Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Uni

So I just realised I have not written much about my university life (I don't even have a tag for it!!) and what I study and what I've studied maybe because it's not as interesting but still, I think I should write about it anyway for my own future sake. To see what I've studied in the past 3 years of university.

The course I'm taking now is Business Management with Economics and I'm already in my third (and final) year. IF and only IF I consider taking Masters I think I would want to do one in Marketing. To come to think of it, I don't know why I just didn't do a degree in Marketing in the first place...


Anyway, so my course is just a random mixture of Business Management courses and Economics and even with Accounting. So I've dabbled into all 3. Currently in my 3rd year, I've done Applied Economics (so that's when all the third level micro and macro economics come into play), Managing Organisations in an International Context (MOIC), and Strategic Management (which was actually quite interesting because we learnt theories from different case studies; one was about Wal-Mart, one was about the smart car, and our coursework was based on ZARA so it was all quite relatable. And I had a Malaysian guy as my teacher and he was very fun, I was quite proud lol). In my second term which is what I'm doing now, I'm doing Behavioural Economics (which is my favourite subject thus far, it's so fun, talks about the behaviour of consumers and how it affects everyday economics, it's a far stretch from the very technical stuff I've learnt previously), Sustainable Business (which is my least favourite subject, talks about sustainability economics and I think we've done this about a million times already) and we're still doing MOIC and we're doing a simulation project based on an airline which should be fun... I hope?

For the life of me, I cannot remember the exact names for the modules I took - they were unnecessarily long. Every term, I'd have 3 new subjects (or 2 at the very least) and they were all very different. I remember I had one and it was about programming numbers which was so ridiculous because I had no clue what I was doing. I don't know how I survived that one.

In my past years, I did accounting and finance and actually really throughly enjoyed it though it was just kind of a dip-your-toes-into-the-much-more-complicated-world-of-accounting-and-finance so it was relatively quite easy and I even got perfect scores for some of the test. Like I said, it's most probably very easy, basic stuff. Nevertheless, it was fun.

We've had also a bunch of management subjects and it's actually just very plain, simple logic on how to manage things and people but there are a lot of theories and reading that goes into it so although comprehension of the topics given were quite easy, the teachers just go on and on about the importance of applying theories into the management of things.

We've had some computing and math also with it and I remember staying back in the university computer lab til 8pm doing the fortnightly tests which was a pain because I am still 100% sure I will never have to apply it in the real world ever.

Every year, we would always have an Economics module and so it was a really good thing that I took up Econs in A-Levels because although it's still difficult in university level, I still had the basics down in KY which helped me loads. I still have a love-hate relationship with economics, if you look at it plain and simple, it really just comes down to logic but man, the graphs and the terminology is so frustrating to wrap your head around.

Hopefully I get to graduate this July and I'll tell you more about my university and my course then. Overall, I'm actually quite glad and happy that I took this course because alhamdulillah, they're all modules and subjects that I can handle although, just like any university student, it can get tough on some days. 

I wished I had documented my everyday university days a bit better, just so that I can remember what I did (and what I didn't!). I've been quite rajin with my diary for this year thus far so I hope that helps a bit later on!!

Make it a project, guys! Write something everyday this year, atleast just a few lines worth. It'll be fun by the end of year to see what you've been up to!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Conversations at 1 AM

(Yes, guys! Finally bought the pair of Roshe Runs and it has been amazing thus far. My poor feet are thanking me loads!)

I had a GREAT weekend in London!

My birthday was on Tuesday and seeing how I've finished with exams, thought I'd give London a quick drop by to celebrate with my London friends.

I arrived Friday and met up with Pana for dinner at Khan's. Azam, Ah Chong (whose real name is actually Akmal), Syazwan and Fatin also joined. I was craving for Indian food and I hadn't had Khan's in such a long time and I was craving for their chicken jalfrezi (amazing but can be very spicy!). It never disappoints! I was so confident I wouldn't be able to finish the whole serving of pilau rice but I totally gobbled that up in a sec.

So graceful, I know.

Honestly, Pana is one of my funniest and funnest friends and she always makes me laugh because she is just so silly (I don't want to say 'stupid' because she's actually very smart) and so shameless... that day she bought a pack of googly eyes and went around Oxford Street to stick it around objects and Snapchatted the whole damn thing. I wasn't there when she did it but I was already so, so embarrassed for her. She was also the one to buy me a Grow-It-Yourself Boyfriend. Very thoughtful this one is... but nevertheless, funniest and funnest company. Thanks Pana for dinner and for the Crystal Experiment present! You are #1 jinjja! 

And the next day, I started the day later than I'd like but what's new really in my world. The weather in London that weekend was so nice and warm! It wasn't sunny but it was quite warm so I jumped right out of bed and got ready for my day. Not often you see a warm and comfortable England! Went to Oxford Circus and did some window shopping. My favourite Topshop is undoubtedly their flagship store in Oxford Circus so I always, always make time to go there. The one in Bristol isn't that big and so it doesn't really have lots to offer. Especially with their jeans so I always get mine from the Oxford Circus branch. I also bought a dusty pink boxy blouse which I've been eyeing for so long now. There wasn't one in the shop in Bristol so I just nabbed it quick when I saw it in London. I wore it for my birthday dinner that night. It's such a simple blouse but I'm so into 'dusty rose pink' these days that I couldn't pass it up. Do you know how hard it is to find that colour anywhere these days!! I also bought a pair of cropped flare jeans (my new favourite jean silhouette and I know I say that after everytime I buy a new pair but I'm for real this time). 

I then met up with Azam for lunch at Stax. Yum! I love Stax, I always make it a point to have my burger fix there. If only they could find themselves a bigger branch! There's always a >30 minute wait any day any time! Worth it but I'm so lazy to have to wait all the time. 

We then went around for a bit and finally went to settle down for tea at Le Pain Quotidien in the Westfield at Shepherds Bush before making our way to Meat Co. 

Dinner was so much fun, we spoiled ourselves with steak, lamb and puddings and enjoyed it over laughs and catching up. I haven't met some of them (actually all of them) in agessss so my turning 23 was a great excuse to meet up. 

Also, it was a nice change from cooking and/or take-outs as students do.

I'm so happy that I got to meet them because this year would be the last year I'd be celebrating abroad! Although I miss celebrating old school with my family, I'm going to miss having dinners like these in the UK, cold and all. Special thanks to my Bristol friends especially for always planning a birthday dinner for me, means the world that you take the time and effort for me every January 19th! I think it just finally really hit me that this is my third year in the UK already. How did the past 3 birthdays just fly by! I turned 21 here, for Gods sake!!! 

I sent photos from both my birthday dinners and she said 

"Very very nice! You're going to miss all of this!"

and I know I will and in fact, I already am. I already miss my first year here. Hwaaaaaaa, I was so set on going back home already but I'm feeling so nostalgic and we are just growing up way too fast! Can everyone stop, please!! I always cherish every second of gatherings with friends because I always tell myself when ever do we get the chance to do all this again in the future! We are so seriously so close to finishing formal education which is already pretty surreal to think about. It's going to be work, work, work, family, family, family from now on. Priorities change and soon we'll all have to RSVP for two instead of just one. 

Don't worry, guys! I'm already planning our 25th KY batch anniversary, just you wait! 

On Sunday, I also went out and shopped and I got a denim jacket. I loooôöòóove it, guys!!! I've been meaning to get one but nothing seemed right. Either too short and cropped or too stiff. I wanted something that was light and shapeless so it looks really effortless. I didn't want anything too heavy either because that'll just be way too suffocating for KL's humidity. And the one I bought was just perfect! I love it so much, I beam with happiness whenever I open my closet seeing it hung and so ready for me to wear it out. Which won't happen til atleast April because it has been raining so much in Bristol. Sigh. I also met up with some of my juniors from college and Puchee, Hanna and I got dinner at Hare & Tortoise in Brunswick Centre which was really, really sedap! It just says 'Japanese food' but it's really a Pan-Asian restaurant. I had duck rice, Puchee had Pad Thai and Hanna had curry laksa which was so ace! I then followed them back home for a bit to talk and gossip more before finally coming back to Fatin's.

As great as everything was, the highlight of my weekend was most probably when Iman came over to Fatin's place on Friday night 'cause he wanted to print something out and the three of us ended up in deep conversation about A-Z from 1 to to almost 5 AM !! We were so sleepy but conversation just kept going on and it was just really fun to be able to catch up with old friends. Everyone's been a bit busy now that we're nearing the end of degrees so uni work tend to get a bit overwhelming so catch ups like these come very so often but when it does, it is so so so so so fun. Which is why I love just small parties where opinions and ideas bounce between 3-4 people. I love just getting tea and coffee and just borak for hours on end, explaining why I love late-night mamak sessions with my friends back home. We don't have that here so dekat rumah lambat malam pun jadilah. 

You just get to know about each other 10x more every time you talk and with the right people, you can just talk about anything and everything. Fatin pointed out that we should start writing down the topics we talk about because that night, we spanned a wide range of very interesting (albeit random) topics such as dating and Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar. Definitely a lot more than that but my memory is just not serving me well tonight. I loved it lots and it was the highlight of my weekend because I hardly just sit down and talk with a few people for hours on end and never running out of things to say, so to be able to do it after so long was refreshing and just very, very nice. 
Thanks Iman and Fatin!!! I look forward to more conversations like these!

I had *such* a great weekend and it was largely thanks to my friends so major l o v e for everyone who came out to celebrate with me; even if it was just for a while.

To more 4 hour long conversations and laughs about Ah Chong's very serious interviews (within 15 seconds of coming to sit at his end of the table, he asked me "So Nadia, what do you want to do after studying? What does your future look like, do you think?" Hahahaha but great laughs anyway.), kawan-kawan, rakan-rakanku. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reply 1988

Breathe in. 
Breathe out. 

Right now, I am about to start watching Reply 1994 and I have Reply 1988's soundtrack on repeat.

I am about to blog about the best Korean drama I have ever had the pleasure of watching from the very get-go.

There will inevitably be spoilers so I, as a fan of this drama and as someone who has a huge distaste for spoilers, sincerely ask any of you reading this who have not seen the drama, or is planning to to please just skip the lines in purple. The lines in purple are spoilers and will be at the bottom of the blog post. The overall view and the overall summary will be in black and thus, safe to read. 

Though, I will still recommend to refrain from reading this blog post if you don't want to spoil your viewing experience. 


My birthday was on the 19th right? Well, so was the last 2 episodes of Reply 1988. They were actually live on the 15th and 16th but the subtitled episodes were only released early 19th morning.

Perfect. Birthday. Present. Ever.

I watched it and I was left devastated because that was it. That was the whole series done and dusted with. What do I look forward to now every Tuesdays?!?!?!

Breathe in. 
Breathe out.

As we might or might not already know, this is the third instalment of the Reply franchise, the first being Reply 1997 and then Reply 1994. I have not watched either. So I don't know what propelled me to watch Reply 1988.

Maybe the heavens and stars.

Because this show is incredible. Every second of it. Every scene, every dialogue, every monologue, every interaction, every gaze and stare. Everything. From A - Z. 머리부터 발끝까지 (which in Korean, means 'from head to toe'). 

I've watched several dramas before and they were very, how do I word this...

... very drama?

And by that I mean, the running towards each other on the streets in the rain, the professing of love with long, emotional speeches accompanied with a long, emotional gaze (the quiver of lips and the tears in eyes optional).

And that was fine, I mean, it *is* a drama. That's what a drama is supposed to look like. It's supposed to look like it's fictional. It's supposed to look like it's too good for reality. 

Take 'She Was Pretty' for example. Man, I really couldn't take Jung Eum's acting in the first few episodes before actually getting used to it. It was very over-the-top and her kind of frenzy was taken to another level. Even her more subtle scenes were very 'acted', very cringe-y. But up til then, I just kinda took it as acting. That's just her being directed and steered to the director's liking and idea of her character. She can't help it (although this is highly debatable, you can be asked to do things but it's ultimately how you do it that changes the game).

Reply 1988 is on a league of its own. I didn't know any of the actors. Except for Hyeri (who played the very lovely Deok Sun) whom I knew from the sphere of K-Pop. But regardless, I was going to watch it anyway!

And if anything, the best thing about this show is the acting that went into it. The actors were brilliant, each carried their characters effortlessly. I was just blown away by every single one. I don't know how else to describe it to you but the actors were just phenomenal in that from all the 20 episodes, there wasn't a scene that I felt that the actors pushed it too far or restrained too much nor did it feel awkward and out-of-place.

It was incredibly difficult to think that the 5 best friends (the main characters of the show) were not already 5 best friends all their lives and that they did not already live on the same street. The actors of this show will, from now on forth, reference their point in lives as Pre-Reply 1988 and Post-Reply 1988 because they have, with this show, set themselves as established actors and have gained so so so so so much fame and recognition (and especially in the case of Hyeri who ridiculously exceeded my expectations seeing how acting isn't her main profession) as they very, very deservingly should. Hyeri, Ryu Jun Yeol, Park Bo Gum, Go Gyung Pyo, Lee Dong Hwi - amazing, amazing, amazing actors. I am already looking forward to their next projects and cannot wait to see what the TV and film industry have in store for them. They have gotten to superstar status overnight with this and when you watch it, you will understand every reason why. When they cry, you cry. When they laugh, you laugh. When they look out for one another, you kinda just sit in silence asking yourself why do you not already have a Deok Sun, Jung Hwan. Taek, Sunwoo, Dongryong in your life. Why!!!!!! (or maybe that's just me) 

And then we have the parents of these kids. With their satoori and wild curls. Sung Dong Il, Lee Il Hwa, Ra Mi Ran, Kim Sung Kyun, Kim Sun Young, Ko Gil Dong, Yoo Jae Myung. Phenomenal. With every scene. Gets you in a fit of laughter and the love they emulate for each other and for their kids especially, warms your heart. Just as how the friendship between the 5 youngsters blossomed, so did the friendship between the mums and dads. The depth of character completely and plainly manifested in the emotions they harboured as parents. This show showed that even at that age, as parents, people still learn something new everyday. Showed how even as parents, no one was perfect and that everyone has flaws. 

The acting was so natural and there wasn't a scene that didn't already feel completely genuine and true. The family interactions were AWFULLY amazing. I say 'awfully' because I cry about it all the damn time. The emotions and love that went into the family interactions was electrifying. There was none of that looking-into-far-space-with-a-monologue-on-plotting-revenge scenes. No superficial chaebols, no cliched plotlines, none of that. It was very natural, very subtle emotions but incredibly powerful. Just genuine relationships between the families and the sincere character roles with very very relatable stories. Which is why I said it's less drama and more real life. A family with financial problems, how single parents handle being a single parent, how having an absent mother feels like, how failing exam after exam feels like. I feel like it's hardly explored in other dramas and this one really gets to the nitty gritty of the very different lives the characters lived.
Some scenes went on without a dialogue (Taek's 'one word' scene outside on the streets with Dong Il killed me) and some were full blast rants and in both situations, there were capable of moving you to tears.

What's amazing about this show is how they portrayed the true reality of family life. 

Being a middle child and getting frustrated about it - check.
Awkwardness between a daughter and her father - check.
Not knowing what to be in the future - check.
Feeling guilty for loving someone - check.
A father not being able to say 'I love you' simply because 'they don't do that to each other' - check.

There are tonsssssssssssss more - so many I can't list. Because i) Every episode takes an 1 hour and 40 to complete ii) Each week there's 2 episodes iii) There are 20 of 'em. 
So forgive me! 

The relationship between the families were the most precious and the most heartwarming. From the tears to the inside jokes to the VERY relatable screams and fights with siblings. But man, the emotions the actors pour through very generously for each scene was like no other. The kind that pierced right through you, painstakingly so. The romance(s) was/were (i am being so vague here because really don't want to spoil hahaha) never the main essence of the story. The love story did not just encompass between a boy and a girl, it encompassed family relations; husband and wife, parent and child, siblings and my favourite of all, between friends.

It was the chemistry between the 5 friends and the 4 families that shone through. 

I love how every plot line had its purpose to the development of the character. They all served its reason and they were all important although from the start seemed rather small and insignificant. Each episode has its little main theme that they stick to and it's not clear in the beginning but I love how for example, an episode about strengths, right? It doesn't just explore the strength from one character's perspective. It explores different ideas of strengths from different characters and how differently they embrace it and how differently it affects them. The plot and writing that goes into this show is so intricate and detailed and the show really doesn't show a bias towards one specific family which is something to note. Every family is always involved in every episode and that's really beautiful to see. I was so attached to all of them. Even little Jinjoo. I got so emotional seeing her all grown up from her Princess Minky days.

And yes, the hour and 40 minutes is super long and it has been the subject of complaints from many avid drama watchers but personally, I didn't mind. In fact, I loved it. I loved that it stretched out to a 100 minutes. I wanted more! Some episodes moved slow (actually, they all did) but at a very comfortable rate. Nothing seemed rush** (subject to debate, please refer to spoilers below if you've already watched the show) and it just flowed very naturally and appropriately. 

Few things I would like to commend in particular;

i) Ra Mi Ran (otherwise fabulously known as the Cheetah of Ssangmun-dong) was phenomenal in all of her scenes. She wore her constant 'resting bitchy face' incredibly well and she did it all with a layer of comedy which made it even more fun to watch. Her frustration with her husband was so funny and whenever she was on screen, I would just always smile. She is a true 'ahjumma' in every sense of the word and man, though she was perpetually annoyed with her husband and with her eldest child (and life in general), the love she has for her family was beautiful and touching to watch and there were definitely scenes where she just melts for her husband and for her kids. She was such a lively and loud character that complimented the rather somber tones of the series. I can't get over her audition. A. Ma. Zing. 

ii) Ryu Jun Ryeol (as Jung Hwan) for playing his role perfectly. He now has replaced the boys of BTS' (my favourite K-Pop act of the moment) as my wallpaper on my phone therefore also now, the love of my life.

iii) Hyeri for doing such a great job as Deok Sun. Deok Sun was the sunshine of the streets of Ssangmun-dong and she played it off perfectly. The director (you might already know this from previous blog posts, I mentioned this somewhere I think) specifically chose Hyeri in mind to play Deok Sun because he saw her in interviews and in variety shows and was very attracted to her playful and loud charms. She is actually, very loud. Have you heard the girl laugh? Very unlike a 'girl idol' in K-Pop which is why I love her even more. I love also how she completely let go in her scenes - nothing to be embarrassed about, just her being Deok Sun. Felt like there wasn't really any separation between Deok Sun and Hyeri. You'd think her stupid funny dance was an act? She seriously actually dances like that. Love her.

iv) The props and costume. Unbelievable. From hair spray cans, cars, home appliance to the styling and cultural references. I read in an article (I know, I know... I'm way too invested) that they spent a long time searching high and low for props and outfits. So far as to go to the US where they would hunt for clothes and items through bargain and thrift shopping to car boot sales and endless vintage shops to find 80s-90s inspired anything! The thought process that the show went through in order to really bring about the '80s charm is impressive and deserves to be recognised and acknowledged. Very, very well executed.

v) The ones who stole my tears were most probably the relationship between Taek and his father and Bora and her father. As I say this whilst listening to a song off the soundtrack, I already feel the tears coming on.

vi) The contrasts in family life (one literally lives in the basement of the other family's house) but they still come together and they still share dishes and they still drink Soju together and it's incredibly touching to see. A lot of the dramas these days centre around love lives and although that's kinda what is demanded in the market, I think Reply 1988 has proven to audiences that "See, we can make a drama on family and it's still going to make records in ratings" as it totally did, btw. The difference in family lives, one has a single dad, one has a single mum, one has a rich but very frugal husband, and one has poor but way-too-generous husband. The variety in character roles was so refreshing. Everyone just had something new to offer to the overall feel of the drama. 

Breathe in.
Breathe out.

This drama has set the benchmark for me. And it will for you too, really. It has so much substance and so much heartfelt moments that it just leaves you in awe. And swollen eyes, in my case. The kind and good hearted people of this little neighbourhood tugs at your heartstrings again and again and again and *sigh*, it's going to take me awhile to recover from this drama. The way they take care of each other is just so touching. I'm starting on a few new dramas and I can't help but bringing it to comparison with Reply 1988. I think the only possible way that a drama can ever hold a candle against Reply 1988 would be the next Reply series. I am already constantly checking on any possible rumours of the new instalment although I suspect they won't start on anything at the very least til the end of 2016. That's already 11 months too long.

Ok so to the fun part. 

I urge everyone who hasn't watched this show to leave (or stay and contribute to my viewer count and read more of my other posts hehe) this blog because I'm about to go on an intense spoiler rant for the remainder of this post. I'll even put up a photos here as a border because what comes after the photos are paragraphs of spoilers so save yourselves now!! 

Thanks for reading and please do yourself the favour of watching Reply 1988. I don't encourage binge watching because you will be super sleep deprived but by all means, watch it. Thank me later. 


No, you know what, I already hear your thanks so yes, you're welcome. 

The love I have for this drama and the amount of emotions I've invested into it is laughable to some but so real and genuine to me. I am so very happy that I decided to start watching this series from the very start (which meant I had to somehow find and muster what little patience in me 'til Tuesday came rolling around). I am such a huge fan now of the actors, everyone from the veterans of the show to the newcomers. I've never been so happy with a set of cast that has generously given so much of them into this series and for that, I will always appreciate them as actors and as the characters they played on screen. I will only look forward to everyone's new projects and whatever they plan to do because man, by landing a role in this drama they have just basically set themselves up for future superstardom. I also hope for the friendship between the 5 main actors remain adorably so. The kind of acting they portrayed on screen only comes with love and respect for one another as peers in the same industry and I am just so in love with all of them so I only hope for the best for all of them.

Thanks, Reply 1988, you were kinda, sorta, pretty much, just about, the best drama I've ever watched. 



So. Shall we get into the heat of things?


You have to believe me when I say I am typing and reading and spellchecking this post through very swollen and watery eyes. I went to my birthday dinner last night with swollen eyes ok!!! That was how bad it was. I was washing the dishes during lunch and I just kinda cried. Right there. Over the sink. 

I am mental.



I am infuriated and I am so disappointed and my whole being just refuses to accept the reality that was episode 19 and 20. 

Whilst I was watching the show, I even up til episode 19, had to comfort myself by saying

"This is a dream, this is a dream, you will wake up and you will be glad that it was just a dream. This episode cannot be happening. This cannot be happening"

I'm not joking, guys. It was that bad for me.

I cannot believe the producers and directors completely turned the tables on us.

I am so enraged that they decided to have Taek as the husband because the whole show has been about Jung Hwan and yes some of you might argue saying that 

"Well if Jung Hwan had enough balls to just confess to Deok Sun already, he would've already had the girl"


What has Taek done through out the series to show that he was the guy for her?!?! WHAT HAS HE DONE???? He has played matches for like freaking 15 hours at a time. 

He even forgot that Deok Sun was his Secret Santa guys.

And guess who bought her a present just for the sake of how much HE IS IN LOVE WITH HER??

Jung Hwan. Always him. Him always.

It was an injustice to not just Jung Hwan fans but fans of Deok Sun.

I would have accepted it slightly more with Taek if the producers and directors had given him some airtime throughout the series to show how much he has done for her. They completely left him out and I mean, I cannot even bring myself to articulate a proper sentence when it was finally revealed that he was the husband after all.

First and foremost, you know how the first few times when adult version of Deok Sun and her husband were being interviewed and the husband was being a complete ass???? When No-Eul (Deok Sun's brother) came over and the husband just completely kinda told her to stop babying him so much???? Where in the hell was that in Taek? This doe-eyed kid who didn't know how to use chopsticks now all of a sudden so blunt and brusque??? Did he somehow managed to roughen his edges after marriage?!?! 

I think it was super unrealistic how this guy who terduduk terkangkang in the first few scenes as the adult version to now being so lembik could not even muster the strength to open the tin of damn biscuits?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!? 

I am fired up, guys, hear me out.

The producers very well meant to have Jung Hwan as the husband but completely changed their minds at the very last minute therefore serving us the only ever explanation as to why the adult version of the husband was so floppy. First so macho and so blunt and then growing all shy in front of cameras?? 

I'm telling you, it wasn't realistic. At. All.

And they didn't give Taek the opportunity to show the little things he would have done for Deok Sun. 

The pink shirt.
The pink gloves.
 The waiting outside for an hour everyday for school (how freakin' precious was it that he tied and untied his shoes about a million times infront of the house to wait for Deok Sun).
The bed scene when he just melted, MELTED, at Deok Sun's sleepy "Shall we go to the concert?".
The time he stood behind her in the bus so she would not be too rattled by the bus' bumpy rides.
The time he went to the loo and got jealous at the guy who told her she was pretty and then so casually pushed them???
When he went out in the rain and brought her the umbrella.
When he went to hurriedly peaked through the windows to see her when she was wearing the hanbok.
When he intended to give the ring after his graduation. No one else but her in mind.
When he let her sleep on his shoulder on the bus.
When he went to McDonalds all the way to save her from being lonely.
When he just put his arms around her (and rubbing her arm oh so nonchalantly) and let out a smile for the picture at the concert. He made the move, not her.
When he said "Don't go" when Deok Sun asked about the blind date.
When Deok Sun made him laugh although he very seriously did not want to at the dinner table. (I died).
When he told the bus driver to hold for 10 seconds so that Deok Sun could get on the bus.
When he couldn't sleep waiting for her to come back from the library.
When he, although he would do anything for his brother, told him straight off that his pink shirt was off limits. 

And my favourite of all,

When he confessed without a break in his sentence or without a falter in his voice. 

Jung Hwan is the unsung hero of the show and I feel like in the world of Reply 1988, I can imagine him still being very hurt, not just at Taek, but at himself, for missing out on the first love of his life. His confession over dinner was heartbreaking, I was crying the ugly sobbing cry that comes every so often. 

Sure, Dongryong and Sunwoo blew it off as a joke but both Deoksun and Jung Hwan believed every single word. 

It was just an epic failure on the writing and directing aspect of things because although it was meant to look like a Team Jung Hwan and Team Taek situation, it was only very evidently biased towards Team Jung Hwan throughout the show.

If they had wanted Taek to be the husband (which I 100% can say they didn't) then they should've balanced it out a little bit better. He was away like 75% of the time throughout the show, ffs. 

I would have understood the logic behind Taek being the husband VERY slightly better if 

1) Taek was more involved in the show.

2) Taek showed little acts of love and showed some form of progression in his love for Deok Sun. He just kissed her?? That's it?? That's your big act of confession?? 

3) Deok Sun atleast even entertained the option of Taek. Think about it; she only really looked at him as a man when Taek carried her running halfway across the field (Episode 17). She looked at Jung Hwan the same way when he stood behind her in the bus as he made sure she didn't fall (Episode 4). 

4) Jung Hwan early on just gave up. He didn't. Until at the very least episode 18. Only because he hardly showed up in the last 2 (also another point of deep intense anger and hatred towards directors and writers of the show). Who the hell believes Jung Hwan's "Go for her" when Taek came over to his workplace?? Please. 

They should have atleast introduced the idea of Taek as the husband to the actors (they didn't know til very late in the show) because the scenes between Deok Sun and Taek were very awkward and very unnatural, in my opinion. Their 'saranghae' came off awkward. They showed that Taek has indeed loved her since he was young but I've always only thought of him as someone who looked at Deok Sun as a mother figure and as help because he's (admittedly adorably) hopeless at basic life skills like the chopsticks and boiling water, for example.

Yes, I will completely agree that Taek is indeed wonderful. He has shown himself to be the man of many girls' dreams but I just really cannot bring myself to see that he is the husband. Jung Hwan was just always there for her and always showing that he cared. Every time he saw the opportunity to do right by her, Taek was just always there a second earlier. Literally. With the concert and the scene at the stairs when Deok Sun was crying and Jung Hwan saw her and was about to go to her when Taek reached her first. And he just rested his head on her shoulder, completely missing the fact that this girl was crying? 

I understand people's POV of how frustrating it is to see Jung Hwan just soooooo slow and I agree, 85% of the time I was just like, man, just go for her, what you waiting for!!!

Yes, Jung Hwan was slow but it wasn't like he didn't want to do it, he just didn't have the courage to break his friends heart. You can't blame someone for not taking life by the balls. Some people are just not built and engineered that way. Some people still, through and through, prefer to put other people first. This drama put family relations first and foremost and love lines second, so other than just the love between boy and girl, we're also completely missing the fact between the love between the 4 best friends. The bromance is kinda super special and maybe just for Jung Hwan, it trumped his love for DS just by a tiny micro nano bit. Which is not something you can fault a person for. He always had his friends interest before his own (he did that even when Deok Sun was so enamoured with Sunwoo) and so with Taek, he just wanted to be the one to not cause trouble and saw it as 

"It's okay, let me be the one hurt and not him"

Which just makes it ever so tragic. 

The thing of it was that with Taek, Deok Sun had to take care of him where else with Jung Hwan, he would take care of her. And yeah whatever lah with girl power and all that fancy talk, in a relationship, you still do want the guy to just look out for you. Not for the girl to constantly check if he is sleeping right and tucked in well. Deok Sun is a strong girl with an even stronger personality so in that perspective, Jung Hwan was just a lot more suitable match for her. 

Do you get it? Do you get why I'm angry??

Don't even get me started with the confession scene. So angry. 

His confession was beautiful and for those not as invested in the show as I am you might not know this, that scene was what Junyeol regarded (on his broadcast on the V app) as his farewell scene because he did not appear as frequent in the last two (still harbouring hatred and anger for that thanks writers you are cruel) and also his farewell to Deok Sun, the love of his life. 

He himself said that when both of them found out that Taek was the husband, it was very difficult on them as actors and as the characters they played. One would assume it is because they had built so much chemistry throughout the episodes only to ultimately be shot down as what could potentially be a great love story. If you watch the scene (which btw is now forever my favourite point in the whole story) properly, Jung Hwan and Deok Sun (or rather Junyeol and Hyeri) looked to the side after the confession, with notable welled up tears in their eyes because they were actually not supposed to cry in that scene but Hyeri could not stop crying between takes and at one point cried way too much and way too hard that filming had to temporarily stop. It was a difficult scene for them both to film because it was the end of an era. I am so dramatic, it's a known notion but WHATEVER. Let me just be emotional. I expect as actors very much invested in their roles, to have a love line for as long as that, to say goodbye to one another is tough and hard to do.

Omg I'm already crying. And this damn song doesn't help.

I think it was an incredible injustice to the chemistry that Junyeol and Hyeri had developed, to the characters they played (including adult version of husband) and to the fans of this couple. 

I am very curious as to know what was the justification behind the very sudden change.

I am also sooooo angry and disappointed that Jung Hwan was played as such a minor character in the last 2 episodes when in fact, he had been such a core player in the show. It was as if the directors and writers were mustering every last strength and film time to very very quickly sum up the """love life""" between Taek and Deok Sun. And it was quite obvious that that was exactly what they were doing. Which just made me not appreciate the ending even more.

The transition between Jung Hwan to Taek was just very sloppy, very rushed and very irrational on so many fronts. I don't care for it and I hate it. You know the part when they both rushed to Deok Sun at the concert hall? Why the hell did they spend the next following camera shots on Jung Hwan? Jung Hwan walking away, Jung Hwan crying in the car? Jung Hwan's monologue? Why bother, man when you're just going to make it look like it was just silly puppy love. 

Also, why make Deok Sun a stewardess and Jung Hwan a pilot or fighter pilot or whatever it was?!?!?! Why??????? The writers were building up to the very end and it was super obvious that they were meant to be a couple in the end. 

I am heartbroken for Jung Hwan to have let the love of his life go. For a twist to happen, it has to happen right. I don't mind plot twists and what not but when it's done so unfavourably and so sloppily, it shows poor planning and execution on the writers behalf.

This drama is definitely a lot more overwhelming than I initially had thought. I've never really cared for a character or a couple as much as I do with Jung Hwan and his love for Deok Sun. 

He really is for me the true unsung hero of the show and I wished that the writers had seen him more favourably and given him the ending he truly and absolutely deserved.

Forever and ever a fan of Jung Hwan and more importantly, of Ryu Junyeol's. Fantastic acting and so much heart went into his role, there was just nothing I could do other than just fall for him, head to toe, 머리부터 발끝까지

I turned 23!

I am officially now 23! 

First off, I would like to, very sincerely, express my endless gratitude to the people who took their time to wish me happy birthday. I think my favourite thing about birthdays is the love and appreciation you get from right, left, and centre from family and friends. Which is why I always try to reply everyone individually instead of just "Thanks, everyone!". You went through the effort, so should I!

I didn't do much for my birthday and to be perfectly honest, turning 23 probably was the first time I've felt so indifferent about turning a year older. I usually get quite pumped and I look forward to the texts and phone calls but this year, I even slept at 9:30 pm!! Which is, if you know me well, know that that's ridiculously RIDICULOUSLY early for me. I only woke up really early morning the next day and was bombarded with very very sweet and thoughtful messages (again, a hearty thank you!!). 

I had told Nana,  I think a week or two earlier that I felt like eating Italian food and really want to go to Jamie's Italian. So when Sofia wished me she said, "A little birdie told me you wanted to go to Jamie's tonight, I'll book a place ok?" and that was that. Forward a few hours later and I came to a table of friends and a helium balloon and colourful tulips from Zati!

It was a very nice dinner, an intimate one where I could talk to everyone. I love dinners like these; this way, I can interact with everyone without having to move seats. Although big dinners are fun, you do find yourself missing out on talking to some people. And I had pretty big dinners the past 2 birthdays so this was really, really nice! 

We ate and we sang Happy Birthday (with SUCH a great tasting cake btw I don't usually like cakes but this was super sedap!) and we took photos and we laughed and talked about things from A-Z. 

I'm going to miss my birthday dinners in Bristol!!! This would be my last one in Bristol and when Azam took a photo with me, "Wei Nadia, dah last doh kat Bristol", it finally just dawned on me! It's a known notion that time flies but man, 3 birthdays already. I mean, I turned 21 here in this city!!!! 


Turned 23!!

I don't really have any new and profound resolutions but I just wish to be a generally better person. To not be petty, to not be upset at the smallest and silliest things, to be more hardworking (!!!!) and just to be the best version of myself to everyone and anyone, and especially to me. 
This is a never-ending resolution, really, but kinda want to kick into high gear now that I'm 23. 

To be more mindful of people's feelings but at the same, be more mindful of my own.

A lot of the time, I do tend to put peoples interest first while completely forgoing my own. Some people can say this is my best trait, to always think of other people, but I think I realised now that by doing so, I'm not really doing myself any favour. I'm constantly going over and aboard to let people feel better about themselves as I tire myself doing so, giving me absolutely nothing in return except for their acceptance and their acknowledgement. This has been something I have been doing since my primary school years. A friend of mine then (who is still my friend now) told me, 

"Nadia, you're too nice lah, don't do things like that anymore! Let them be je!"

and then, I kinda just took that as a compliment but time and time again, I just find myself getting the short end of the stick. I do have the right to do my own thing and I cannot ever expect people to do things I would do for them and to go the distance as I would for them.

I'm not saying I'm doing a 180 this time around. I'm still going to try to be the nicest person I can be to everyone but I also want to just keep myself in check. To make me happy first and foremost before thinking of other people. That sounds mean but what I'm basically saying is that I don't want to go through unnecessary effort to make other people happy when I'm not there yet myself. 

So there! 

I found this quote on Tumblr and thought it was very relevant to my newfound state of being at the age of 23!

"Don't ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You're responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life to begin with."

Thank you lots and lots again for the well-wishes! I also especially particularly love the Korean references in my birthday wishes some of you would send me ahahaha, made me laugh! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, always feeling very grateful and blessed for the people around me. 

Lots of birthday hugs and kisses from a 23 year old me,


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tania turns 20!

Hi, it's the 17th of January today! 

Which also means it's my sisters 20th birthday!

I don't usually do birthday dedicated posts anymore because I feel like I wish everyone on every social media platform anyway but for people as precious as Tania is to me, I make exceptions.

Tania and I, for as long as I've known, have been the best of friends. We argue and we've pulled each others hair and kicked each other and called each other names as sisters do. But more than anything, really, I have always considered her as the best company. She has her ups and downs and somedays she's horrible to be with but just the same, I have my ups and downs and I can be shit company also to her but I think that's just when being sisters helps. You just tolerate it because by the end of the day, it's not like this friendship can end. 

Some days I feel like my sister and I are the same person. I really have absolutely no one who can gel with me as perfectly and as compatibly as Tania can. Also, because we've been together since her birth, she understands me in and out and I her. Whenever we Facetime, Whatsapp or Snapchat, I sincerely hope no one gets to see what we say/show to each other. We are so stupid with each other because we are just so comfortable with one another. And that just comes from being just really good friends, first and foremost. I know a lot of siblings who don't exactly feel comfortable with each other despite living with each another their whole life. It's different with Tania and I, she can tell me off and I can tell her off (and we never compliment each other) (even if it was a compliment, it'll be a sarcastic one) but the love I have for her surpasses the furthest mile. 

I am her biggest fan and supporter and will always be behind her cheering her on on whatever she does! She's 3 years younger than me but I have lots of things to learn from her because she really is quite the go-getter that I can only hope to be. So glad I have her to talk to about everything from A-Z and we're just so real with each other and we both need that from each other because no one else will do it to/for us. She's about to step into her 20s now which is pretty surreal. Everyone's growing up, masyaAllah! 

So to Tania about to venture into this new era!

It ain't anything different, let's be honest. But you find yourself, day by day, changing. For the better. You find that you're not as hurt over the smallest things anymore and you're not as sensitive as you used to be. 

You also realise that being 20 means every now and then you think to yourself that we're no longer 12 and we can't act 12 so you just very often, snap yourself out of it. We have to act 20 because well, we just can't get away by behaving like a 12 year old anymore. We're adults now so whether we like it or not, we have to be more mature with our approach. Boring but comes with the number, babes.

Regardless, never lose your vigour and determination in life and never lose out on being youthful! 20 is the new 16! Look at everyday as a new page just waiting for you to paint your best possible colours, however you paint it and whatever you want to paint. Just have your best foot forward always and look at being 20 as a challenge to always constantly better yourself for not just the family you have, the friends you surround yourself with but ultimately, for you. 
Do better for you! It'll work out beautifully. You're a gem to me (very, very rough..... gem......) and always have and will always be. Thanks for being the best sister I can ever ask for, you have the most generous and kindest heart and I hope you never lose that. Here's to more birthdays together, more dreams realised, and more places to travel (although I suspect Seoul would still be #1 choice...), and more stupid sakit-perut laughs. We can be so embarrassing sometimes, I swear...

Love you Tania, with every cell in my being. 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Top 15 K-Pop Songs of '15

I was watching a video by JREKML, a Youtuber who makes videos about Korean Pop so he does first reaction videos and album reviews and all that. Things a K-Pop fan like me would spend hours watching and browsing around on Youtube. I thought it was a fun list to come up with and from watching his video, I found new songs to listen to! 

I think there's a misconception surrounding K-Pop. I think (and know) a lot of people take K-Pop to be very bubblegum bright and upbeat with high-pitched vocals and a very cheesy dance-y music video. They're not wrong about synchronised dancing; that remains to be one of K-Pop's forte and they can never go wrong with their choreography. 

If you were to ask me if I had been exposed to Korean pop earlier would have I liked it then, I would out right say no. I have listened to k-pop in the past for the sake of it but I really wasn't attracted to the music then. It's a lot of different now, a lot of groups have tried (and are trying) to distant themselves from the K-Pop cliché and it's really, really working. I am constantly surprised and impressed with the music they put out every damn time. 

And the best thing about K-Pop is that because there are just so many groups and singers in the industry, they are always coming with newer music and even if I wanted to take a break, I can't! 

This is the first year I've tried out K-Pop and it hasn't let me down and I don't think this is a phase. I'm in this way too deep now to leave so soon! 

For K-Pop fans, here is my list of my favourite songs this year! 

(Also note that I'm still very new to the world of K-Pop so don't think I'm going around as if I know everything!)

#15 Pour Up by DEAN featuring Zico

When I first heard this song, I wasn't particularly into it. Until the other day, I listened to it again and found it so hypnotising, I'm just so charmed with DEAN's music in general.

I'm already really swooned with his voice, but the music he makes brings something new to the table which is something I always appreciate in the Korean industry. It's new and it's fresh and it's definitely something the newer music loving generation would love.

DEAN's vocals is undeniably good; I am in love with him. He also btw, looks like a damn model so that helps. But seriously, his voice is so sick, so RnB with the right amounts of jazz and husky tones.
He is relatively new to the Korean music scene. He has an English song which is just equally really wicked, it's called 'I'm Not Sorry' with Eric Bellinger. If you're not into Korean songs you should try and give that a listen.

 I'm hoping for a full album in the near future because he really should be recognised more for his music - I feel that he can contribute a lot more to the Korean music industry from an RnB standpoint as he should.

I looooooooove this song. It has such a weird and mysterious vibe about it and I almost felt like it was an experimental track by Red Velvet. It's a very mellowed song and it's far far from being a hyper up beat track like Dumb Dumb (which btw I ABSOLUTELY love, the style aesthetic of the music video was just so on-point for me). This one was almost monotonous but there was something about it that I absolutely loved. There were no runs, no impressive vocals. It was just them singing. It's admittedly an odd song (with an odd music video) but I loved it as soon as I listened to it. It's a pity they didn't promote this song as heavily as they did with the rest. 'Ice-Cream Cake' and 'Dumb Dumb' was very uptempo very bright very cutesy and Automatic is a lot more mature in sound. This was the first song of RV that I truly enjoyed. Their previous songs (pre-Yeri) weren't too impressive for me. Their latest album is however, the bomb. I can't wait for their next one! I'm also a big fan of Wendy and Seulgi and personally, I find their vocals so genuinely impressive.

(Also by Red Velvet, 'Oh Boy' and 'Campfire', such such catchy and fun songs to dance to)

This song feels like a good time. You listen to it and you imagine yourself in an open-top car riding with your mates, hair flying with the air and everyone singing and dancing along to this song. It's different from what K-Pop is now and I appreciate that perspective brought forth by SHINee. The album is after all, called 'Odd' so it was expected for them to release pretty unconventional and experimental music. It's a very dance-y tune and you just want to inner your chanel Minho and show off your guns doing the shoulder dance. The song has a house feel which is usually not something I like but it works here and the song just works. I love this concept by SHINee and I've always favoured their approach to being different from what SM usually brings about. They are definitely a lot different from Super Junior and EXO in both sound and image and I like that!

I'm a fan of SHINee and even their Married In The Music comeback was good (my favourite from that album was Chocolate) because they're a bit more experimental with their image and music. Part of me thinks that SM feels like they've already accomplished SHINee and they've passed that stage of trying to impress a huge audience (they're now doing that to EXO) so now they're just doing their own thing. I hope their next album involves a lot more of Jonghyun's sound and producing because he is a such a hidden treasure (he helped contribute to Playboy by EXO) and I looking forward to more of them.

Also, I can't get over Key's 'Girl Power' tank. I love him.

When I first heard this song and saw the music video, I wasn't really feeling it. The music video was odd and vague and maybe I was trying too hard and too long to make out what it meant that the song just breezed through and didn't do much to excite me.

Then I saw their stage performance.

The only other song I like by f(x) was Milk. I wasn't a big fan of their songs but like with SHINee, I love how they're not your conventional K-Pop group... especially seeing how they're (both) from SM. They're escaping from that clichéd idea of what you typically would think first when you mention 'k-pop girl group'. They are far far far far from that (can you imagine Amber with a Red Velvet 'Dumb Dumb' concept... I didn't think so).

I listened to the whole album and it pretty much cemented my initial thoughts about them. They're different. Their music is different and they're kinda like the female version of SHINee in terms of how distinctive they are as a group.

4 Walls is dreamy. I've heard Red Light, Rum Pum Pum Pum and the like and they're very hard-hitting and I personally wasn't so big on that so as hyped as their comeback was, I kinda expected them to just be another group I tried to listen to but never invested in.


Compared to their last few title tracks, 4 Walls is pretty breezy and easy to listen to and I realised that it wasn't their intention to be hard-hitting and strong. It was meant to be fresh and vague like how their music video was portrayed. It's a game of contrasts, we have vocals like Luna, Victoria and Krystal who have pretty soft and pretty voices but they're all accompanied with eclectic electronic beats and it's a fun and funky marriage between the two. You can't help but dance or at the very least bop your head to. Also another favourite of this album is Diamonds.

Their cool girl image is everything; I think out of all comebacks this year, my favourite in terms of stage outfits and overall look was by f(x). I looked forward to all of their music broadcasts performance to see what they would wear. There's a word in the lyrics that I felt perfectly summed these girls; 'mysteric'. A mystery and mystic. They are just that! It was refreshing to see them after a string of girl groups with predictable songs and cutesy dance and aegyos. Don't even think of getting f(x) to do any of that. They got no time for that, they're too busy being out-of-your-way cool.

I wasn't a fan of any of their title tracks except for this. I don't know if this was an actual title track. There was no music video for this one and they only really performed it a few times on stage.

They released a string of songs this year and I wasn't a fan of any. 'Party' was too much and too bright (even with the music video which just looked really thrown together at the very last minute and bordered on overexposure in 99.9% of their shots, too bubble pop annoying and it just kinda passes you over like a breeze, it was an incredibly lacklustre comeback given that they have been in the industry for a while now). But I thoroughly enjoyed 'Check'. It shifted from 'Party' and is more sexy in approach and in music. When they performed 'Party' live, they had flowers in their hair and had fringed tops and white crop tops. For 'Check', they ditched all that and opted for fishnet tights with shorts and mini skirts with a black cropped corset-like top, worn over a very loose checkered shirt. It was very sexy, it exuded a more mature SNSD which I very much prefer. A review I read worded it perfectly,

"If SM had the guts to give SNSD a legitimately sexy concept like Girl's Day or Hyosung, then they could set the stage on fire with this"

It emanated an electro/RnB sound which I was very much liked and I think SNSD could have done super well if they had released an album that was consistent with this kind of music.

Also maybe I couldn't help but compare SNSD with Wonder Girls so while SNSD was promoting Party, Wonder Girls was challenging themselves to a whole new level by coming back with a risque and different concept. I think the fact that as senior groups in the industry, I would have liked it if SNSD challenged themselves a bit more with the music they put out (like how Wonder Girls effortlessly did).

Like I said earlier, as much as I identify EXO as my first K-Pop love, their latest album had its hits and misses.

When they had their first concert for this album, I actually woke up at 9 am and live streamed the concert (dedicated Korean fans would stream for poor international fans like us) and it was purely just AUDIO. And you kinda have to bear with the screaming fans to even listen to the music but even then, I KNEW I was going to go crazy for this song.

It's very different from what they've done and I seriously seriously wish it was one of their title tracks. This is very classic SM to shy away from songs that were just a little bit risky and just a little bit different. It has a very sexy feel to it and as if the title name wasn't already going to drive me up the wall, then comes in Chanyeol with his disgustingly husky voice and he actually sang a bit which officially won me over a million times more.

It remains to be one of my favourite ever tracks by EXO and I feel like this is so underrated! Even for EXO! A lot of people tend to favour 'El Dorado', 'Beautiful' and 'Promise' but this is the real winner for me. It's different from what they usually put out and it's a lot more mature in sound (note that this song was produced by Jonghyun and the more I listen to it, the more Jonghyun I hear) and has a very sultry undertone to it. Everytime Chanyeol goes, 'Gwenchana', I go a bit mental. Just a bit.

The rhythm to this song has so much soul in it. I wish they released more music like this!! This is one of the songs that I just cannot skip whenever it comes on on my shuffle. I just cannot bring myself to say no to Jongin's 'Hey. Playboy' in the first few seconds of the song.

#9 Dead Leaves by BTS

I love BTS because i) They hella cute ii) They make their own music which for me, as a K-Pop fan, is a lot more enjoyable to hear because I just appreciate it a lot more when it's them who wrote and composed the song. WAY too much talent in K-Pop goes wasted when their agency is strict with the type of image they want their groups and artists to portray. Like for example, I know Chanyeol has so much potential in him as a singer-songwriter so I find it so incredibly frustrating that SM is so hard on them. I like EXO's songs but I think it's about time they atleast have a say in the songs they sing and perform to. Also, line distribution in EXO is so tiring and so unfair. They've improved but not as much as I'd like them to. Petition to have SM back up.

Jung Kook's runs in the first 10 seconds of the song already stabbed me right in the heart. This song is just so well-made and so well-composed - everyone gelled together so well from rap to vocals to ad libs to runs. I can't get over this song, too good. So RnB, so body-rolling kinda song, the kinda song you just want to jam to all the time. My favourite line in this song is

"I want the you that wants me again"

And to hear Jung Kook and Jimin sing and harmonise that line SLAYS ME. Every single time. I'm almost angry as to how good these kids are.

I love BTS lots and lots and lots because it's not enough that they already write and compose their own songs, their songs are actually so freakin' good. Like, so x infinity good. They are from a small company so for them to come this far and establish themselves is pretty huge not just to them but to us fans also. And to know that they got to the level they are now because of the MUSIC they put out is even more impressive seeing how they were very much involved in the production of the last 2 albums. They go to both ends of the spectrum - they have really loud, pumped up songs you just want to jump to (like Dope, Fun Boys, Ma City and 뱁새) and they also go really slow and sweet (like Hold Me Tight, Love Is Not Over, and Butterfly) like this song. It shows how experimental they are and how much they want to explore with music.

Also, what I love about BTS is how well everyone's voices go together. I'm SUPER impressed with how well they harmonise with each other! I don't know where they learn to harmonise with each other that smoothly. They're like babies in the industry but yet they show so much maturity.

The chemistry between the boys work. Like you see them and you listen to them and you see and kinda just get how well of a match there are as a group. The rap line (Rap Monster, Suga and J-Hope) compliment each other so well - they have such distinct voices and rapping styles especially with J-Hope. If you know BTS, you know J-Hope and you know how he acts (like a fool, but a cute one) and his rap will seriously remind you of him because he raps exactly like how he acts if that makes any sense. Like I said, I admire BTS as a group because their management and agency allow so much freedom with the type of music they want to produce as well as a lot of creative space for them to play around with. Which is exactly what they SHOULD be doing in order to grow as respected artists in the industry.


For those who follow Running Man (and if you're into K-Pop you must have at least heard of Running Man and its members!), this is a song by one of its cast members; Gary.

This might be the only time I have ever really loved an all-rap song. It was accompanied by Miwoo's vocals for the chorus but for the most part of it, it was Gary's rap. I think he is still such an understated rapper. His fame from Running Man might be greatly overshadowing the fact that he is first and foremost, a rapper. His whole album was really, really good but this song (which is also his title track) was it for me. I'm such a fan of Gary, both as a Running Man member and as a rapper so I was really happy that this track was as good as I hoped it would be.

Rap songs are a little hard for me to like because I've always personally preferred listening to vocals and all the runs and things the singers would do in between but this song had that also. Miwoo comes in during choruses and her vocals are so sharp and she does all the runs but still manages to not overpower Gary as the main character in this song.

The "I can you standing there" bit (if you've listened to it, you would know what I mean) sounds weird and odd on its own but with the song, it fell into place perfectly. The overall rhythm and track for this song was already very top-notch for me and so with Gary's rap and Miwoo's assisting vocals, it was only bound to be a hit for me.

#7 Hot Enough by VIXX

Now, I've heard of VIXX's music in the past and wasn't a fan.

Until this came along.

I was going through my Twitter feed and someone had RT'd a Vine of this song being performed at their comeback stage and I was so, so, so mesmerised by the music within the 6 seconds of the Vine but the retweet didn't come with a name of the song. But I knew it had to be in their new album because they had just made a comeback a day before. So I studied the Vine. There was no singing and it was just them dancing. So I looked at what they were wearing and Youtube'd 'VIXX's comeback stage' and searched for videos where they were wearing the same outfits. And tadaaaaaa, Operation Vixx started. I saw the video then I watched more. And curiosity killed the cat (me) and before I knew it I was already in my 3rd hour of Youtubing VIXX (the best thing about learning about a new group [not new per se, they were just new TO ME] is that 85% they have already done a variety show and 100% they've done about a thousand interviews so you have lots of material to work with hahaha). 

This song was the song that I couldn't get into the shower with without first downloading it into my phone. I always take that as a good sign because it shows how much I like the song that I can't go through the 20 minutes of shower without listening to it. And if you've seen their live performances for this song, you will DIE. This song is soooooôòóöoooooo sexy and it's basically saying that the girl is hot enough that the guy's melting and he can't take it. I cry. 

It's meant to be very sexy sounding and so the dance moves had to reflect that. Lots of body rolls. *SYNCHRONISED* body rolls. All 6 of them. I cry. Leo's vocals in here was so apt and so on point because of how naturally husky his voice is and I just can't. This song is everything. 

#6 If You by Big Bang

Big Bang has definitely done it for me. One of my favourite ever songs in 2015 is definitely 'If You'. Even my mum, the very apparent K-Pop h8r, when she heard this song
"Eh, what's this? Really good!" and she only ever plays this song and Loser in the car to the point I'm like "Ok mum, let's change CD's....".If You starts with a simple guitar playing and TOP sings in here. Beaut. TOP is the rapper in the group but man, he can carry a tune. It starts off really slow and then steadily builds up (still, very slow) to the chorus with GD's part. The very simple yet melodious accompaniment of the guitar and the drums compliment the vocals in this song without overwhelming it all. If you're into slow emotional songs, this is pretty damn amazing, I'm telling you. So heartfelt and when you read the lyrics, you're just SO DONE with Big Bang. The song is basically saying;

"If you don't mind, let's start again""Are you doing fine? Because I'm not and I really want you back


This song is a definite departure from their previous tracks and they take it back a notch (actually more than just a notch... they take it back a whole lot) by releasing this goldmine of a tune. It's such an acoustic treasure and safe to say, one of my favourite songs in 2015 by far.
(You should also listen to the live versions of this song where Taeyang slays it. All. The. Damn.Time.)

Yo. Wonder Girls. Queens. The first K-Pop song I listened to waaaay before I even got into this whole desired mess was Nobody. And it might have been the same for a lot of people. No one could escape that tune. Combine the catchy chorus with a cutesy dance and you have yourself a phenomenon.

They've taken on the '80s as their concept this time around and it included everything. From outfits to music video to background music, it was really impressive on all fronts. It was a risky concept to undertake but it worked for them. A lot of comparison has been made with SNSD but personally, I much prefer Wonder Girls. Their comeback this year had a lot more cool girl aesthetic compared to SNSD and their music was a lot more unique and different.

Perhaps the best part of this whole comeback was each of the girls took on an instrument and their teaser videos was crazy, they had like a minute solo of them just playing (and slaying) the instruments and it was SUCH a fresh of breath air coming from a girl group. Seeing how the whole of K-Pop (and especially in girl groups) is very heavily synthesised, to see Wonder Girls in this new concept was truly the best bet JYP could have made. 

JYP commented that he wanted them to learn an instrument so that they could contribute a lot more in this album and be more involved with the making of the records which was a brilliant idea. I really am a huge fan of singers and groups who have a say in the choice of music they perform which is why maybe I prefer them over SNSD. In terms of popularity, SNSD wins but in terms of music, Wonder Girls take the cake. I also like JYP's stance in differentiating Wonder Girls from the rest (the bubble gum pink side of K-Pop is still very much prevalent) and seeing how they can already be called seniors in the K-Pop industry, I think a change such as this was very appropriate. I don't mean to contrast and compare, but even the senior of groups in SM are still stuck with the same kind of genre they were singing 8 years ago. It's fun, it's cute, it'll be a hit but it can be tiring. A change of pace, a change of sound is always encouraged especially when senior artists are already in a position where they can take risks in music. So they should! And with JYP, they did! 

Unfortunately, the '80s vibe that they exuded didn't really have the biggest impact with today's audiences. I think to a certain degree, JYP must have known that the music they were bringing to the table isn't geared at young audiences who wouldn't have yet appreciated the '80s. But nevertheless, I appreciated the effort and the risk taken was a bold but necessary one.

I first heard of this song from a 15 second preview that they released before the actual album came out. And I needed nothing more than that 15 second preview to get me hooked. It has such an old school rhythm to it but without it being too much that it felt out of place. It exuded a very-cool-girl-in-the-'80s-who-wanted-nothing-to-do-with-you vibe which had me floored. It's not exactly the song you want to party to but it's an amazing soundtrack to when you're in the car and just want a song to jive through. They still got it, these Wonder Girls.

Guys. This is Fantastic Baby #2. This is an anthem. This is 2015's song. I wasn't into Korean pop back when Fantastic Baby was HUGE but even then I knew of Big Bang and I kinda knew who G-Dragon was. 

I get it now, guys. I get the hype.

Big Bang is just in a league of its own. Which is why even when I was rooting for EXO for the MAMA's, I still really wanted Big Bang to win. Because overall, I enjoyed almost all of their songs (except for Sober) from albums M to E and they WROTE AND PRODUCED every song. I understand now why the Koreans are crazy over GD and TOP. They are a force to be reckoned with in the Korean music industry. I've watched their old shows when they were still trainees (super super young, mind you!) and they were already arranging vocals for songs and GD was teaching the others how to harmonise. And this all before even they debuted. Which makes it all the more impressive. 

Bang Bang Bang is a banger (sorry i just had to). I was surprised as to how much I like it because I don't usually listen to songs like this. Ever! I have to tell you first and foremost, that with any kind of music, I am never biased! I always listen to music first before looking at the singer. So even with Big Bang, although they were huge and it was hard to refuse the hype surrounding them and their music, I still really liked this song! Just like how I like Clarity by Zedd and Foxes. SUCH an unlikely song for me to like (seeing how I don't listen to club songs like that) but I just really freaking love the song. Same with Bang Bang Bang. It has that something that makes you just wanna GO WITH IT.

It's loud, it's obnoxious, it's addictive, it's Big Bang GOLDDDD!! It's such an anthem and I love how they went really strong in the verses and the chorus is just G-Dragon in all his fabulousness going 'Bang Bang Bang!'. I love it, I LOVE it! This song is such a great tune to have at parties to have everyone jumping, it's just that kinda song. The kinda song you don't know why you love but you just do. Everytime my sisters and I would go for karaoke, we ALWAYS have this song on and I swear it is the BEST Korean song to sing to during a karaoke session. It turns you up and you find yourself so exhausted from singing/dancing/going crazy over it. It's also worth to note that my youngest sister (who fails to understand K-Pop) loves this song and she sings this at karaoke sessions with HER friends. I am proud of her. Truly.

#3 Erase by Hyorin featuring Joo Young

I got into Running Man before I got into Korean music and one of the very first songs I dabbled into is this song. So it's quite sentimental that way. It's also a song that I introduced to Tania when I begged and begged her to give Korean music/drama/variety show a chance. Like I've said before, Tania and I, we are on the same page when it comes to music so I knew she was going to like this song.

It's a ballad by Sistar's frontwoman and Joo Young who is a solo singer and they're both under the same company. I first saw the dance practice video for this song and immediately fell in love with this song because of how complimentary both their vocals were and the song was just so, so damn RnB. I think this was the song that brought K-Pop to my attention and this song basically shut me up. I had til then thought Korean music was reminiscent of Super Junior's 'Sorry Sorry' and SNSD's 'Gee'. Very processed with no impressive vocals and a repetitive line of chorus (although I still do listen to them heh heh).

With Hyorin's runs and Joo Young's ad libs and the rap in between, it just all mixed so well and it was ever since listening to this song that I became a fan of Hyorin and Joo Young as vocalists.

And to show you how much I love this song,

Which brings me to my #2. I love EXO. They are every bit responsible to as to why I've been so into K-Pop. They were the first group in K-Pop that I properly loved and although personally these days I'm more into BTS, I always will love EXO and when I saw their performance on Gayo Daejun yesterday, I'm reminded on why and how much I love them. Call Me Baby is my #2 most played song on my playlist and when it first came out, I was in love! I'm not being biased by the way! There are songs on that album that I didn't quite like and than there were some that I absolutely loved. This was one of them. Call Me Baby in particular was such a journey (wow I sound emotional) because I had been following their teasers weeks before so the hype had been steadily built over the weeks and to finally listen to this song was a big deal for EXO fans. And even with a lot of hype, this song still fulfilled my expectations and went beyond it! I had this on repeat for a good 2 weeks straight... AT LEAST!! Everytime it comes on my shuffle, I still sing my heart out. I even have the chorus choreography DOWN, don't mess.

Although EXO was famous even before this, this song brought them to superstar level overnight. They won ridiculous amount of awards for this and deservingly so. It has such a good hook and I've probably contributed about a 1500 views on my own on Youtube. This song also managed to drag my very anti-kpop cousin through the mud. She was in London over the spring break and she kept wanting to watch the music video all the time, "Nadia, I can't lah, I have to watch it again". Best part was when we were walking along Regent Street and she legit stopped in her tracks and pulled me to the side and took out her earphones to watch the music video. Crazy, Misha!! But this song, man. Does things to people.

It was ridiculously easy for me to pick my #1. This was in their 2nd part of their album which got released not too long ago and when I heard this song, it was over for me. I loved it from the first beat to the last. Everything about it is ridiculous good. I was just so taken aback as to how brilliant this song was. Whenever something big happens in K-Pop (award shows, music broadcasts, comebacks, etc.), Tania and I are always texting each other back and forth and we listened to this album together but I hadn't reached this song yet and she texted me back (I'd post the screenshot of our convo here but way too much cursing and lots of incomprehensible chatter) saying "Yooooooo OUTRO THO" and I knew I had to listen to it right away.


I love the whole album but this song is *magic*. Everyone's vocals here were *ridiculous*. The composing of the song is *gold* and I'm just *dead*.

It's hands down the best song I've listened to by BTS and in K-Pop in general. It's only a 2 minute + song and it's their outro so there weren't any rap lines here. I don't think I could handle a full length song for this because I would just be gone.

I feel like even if I wasn't already so in love with BTS, I would have fallen head over heels for this song anyway. It's super sultry and melodious and the whole track is made of idek what kind of magic. It's so good that I don't even want to listen to it often because I don't want to get bored of it. Amazing. I'm so proud and so happy for BTS because the music on this album and their previous one has been the type of music they're really comfortable with. Like, they've finally found their sound. I was not a fan with their previous title tracks (though their other songs were still very good!) and their whole image was a bit too much for me so I'm really glad they've found their sound and their style with this album and with Part 1. 

I also love that they were involved with all of the songs in the album - shows how much of an artist they are. To sing is one thing, but to produce and write is a whole other and especially in the K-Pop industry where creativity can be quite stifled, it's refreshing to see a boy group like BTS to be very involved with the making of the album. Just makes the whole product so much better.


So there's that!

Phew! I had this post in Drafts for the longest time because as you can see, it's such a long post and I had a hard time narrowing it down (buat gaya macam seksa) but I finally got my top 15.

I cannotttttt wait for more comebacks this year and for more great great songs and to see what kind of music we can expect in 2016.

Eeeep, exciiiited!