Though they had life preserver jackets on, this group’s mission was more dangerous though not as physically exhausting as doing the cyclos.

Both groups had to do retail selling in  the local market the South East Asian way. Shin and Eunhyuk sold cola in plastic containers while HJ’s group had to sell street food.

Ah HJ power to bargain the rent for the equipment in making pancakes by smiles and dance. If it were you, can you resist giving in if he does his shake? Of course the nearness of him most of all would have melted any solid metal around. Scripted or not ,who cares?
And getting a shampoo from him as well? Why, it was the treat of a lifetime! I saw he even included head massage that the woman was kinda refusing to budge even when the service was over. Does HJ do other kinds of massage ?

There was a last mission to do  -record best laughter. HJ’s 4Dness was rising up for the occasion though the exchange between him and HD seem to be some kind of a private joke or joke among the entertainers.

The members of groups were doing some winding down. One way was computing expenses versus the gains, where simple math was employed. On a profound level was the realization how other people eke their living outside S Korea. HJ who used to aspire to live like a normal person now admitted he is luckier to have been a celebrity seeing the hardships of many others.

As the show nears its closure of the Vietnam trip the groups converged.To end a memorable but learning immersion in Vietnam a performance was presented by the entire cast. But where was the Harlem Shake? Was it only me who did not see a scene where the cast wore the Vietnamese attire? It seemed the Vietnam trip need another episode.


The rating for the episode was reported at 5.1%, lower compared to the pilot show which took  5.6%  share of viewers . Content and cast wise the show is no longer just  a promise but a done deal in achieving their goals of infotainment and cultural values. Also the efforts of everyone is highly commendable considering what the cast and staff has to go through to provide this kind of a program. This is Hallyu wave coming to the different shores of the  not so frequently seen places and communities.

BF  is not perfect, it can stand improvements. But it has to be given the chance to shine and hold its fort among the variety shows.

Those who have not yet switched channel and show DO IT NOW ! It will grow on you.


Apr 272013

Storytweeting the Barefoot Friends


If one strings together all the tweets that went viral around the globe in all of the days BF spent filming Vietnam from the airport going there and back, a story can unfold paralleling that what SBS gave its viewers.

These tweets (you know who you are that tweeted)gave the blow by blow accounts, ringside view of what transpired perhaps far more interesting than what the studio editors polished edition finally showed. Except of course those scenes fans don’t have access to.  But If they had that they would probably steal the thunder from the show, to say the least.

So kudos to those who took the time and efforts to bring to all of us brief narratives and pictures on the spot as they happened. And thanks to the inventor of Twitter  for adding us in the conversations making the globe one nosy neighborhood.

These tweeters might as well be called “war correspondents” for being where the action is, bullets whizzing by, missiles being fired, negotiations being made,orders are barked.

If this show can be called a reality show which it is really not in its fullest sense, more a hybrid between that and sitcom comedy, the tweets provide the real situations and responses made by its participants. For examples, Hyun Joong’s reaction when the hot oil splattered on him frying the pancakes and his light and playful banter with the fans.

We knew right away that Hyun Joong fell ill and worried with the tweeters. The mothers and sweethearts in all of us almost in autopilot nagged : poor boy, he is tired with all his activities, the weather affected him. But relieved when they said he was alright the next morning.

We read how the local fans in their enthusiasm many times hindered the filming of the other group, following them even reportedly endangering themselves in the process. Hyun Joong’s fans, on the other hand, according to the tweets gave them space and quiet so the group can do their work faster. And for HJ to be able to rest longer. Thumbs up for you guys!

And so the baton of tweeting had been passed to those in Yogyakarta.We saw the  BF cast  are still wearing those Discovery sports attire,changing to more climate appropriate TShirts like  they did in Vietnam. And HJ was  tweeted hurt in the face but no wound nor scar resulted. Just like in Vietnam, we already knew the cast donned the traditional garb in Indonesia. And how they must be savoring  the local treats. If not for the time bound shooting they must be enjoying all the attention.

The rest of us eagerly await  the next wave of  the tweeters’ breaking news (move over CNN ). The effects of your primary accounts are simply awesome. It made the rest of us feel as if we were there with you. You are our eyes,ears and hands. You elevated fangirling /boy in another level. So fresh,so raw and detailed observations.  Keep them coming !

By the way, you tweeters added one more word to our changing vocabulary -storytweeting to update storytelling .

Apr 242013

SBS’ Barefoot Friends -the New Kid on the Block


Credits to photo owners ; no infringement of rights intended

Fanarts by Lina Perez




All eyes and ears were on SBS’s newest variety show -Barefoot Friends. Its pilot episode was launched last Sunday, April 21, 2013. A lineup of celebrities in their own rights -national MCs like Kang Ho Dong (KHD)and associates Yun Jong Shin(YJS) and Yun Se Yun(YSY),actor Yoon Shi Yoon (SH),multi awarded solo performer Kim Hyun Joong, After School member UEE, SUJU member EunHyuk (EH) and balladeer Kim Bum Soo(KBS)composed its cast. Directed by the same people who produced the popular Family Outing. In the universe of variety shows, could Barefoot Friends offer something different from what South Korea television channels have given so far their television viewers ?

So much expectations and anticipations for the new kid on the block. Would it have birthing pains? It will be compared to the other existing shows that enjoy steady and loyal patronages as well as to those who closed shop after several episodes.

Let’s look back on what the television and online viewers saw last Saturday.

BF’s opening salvo was the cast members introducing themselves in what was touted as an “unusual”way. They sent videos to each other with further instructions to email members they were most curious about. There was no inkling that it would be used as a gauge of a member’s popularity. It was (supposedly)revealed only when they met at the airport 5 days later. KHJ, time conscious as ever came in first in a dramatic entrance amidst BOF sound track Almost Paradise (as if you didn’t know or have forgotten). Why couldn’t they play Break Down instead which is his solo national anthem. The rest came in one by one and given each their airline ticket and what seemed like a manual aka tourist guide booklet.

It made me roll my eyes up that the cast did not know where they were going nor what the show was all about that they ended up dressing up unsuited to the country( in the tropical region of South East Asia) they were visiting. Oh c’mon. Even us looking in knew it was Vietnam. No wonder KHJ’s facial expressions seem to be drifting in and out of the scripted situation though he managed appropriate responses if not awkward sometimes. Ok I get it for the sake of the show I pretend they were innocent of the production plans. But they had fun teasing each other.

Such perfect pose they did  for the camera in a half circle where they  finally learned KHJ got the most email,in effect the popularity votes. Reason : he is handsome. Pretty obvious,isn’t it. Wish they said something else or did the script aim to capitalize on the physical traits of the cast since it was easily seen by the naked eye? We’ll see in the next episodes as they prove their mettle to their tasks and their skills are not skin deep only. Anyway, was it only me or did you also notice early on KHJ’s eyes were dreamily looking at UEE in his computer. I’ll be watching your moves, Hyun Joong!

At the airport after the teasing perhaps meant as ice breaker they also get to know who belongs to which group and their assignments. YJS had the first selection -YSH, EH, and YSY who registered some kind of objection.The rest of the members formed the KHD gang.

Away they flew the skies via KE 5681 arriving amidst the throng of waiting crowd of fans and supporters in Vietnam. YJS and company took another plane to their destination at Hue, where the immovable cultural heritage of Vietnam is located- the Palace and Royal Tomb built by the Nguyen Dynasty. KHD’s group took a 5 hour land trip in a big bus to Mui Ne,which has the geographically famous red sand dune, canyon and lake.

Both groups first took care of their stomachs through simple meals before settling in for the night. Each group had different accommodations. The ones at Hue were billeted for the night in a dorm type-hostel that can be presumed to be air conditioned due to lack of mosquito nets. On the other hand, Hyun Joong and company were in a traditional house, the matted floor as bed and with protection through king sized mosquito nets. But settling in for the night wasn’t meant for them to go to sleeplandia immediately but to learn Vietnamese words for tomorrow’s activities. Each one had their strategies to master the assignment.

Day 2 . The morning came swiftly and early for both groups whose members showed much difficulties opening their eyes. They were later instructed to wear cute eye masks (piggy for KHD team and parrot fr JSH’s) serving as their blindfold. Why the masks ? “Are they selling us, after having to learn words for how much, cheap and expensive, ” Hyun Joong almost complaining asked with a smile while on the way to the site for the day. They eventually learned after walking hand in hand,sinking into the sand and removing their masks that they were in the sand dunes of Mui Ne, tourism capital in Southeastern Vietnam. KHD loudly protested their desert location while being pestered by a mini drone(?) circling them. The group received a backpack each with instructions: Live like an ordinary Vietnamese for 24 hours. KHD was providing most of the noise while HJ was quietly observant and looked serious most of the time.

YJS’s group in the meantime were also led blindfolded to another location with one of them commenting “feels like being kidnapped”. They found themselves going up the steps of the aging palace considered the cultural heritage of Vietnam .They,too received their backpacks with the same instructions.

Living like ordinary Vietnamese meant earning their money to pay for their food and lodging. Hyun Joong and company were in a fishing community so had to catch fish , crabs and other seafood using the traditional round basket boats and to sell them. But the group wore bright orange colored life preservation vests and high tech communication gears dangling in their ears while the local Vietnamese men row their boat .

At this point I was so tempted to call this show “First World Celebs Surviving in the Third World”since they are also going next to Indonesia and Sri Lanka . But I’m holding my horses as I haven’t seen yet the full spread of the attempts of the show.

Over at Hue, the attempt to try first hand the local people’s livelihood meant for the men to peddle their service through the cyclos or pedicabs in going around the palace to earn their dongs. YSY was successful inspite of his limited English, assisted by Eunhyuk while the two hyungs couldn’t even get even a single passenger. Be that as it may,YSY and EH shared their earnings that were all spent for food. What, nothing for lodging and shopping money?

If Hyun Joong is the handsome one,YSY is the enthusiastic, newcomer do-er to the variety show. Now we are slowly getting their labels and reputation all lined up. I am eagerly waiting for the others.

First episode rating. Despite the efforts of everyone involved-it wasn’t a joke moving the cast and production staff to another country- BF received a mere 5.6% share in TV viewing and ranked lowest in their kind of program.

What does BF have so far ? A good mix of cast though I would like to see their individual as well as team talent and skills put to task in this show. In other words, justify their existence in that show beyond the celebrity status. BF has reliable mcs’ to steer the show so that the flow is smooth while it is still fun. I think the show has an interesting concept separating it from the others with its leaning towards the cultural experiences whether through overseas location shootings or not too far from their own shores.

As sure as the sun rising each morning BF wants to secure its own niche in the entertainment firmament. It is not straying away from that goal as it offers to show SK’s celebrities in learning situations in various cultural context. We viewers get to learn,too as we get exposed to the cultural uniqueness yet similarities of people’s various ways of living. BF can be one grand narrative how the other half or even more than half of the world lives.

The cast true to their sponsor clothing and other paraphernalia’s label will discover their capabilities and even push it to their limits. Have fun and know that learning continues outside the classroom if the eyes ,the heart and the mind remain open .

As for Hyun Joong after he’s done with his environmental sensing and auditing I am expecting he would be showing he is funnier than fun, crazier than crazy and belt out those out of this world one liners. He will be unstoppable . I have high hopes the show will bring out everybody’s best and as Eunhyuk said give them happy memories.

Are we  ready for the second part of their Vietnam adventure?

Feb 272013

By aprilstarr


Many years ago fan meetings were done in the celebrity’s home grounds.They are still done that way for the celebrity to meet with their local fans as well as the those based in other countries who can afford to travel. The celebrity promote their latest work, sell merchandise, strengthen, reward their fan base for their loyalty and simply to bond with them.

Nowadays,globalization has  paved the way for the exportation and flooding of Hallyu cultural products such as South Korean dramas, movies, Kpop music, fashion and other trends contributing to changed consumption of entertainment. Just like any other product, the taste for them must be sustained. One way to encourage continuous patronage is for stars and celebrities to make personal appearances and interaction through fan meetings.

The telecommunication technology has increased to a dizzying pace how stars and fans interact on a daily basis or in special events. Fans on the other hand, though based in many countries are tied together by common experiences of rooting for their favorite celebrities’ events  through social media’s Blogs, Facebook, Tweeter, Chats, and other highly utilized ones. The more a  celebrity has increased exposures the more there is  clamor for and use of fan meetings to reach out to more fans to countries beyond the immediate areas of influence.

The Idol in the Flesh  Go to the Fans

In spite of saturation of information and images of idols (actors,singers, performers)in the internet , the need of fans to have physical contact goes higher thus the clamor for fan meetings. The idols go to their  fans -to  test  their popularity or to maintain it. It could be nerve wracking for the idols as some fanmeetings have to be cancelled for lack of interest.

Sharing in the event of fan meetings is a very potent word as well as the practice connecting strangers online. It is a characteristic of the various online communities formed regardless of geographical space and time. What are shared lead to increased anticipation of the stars’ personal appearance. In the case of recent Kim Hyun Joong’s Peru fan meeting his flight itineraries, airline cabin, hotel amenities, venue to be used fueled additional excitement.Short of calling it online stalking, fans knew many details of his trip. It  is incredible how fans were able to source out these information.

Of what good is one’s presence in fan meetings if pictures and videos taken cannot be shared. Or put another way, showing them was proof  one was actually there putting  one in a special status. One is not passing hearsay, but can have bragging rights of having given authentic primary account !

What Fans Can Expect from  Fanmeetings

Nothing replaces the real time, live experiences of the star and fans having physical contact with each other be it listening to the stars’ singing (now even non singers sing), handshake, give me fives, hugs, pictures taken, and who  knows what other close encounter possibilities await them.

Fans join hands with other fans in their excitement, the once in a lifetime thrill, the collective screaming, the community sing-a-longs. Being an insider in that fandom during those magical moments such as waiting at the airports to get first glimpses, lining up under the rain or intense sun to enter the venue, camping outside the venue even if it will mean several days if that will assure them of seats, getting the coveted prizes and giveaways, being called on stage, being part of games, wearing costumes, masks, specialized TShirts, meeting new friends, organizing extra events with the stars, preparation of gifts and others are more than memorable and dynamic compared to armchair fan girling. If by now you haven’t caught yet my drift, I am precisely describing what happens in a Kim Hyun Joong fan meet.

Celebrities recognize the need to connect with their fans and also to provide unforgettable fandom participation in activities prepared by the star.  The different cultural backgrounds of both parties contribute to the uniqueness of what transpire.That doesn’t stop the celebrities to introduce something new and also have the chance to experience what their fans’ culture offer -a real exchange. Ideally, stars should  go beyond the usual token language quips here and there and eating of regional food.

Have the fan meetings fulfilled their purposes or intentions ? Apparently so, otherwise the practice would have been long gone. For stars having fan meetings are also part of their public relations and a barometer of their popularity. And for fans to fulfill their fantasies.

Some fanmeets have been creative to feature reenactment of pivotal scenes in the drama or called them homecoming in reference to the school themed drama . In these cases,the major cast is involved not just one star. Sometimes fanmeets celebrated the star’s birthday or anniversary in the profession. You can tell who initiated the fanmeets in the examples mentioned. The fan club plays an important role in fanmeets.

Future trend of fanmeetings?

Perhaps a different level of fan meetings could still be reached when they could be telecast simultaneously/interactively connected to other regions and not merely rely on fancams of fans being uploaded in the internet. We might, however, still be far from that scenario because as of today even fancams have only taken stolen shots and videos.Let us accept the fact that fan meetings are exclusive activities  (selective criteria  for participation) and also business ventures.

Be that as it may, we just have to admit being a fan girl/boy one needs to grow a money tree not only to have a big loving heart. Now, will anyone be kind enough to tell me where to buy seedlings of that money tree?