After the Night of the Full Moon…

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NOTE: This was meant to be posted on April 15th using my smartphone but I just realized it was saved in my drafts instead of being published. I’m no longer in Seoul, South Korea, but in Japan for a few days. I enjoyed Seoul a lot. Thank you to my dear friend, one of our concierges named Andy (he was so nice and helpful!), the taxi driver, and the Seoul Police for helping us recover our lost item on the trip! We were met with warmth and smiles from the locals while we were there and will come back again, IA! I’m very keen to blog about Seoul as I also visited the new SM Entertainment building, but only from the outside. Nothing too special, but I went to where you-know-who once was, and took pictures of the building. My family and I were the only ones there at that time and I felt really shy and embarassed to take a picture in front of the building because there were so many cars passing by slowly in a line and the people in them were probably amused. xD I’m not a fan of SM Entertainment, but it’s the one that I’ve always payed the most attention to and whose groups I’ve always liked, so my parents insisted that I should at least get a picture taken while I’m there. 

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I arrived in Seoul. Been here for 3 days already. This sounds really sudden on my blog as I haven’t been posting a lot, but yes…I’m in Seoul and I actually saw the SM Entertainment building from outside too. Not as “glamorous” as I thought it would be (side note: nothing is like what you see in the media or K-Dramas), but the area it is located in is nice. Saw some trainees in front of the JYP building too and many fans waiting outside. I actually wasn’t interested as I’m somewhat over the whole fan culture, but my parents insisted that we sit in the cafe just outside the building and also told me to run outside to capture photos of someone that came by in a black tinted car that all the girls screamed after and then realized it wasn’t the celebs. that they were waiting for…lol. So many black tinted cars in the area that made me suspect that some of the people in them must definately be K-Pop stars – not all, but some for sure. Anyhow, these 3 days have been quite an adventure…even ended up having to file report at the police station because we lost something (found it now thanks to the people that helped us, alhamdulillah). Going to sleep now. 

—Moonlight

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IU’s “Through the Night” MV

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IU‘s latest MV for Through the Night was recently uploaded on YouTube and I didn’t hesitate to check it out when I saw it on my list of recommended videos. It’s aesthetically pleasing and my favorite part of the song is from 2:28 to 2:40. I was expecting to hear it later on, but I guess IU was trying to make the song sound different from start to end.

Somehow, the MV gives me Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo vibes. It’s not only the setting, but one of the hairpins in the box that is shown in the MV has an uncanny resemblance to the one Wang So gives to Hae Soo in the drama (side note: I have the same flower hairpin as the one IU wears in the MV xD). This makes me wish even more that there was a Season 2 because the ending of the drama was a little sad. However, I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming due to some of the comments that I had read earlier from those that had watched the original Chinese version.

Anyhow, some of IU‘s songs and MV’s have always caught my attention, mainly because there’s a much deeper story behind them that keeps viewers guessing.

—Moonlight

BTS’ “Butterfly” (Prologue Version)

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The Prologue Version of Butterfly is probably my favorite song by BTS. It’s rather calm, sad, and hopeful all at the same time. The start of the song with the piano sounds beautiful and makes me feel like I’m walking through an enchanted forest. The melody combined with the voices of the BTS members really give off an emotional feel.

BTS is a K-Pop group that I’ve known since their debut, but got into their music when I heard the melody of I Like It and enjoyed watching the choreography for Danger. Furthermore, I kept replaying Fire when it was released and started listening to more of their other songs. I don’t know every BTS member’s name, but I enjoy their music and choreography, which is what’s more important to me than knowing the details of each member of a K-Pop group now.

Moreover, I’m impressed by the versatility in the sound of BTS‘ songs, such as Arirang. I haven’t heard of any K-Pop group covering a Korean traditional folk song like BTS before and they did a great job.

Even though I’m not Korean, I admire the fact that they sang a traditional folk song, and in different Korean dialects. I feel that everyone around the world should become more open-minded towards one another yet preserve the beauty of some of their country’s culture amidst all the globalization that is happening, because if everyone becomes the same, then the world would be a boring place.

Also, for some reason, Arirang is a song that feels like I heard a long time ago. I don’t know where… maybe in a documentary on Korea? I can’t point my finger at it…but it almost gives me a nostalgic feeling. The song has definitely been on repeat and I wouldn’t be surprised if I pick up the lyrics. xD On an interesting note, I heard that Arirang is meant to be the unofficial Korean national anthem, and it reminds me of how Dil Dil Pakistan is Pakistan’s unofficial national anthem. It’s not as old as Arirang though, as Pakistan only came to existence as a country in 1947 and only has about 70 years of history since it was founded (the history of Pakistan’s land is another story, though, as it’s home to the world’s oldest civilization).

All in all, since BTS‘ songs seem to be appealing to many listeners, I’m not surprised that they are currently one of the big K-Pop groups these days. Also, their songs seem to have a nice flow to them – no strange or cringe-worthy parts in between an otherwise catchy melody like you would sometimes find in other K-Pop songs.

—Moonlight

1 Year Since My Japan Trip

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Yesterday, March 25th, marks the 1 year anniversary of when I traveled to Japan for the first time. The group I went with met up at a Japanese restaurant yesterday to celebrate. I was meant to post about my Japan trip here, but then life happened and I’m trying to show a Korean friend around Sydney as much as I can before she heads back to South Korea for good, so I probably won’t be posting much anytime soon either.

Since it has been 1 year since my Japan trip, this is a photo of me at the canal in Nakameguro, Tokyo during the cherry blossom season on March 30th. The cherry blossoms were still in the process of blooming when I visited the canal, but definitely worth seeing as it meant that it wouldn’t be too crowded for a photo opportunity. Nakameguro is a very popular spot to visit for cherry blossom viewing during both day and night. One of my Japanese friends had recommended me to visit the place as well. I only visited it during the day time and was glad to have squeezed it into my itinerary and see it on my own, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to if I stuck to my group that I traveled with as they had wanted to relax more.

Nakameguro is a nice neighborhood to explore. The canal itself is lined with many cafes on both of its sides, but most of them open at around 10 A.M. I went early in the morning to the canal and was happy to see a couple of other people, both locals and tourists, that were up early in the morning like me and were taking a nice stroll around the area in addition to snapping some photos of the beautiful cherry blossoms. It also meant that I was able to ask somebody for help in getting a photo taken of me from my camera. The photo above, of course, is a selfie. =P

As you can see, I’m still not exactly very comfortable with uploading pictures of myself on my blog or any public social media site. Looking at the above picture, I might as well have covered my face with a white mask, the kind that many locals in Japan wear when outside, instead of a white star. xD It would have suited the picture of being in Japan perfectly.

That also reminds me… I was mistaken for being Japanese from behind by two locals. It’s not until I turned around and they saw my face did they realize that I was a foreigner. xD It’s probably because my of jet-black hair, which is a very common hair color in Japan. There have been a couple of times where I’ve been asked if jet-black is my natural hair color, even by my Asian friends. It is. Both my parents had jet-black hair. I have never dyed mine, but will probably have to in a few years time. My hair also used to be very straight, but has become wavy over time. My mum said that wavy hair is in fashion right now, so it’s okay.

My hair was kind of a mess when I was in Japan. Perhaps it might have to do with the different climate. For some reason, it just wouldn’t set in place. I heard that hair can become very frizzy over there during the summer, so if anyone is visiting Japan during the summer, make sure to apply an anti-frizz product to your hair. Regardless, my hair in general was in much need of a haircut. I haven’t found a really good hair dresser in Australia, especially someone that seems to know how to handle Pakistani/Indian hair here. Our hair is thicker than the norm and needs an experienced person that knows our hair type to have it cut nicely. The only person that did an okay job with my hair when I had it cut here was a Korean lady. That was the first and last time in Australia I had a decent hair cut.

Speaking of getting a haircut, one of my Japanese friends had to get a haircut after the second time I met her in Tokyo. She got her haircut from Daikanyama, which is a posh neighborhood that is right next to Nakameguro. I saw Daikanyama after visiting the canal in Nakameguro and told my friend about it. She said that it’s a place where many celebrities tend to be. I didn’t know until she mentioned it. It explained why I had seen a very pretty model having a photo shoot while I was there (I had accidentally photobombed her photoshoot). There was also a man that I asked for help in taking a photo of me with an iconic spot in the background and I noticed that he looked like he could be an actor in a drama, so now I’m wondering if he really was a celeb. =P It was a working day, but he was out for a jog. Who knows? But yes, if anyone is thinking of a haircut, maybe Daikanyama is a good choice, since I heard that it’s hard to find a place that gives a really good haircut in Japan.

Since we’re on the topic of haircut or hair, I’ll mention something about skin too. I noticed that after a couple of days of staying in Japan, my skin felt very smooth. Not sure what it was, but it might have had to do with all the seafood, especially tuna and salmon, that I was eating. I had chicken only once and no beef during the 15 days that I was there. It was a lesson for me that what you eat really does matter and that I probably need to cut down on eating chicken and beef. Not that I eat a lot of beef, but I do eat a lot of chicken. I have a craving for chicken and never get bored of it. It’s very hard to go without chicken. Chicken is my style, after all. Haha!

—Moonlight

“Chaley Thay Saath” and Finishing the “Reply” Series

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A friend shared this video on her Facebook and it’s of a Pakistani movie yet to be released called Chaley Thay Saath, which can be translated to English as, “We Went Together”. What caught my attention about the movie is that it focuses on Pakistan and China, who share borders with one another, as well as intercultural relationships. A Pakistani movie featuring intercultural relationships? Yes, and it’s probably the first of its kind.

Although I’m not into cheesy Desi (Pakistani/Indian) movies, the fact that this movie showcases the beauty of Pakistan (specifically the Northern Areas aka the “Switzerland of the East” – a place that’s on my travel bucket list along with Kashmir), and a border we share with another country that I have a general interest in, is what captures my attention.

Pakistan aims to revolutionize its entertainment industry with high-quality production and interesting plot lines for dramas and movies, and I can see it happening step-by-step. Surprisingly, some of the Pakistani celebrities that I have spoken of before are now acting in Bollywood next to A-list stars like Shahrukh Khan. Since Bollywood is a well-known and much bigger entertainment industry, I can see why some Pakistani celebrities would want to venture there. Even so, I hope that Pakistani movies don’t end up like Bollywood movies. The main reason is that we should have our own style and originality so that Pakistan can build more awareness of its existence and help to distinguish itself.

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“A Dream Come True”!?

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Hi everyone!

It has been a while. I thought I should come out from hiding now that the big announcement has been made. My absence from this blog has mainly been due to secretly working on a movie that you have probably heard of by now and that has recently made headlines. No words can describe how proud I am. To hear the name that I go by on my blog being called out for the Oscars after all that has happened these few years… I feel like I’m a phoenix that has risen from the ashes – a dream come true!

Thank you to everyone that has supported me all this time!

Just kidding, guys! I laughed when I saw the word “Moonlight” zoomed in along with the announcement and the standing ovation. I couldn’t help but joke, “Oh, look…that’s me!” Haha! xD

Moonlight is one of the latest Hollywood movies that I haven’t seen yet, but have read lots of great comments about when skimming through the comments section for one of Hidden Figures‘ trailers. I decided to Google Moonlight and read through the movie’s description, but then forgot about it until the Oscars happened. In fact, I didn’t even know that the Oscars were taking place until the news on the big blooper on La La Land being announced as the winner for Best Picture instead of Moonlight was everywhere on social media. It reminded me a lot of the Miss Universe incident, which I think was a stunt to capture attention of a beauty pageant that was already becoming repetitive and boring. Who knows?

Now for Hidden Figures, which I HAVE TO mention…I remember watching the trailer for it at the cinemas and thinking, “This looks interesting,” but forgot about it until I was browsing through Facebook one day, saw the trailer there, and then read through some of comments in the comments section. One of the commenters said that it was one of the best movies made by Hollywood in a long time and that there was no swearing nor violence. When I read that, I thought, “Now I’ve got to watch this movie! It’s even based on a true story!” Additionally, my colleague had watched it as soon as it was released and had really liked it. All I can say is that I loved the movie and was left inspired! I would definitely recommend it as it also touches upon American history and of a time when segregation was in place. Can’t imagine that it was only a couple of years ago, but seeing what’s happening to Muslims these days… I don’t think people have entirely learned from the past.

After watching Hidden Figures, I’m so glad that the three ladies that the movie was based on got the recognition they deserved for all their hard work at NASA. I know the feeling of not being given credit where it’s due or having ideas taken and used by somebody else without being given any recognition for it. Recently, there was news about my favorite clothing store ZARA stealing designs from independent artists and I was disappointed. Either you give credit to the artist or you hire and pay them. What’s even more alarming is that when one of the artists chose to stand up for herself she was threatened. It wasn’t until more artists started speaking out and there was talk among the public did ZARA decide to apologize. A shame that big companies think that they can get away with stealing from people that aren’t as big as them due to their power. It’s not that hard to give credit!

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Why and How?

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When we get the dark alternate world of Back to the Future 2 in reality… This time, God did not bless America.

I’ve been trying to stay quiet about the U.S. elections mainly because I had lost hope the moment I found out that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were running for presidency and that there wasn’t much of a choice but to choose one of the two corrupt individuals. *sigh* Bernie Sanders was a much better candidate, though him endorsing Hillary Clinton was a bit disappointing and felt a little like him selling himself out to the very corrupt people he spoke against, but I’m sure that he didn’t have a choice.

With the kind of person Trump is… I’m not going to be surprised if WWIII starts (if we aren’t in one already, although I do think we are since the wars in the Middle East started. The U.S. is already at war with 7 countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia). Russia and China are two of the countries I have a feeling would get involved if Trump tried to mess with them.

However, if you think of it this way… at least Trump is transparent about everything that’s on his mind so people can take things into their own hands and prepare for what action to take next, whereas Hillary is more dangerous in the sense that she says one thing, but does something else or contradictory behind the public’s back.. Her actions don’t match her words. In this type of situation, people can’t be given a heads-up or prepare on what to do next.

…but I still can’t believe or fathom that Donald Trump is president. Everyone around me is asking, “Why?” and “How?” Many people at my work were all tuning into the U.S. elections using this site and checking every now and then hoping that Donald Trump wouldn’t win…and we’re all Australians.

It’s my first week on the job at a corporate company, so I didn’t want to talk about politics knowing that it’s a topic that should be best avoided by newbies ESPECIALLY, but with everyone else in the office talking about it… I really had to try hard to control myself. It probably gave off the impression that I wasn’t interested in politics (I was asked if I was and in my mind I wanted to say, “You have no idea how much I’ve talked about this topic since I was a teen…” xD). It made one of my colleagues even question if I was supporting Trump and that’s why I was quiet…hahaha, but I replied, “No, not at all! Actually, I was rooting for Bernie Sanders, but there isn’t much else to expect now that he’s not running for presidency.” She agreed.

This is the first time I’ve seen Australians incredibly interested in U.S. politics. Aussies have generally been known to be indifferent… but not this time. This just wasn’t people at my work, but even people getting off work and waiting in the rain for the bus to come and who were looking at their cell phones reading the news. One lady waiting next to me was on the phone speaking about the elections too. When I got on the bus, someone had put on the news at a high volume to hear of the announcement of the elections and some were quietly listening.

I knew that by the time I would get home, social media would have already exploded on the topic. My FB Newsfeed was FLOODED, some with jokes on how Trump can become president with no experience and how we commoners need 5 years of experience and a Masters degree for an entry-level role! xD That puts things into perspective of how much of a mess our world has become.

Not sure if I should be mentioning this, but I really do wonder what people would think if they knew that my family was family friend’s with one of my country’s ex-President’s family and that my relatives in the U.S. have met Obama in person and have taken photos with him…not just once, but twice (my relatives that have met him are VERY wealthy, by the way)? Even so, I don’t support any leader and that’s why I keep quiet. =P So many stories to share, though! From spies in 2 different countries (1 in my neighborhood that was a spy for the government and whose house I’ve been to since I was a friend of her daughter’s, and 1 that was my teacher, who was a spy for the British army in the Middle East and had mysteriously left in the middle of the year), to political groups, etc…but the Internet is not the safe place to do so unfortunately.

In general, I’m one of those people that come from a family that had ties to foreign affairs and politics, but none of those ties have lasted since nobody decided to go into politics after my grandfathers retired (its due to how corrupt politics is and that the good don’t last for long). So now we’re just commoners with the same struggles as everyone else. Funny how things turn out, from people with connections and privilege due to the status associated in being in foreign affairs to none at all. This is proof that nothing lasts forever, but I’m okay with it. We get to feel how the general population feels, or understand them from the same perspective, and at least we can go to sleep at night peacefully.

—Moonlight