I have a hard heart when it comes to reality television, but even I couldn't stop the tears from flowing when I watched this:
Orphaned at the age of three and left to fend for himself starting from the age of FIVE, Sung-Bong Choi sold gum and Bacchus drinks on the street to survive. He did not attend school until high school, and during his many nights wandering alone through the city, he listened in on vocal lessons to learn how to sing.
I hesitate to call him Korea's Susan Boyle, not because of any lack of talent, but because there is too much tragedy staining the transcendence. In his pre-performance interview, Mr. Choi stated he entered this competition so he could be normal like other people, not famous or rich or notorious. I find that very telling of his strong character, and since he had been let down in such a profound way by his government and fellow citizenry, I hope his appearance on this show will at least cement a sure and stable future for him, never lacking in comfort or company.
This Memorial Day weekend, I, along with many other parents, took my kids to see "Kung Fu Panda 2." It feels strange to say this, but I really enjoyed seeing what all the characters were up to, as if I were revisiting old friends. The movie delved deeper into Po the panda's personal history, and although the expected visual and verbal gags kept the audience giggling, the film also touches on some real-life themes in surprisingly thoughtful ways: adoption, "man" vs. machine, reconciling the past with the present and future, and redemption.
As the movie ended, I was very curious to see who intertwined the childish comedy with the deeper, more sober issues with such a light, masterful touch. And when the director's name appeared on the screen, my mouth dropped. First of all, she was a woman. Second of all, she could very well be Korean!
From this LA times article, I learned that Jennifer Yuh Nelson actually grew up in Lakewood, CA, minutes away from where I grew up, and not surprisingly, received encouragement and guidance from her own Kimchi Mama from a very young age:
As a young girl, she would sit at the kitchen table for hours and watch her mother draw, copying her every stroke. Nelson traces the lineage of her career to those formative family experiences.
I also really enjoyed reading how she learned to come into her own as a naturally soft-spoken person in a position that usually is defined by auteur angst:
"I'm a very soft-spoken person. I don't throw furniture. I don't throw tantrums," Nelson said. "As a director, your job is to protect this movie with your life. Protect it against anything that would take it off its course and turn it beige. You have to be very, very ferocious and that was the hardest part for me because I'm not used to yelling."
And perhaps the most glowing testimonial comes from the CEO of Dreamworks himself, Jeffrey Katzenberg:
"What I always find so amazing about Jennifer is that inside this beautiful, soulful, soft-spoken, elegant lady is this macho, kung fu-loving action dynamo," Katzenberg said. "It's the opposite of what we're all used to dealing with in the world, the macho exterior and marshmallow center. There is very much a cult following that she has among our artists. They all want to work with her."
Well, I'm not an artist, but definitely count me in as a cult member. I'm so inspired! Ms. Yuh Nelson, you rock!!!
I have an amazing opportunity to meet the gorgeous, glorious, golfericious Michelle Wie on Saturday, September 18, and since I'll be representing the Kimchi Mama community, I was wondering if any of y'all had some burning questions for her. Also, any interviewing tips would be very much appreciated! I only have 5 minutes with her, and I already budgeted 3 of them to staring like a creepy ajumma.
When I was in college, I had a bet going with my friends, a bet I would almost always win. If we were attending a party or other gathering that required me to introduce myself to new people, inevitably one or more of those people would mention how much they loved Margaret Cho and thought she was SO funny.
WTF, right? I look nothing like her. And these weren't just your typical ignorant folk either; somehow the magic combination being Korean and overweight and funny made people make the connection. I probably should have been flattered.
Regardless, I resented the hell out of it, not because I didn't like Margaret Cho's comedy or her philosophies, in fact I consider myself a fan. However, I think everyone likes to believe that they are a unique little snowflake in this world, and that there is room in people's hearts for more than one outspoken, witty Korean woman. But no, my chances of fame are forever dashed because she came first!
Why are the fates so cruel! I raise my fist to the heavens and cry,
Anyway, I was reminded of this today when I asked my husband in a husky, too-eager voice, "TIM!!! I made an awesome kimchi jjigae, take a picture!"
I know some of you are confused by the reaction that the female world seems to have to the Twilight series. But I'm not. Mostly because I've been seeing the same reaction from my fellow Korean females my whole life. You see, I firmly believe that Stephenie Meyer (the author of the Twilight series) has discovered the Korean Drama formula and is serving it up to the Western world.
Sorry if you haven't read the books, or watched the movies. (and if you plan to, please decide whether you want to know what happens before you read on. you've been warned.) But, think about it. It's a love story. Just like most K dramas are. There's a love triangle. Both men love the female lead UNCONDITIONALLY, UNSELFISHLY and AGONIZINGLY. They are also extremely protective of her. They show up whenever she's in trouble to save her. The central female character is also like the ones found in a good Korean drama. Good and humble at heart, but also a little clumsy and not that out of the ordinary. But for some reason, every single good looking and amazing guy in her vicinity that other women want, want her. Also, the story has multiple versions of the whole "I love you sooooooo much, I'll even leave you because I don't want to burden your life." and versions of "I love you sooooooo much, I will be happy as long as you can be by my side even if you don't love me back." And the only reason they can't fully be together is because he's dead. yes, in korean dramas is usually because one person is richer than the other, but hey, it's the American twist to the story.
So, although it seems weird that 30, 40 and even 50 year olds are swooning over Edward, if you think about it, ajummahs have been swooning over Bae YongJoon for a decade. They are just reacting to what they see as the completely perfect ideal of a man's love. It's why they get pulled into the books, buy the shirts and stand in huge lines for the movies. Although Stephenie Meyer's writing can't necessarily be considered smart or deep, the formula is what draws people in and keeps it going.
In essences, the Twilight crazies out there just can't help it. Just like I can't help watching anything Ryu ShiWon is in.
I wonder if Stephenie Meyer even knows her story has been told so many time before. Well, not the vampire baby imprinting thing, but that the rest of it isn't so new, just from the east. Falling into the story was like meeting an old friend for me. I love it.
-by jooliyah, who hasn't seen New Moon yet due to her current single parenting situation, but hopes to see it before it gets to netflix.
Rain has joined the ranks of Daniel Henney and Lee Byung-hyun to be featured in a major Hollywood motion picture... well, I guess Daniel Henny and Lee Byung-hyun weren't really "featured," more like supporting roles. =)
Rain's seems like he'll be the main actor in Nina Assassin... yes, still the stereotypical kung-fu fighting role but hey, looking this good, I say bring it on!
I just saw a commercial for the DVD release of G.I.Joe and Lee Byung-hyun's English is actually really good! (At least in that one line it was... )
Okay, that's not a very catchy band name, but I like it a hell of a lot more than Harajuku Girls! Shakira performed her new single on "Saturday Night Live" with Korean 삼고무 (samgomu) dancers accompanying her.
I appreciate the fact that the dancers remained traditional in their moves and their garb in such a futuristic-sounding song, and when Shakira joined in the fun, it was so cool!
In this clip from "Dancing with the Stars," some 장구춤 (jangguchum) drummers were featured as well.
Ah, takes me back to my Korean School days when the prettiest girls were hand-picked to dance the fan dance and the drum dances, and the doughy schlubs had to take art. :P