Friday, 19 July 2013

Infinite - the third instalment

Happy big 2-0 Lee Sohee! I wish we could have time to hang out. I would love to listen to your coming-of-age day story and how you had to spend it overseas. How did it feel?

I'm not Hoya-biased but Sohee is, and to honour the birthday girl treat yourself to an entry about Infinite's resident dancing machine and rapper, Lee Howon a.k.a Hoya a.k.a Hogod ("Hogod" is a nickname given to him by his fangirls.)

For those uninitiated, Hoya is the only member of Infinite who didn't finish high school. He dropped out of high school when he was 17 to pursue his dream of being a singer. His sacrifice was paid off when he debuted with Infinite under Woolim Entertainment in June 2010, aged 19. Thus far he's branched out to acting, playing a gay character called Kang Joonhee in the TV series "Reply 1997" and he earned critical acclaims for the role - not bad for a first-time actor. With fellow Infinite rapper Jang Dongwoo, Hoya also debuted under the sub-unit Infinite H last January. What makes Infinite H distinct from Infinite is its Hip-hop and R & B sound and "more laid back dancing" (as Dongwoo put it) as opposed to the synchronised dancing that Infinite is famous for.

For someone without a high school diploma, Hoya seems to be the most determined out of the seven Infinite guys. Despite his lack of English skills, he wouldn't mind being the band's English announcer (which leaves everyone wonder why Dongwoo won't take the position since he once lived in Vancouver!) Not to mention the fact that his first performance as an actor was critically acclaimed and his position as main dancer proves that his dancing skills are above everyone else's. A slew of interviews also show that he's able to come up with smart banters (which probably come across as harsh to some.) Perhaps this has something to do with his starsign being Aries?

Aries people are known for being determined and impatient (they won't hesitate to tell people off if things don't go their way.) They're eager to win every argument there is and their stubbornness can only be rivalled by Taureans. But whereas Arieses won't hesitate to give people a piece of their mind if things don't go to plan, Taureans tend to harbour their anger until it bursts out of their control five years from now. I know a lot of Taureans who secretly resent their Aries friends to a certain point. Heck, I'm one of said Taureans...while I appreciate my close Aries friends who have taken care of me at certain stages in my life, I still have a hard time dealing with their brashness.

Which makes me do Hoya and Sunggyu connect to each other off camera?

My secret wish for Hoya is that he would get a high school diploma, like a Korean GED or something. It's not too late, he's only 22. I mean, didn't Natasha Reid/Tasha/Baby T/Yoon Mirae/whatever moniker she goes by finish high school online in 2006, at age 25? Also, I wouldn't mind teaching him English. I'd be with him every step of the way until he really masters the language. Omo, do I sound like a Hoya die-hard fan now? Sohee, you're partially to blame for this...But I've always liked the seven members anyway, so showing a non-favourite a little more love than usual is not a problem.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The baby maknae and all those pairings...

This is the video that first got me into Infinite. I fell in love with Lee Sungjong almost right away (despite the fact that he's ten years younger than me and yes, I'm waiting for him to jump out of the closet), but I was reluctant to get to know Infinite. I watched his clips from an array of variety shows such as Sesame Player, and until I felt I was ready to introduce myself to Infinite. I browsed Infinite reviews, stumbled on one about "The Chaser" and the rest is history...

I find it unique that K-pop fans readily accept the PDA's between Sungjong and Infinite second maknae Kim Myungsoo, better known as L. L and Sungjong publicly hug each other from the back, caress each other's hair on stage and fans seem to like that. They nickname the pair "Myungjong" (Korean fans name them "LSung") and create Facebook and Tumblr fanpages for them. I really would like to learn why fans' approval of MyungJong flourishes while it is still hard for South Korea to accept homosexuality. Meanwhile L and SungJong continue with their PDA's, and it turns out that fans now are pairing Kim Sunggyu and Nam Woohyun, also from Infinite, since Sunggyu appeared solo on an episode of Mnet's Jjang where he mentioned Woohyun every five minutes...

Oh, in case you're wondering what song Sungjong is singing in the video, it's a cover of "Adult Ceremony" by Park Jiyoon, which was released in 2000. Funny that such a raunchy song was released when Jiyoon was only 18, and while the whole world might think she was legal already, she wasn't. The legal age in South Korea at the time was 20, and only this year it's been lowered to 19.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Raving on Infinite - part 1

Hi everyone!

A lot has happened since I last blogged. I've added another hat in addition to teaching, that of the President University International Collaborations Office staff member. Right now we're working on a student exchange program MOU with Webster University, USA. Hopefully this goes swimmingly.

It's so hard to squeeze in time to blog lately!

I'm sooo in love with Korean boyband Infinite at the moment. Yes, I'm a new Inspirit, converted about a month ago. My favourites are the leader, Kim Sunggyu, and the maknae Lee Sungjong, but basically I like all seven members. I'm also in love with Kim Sunggyu's mini solo album "Another Me", which is deemed by many as a failure because it's only sold roughly 100,000 copies since its release in late 2012.

The fact that Sunggyu is a fellow Taurean wins him a soft spot in my heart. He's nicknamed Grandpa Gyu because he nags his dongsaengs a lot, disciplines them military style, gets sick easily (his skin is allergic to metal and he travels with a bagful of vitamins and medicine) and wears cardigans a lot. People make fun of this, the size of his eyes and the low sale of his solo album. Sunggyu always defends "Another Me" as a classic, since he poured his heart into it and worked with his long-time inspiration, Korean rock band Nell, for the album. And indeed it's a classic since all the songs show a more mature side of Gyu, with a bit of a rock touch which sees the 24-year-old going back to his rock roots (Gyu fronted to a rock band called "Beat" back in high school, and yes there's actually a video of the band performing, shot in 2008!)

I don't think Gyu cares about people making fun of him and the things he does, which is very typically Taurean. He might not be the best looking in Infinite (Kim Myungsoo, nicknamed "L", is the group's visual), the best dancer (Lee Howon, nicknamed "Hoya", holds that title), but his voice is without a doubt the best (Gyu fanatics don't call him "honey-voiced leader" for nothing.) It's that honey voice and his awesome piano skills (showcased in the solo album's opening track) that are the main selling points. Taureans rely on their talent and don't need other people's approval to keep going.

By the way, this is just the first part of my Infinite-spazzing...I'm awkward about the term "spazzing" - is it the word kids use nowadays to describe raving about their idols? Whatever it is, there will be more Infinite entries coming soon - a treat to fellow Inspirits!