Sunday, 22 June 2014

Taking a jab at America - dissecting Alison Gold's "Chinese Food"

I know this is so late, but I've really just discovered "Chinese Food" by Alison Gold. It was released on October 14 2013, and so far it's garnered 15.2 million views. In other words, it's the new "Friday." Looking at the comments on the video, I can't believe they call this video racist, and while a lot of them are aware that this video is meant to be a joke, many have missed the note that...this is actually a jab at America. Take a look at the video.

Let's dissect the symbols one by one, shall we!
  • The guy in the beginning and the cashier girl don't look Chinese, despite the girl having slanting eyes. They look more Cambodian or Vietnamese than Chinese. Aren't Hollywood movies notorious for hiring just about any Asian actor to play just about any Asian character? Exhibits: Chinese Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li all play lead characters in "Memoirs of A Geisha" (2005) and another Chinese actor Chow Yun Fat playing King Mongkut in "Anna and The King" (1999.) Certainly Hollywood producers never have Asian audience in mind when they make cast choices for Asian characters.

  • Gold singing, "After ballin', I go clubbin'" She was only 11 when the video was released, why is she singing about clubbing? I honestly don't remember any clubbing lyrics by any teenaged girl group of the late '90s and early '00s (though I swear to God I must have heard brain is still searching - is it a song by PYT?) Nevermind, I can pinpoint many examples of teenaged girls under 18 being sexualised, which I think can serve as an equivalence to 11-year-olds singing about clubbing. Check out the video below.
    This video was released circa 2002, when the girls were 14-17 years old. They're No Secrets, and if you have no recollection of them, don't worry - you didn't miss out on anything.

  • Gold and the girls wearing kimonos. I have an impression that her producer Patrice Wilson (the black guy in the panda costume) deliberately shot this scene to emphasise his point that The US can't tell Asian countries apart. Sometimes this is true - and demonstrated in movies. Exhibit: in the movie "New Year's Eve" (2011), Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) spends a day at a Balinese spa...which is decorated with fake bamboo trees, little bamboo bridges over ponds and message therapists dressed in white kimono-like robes!

  • Patrice Wilson dressed as a panda - and nope the panda here doesn't serve only as a symbol of China. Ever heard the joke "pandas are the least racist animals, they're black, white and from China"? Ha!

  • Oh, and last but not least! Alison Gold is blonde and in some pictures her eyes seem to be blue. Remember the dumb blonde jokes? And if you've been in any kind of Cultural Studies class, you're most likely familiar with idea that the symbol of white purity is a blonde, blue-eyed maiden. That's why in many Hollywood movies (or Western movies in general), princesses, Aphrodite and angels are played by blonde and blue-eyed actresses. This can potentially be expanded into an entry of its own, even a legit ten-page academic paper so I'll stop at that.

    Observing symbols is fun because you get to uncover hidden messages in everything!

  • Monday, 2 June 2014

    NKOTB, Infinite and anniversaries

    Two years ago, precisely on June 1 2012, I watched New Kids On The Block (and Backstreet Boys, but who cares) in concert. It was their first concert in Jakarta in twenty years. As an eight-year-old, I came to the NKOTB concert at Istora Senayan on February 11 1992.

    Their comeback was one of the best things that have ever happened in the realm of Blockheads. After they disbanded in 1995 following the departure of Jonathan Knight, there was little if any hope at all that they would reunite. But reunite they did in 2008, and unlike other old bands that cashed in on the "reuniting season" that was the late 2000s only for the sake of reuniting (here's looking at you, Spice Girls), the Kids proved that this second time around they were here to stay. Beginning with "The Block" in 2008, the Kids had solo projects between themselves (Jordan Knight and Donny Wahlberg notably had a duet in the single "Stingy"), before releasing a new album as a whole in April 2013 called "10" (it's their 10th album since debuting in 1986.)

    MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE. Out of all my NKOTB faves. Not only does this song boast the musical maturity of the Kids, the video is also something out of the typical NKOTB videos that feature hot young girls (yes, even the MV of "Stingy" (which was out in 2011) features a girl that could pass for their young niece.)

    Oh, and while we're at it...Jordan has also teamed with Nick Carter from Backstreet Boys and whipped out this single. I've never really liked BSB, but this one is worth checking out.

    By the way, I found my way to NKOTB in 1990. I don't remember the exact date.

    Exactly a year ago, June 2 2013, I discovered Infinite. You only need to check my previous Infinite entries to find out what attracted me to the seven Korean namjas. Infinite marks a new phase in my life that's groundbreaking on many levels. It revived my boyband phase, long dead since 1994. Infinite was also my first ever K-pop concert, and it wasn't like me to attend an artist's concert only about two months about discovering the artist. This June 9 will see the boys' fourth anniversary in the show business.

    The spectacular "Last Romeo", the first single out of their latest full-length album "Season Two." This video is first Infinite video to achieve one million hits only within TWO DAYS after being released on May 21.

    NKOTB and Infinite, two sets of boybands from different countries and eras - yet both hold a special place in my heart. These seemingly coincidental anniversaries (NKOTB's last concert in Jakarta, my discovery of Infinite and Infinite's debut anniversary) are not coincidences. To keep a long story short, it's God's way to show that He's planned to put them in my life, probably long before I came into existence.

    Other NKOTB and Infinite coincidences related to me...
    - NKOTB's maknae, Joey McIntyre, is exactly ten years and 4.5 months my senior. Infinite's maknae, Lee Sungjong, is exactly ten years and 3.5 months my junior.
    - Both NKOTB and Infinite each has a Taurean member who's the main vocalist (Jordan Knight and Kim Sunggyu.) And I'm a Taurean myself.
    - NKOTB's three-day concert in Jakarta ended on February 13 1992, exactly a month before my second favourite in Infinite, Kim Myungsoo, was born.
    - The year I became a Blockhead was also the year Infinite's rapper, Jang Dongwoo, was born.
    - This is not a coincidence matter how old I am, I'll always be a kiddy Blockhead. Likewise, no matter how old Infinite boys will be, I'll always be a noona Inspirit <3

    Yah Yeol-ah, I'm not the cheating type...Ask your NKOTB sunbaes!