Super M’s Beyond Live “concert” was everything S.M. thinks fans need

I paid to watch the online showcase so you didn’t have to.

The concept behind the K-pop group Super M might not make sense to people unfamiliar with how music labels work in Korean pop, so calling them “the Avengers of K-pop” really is the best way to describe it. Each of the seven members––Baekhyun, Taemin, Kai, Taeyong, Ten, Lucas, and Mark––come from different groups under the entertainment powerhouse known as S.M. Entertainment. Their founder, Lee Soo-Man, chose each of them individually to put in one super group…Super M.

Initially when the group was announced, I was against it. SM, to put it generously, is not a great company for a myriad of reasons and how it treats its artists is one of the biggest red flags. So a whole new group consisting of already overworked super stars sounded like a terrible idea. But at the end of the day, S.M. is really good at what they do and I absolutely love Super M. There is very little I won’t do for them at this point, which includes paying for an online concert and staying up until 2 A.M. to watch it.

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He Is: Remembering Jonghyun in 10 Songs

A few weeks ago I signed up for an online essay class where we learned and wrote in different styles. Our first one was list, and one of the prompts was to write about someone we knew really well. I decided to write about Jonghyun, and to think about that dynamic celebrity creates: we feel like we know these people, but really we don’t.

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Kimono aren’t cosplay

Don’t do it y’all, just don’t do it.

In about two weeks it’s Anime Boston, one of my favorite things ever in the city. Anime fans from all over are spotted across the city in different styles of cosplay, earning weird (almost scared) looks from normal people everywhere. I love cosplay, both wearing it and photographing it. But there’s one trend, specifically in the anime community, that needs to stop: wearing a kimono as a costume. AKA: cultural appropriation. Continue reading

Hyuna and E’Dawn, K-Pop’s Power Couple

This story originally appeared on the ID:K Snapchat mag back in February. This is my original draft, reposted on my blog to share more easily than what’s available on Snapchat. This is also pre-final edits, so the final story is somewhat altered from this blog post. Follow ID:K for more K-pop news, opinions, and other fun stuff.

Hyuna and Hyojong are the celebrity power couple K-pop doesn’t deserve. It takes a lot to get the New York Times to pay attention to breaking K-pop news, which goes to show just how big of a drop it was when Hyuna announced she’d been dating label mate Hyojong (formerly E’Dawn) for two years. Continue reading

I love “Mulan” more as an adult than I ever did as a kid

A while back I was browsing through the YA section at Barnes and Noble and a bright red cover featuring Disney’s Mulan caught my eye. The book was Reflection, one of the special Disney-official fan fiction series Twisted Tale that includes spins on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and my girl Mulan. I didn’t end up buying it that day, but I checked it out from the library recently and it was as much fun as I could have hoped Mulan fan fiction––written by a Chinese American, Elizabeth Lim––to be. Continue reading

All my social media thoughts after seeing “Crazy Rich Asians”

I saw an early screening and it totally convinced me the hype is valid.

So hardly a week or so ago, I wrote a big think-piece essay blog type thing about how skeptical I am about my expectations for the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie. Looking back, I’ve written a lot about this movie: a satirical dream cast, a presentation about the pressure it’s under, and that last post about hyping it on blind faith. Continue reading

Hyping “Crazy Rich Asians” on blind faith

I’m looking forward to this movie, right?

Every time I see the movie poster for the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie, I have to stop and take a photo of it for the ‘gram. I’ve seen the trailer so many times I know when all the claps happen. While waiting for a flight, I wandered around LAX looking for the special Entertainment Weekly cover with Constance Wu and Henry Golding. I bought the book a second time just for the paperback copy with the movie cover on it.

And I didn’t even like the book. Continue reading

The most empowering Olympics

The Asian American Athletes at Pyeongchang give me life.

(This was originally posted on the editorial blog of the East Coast Asian American Student Union, read it here.)

I live for the Olympic games every two to four years, ever since the 2008 Beijing opening ceremony changed my life. The pomp and circumstance of the ceremonies, athlete profiles, and feats of human strength always draw me in and rule my life for the next two and a half weeks. This year’s winter games in PyeongChang are no different. In fact my obsession has only been heightened by the amazing Asian American athletes competing this year. Continue reading

“Crazy Rich Asians” y’all

A presentation on the upcoming movie, and the intense pressure around it.

A while back, my friend asked me to give a presentation on anything, as long as it had something to do with books. I had 0 ideas, but got inspired by the special Entertainment Weekly edition of Crazy Rich Asians, so I decided to talk about every reader’s favorite topic: book to movie adaptations.

It went pretty well, and I ended up having a lot of fun making my slides. So for fun, and because I have a lot of thoughts about the upcoming movie, I’ll share them and my speaking notes here.
(I should note that the event was hosted by one of my school’s publishing clubs, hence the literary event references.)


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It all comes down to representation. You can read a book and know in your head that this whole cast looks like you, reflects your family and culture. But it’s a completely different experience when you see it, especially in a mainstream format like a Hollywood movie. I’ll let the professionals explain it better:

Plus, all the other major movies with Asian American casts came from books: The Joy Luck Club premiered in 1993. Memoirs of a Geisha premiered in 2005, and it only made the list because it’s one of the few mainstream American movies with an entirely Asian and Asian American cast. The book was written by a white man and there’s a number of conversations about the validity of Memoirs. Not going to lie, it’s pretty problematic, but the movie soundtrack was really good. Fresh Off the Boat aired in 2015, and even though it’s not a movie it was a big deal in recent pop culture. After the second season it split off from Eddie Huang’s life story, and I think it’s become a better show for it. Would not recommend the book, to be honest.

And finally, the one we’ve all been waiting for: Crazy Rich Asians. Release date: August 17, 2018. As the third major movie, and following “Fresh Off the Boat,” CRA has to be a verifiable box office success. Because if it “fails,” studios will use it as an example to affirm all the old stereotypes and misconceptions about casting Asians in movies and telling their own stories.
And if this fails, publishers might not pick up as many books by Asian authors because clearly if Crazy Rich did poorly, there’s no mass market for our stories.

…To be honest, the book wasn’t that good. It switches points of view between a lot of characters, Kwan uses footnotes as personal asides which can take you out of the world he’s writing about, and a lot of the drama is so rich it feels a little unrelatable.
So I’m scared that this movie will be bad — and it can’t afford to be.

I believe that if CRA does well, then that gives the first nudge for others to follow. And there are so many others that can follow. Including 2 more books in the Crazy Rich Asians series! Movies, mini series, TV shows, Netflix originals — we’re at peak media right now, and of course that comes from books leading the way. And no matter what movie comes out, the book is always better, so more movies will lead to more book sales — right? That’s how that works?

And look at this cast! Don’t you want to support this cast?