March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
Yesterday, I was trying to explain fabrication and the concept of idols to a couple of friends. But some of this is impossible to try to explain to someone just like that, after dinner with come cognac and pear cake, and one of those things is Kim Heechul, his concept, his role, his person and exactly why I find him so intriguing. So I didn’t. But on my way home, I thought a lot about him: how important a part he has played in my growing interest in kpop, how I just get more confused the more I try to understand what the hell he’s actually up to, and exactly how unique his role is in kpopverse. The eternal exception to so many rules, he had a whole talking round on Strong Heart dedicated to the subject ”Because it is (/I am) Kim Heechul, it is okay”, meaning he can get away with stuff other people can’t simply because of who he are. I guess it is a persona with a great load of freedom, and pressure, to act controversially, sometimes to the point where it’s actually rather obnoxious. And some things are still taboo, of course.
No matter. I was heartbroken and relieved at the same time when he went to do his desk job military service, and at the same time that I’ve hoped the time away does him good, I’ve missed seeing him in action (and should go on a Heechul variety binge soon again sometime). But I also felt a small pang of idiotic guilt at how, during this time, my attention has steered towards other kpop people in his stead.
And then, as though an answer to my thoughts, twitter provides me with this.
So. Heening letting Hong Seok-cheon, pretty much South Koreas only openly gay man, tweet a picture of the two of them all cozy together at a wedding? I’m not sure exactly what his reasons are, but I most certainly apporove of this displayal of comfortableness. Every little step, etc. Also: How awesomely good-looking Heechul himself is in that picture.
What can I say? 우유빛깔 김희철! 사랑해요 김희철!
June 9, 2011 § 11 Comments
Being a wealthy democracy of the modern world, South Korean citizens have the right to choose their own religious belief, and of course, choose to have none at all if preferred. Half of the South Korean population consider themselves practising a religion, and dominating since the late 1900s is christianity with more then 8.5 million Prostestants and atleast 5,1 million Catholics. In Seoul you can actually find the largest christian congregation on this planet with it’s 800 000 members.
The second largest religion in South Korea, and the largest unitary religious group is the Buddhist, with 11 million active practising members and quite naturally out of Koreas geographical postion, a long history within the country. There is also a hundred thousand practisers or so each of the indigenous Won-buddhism and the moral code of Confusanism. Personally, I was a bit disappointed after discovering that the very uniqe inidgenous mixed faith of Chondogyo only has about 50 thousand followers, it is far to interesting for an amount that small.
In Sweden and Stockholm, I discover through my every day work with eduaction that religion is still a strong force within many groups, for both indigenous and immigrant swedes. Modern Sweden though, is commonly described as a none-religious society with little connection to the old Protestant church that dominated Sweden for 500 years, after kicking out the Catholics. The traces of religion can still be found everywere in holidays and also in the way people think, I believe. But then again, the connection to religion is not made directly and most importantly, many swedes proudly consider themselves secular, in a world that in so many places is full of prejudice and conflicts connected to religious belief.
I was also brought up in this consensus, religion being nothing more then the traditions from the past. Only attending church with my family, who was not in any way connected to a church, at funerals, weddings and perhaps a graduation ceremony.
On the other hand, in my early teens, as many others in that age, I started to search for some kind of philisophy to put my trust and hopes , and if you want to – my beliefs in. The road to christianity was not that difficult to take. I was baptized as a small child(tradition) and it was quite popular to go through the rituals of confirmation as a 14 year old, more of a get together for horny teens then an important step into the christian world, but actually showing the way to a modern version of religion. Also, just one generation beyond my parents, religion was still very much alive for some of my relatives. Somewhere down this road and with extensive bible reading, I found my own and very personal version of the christian protestant belief. A belief that I now find myself to have kept for almost 15 years. It is not a constant though, I’ve hesitated more times then I can count to, and I do see all the bad things that was created in the name of religions easier then ever before. But it won’t go away still and religious belief is not supposed to be easy. To acknowledge all the bad things within the religion, be humble about it and work for change was always how, as I saw it, I wanted it to work.
When I walked into the world of Kpop, I discovered quite quickly that the idols, some of them, had a very christian view on life. With this belief comes quite often a set of morals, values that is said to reflect the religion. To be a good christian means much to many with a strong belief, even though it really does not mean anything in particular. Sadly, this strong belief and the idea of being a good christian often collides with the world of today and values I personally feel strongly for, the right to abortion and the right to love who ever you choose what ever the sex are both examples of these values.
As written above, South Korea has a large group of christian practicers, and when a religion is new and on the rise it tends to be quite literal, not at all reinterpreted, progressive and modern as I imagine my own personal christian belief to be.
This is clearly showing within the Kpop-industry from time to time. When asked in an interview how the idol feels about same sex love, you could easily get the reaction of it being completly wrong and un-natural. The first time I experienced this reaction of disgust, I really did not know how to deal with it, except getting angry of course. And yet I have a very hard time just letting this pass. But I refuse to see it as just a cultural Korean opinion, but rather as the outcome of the huge impact christianity have had over the South Korean society over the last five decades.
A couple of idols that I’ve put a lot of time and effort into have a very strong christian conviction and it shows in their tweets and in the way the deal with hardships of life. As the natural disaster hit Japan this spring, both Alexander of U-kiss and Siwon of SuJu, the idols I’m talking of right now, wanted us all to pray for the japanese people and to put our trust in God. Both Siwon, and now Alexander is a part of the musical project 3rd Wave. A Christian musical project that gives it’s profit to charity and project that Alexander could be a part of after U-kiss.
It is of course nice of Siwon and Alexander to put their mind and thought into tragic events, it could absolutely be described as being a good christian, but also as just being humane. To send your thoughts to a nation wrecked by disaster is hopefully not connected to one religion. I wonder how Alexander who quite often retweet words from Joel Osteen, the american televangelist think when it comes to this?
Joel Osteen is someone who has a view of life and on christianity that I probably do not share in any aspect. I wonder how the preachings from this american pastor is received by Alexander, one of my all time favourite idols. Will Siwon and Alexander talk about the latest televised sermon from pastor Osteen when they meet on Sundays at church, and then switch over to discussing excercise and appearances on musical shows?
How do these idols think when it comes to christianity and homosexuality? They work in the world of showbiz and there must be lots af gay people around.
The reason for asking myself this question is that Siwon has worked with fan-service for his entire carrieer and is adored by fans for acting like Prince charming towards – his male colleagues. There are hundreds of fancams of him kissing the other members in SuJu at performances. SiChul is my very favourite fanfic and fan-service couple and wether or not Siwon and Heechul ever is getting it on, I do belive they do from time to time, Siwon must be fully aware of how much this semi gay approach is building his popularity. Is it working well with his born again christian mentality? A fun fact is that Heechul, an outspoken atheist and also a friend of Siwon, is not Siwons friend on twitter, but with the rest of SuJu.
When it comes to Alexander, I don’t believe that he is absolutely certain about his sexual agenda, but then again who is? I just don’t want him miss out on love or sex just because his religious belief tells him to. I don’t want him to be locked into a bubble of already given ideas and miss out on what the world could offer him. I don’t want him to devote his life to Christian music, when this is one of the worst modern genres I know.
As a young and Christian man in the western world, I prefer when people are less secure about their religious beliefs, and don’t tweet that much about it.
/The Future is Idol
May 15, 2011 § 6 Comments
Today, Alexander tweeted about eating (no surprise there since he always talks about food). He said that he was in a sugar rush and then referred to a track by old swedish idol group A-teens:
alexander_0729: Had a sudden strong crave for sweet dessert… so I got those yummy cakes!♥ But now I’m having my ″Sugar Rush″~♪(A-Teens) (=
He meant this track:
He then continued:
alexander_0729: Oh! I so wanna share a song I LOVED since middle school~ It’s like the feeling between my fans (yes you!) & I~ Promise me not to shiver OK!?
alexander_0729: Close ur eyes, imagine it’s a story between you & I… ″Don’t Even Know Your Name″ (A★Teens) Wt’s ur name baby? *shiver*
alexander_0729: Yup! I listen to 90’s songs n I was a fan of A*Teens~ 😛 Come on… I’m 88!!! (=v=;)
I was never a fan of A-teens, perhaps a bit to old when they became popular, Alexander is six years younger then me and was probably in the perfect age group for A-teens back in the days. And also, back then, I never listened to this kind of music, it was way to lame for me. But as I come from Sweden, just as A-teens, I find it really funny that Alexander Eusebio, somewhere on the other side of the world was listening to music from Sweden as he grew up, and that now, people from Sweden listens to him. I like this, not so uniqe, but funny perspective.
Alexander said in his tweet that he was listening to 90s music, and perhaps “Don’t even know your name” was realesed in the 90s, but “Sugar Rush” is from 2001. But I understand why he says 90s music, it is something far away in your brain burried with memories of growing up and you think it sounds a bit old when you here it and see it again. So you feel it should be from the 90s, even if it is not. I get that feeling a lot. Not all the MVs and tracks grow old with dignity.
/The Future is Idol
March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
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/The Future is Idol