Aneohaseyo

No, I’m sure my attempt at Korean has failed utterly. Unlike Japanese, Korean is a difficult language to learn. Most people complain of its symbols, which I find merely the tip of the iceberg. I’m okay with circles and lines — things like Arabic are much worse than that. However, Japanese is a language you can speak with confidence even if you know only a teensy-weensy bit of it. Utterances like “ne” are already commonly known to be Japanese, but what can one say that sounds Korean but isn’t a complete word? Korean has vague ties, I believe, with Mongolian, which explains the similarity in spoken language. But I’m not talking about language today.

People who listen to a lot of Korean music and watch enough of its dramas will find the language easy to master. I hear Korean and Japanese share nearly the same grammar, which may also explain why Korean bands are branching into Japanese so frequently. Yes, that’s what’s the main topic for today. Korean music.

Korean music, to people who don’t understand it well (and that includes me) is a whole mass of factory-churned groups comprising up to 10 people (or even more) who all sing in auto-tune. The beats are fast and there’s a lot of computer effects done on the music and the voice. Good for dancing, which the singers do a lot of in their videos. In fact, the videos are always about these 10 or more people dancing elaborately, dressed in fancy expensive clothes, all of them looking alike, the camera flitting from 1 face to another. Fans take a week to tell them apart, and they are proud of their achievement.

Is it possible for everyone to look the same and even sound the same? And is it possible that this “same voice” sounds freakishly computer-generated? And why does every band have such a meaningless name? Things like 2AM, 2PM, B1A4. They can’t possibly all be a coincidence that they have silly numbers in them. It can’t be a coincidence that they are all short, easy-to-remember-and-pronounce names. Okay okay, maybe I’m biased. SNSD is a long Korean name shortened into initials, and it means Girls’ Generation, so you can’t call it entirely meaningless. F T Island sounds like the members might have thought of it on their own. By the way, I only like FT Island because it is a real band with real instruments and its songs do sound pretty rocking at times, in a good way.

Korean voices have a certain style to them (aside from the computer generatedness, but let’s put that aside for a moment). They like to sound remarkably sad, with a slight nasal tone to them. The men, that is, for the women just sound computer-generated (there, a moment’s gone).

Although this entry is really for the music, I must stop to observe the physical aspects of Korean artistes, for that is one aspect they publicise widely. The fashion trends of the singers are indeed flashy, certainly no toning down with them, but I wonder if they are uncomfortable. Do the men really like wearing such tight trousers? I hear they’re bad for the reproductive organs. Then again, I haven’t heard of a Korean star marrying yet.

It does seem, doesn’t it, that I dislike Korean music and its proponents? Well, perhaps this can indeed be inferred from this entry. But hey, even the Japanese like them more than Japanese music itself, so what can I say? I’ll just see how long this Korean fever lasts, and what becomes of these stars when they’re old. I hope they don’t go out of fashion though, for it would be a great sacrifice then for the young Korean stars. Have you heard of the torment they go through during training? They’re made to do excruciating splits, go on extreme diets and pretty much never rest or go home from training. And worse is, some of them never even make it to fame.

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