QRIMOLE – July 2018

It’s time for Qrimole, the Kpopalypse question and answer series!  Let’s take a look at reader questions for Kpopalypse!

Hi! I wanted to ask this for a while. At the beginning most Qrimole questions were about kpop or music in general, but then people started sending more and more personal questions (how to approach this person I like/how to deal with my depression/what to do with my life). So I wanted to ask, were you expecting this? People treating you like a kind of life coach? And how do you feel about this? I know everyone is responsible for their own actions, but because many of your readers are quite young and it seems like they look up to you, doesn’t it get kind of overwhelming/worrisome (or maybe just annoying) when people you don’t really know pour their hearts out? Especially when you can only give them some general advice and rarely get any follow-up how the story ended.

I absolutely expected it.  Ever since I started my ask.fm I’ve been getting k-pop questions, but also all types of other questions.  I started Qrimole precisely because my responses to some of those other longer mostly non k-pop questions were getting deleted by ask.fm’s annoying filtering.  When ask.fm started becoming popular, they also started getting a lot of media attention for being a social network that enabled bullying, because anybody could write anything to you anonymously, and naturally this attracts trolls just like any other anonymous corner of the Internet.  Since that time, ask.fm has instituted a filter (that they don’t talk about), and as far as I can tell here’s how it works.  If you write an answer and it has a keyword in it that is in their secret list of keywords (but which probably contains “suicide”, “bully”, “rape”, anything that looks like a death threat, various swearing etc) then the interaction gets a filtering flag.  Then a human looks at both the question and answer and tries to determine if it’s something that fits the profile of bullying, abuse, a threat against a person, or similar – if they think it does, both the question and the answer are deleted.  The people who are paid to sift through these answers and make these decisions unfortunately fuck up all the time – they’re obviously often looking at these questions and answers out of context a lot of the time and/or English isn’t their first language and they don’t always quite grasp the true meaning of what is said.  Or maybe they’re just really risk-averse when it comes to leaving stuff up there about bullying, for example, and have an “if you’re not sure, delete it” policy.  Anyway, due to all this, people who asked me for help with school bullying and suicidal thoughts, my advices to them in response were picked up by the filtering and deleted.  This upset me a lot, because I don’t speak on these topics lightly and put a great deal of thought into some of the answers, only to have them scrubbed by some idiot.  I contacted ask.fm about all this and the inaccuracy of the filtering process, and how quite benign and sincere questions and answers were being deleted by mistake, and could I opt out of their filter.  Their response was shit, just 100% pure garbage, basically complete denials that there was even anything wrong at all with their processes.  So rather than continue to fight with them (and I suppose from a business/legal sense, why would they want to admit culpability) I decided to use the Polldaddy software that I was using for surveys to essentially replace ask.fm.  Of course I still have my ask.fm and don’t mind using it, but anybody who wants to remain anonymous and ask me anything actually serious (and doesn’t mind waiting a month for an answer) should use Qrimole.

As for the second part of your question, I don’t feel particularly responsible for other individuals, because it’s their lives and their responsibility, so what they do about what I tell them isn’t really my business.  However, at earlier points in my life I’ve also been that very depressed/confused person wanting to reach out because I didn’t know how to handle a situation, so I don’t mind giving that kind of advice, I just hope people when reading do realise that it’s just my opinion and it may not necessarily be the best way, it’s just one person’s view.  On the one hand I think that if you’re going to follow some random stranger’s advice on something in your own personal life, that might not always be the best idea, but on the other hand, I also think that when trying to solve problems in your life in general, an outsider’s perspective is often a useful thing to have, whether you agree with/act on it or not.  So I don’t get too concerned about it, I’m only one person after all, I just hope that it’s helpful.  Sometimes a person who sent me a question will update me with how their life went after they read and/or took my advice (and the results are generally good, although sometimes they discover they have new problems they hadn’t anticipated), but usually I don’t hear from them again apart from sometimes a “thank you”!

In some of your music recording posts, there is a lot of emphasis on minimizing time spent at the recording studio so as to spend less time renting the place.

Is it the same if the company owns the recording studio? How much does it cost to keep it running (equipment, manpower and all) for a recording session if you’re not paying for its rent?

It is expensive no matter how you slice it, because the real expense of running a recording studio is people x time x equipment.  This is the case whether the studio is in-house or outside.  Obviously in-housing the studio does cut some expenses (time and equipment rental) but it also adds some extra expenses (time and equipment maintenance, plus all the other expenses that go with owning real estate).  It’s an impossible question to answer precisely, it’s like asking “how much would I pay for petrol if I owned a bus”.  The answer is obviously dependent on how often do you drive the bus, where does it go, what sort of a driver are you, what are you carrying in your bus, how often do you stop and start the engine and a myriad of other factors.

Can you elaborate on Likey being misunderstood? I know that Canadian news channel botched the meaning of it when it said the song was about trying to get likes on social media, but I was wondering what more you had to say about it

It is in fact about that, but it’s also about the why of that.  This video actually does a really good job of summarising the key points, which will save me a lot of typing:

How much input do you really think a lot of these ‘self-producing’ idols have in their music? Afaik ghostwriting is a thing and how much do you think companies are paying to keep writers/producers off the credits because I’m very cynical that some of these idols are supposedly making songs that some trained professionals even go to school for.

I think it’s a similar situation to composers or whatever.  Anybody can be a “producer”, really.  On a musical production credit, “producer” just means “someone who made decisions about how the final product should sound”.  That means that if you mumble from the couch “needs more bass” while in a drug-haze and the audio engineer actually puts more bass in, technically you’re a “producer”.  More info here.

Hello Kpopalypse, How are you? My question has nothing to do with kpop and is irrelevant, but hopefully you will read it.

I have been working in this same job for about 9 years, I know almost all about it despite only being a staff. So naturally I get bored. Moreover, recently I have new superiors who are annoying and know nothing about the work, so the burden falls to the staffs.

I have tried looking for other opportunities. Having interviewed for several times but unfortunately I didnt nail it. My confidence drops and I feel like I have no capacity compared with my friend (who easily snatch amazing job). You know, I even prepared my speech since I know my interview skill has been rusty but in the end I was rejected.

So i have been half-ass working in my current job now. Everyone keep telling me to be grateful since I still have job, which I understand. However, I feel stuck working here.

Thats it. I know I am rambling.. Perhaps you can give advice as you have lived longer than me. Thank you.

What employers want to know when they hire you is this:

  • Will you fucking show up to work
  • Do you have the skills they need, or if they provide training, can you learn them quickly
  • Are you gonna be a dick or what

Showing up and being reliable generally is crucial.  Employers lose a LOT of productivity over absenteeism, if you can prove that you’re not a flake then you’re well on your way.

Note “skills” not “experience”.  Employers do like experience because it’s an indicator of skills, but other things are indicators of skills too.  For instance, someone who deals drugs in high school might be able to use those same skills to sell products to difficult clients in a sales environment.  Okay, that’s an example you probably shouldn’t use in a live interview situation, but it illustrates the concept of transferable skills.

Don’t read from a script.  Don’t try to do anything fancy.  Just come ready to answer questions honestly, and be honest, because an employer worth working for can usually smell bullshit.

Also ask yourself what is it exactly about your current job that bores you.  How do you know you won’t encounter the same or worse in the new job.  Something to think about, because your interviewers will probably ask you this too, they will want to know why you’re leaving and how to prevent you also leaving them down the track if they hire you.

what are your thoughts on vocaloids (singing voice synthesizer softwares)?

Well, pretty much all k-pop vocals are Autotuned to fuck and back.  So if it was purely machine created that would only be a very small step away from what it is currently, because it’s 90% machine generated now, people just don’t realise it.  However when they try to synthesise everything else as well, it falls apart a little, because what k-pop companies really sell is the person, not their singing, and a virtual idol is a “harder sell”.  It worked out for Hatsune Miku but probably only because she’s the first one, I don’t think anybody wants an entire music scene full of virtual idols.  Not unless they also do really good JAV.

How are title tracks determined when the group/artist writes the songs themselves? So, I know you’ve already mentioned how title tracks are generally just picked from a list of songs written by songwriters, but assuming that the group has their own songwriter (for example, ex-B1A4’s Jinyoung or recent BtoB stuff) and composes their own music, do you think they just pump out a bunch of music they think could be good, and then pick a title track they believe suits best? Sometimes I feel like they’ll try to make a trendy song but eventually switch it out, leaving it as a sidetrack instead. Plus, it would end up giving better quality sidetracks overall since they were all different attempts at being title track worthy. No? (I’m genuinely curious)

In the cases where there is a songwriter who is in the actual group, if they are allowed to write at all, they generally get to do filler tracks.  “Idol X wrote a song on their album” is good enough for most idols who do such things to get that stan-friendly artistic credibility going, but when it comes to what the label wants to release as the feature track, it usually isn’t that song.  K-pop agencies don’t like to take chances on pretty much anything that could affect their incomes negatively and they’ll prefer tp leave the songs that matter to the experts.

hello again!!

i was kind of wondering— mnet is known for its editing and how notorious it is for demonizing people. of course editing is always bound to do that to some extent, but mnet is Known for it. i was wondering: this far in is it more likely to keep working or backfire— i.e. are people likely to keep believing in it or are they more likely to approach mnet’s characterization with some skepticism? i would normally say the first option, but often (and esp with p48 starting) people seem to be making a more conscious effort to be aware. thoughts?

unrelated but i’ve asked questions infrequently and i wanted to say that your advice and bluntness have really helped me prioritize some things in life and i really appreciate that.

anyways now the boring life update: i’m working 6 days a week this summer and managed to schedule myself into an 8am Calc II class my first ever semester of college. any advice for not dying would also be appreciated.

thanks again~

Mnet: from Mnet’s perspective, it doesn’t matter whether you know Mnet are editing shadily or not, as long as you watch the show and see the advertising.  In fact, outrage over “oh my god how is Mnet going to fuck with people this time” is probably more likely to keep you watching even more and seeing even more advertising.  It’s also very likely to make you talk and share experiences with others about the shows.  People devote a lot of attention to the things that anger them.  The fact that you’re talking about it and you’re asking me this question is also promotion for Mnet.  Mnet want you to keep discussing this stuff, in as many places as you can, with as many people as you can.  The people complaining about Mnet’s editing are doing exactly what Mnet want them to do, which in turn guarantees that Mnet will keep doing it.  If you want something to keep happening, give it attention.  If you don’t want something to keep happening, don’t give it attention.

Your life: good luck.  Don’t worry too much, they don’t work you very hard at Uni compared to an actual job, and you’ll appreciate the change at least at first.  Study hard, stay away from the pub and you’ll be fine.  Your aim is to get all the cramming in that you can so by the time the novelty wears off, you’re a little bit in front of the game and then you can slow the pace just a little and cruise in the rest.

How long does it take to complete a post of ‘roundup‘???

As long as it takes to listen to all the songs in full, and not much longer, plus find an image for the front and a random video for the end.  No thought at all goes into the comments under each one, it’s literally whatever bullshit pops into my head.  Roundup is by far the laziest-written of all Kpopalypse content, and this is deliberate, as a way of teaching people that one person’s opinion of a song is not important!  I do have a roundup FAQ and due to the amount of interest roundup generates I might put it on the sidebar or in another easily accessible place soon.

I think you have a point regarding BTS’s popularity being heavily related to their marketing, but you haven’t answered what that marketing actually is. Their CEO has discussed their concept frequently – it’s idols who tell their own stories. The point is to make them as relatable and human as possible within the idol framework. It’s obviously brilliant. They show them fighting, making mistakes, talking about their anxieties. Do you think this tactic will be more frequently employed now (or by a girl group, ever)?

I think Loona is already doing something slightly similar to this, although maybe not quite as personal, on their “Loona TV” of which there are hundreds of episodes.

Hello my favorite cao ni ma! No matter how I try, I can’t seem to get how IU’s Twenty Three criticizes the idol industry. To me it just sounds like she’s confused about what she wants to be at this point in her life. I get Manyo Maash and Babe and everything but I just don’t get how IU’S does. I feel so stupid because everyone acts like it’s so obvious. Anyways thanks for reading.

The song isn’t about IU’s confusion about her identity.  It’s about IU confusing others with her identity.  Difference.

I’ve talked about this before in the previous Qrimole, and also in this post.  What IU is saying is “through the power of media I can make you believe that I am whatever you want me to be, but who am I really?  You can’t even tell.”  She’s talking about how fans can be easily manipulated – “making an opposite expression to the heart is really simple”.  It’s not a song about the idol industry manipulating her, it’s a song about how the idol industry uses IU as a conduit to manipulate you.

You said the new Day6 song ‘Shoot Me’ was good. I thought it sounded a lot like most of Fallout Boy’s song. What do you think of them?

It’s alright.  Not amazing, but you’re got to remember that most of Day6’s music has been simply awful, so it stands out as pretty damn good in comparison because it’s actually a bit rocking and has a pretty catchy chorus.  I don’t really follow or like Fallout Boy, I wouldn’t even know what they sound like these days.

would any of blackpink’s songs have made it into your top 30 golden age songs if they had been released under 2ne1?

No.  Their best at the time of writing is still “Playing With Fire“, which received an honourable mention in the year that it came out, and also has the distinction of being one of the only genuinely good tropical shithouse songs ever recorded.

I’ve been watching k-pop for 7 years and Bigbang songs (and SNSD’s Gee) aside, wasn’t really that interested in the other groups. I eventually watched another groups like 2NE1 and T-ara MV’s but it didn’t actually sparked my interest like Bigbang. 3 years passed and in 2014, two major points turned my opinion in k-pop. I were able to actually have sexual attraction to idols (haven’t happened before, even with Bigbang).

The first one was for GOT7’s Mark in a stupid web-series that appeared in my YouTube suggestion list. The boys had to work together to pass in various silly tests games to gain absolutely nothing. I didn’t known the group at the time (they had debuted 2 months before) and only watched the video because I was really bored to do my housework stuff and could train my English reading with the subtitles.

After the tests every single boy had to speak about what game was their favourite. At this time I had realized that I had wasted 15 minutes of my time with a shitty thing from an uninteresting group and was prepared to close the video but, when Mark appeared to give his impressions:

The way he said “no” was so sexy to my ears that I almost had a hard on. My boredom had completely gone away and my attention was completely over him. I felt the need to rewind the video and actually pay attention to every little thing he did or said even if it was stupid. I was completely turned on and fapped to him like I still were a teenager! And gosh that was a good fap!

Since that episode I tried to keep up with everything that GOT7 released trying to find an experience similar to that one, with no success.

My second experience was with T-ara’s Number Nine MV. Eunjung had never before catched my interest but in this video she was stunningly beautiful! Her legs were so strong and feminine that all I could think was in her with the 1:41 outfit and with her legs wrapped around my neck and head while I continuously savor her delicious and tender entrance and surroundings. Once again, the experience never appeared with another scenes either for her or her fellow group members.

These two strong experiences had made me much more open to the entertainment that k-pop could provide and eventually allowed me to have it as my favourite music genre.

So oppar, I wondered if you ever been incredibly enticed by a particular kpop MV scene like this, even if you don’t necessarily lust the idol in her (or his) another appearances? Do you believe that secretly other k-pop fans might actually had triggers like this and change their opinion in mediocre songs to more favorable ones? What you really think about all this lewd shit I blabbed about to you?

Have a great July!

I wouldn’t say that a very attractive appearance of an idol changes my opinion of the music whatsoever.  However it’s true that sometimes I notice an idol is very attractive but only in one particular music video, and not really in others.  The most recent example that springs to my mind is N.CA who looks astonishingly great in UNI.T’s “No More” (0:52), and nothing all that special in everything else I’ve seen her in.  I think it’s just a matter of styling and presentation, they just found a look that really worked for her.

Yes, I think that since in k-pop it’s the people who are really being sold, the visual impression of certain idols on the public in music videos probably does make a big difference to a lot of fans.  I think there’s nothing wrong with that, and people should be more open about it!  There’s nothing wrong with appreciating good presentation, as long as people realise that it is just that, presentation and nothing actually real.  Worth fapping over (if you want) but not worth chasing people around in cars for.

please tell me what style of song is this i think it has accordions in it but it is a specific style of song i’m sure i have the impulse to tango to it lol

Tango is correct.

I read and enjoyed your music theory posts – I want to learn music theory but have no knowledge\don’t play any instruments\ can’t read sheet (pun intended) – it’d be great if you direct me to some books or something to learn mt or just general interesting books about music

I’ve never read a music theory book that I actually liked.  I learned in classrooms, not from books only.  However I do plan more music theory posts and one day when I have a really big chunk of time I’m considering a complete music theory series on this blog of some sort.

I saw this on twitter: “Why should writers not be paid everytime you want one of our songs? Why should we have to wait to see how it performs? We’re the only ppl who have to take this gamble everyone else is paid upfront AND given points.. how is this fair?” from a person who wrote songs for Beyoncé, Britney Spears and others alike.

Anyway, from your posts I had the impression that companies in kpop bought the songs from the songwriters and paid them anyway, didn’t matter how the song performed. But from this tweet it seems it’s the opposite? Is it a difference between east and west industries? What do you think is better for the songwriter?

There’s three types of arrangements that happen when it comes to songwriters selling or giving their songs to companies.

1. The company pays a flat fee for the usage rights to the song, and can then use it wherever they want without paying the songwriter.
2. The company does not pay the songwriter to use the song, but a “royalty” is paid to the songwriter when the song is used (i.e played on TV, on the radio, etc)
3. A combination of 1. and 2. above

Generally speaking, if you’re a songwriter and you’re pretty sure that your song could never ever in a million years become popular, then option 1 is best, because your royalties from usage are probably going to be near-zero so you’re better off pocketing the upfront fee.  On the other hand if the song is likely to become mega-huge, 2 is by far the better option because a royalty from a global mega-hit can provide a nice little bit of recurring money, especially if it’s a song that gets permanent radio rotation and becomes a “classic”, and in that situation you would be kicking yourself if you sold it to someone for $500 and they made $500000 out of it over the course of a decade.  Option 3 is very rare and is probably what the songwriter you quoted is hoping for, but shit usually doesn’t work like that, because options 1 and 2 tend to be mutually exclusive almost all of the time.

What do you think of deepfake porn of kpop idols? These are videos where a kpop idol’s face is superimposed over a pornstar’s in an AV using machine learning. If done well they look extremely realistic.

I don’t care about it, I have absolutely no interest in it.  I think in the rare cases where idols have been involved in sex scenes for either JAV or erotic films etc, the fact that it is actually them in the scene is a large part of the turn-on, rather than how the result actually looks.  So deepfakes for me completely miss the point of why something like that is interesting in the first place.  I bet all deepfake sites had a decrease in traffic that coincided with Honey Popcorn’s debut.

Dear kpopalypse!

I hope Stiglitz is okay!

How can featuring rapper like Changmo, Verbal Jint have customers/fans at his tour/concerts? This question sounds kinda rude, but I don’t know how they function. For example, Changmo works with tons of idols like Taeyon, but their music is totally different and I guess people are listening to the song, because of the member of the idol group. I tried to compare views and charts, but I don’t really find fair methods to compare them. I would kinda understand, if he would be a producer, but this is not a case and since Changmo has more songs as a featuring artists and not really many solo tracks in comparison… what does he during a concert? He can’t just do 30 seconds rap of his songs, when he was a featuring artist. He was once a guest appearance during a tour with Suran, but I can’t really find something in the world wide web, too much pointless dirt talk about celebrities.

My second question is about pre-2008 KPOP, since you wrote you were surprised about rare quality songs, will you do a top (30 or 15) surprisingsly good songs from pre-2008 KPOP?

I had a third question about chinese rap music ban, since Kris Wu made a song Tian Di and it had rap, but I guess I have to try and ask C-Rapolypse.

Thank you very much for the content that you provide and I also want to thank at kpopalypse comment section, since they aren’t crazy like the comment section of Asianjunkie, Netizenbullshit, The Great Satan and koASSobo and the other one that I forgot.

Your first question – a rapper like Verbal Jint getting on a Taeyeon song is good promotion for Verbal Jint, but unless Taeyeon happens to drop by he’s probably not even going to bother to do that song live most of the time.  Instead he’s going to fill his concert at the club with other songs which are more of a pure rap kind of style, because that’s what his fanbase is interested in.  Rappers flirt with idol songs to get that promo and hopefully drag a few pop fans off into the rap world, but no rapper prioritises the “lightweight idol collab” part of their repetoire.  Rappers do that stuff because it’s lucrative, not because it’s what they’re really about.  “Love The Way You Lie” was a good way for Eminem to get his name in front of some pop fans, but no hardcore Eminem fan considers that his best song, or the song that they would be going to the gig especially to hear.  No fan of Nas goes to his show to hear that one R&B song he did with Mariah Carey, they want to hear “Illmatic“.

Your second question – yes, click here.

You third question I’ll have to leave as you didn’t ask it and no I an not c-rapalypse, although some of my haters may argue that I am!

Stiglitz is good, she just bit into my hand and drew blood, the little psycho.

My friend is moving to Australia. She’s going to be working as a teacher. Is there any advice I should give her?

Don’t teach in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, where I grew up.  Not worth it.

Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while, but I can’t post comments because the website tells me “Your URL is too long”. What can I do? I don’t have Twitter nor ask.fm, so I can’t talk to you in any other way.

Then don’t post URLs.  My comments section filters most links out, the reason for this is that the posts are already massively link and embed-heavy to the point where they take ages to load on some people’s machines, if I let people leave comments with even more of this content the blog would collapse under its own weight.  Or maybe it wouldn’t, but reading it would be a true pain in the ass and as slow as a snail.  Also I don’t want people replying with reaction images and memes etc, if you can’t put it into your own words it’s probably not worth saying anyway.

What is your thoughts on whole Wiz khalifa debacle?
Do you agree with the people in asian junkie comment section that say Black People cannot be racist?

Of course black people can be racist, just look up the Rwandan genocide where black people committed over half a million murders and almost as many rapes in the space of a few weeks and it was 100% completely racially motivated against a specific ethnic group.  Anybody of any race can be a perpetrator of racism.  Anybody of any race can also be a victim of racism.  Just because historically it has tended to go in one particular direction doesn’t mean that it always has, or always will.  Thinking that any one particular race is “above it” is racism itself in its purest form.

As for Wiz Khalifa, black American rappers have been saying racist things about Asians since forever, that type of sentiment goes way back.  However the question is, how much are you going to let it bother you.  Most rappers are straight-up dumb all over and they say dumb shit all the time just to get a laugh in rhymes, so what.  Most rappers think that guns are fantastic and that marijuana is some cure-all health tonic just for starters, so I wouldn’t expect them to have sensible opinions on anything else either.  When a dumb person insults you – who cares?  Dumb people insult me every day, so fucking what, they’re stupid and their opinion of me isn’t important.  Likewise who cares what some uneducated dumbass says in their songs about your race, whether it be some “white power” dickhead or someone like Wiz, most rappers aren’t exactly KRS-ONE anyway (and even he got it wrong sometimes).

Hey oppar,

Is there a reason why members within a male kpop group fulfill their enlistment at staggered intervals? Wouldn’t it be much more productive to just send the whole group off at once (given they all fill the age requirements, of course)?

For example, Super Junior’s members have taken about 10 years for all of its members to finish enlistment, but they could have easily finished in 3 years, 4 tops.

Ten years of a missing member or two is better than three years where a k-pop group has to completely shut down.  In the k-pop market which moves very quickly, three years of silence is fatal.  The agency doesn’t want the fans to just give up completely and move onto something else and then not come back when the group return from service.  It’s too much of a risk and k-pop is always as risk-averse as possible.

Hi oppar, I follow your blog and know that your views mostly coming from those sexy idol pic query. I have an issue regarding that.

Firstly, I enjoy Kpop merely because they have a more accessible and larger stream of new songs that I can pick easily. FYI, I was a hard Jpop fan, so it’s difficult to know new artists and songs.

Recently I discovered I enjoyed their visual more than their music. I don’t like Likey at all, but damn Jihyo’s melon shake is just irresistible, or Eunha’s thighs in Sunny Summer is so good, and I feel really pervy about it. I am so embarrassed that even I can’t enjoy the music at all due to their suggestive appearance (for me, at least)

Do you think it’s good to start feeling this way? Because I think I want to keep interested in their music and don’t have to feel bad for not focusing on their visual much.

Boy, my question just sounds like a nerd am I?

I think you’re overthinking it.  There’s no need to play identitiy politics with yourself.  Just enjoy the music (if you want) and enjoy the ass-shaking (if you want), and try to relax about it a little.  Trust me, way more crazy shit is happening behind the scenes than a bit of boob-bouncing, what you’re looking at is just the stuff that’s considered tame enough for you to be allowed to see.

I felt guilty when I saw your cover on YouTube, knowing your face, and feeling slight mistrust due to my prejudice to your physical appearance is way different than I imagine. Sorry

Don’t worry, my ego will recover.

It’s also quite natural to have prejudices when seeing someone for the first time.  As humans, that’s how we are – we judge people on what we know about them, and when we first see them, their physical appearance constitutes the majority of what we know so we base our initial judgements on that.  As we get to know others better, it’s easier to look past the physical at other aspects as we get a deeper picture of the person.  What you’re experiencing is very normal and I’m sure everybody experienced some kind of subconscious (or maybe fully conscious) bias in some form (positive or negative) when watching my videos.

Recently I got myself studying in graduate school with not so good administration and other lack of professionalism in technicalities, but some of the lecturers are real best in lecturing.

Fast forward to the final test of a course with a really cool professor, we have to submit research report that I really procrastinate with until in the deadline, I submit my report which not finished at all. I tried to contact him afterward to submit the revision but he never replied. What should I do?

Keep harassing him, be so much of a pain in his ass that he can’t ignore you and gives you what you want just to get rid of you.

As a young man prone to distress, I found myself gain weights easily. I discover I could gain 4 kg for only eating three times a day. I want to join the gym because I don’t have any time to allocate my time to exercise, so I thought in gym with few friends would be the best choice. But now I realized how fat I am (M 170cm/86kg) and I am shy to expose myself in such a place with “sporty” climate.

Do you have any suggestion to make me feel more confident in doing my exercise program?

You’re not that fat, hardly obese or anything.  Losing weight is more about diet than exercise, I’ve found.  Exercise actually increases your appetite so you eat more.  I exercised quite a lot a few years back and I only put on weight, when I stopped exercising and just cut down my snack food a bit I lost all the weight again.  However even though it’s near-useless for weight loss, exercise is still very good for you, so do it if you enjoy it.  Fuck what others think, you’re the one who is paying for gym time, so it’s not about them.  Measure your progress with yourself, don’t compare to others, they’re on their own journey which has nothing to do with you.

I work at uni as a research assistant for a few projects that allow me to go to different division. Wherever I go, it seems that all division always bragging about my faculty’s research regulation. The problem is, based on info I got from my friend (she’s a secretary for the faculty’s chief of research and development), most of the lecturers aren’t holy either with so many self-righteous attitudes.

Between all of this, I really don’t know how to respond to all of their complaints since they only can comment without any intention to finish it at once. The problem, I want to join the faculty as a lecturer once I complete my studies. Knowing all of these make me worry because, at some point, I may become the one I hate the most.

What do you think about my situation?

It’s hard to even know how to advise you because you’ve been fairly vague here, but my gut instinct says why not stay the course and be part of what makes the faculty good instead of part of what makes it suck?

Oppar, I went to a Korean bar and they played bom’s you and I and I thought of u :3

As you should.  One of the classic k-pop tracks.  I always cry when I watch the video.

Ayeon, the drummer from Bebop. Are her breasts natural or enhanced? I’ve spent months trying to figure out the answer to this question. Being older and wiser than me, perhaps you have the knowledge I seek.

Wouldn’t it be good if there was a blogger who posted yearly satirical-yet-technically-fastidious reviews of busty k-pop idols where he commented on the amount of potential breast enhancement that each one exhibited?  Oh wait.

Last year, you did like Loona’s ViVi’s Everyday I Love You, yet you were shocked with that jaw of hers. She did put another song, which is basically the same, but as a slower-paced version of it. Was it worse than the original?

Yes.

Hi oppar,
How many years until BTS burns out?
Thanks,
A faithful Cao Ni Ma

8 years 2 months 16 days 1 hour 26 seconds

Oppar, did you ever had your wisdom teeth extracted? I removed all of mine about a week ago and have been searching new things to distract me from my discomfort (sometimes it hurts like hell). So I found this girl that made me ask myself some questions:

What the hell is that instrument? How can he do so much different shit?
Her first song have some elements from Chinese music?
She makes a joke calling herself a ”dark chocolate”. In your opinion, how the fuck some people may find this offensive while others consider it empowering?

Completely off-topic: Have you ever been to some really crazy (or shitty) place in Australia, like Tasmania?

Have a nice month!

The instrument is an electric violin.  Specifically, this one.

She’s using pentatonic scales, and so does a lot of Chinese music, that’s why it sounds similar, but there’s nothing specifically Chinese about it apart from this.

It’s fine for people to call themselves whatever!  Call yourself what you want to call yourself.  It’s a personal rights issue, nobody is allowed to tell you what you can and can’t refer to yourself as (well, they can, but you don’t have to listen or care).

Nobody goes to Tasmania.

I recently watched a video (VICE video interview) on EXP Edition, a group made of foreigners under a newbie management company trying to make it in the kpop business. What are your thoughts? I’ve been trying to understand what exactly I dislike about them: maybe the fact that they seem to be very gimmicky but also that they seem to show no respect for the korean culture (confucius values, etc.) and history, don’t seem to want to pay their dues. I also am not sure how the maknae/leader/roles position works between them if they ARE a kpop group… if they would even abide by that… so yeah. Just wanted your thoughts on this!

and

Interested in hearing thoughts from you, a hapa, about this video.

and so on and on, and on, about this video, a LOT of questions from you guys:

Firstly, fuck being a HAPA, identity politics is lame.  That shouldn’t matter, and doesn’t.

Secondly, I definitely empathise with EXP Edition, on their franky impossible and hopeless journey to become k-pop idols.  It’s so blatantly obviously not going to happen for them, but I respect their will to pursue their dream in the face of overwhelming odds.  They’re talented young people giving it their best shot, even if they’re pissing into the wind and are going to have to make some hard decisions in a few years.

Thirdly, their songs so far are awful.  That’s the real issue (and the ONLY issue) for me, personally.  They need to get some better songs.  In my worst songs of 2017 list, sure EXP Edition’s atrocious “Feel Like This” got in there, but my only criticism of their video was purely about the music and nothing else.  I wasn’t like those v-loggers, writing them off just because there’s white dudes in the group.

Fourthly, yes they are cringe, but then so were One Direction, and so are most k-pop groups when it comes right down to it.  There’s no difference really.  It’s not about race, it’s about watching young people with the kinds of complex conflicted emotions that all young people experience being forced to do “positive music” with all that aegyo nice-nice “happy all the time” bullshit.  I cringe equally hard whenever I see Loona yyxy’s severe glazed-over Stepford-wifery in “Love4Eva”.

I also cringe just as hard when I see the other side of the coin, probably best embodied by Blackpink trying to be “pretty but savage” while dancing in perfect time and flicking their hair in “Ddu-du Ddu-du”.

The fakeness and over-the-top pretense really hits me over the head like a brick, especially as I’ve actually met a few people in real life who have been in these types of videos and I know how massively wide the gulf is between what people are really like and what a music video is pumping them up to be.  EXP Edition isn’t any better or worse than these things, it’s just because people aren’t used to seeing a bunch of white dudes do it while singing in Korean, it sort of highlights the oddness of it all, and that’s what’s probably touching people’s buttons, it’s making them notice elements of it that they probably otherwise might not notice because they’ve been desensitised by seeing Asians doing it so often.  I don’t think there’s really any genuine racism there in most cases (although maybe in a few), I just think that it’s the specific combination of elements that unfortunately puts the group in a k-pop “uncanny valley”.

Fifth, I don’t give a fuck about Korean culture.  Kpopalypse is NOT a Koreaphile blog, it’s a blog about Korean pop music and related nonsense, from my own unique cultural perspective, which is pretty far away from a Korean cultural perspective.  There’s two things I like about Korea:

1. Korean pop music
2. Korean food

And that’s it.  Other than this, I don’t care.  At all.  That’s why I don’t live there, and have no intention of ever living there or even going to visit.  I would consider it only if someone paid for my flights and hotels and I was there for a specific meaningful purpose, I wouldn’t just go for the hell of it because fuck Korean culture, really.  All the rabid ultra-conservatism and arcane social rules would piss me off very quickly.  And also all that maknae/older person “leader” shit, FUCK that shit, I hate that crap.  Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re wiser and deserve more respect (yes it’s likely but it shouldn’t be assumed by default even when you’re being a cunt).  Look at how all those kids on the Sewol Ferry died, the old people told them all to stand still and wait for instructions while the ship sunk and the captain and staff saved their own necks and left them to die.  Because they were young they had to comply, because of bullshit Korean culture nobody wanted to break the “rules” and abandon ship when they should have.  So I couldn’t give a fuck about questions of how EXP Edition fit into Korean culture and whether they show the appropriate amount of “respect” or whatever because I think that sort of thing is all complete bullshit anyway.  If EXP Edition break the rules and overturn the apple cart a bit over there, I’m all for it.  Sadly that won’t happen, instead those young, bright-eyed, well-meaning, desperately fame-seeking kids will just try their darndest to do everything exactly by the rules and will probably continue to be shat on and get nowhere anyway.  We should feel sorry for them, they are in for a rough ride.

Oppar, if you were in a K-pop group, what do you think your position (visual, main dancer, lead vocalist, leader, etc.) would be?

Cunt.

Oppar, do you think with the way the K-pop industry is going (global) these days, there might be at least one or two foreign members in every single new group that’s coming out? For example, LOONA is debuting soon and they have a foreign member in the group. The new girl group that’s on the way from Produce 48 is going to be Korean-Japanese with maybe one Chinese member.

K-pop has been global forever and will continue to be.  However not every agency could be bothered looking overseas for people.

OPPPPAAAARRRRRR. Since you’re Australian, do you like to eat Vegemite? Because in my opinion, that shit is foul and tastes like expired dick cheese with a hint of a yeast infection.

I agree that vegemite tastes like yeast infection, and it should – it’s literally concentrated yeast extract.  The idea of vegemite is that you spread it very thinly on toast.  Only a vegemite noob eats big dollops of it.  Mind you I still don’t like the stuff much.

Thanks to your Jimin search post I re-read the “BTS is not Kpop” write-up. It said that a lot of Kpop songs come from western reject songs, is that true? If so, how did Kpop companies make those “B-grade Western pop songs” so popular? Is Kpop better produced, better marketed, etc?

I love questions that completely answer themselves, you just saved me some typing.

Oppar I love reading occult conspiracy theories (with a grain of salt ofc … I’m not insane …) but can you weigh in on Illuminati theories that say an elite secret group of people somehow controls the media and music industry … why does illuminati symbolism constantly come up in many pop MVs including Kpop!! Isn’t it at least somewhat plausible that a “global elite” who wants to send subliminal messages to control the topic of the century or whatever would push it through something millions of people around the globe would be watching ??

Illuminati theory, all of it, is so much utter bullshit.  I can’t believe people get suckered into it, people really are fucking dumb.  Of course half the people who spread that crap do so just because of how outlandishly daft it is, not because they actually believe any of it.  There’s no need for all this “control” by a secret power anyway, the mere act of consuming entertainment products itself is enough to keep people compliant regardless of what they are actually looking at.  When people are entertained they are generally happier and less likely to fire rockets at government buildings.

The reason why Illuminati symbolism comes up in music videos?  Because it looks fucking cool, of course.  It’s just good design especially when going for a darker kind of image, thanks to idiots spreading it around, that shit has now become part of the “popular culture of design symbolism”, part of the grab-bag that video directors now use when deciding on design themes and ideas.  Think about how guns keep coming up in k-pop videos.  Guns look cool in k-pop videos, that doesn’t mean that anybody in k-pop groups actually knows anything about guns that the average computer game player doesn’t know.  They’re just a prop.

But if you want ironclad proof that the Illuminati isn’t controlling any aspect of the music industry, just look at how much fucking money the music business has been losing hand-over-fist lately.  If there really were powerful people in control, they would have surely found a way to stop the global music industry’s deep decades-old recession by now.  Not much of an all-powerful secret society if they can’t even shut down a few lousy music piracy websites.

Hello~
I sometimes watch this YouTuber from New Zealand, who gets extremely upset when people thinks she from Australia and go on a tangle about the different between the two countries. Mind explaining all the hate.

Australia and New Zealand do have a rivalry, but it’s not like the rivalry between Asian countries (who in the past went to war against each other etc).  It’s more like a friendly sport-team style rivalry.  Don’t take it too seriously.

Oppar, you were right. These reddit k-pop fans all just talk about vocal pedagogy like they know what the fuck is going on. I felt myself almost becoming one of them before I realized that there is more beyond just singing. I almost got a tumor tbh

I call these people out for a reason.  Yes there are more episodes of The V Files planned!

god… i…

recently spectrum’s kim dongyoon passed away. maybe it’s odd to be invested in a celebrity a world away, but i just. he was a year older than me. he was a talented rapper. he survived the hell that was mixnine and made it to #21.

this is at least the third idol in the last year to die, circumstances not withstanding. i’ve been trying to take care of myself and move on while remembering them, but sometimes it’s hard.

i guess my question really boils down to how can i deal with this kind of loss and sadness that isn’t constant but sometimes hits hard?

i hope you’re doing well too! i understand this was kind of all over the place, but i needed to talk about it and ask. sappy or not, thanks for being that place for me.

It’s easier to care about a stranger dying if their situation mirrors yours in some way, because it lessens the perceived gap between you and them.  You start to think “well, that could have been me”.  Whereas the kids who died a few years ago from stepping on landmines in eastern Ukraine, you probably didn’t feel quite as sad about that, as it’s further removed from your sphere of experience and may be harder for you to relate to (unless you also live near a bunch of landmines).  That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or anything, it’s just human nature that we all hold only so much “care” and we have to sort of allocate it depending on what is more personally relatable to us.  This is not just idle speculation but a real scientific phenomenon, called “Dunbar’s number” or the “Monkeysphere” which states that there is a finite limit to the amount of “people that you care about”, that you would be happy if they did well and sad if they died.

The magic trick of Korean pop culture (and most pop culture in general) is that when it works well, it can get someone who lives in a faraway country with several degrees of separation from you, who you know nothing about on any real level, and who has a life that is not really in common with yours in any way, and effectively insert that person into the mix of “people you care about” right up there with your close friends and family.  The music videos, social presence, media events and many other aspects of Korean pop culture are finely tuned to achieve exactly this effect, because if you really like these people you’re much more likely to buy what they produce, sing, wear, endorse, etc – it’s all about selling the people, and selling the experience of personal intimacy.  Of course this is an illusion, but when it works it feels real enough.  So when misfortune happens to idols, you naturally are going to feel that too – that’s why people practically go to war for their biases when they happen upon controversy and misfortune, and why death really hits hard for a lot of people.  Of course this isn’t particularly rational and it’s something that I advise against, but that doesn’t change the fact that it does happen to people, including the most rational, level-headed people, because we’re dealing with marketing experts here.  Even the second-tier k-pop companies are really really good at this shit.

The best way to deal with the death of anybody is to focus on what they gave you during their life, rather than the fact that they’re dead.  We’re all here for a limited time only, so focus on living life in a meaningful way, receiving gifts graciously from others and giving your own back to those who are worthy.  Death is a loss but it’s also a step forward because it teaches you to appreciate your own life and the people and things you care about the most while they are still here.


That’s all for another QRIMOLE episode!

Do you have a question that you’d like to see answered in the next episode of QRIMOLE?  If so, use the question box below, or if no box appears, click the Qri on the sidebar to open the box as a separate webpage!  Kpopalypse will return!

6 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – July 2018

  1. I kinda think “Love 4 Eva” is supposed to be disturbingly peppy. Although the people who produced that comeback probably wanted to have their cake and eat it too – have a “Gee” rip-off with a cutesy dance that would do well on music shows, while making that fakeness into part of the overall LOONA story for the fans they’ve already recruited.

  2. The person who’s bothered by Eunha’s excellent thighs in a video, should just relax. Even though Gfriend was originally marketed as “innocent,” the girls inevitably grow up and fill out, Eunha’s just better-looking than most.
    Exp Edition – I’m a white guy, and I don’t want white people in my kpop, especially when their head structure seems more masculine than mine. Fuck them to hell.
    Since you bring it up, fuck the maknae/older dichotomy, what are you, ducks, to need that sort of stupid structure? Lots of younger people are smarter than old ones, you should be respected for your intelligence, NOT your age.

  3. I’m just here to point out that the “glazed-over Stepford-wifery in “Love4Eva” is supposed to be disturbing and part of the concept, though I agree with the want-your-cake-and-eat-it-too guy above me.

    Personally though, I’m more disturbed by something like Pristin’s “Wee Woo” if we’re talking cringey cutesy play.

  4. Pingback: The KPOPALYPSE article index | KPOPALYPSE

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