Confettis of words

the bits and sketches in life


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17 A (not-so) Ninja Trip to Bangkok

Spent my last weekend in Bangkok and it’s fun, as always. In my previous trips to the city, I visited the tourist spots like the Grand Palace and Chatucak market, so this time I decided to just stroll around, following where my feet go. And it turned out that the feet wanted to go to places where there are good food and books teehee.

Not in the mood to share space with others, I booked a single room in Ds67 Suites. Ds67 Suites is located in Sukhumvit Soi 67, only a few steps away from Phra Kanong BTS station. I can’t really remember how I found this place, probably from Booking.com, but I booked the room via their official website. The hotel is very nice! My room is spacey for one person, and the bed is actually big enough for two people! Also, the bathroom is clean, which is very important to me.

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The bed. Although it’s comfy, I kinda wish they provided a bigger pillow. In every room, they decorated the wall with Thai-themed art.

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There’s TV (only ten channels but that doesn’t really matter to me) and a fridge.

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The bathroom. The water heater works well, maybe too well hahaha.

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The view from my room. I have no idea what that building is, probably an apartment.

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The elevator door that looks like a wooden door 🙂

Stupid me for not taking pictures of the cafe of the hotel! Yes, they do have a small cafe in the hotel, and its decoration is very cute. Sadly,  I didn’t have the chance to spend time in it because they closed at 6 PM.

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Had breakfast at Cafe Bicycle. Someone recommended on the net, and since it’s still in Sukhumvit line, I decided to try it. Cafe Bicycle is in Mahatun Plaza, next to Phloen Cit station. Take exit 2 and 4 and you can already see the comfy cafe.

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I love how the cafe has high ceiling and big windows. A nice place to start your morning!

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Iced caramel latte from Cafe Bicycle. The coffee’s not too strong and the amount of the caramel syrup is just right, which suits my taste ❤

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I ordered Smoked Salmon Omelette. It comes with salad and wheat bread toasts, as you can see there. I think the salad dressing is home-made? Was it good? VERY.

With its delicious food and coffee and its comfortable ambiance, I’ll definitely visit this place again on my next Bangkok trip and stay longer!

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Besides going to Siam Paragon for a necessary visit to its big branch of Kinokuniya, I also went to Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. It’s between MBK and Siam Discovery, so when you alight at National Stadium station, you can visit those three places. Inside Bangkok Art and Culture Centre you’ll find many art and design shops and some chich coffee shops. They also have a cinema and several galleries. This place is a must if you’re eager to know about Thai contemporary art and design.

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Going out from Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, you can see Siam Discovery there. Just walk along the sky bridge and voila, you’re in one of the hip malls in Bangkok. The place that interests me the most is Loft, a two-storey stationary shop. IT IS HEAVEN. I thought Be Trend in Siam Paragon is the best stationary heaven in Bangkok, but stepping inside Loft, I think I lost my mind there lol.

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And of course I gotta have this when in Bangkok. Happiness comes in a bottle! 🙂

Despite my friend’s warning that it’d be very hot, I found the weather was still tolerable. There wasn’t much raining as well, only some drizzle. Bangkok never fails me, really. It always offers me something new to look at, something fresh to taste.

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16 One Missing Punch?: On B.A.P’s Badman

BAP-Badman

Since their debut, B.A.P has been gaining a lot of attention for their tough and confident presence. While some new groups are having a hard time to determine their position in Korean market, things seem to be easy for B.A.P. Besides the well-prepared concept, I think one ingredient of their success is because they know what they want and have strong self-determination to achieve that. Six months after their magnificent One Shot, B.A.P is back with their third mini album Badman, and it has secured their place in the scene.

In general,  I enjoy this mini album. It presents six songs with various genres, showing the richness of B.A.P’s music. However, I must say Badman is a letdown. The teaser images and the video were provocative enough, reminding me of Kasabian during LSF era. The song actually starts promisingly with its tense bass sound and haunting police siren, but then it fails after the first chorus. The genre transition doesn’t run smoothly. To me, it’s like suddenly someone changed your TV channel. The worst thing is that Badman ends just like that. This song is supposed to be the ultimate punch after Coffee Shop and Hurricane. Sadly, the boxer isn’t able to focus he misses the target.

Fortunately, the other five songs are a feast for the ears. The first track Whut’s Poppin’  is not a special song, but as an opening, the statement is strong enough. Now let’s talk about the other two singles. The only slow track in the album Coffee Shop manages to show the other side of B.A.P. The title says it all: the best place to listen to this jazzy song is in a tranquil coffee shop. On the other hand, Hurricane takes you out to the street full of blinding lights. The formula that doesn’t succeed in Badman works well in Hurricane. It merges hip-hop, house, and a bit of funk,  but the sound switches from one to another dynamically. It takes time to get used to this song, but once it got you, you can’t quit it. The fifth track Bow Wow is a cute R&B song in B.A.P’s way, while Excuse Me is my personal favourite. It’s energetic, proud and noble at the same time. The rappers, again, have done a great job. This kind of song is what B.A.P excels at.

B.A.P stands out with their distinctive sound, and Badman convinces us that they’re here on the right track. Earthlings, get your whistle ready.


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15 Summer Love: on Junho’s Kimi no Koe

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Junho’s voice is currently one of my favourite voices in Korean music industry. I particularly love it because Junho has this rock feel, and with this in mind, I enthusiastically expected that he’d come with more rock songs in his solo album. But then it didn’t meet my expectation. No rock songs like Say Yes, Junho delivers sweet pop songs instead. Well, nothing’s wrong with that. He’s famous as a pop star anyway. But couldn’t this fan get something different from his solo album? That was my initial response to his Japanese solo debut, Kimi no Koe (Your Voice). However, after listening to it several times, I’ve grown loving this album. Not as much as I love 2PM’s Grown but Kimi no Koe is a record that I’ll listen to again and again.

The album starts with Kimi no Koe, the song Junho admitted he wrote for Hottests. It’s a charming pop song for the summer, and the music video highlights that idea. Junho doesn’t show his amazing singing skill for this song, but I guess it’s not really needed since the charm of the song lies on its simplicity. In Like A Star, Junho’s voice is accompanied by a full band. Most 2PM’s songs before Grown are heavy on synth and keyboards that sometimes distort the boys’ great voices, meanwhile singing with ‘organic’ music (borrowing Sam Endicott’s phrase)  reveals their true talent. This is what I found in Like A Star. Junho’s voice gets along perfectly with the musical instruments.

The next song Close Your Eyes reminds me of Be With You, which he composed for Wooyoung’s solo album. Like Be With You, Close Your Eyes is a slow, sensual R&B track. The difference is  while we could hear some innocence in Wooyoung’s voice in Be With You, in Close Your Eyes Junho sounds teasing with his falsetto. R&B isn’t my favourite genre but this song has won my heart. Goodbye tricked me  at first. I thought it would be a sad song only accompanied by a piano and a heartbreaking sound from the string section, but then it elevates into a dance track. Not a bad one, but I think this formula belongs more to Eru, not to Junho. After Goodbye as the climax of the album, the simple I Love You closes it modestly. The acoustic guitar gives the casual atmosphere to the song, and again Junho sings unpretentiously, highlighting the laid-back ambiance.

Version B of the album provides three bonus tracks, which are Heartbreaker, the Japanese version of I’m in Love and the live version of Say Yes. The Japanese version of I’m in Love isn’t really different from the original. From all songs composed by Junho, I’m in Love is on the top part of my list for its catchy beat . But actually the hidden gem here is Heartbreaker. The bass sound is brilliant and different from the other songs in this album, Heartbreaker sounds  darker with lyrics that state the persona is a, well, heartbreaker. I also ask you to listen to the live version of Say Yes. In general, Junho could sing in various genres, yet songs like Say Yes give room for Junho to expose the rock side of him which I adore so much. One thing to underline is that he always delivers this rock quality effortlessly.

Released in summer, Kimi no Koe is the right soundtrack for the season. I guess that’s why to match the summer feel, this album isn’t packaged as something ostentatious. With a sold-out Zepp tour and a well-received solo album, this summer truly belongs to Junho. And as a fan of his voice and talent, I couldn’t be any happier.


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14 “He’s asking to be raped” Excuse me?

The case is either I’m being too sensitive or some people are highly insensitive when using the word ‘rape’. I often saw some rape-related jokes in social media and I really can’t find anything funny about it. I personally think rape (and any kind of sexual abuse) is a serious issue; thus, I don’t and won’t make fun of it. However, it’s sad that some people still think it’s okay to use the word in a jocular context.

Lately, I’ve spotted some fangirls using the word ‘rape’ without any further consideration. “Let me rape the screen!”, someone wrote when seeing the photo of her idol. Errr, what? Okay, whatever. But the next tweet annoyed me big times, “He’s asking to be raped.” . That’s her reaction when seeing her idol being sexy. I was shocked. Wow, are you that frustrated, girl, seriously? For me, using that word just shows how insensitive you are. The word ‘rape’ is not only about sexual intercourse. It signifies abuse, oppression and trauma. You don’t have to check dictionary to know the meaning of that word. Just look around you, just read the news, just be more sympathetic. Now, let me ask, are you sure you wanna do that to someone that you adore? If you are then lemme say you’re sick.

This kind of insensitivity only strengthens the stereotype that all fangirls are hysteric and sexually frustrated. So next time, please be more considerate when using the word ‘rape’. Surely there are many words that you can use to show your love to your idols.


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13 Where we don’t sing: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

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“This is the dark ages. We don’t sing.”

Even though 1984 is on the list of my favourite novels ever, dystopia has never been my favourite topic in fiction. So I have no idea why at that time I chose to buy Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. I read I, Coriander (also by Gardner) several years ago and I was impressed by the different tone of the narration. Years after that I finally encountered her work again, Maggot Moon, and reading it is one of the most terrifying literary experiences I’ve had. The dystopian world where Standish Treadwell lives is so intimidating and choking. There’s this mixed feeling when I closed the last page: relieved for the terror is over and sad because as expected, there isn’t any clear solution for this dystopian society.

Maggot Moon’s strength lies on its first person narration that causes the readers to experience and be emotionally involved in the terror suffered by the narrator, Standish. Standish is a dyslexic teenager with two-coloured eyes, and this condition is more than enough to place him at the bottom of society. The society in Maggot Moon is highly controlled by the Motherland, which unavoidably reminds you of Big Brother and the Party. Although not explained clearly, the world in Maggot Moon is divided into several zones, one of which is Zone Seven where Standish lives with his grandfather. In Zone Seven, the only way to survive is to obey the Motherland. Being obedient, however, is not Standish’s way, especially after his meeting with Hector.

At first, Standish doesn’t give a care about the moon landing planned by the Motherland. Yet when Hector finds something behind the fences near their house, things change drastically. This serves as the trigger of the conflict afterward. When Hector and his parents are taken from their house, Standish, who has lost his parents in the same way, proclaims his revolt against the Motherland. But what can a kid like him do? It sounds impossible but through Standish, Gardner sent this message even a hero can appear from the broken and the abandoned.

For a young-adult book, the level of violence in Maggot Moon can be categorized as quite gruesome. The violent scenes are not much, but when the brutality happens to children, the impact is far more frightening. Not to mention that it occurs at school, in which children are supposed to be safe. But this is Zone Seven, nowhere is safe anyway. Or like Standish said,  “Here the sky fell in long ago.”

Despite the bleak and threatening atmosphere, this book also offers some light through Standish’s relationship with the people around him. There are still some people that love him and support him unconditionally. In the end, Maggot Moon tells us that in the darkest situation, there’s always a glimpse of humanity.

Title: Maggot Moon
Author: Sally Gardner
Publisher: Hot Key Books, 279 pages.


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12 A Drop of Thought: MYNAME’s Baby I’m Sorry M/V

Belakangan ini, kekerasan menjadi sesuatu yang kita sering lihat di video musik Korea. Kekerasan ini muncul dalam bentuk adegan perkelahian, baik dari yang dipoles dengan ‘cantik’ seperti Before You Go (TVXQ) sampai yang penuh dengan darah, misalnya One Shot (B.A.P). Umumnya, adegan kekerasan ini dibalut dalam bentuk versi drama dari video musiknya, walaupun Mama Beat (LC9) merupakan contoh kasus yang berbeda karena lebih menonjolkan sisi koreografinya. Yang menjadi pertanyaan adalah apa signifikansi dari adegan kekerasan ini?

Kekerasan seringkali dikaitkan dengan maskulinitas (dalam kasus yang lebih ekstrim, machismo), dan mungkin tampilnya adegan perkelahian di dalam video musik ini bertujuan untuk membangun imej maskulin dari boyband tersebut. Meskipun begitu,  video terbaru Brown Eyed Girls, Kill Bill, seakan menampik pendapat itu dan menunjukkan bahwa, “We, girls, can kick some ass too.” Berbeda dari video musik boyband, unsur macho di Kill Bill diimbangi dengan bumbu sensualitas dalam kadar tertentu. (tapi itu bisa menjadi topik tulisan yang lain) Selain untuk membangun imej tangguh, tidak dapat dipungkiri kalau adegan action adalah sesuatu yang kita nikmati di layar kaca/perak dengan alasan ‘seru’. Apalagi kalau yang berkelahi adalah cowok-cowok tampan dengan pakaian desainer, bukannya bergidik ngeri mungkin kita malah akan bertepuk tangan. Dengan kata lain, kekerasan bisa menjadi bahan jualan yang laris.

Salah satu video terbaru yang menampilkan kekerasan dengan kadar yang tinggi adalah Baby I’m Sorry milik MYNAME. Ketika kita berpikir One Shot sudah cukup keras, Baby I’m Sorry membuat kita ngilu dengan adegan perkelahian yang dikemas dengan lebih realistis. Jangan tanya seberapa banyak darah yang hadir di videonya. Akan tetapi, video sepanjang tujuh menit lebih ini tidak melulu menyorot adegan berdarah-darah. Emosi penonton juga diaduk-aduk dengan alur ceritanya yang berfokus pada persahabatan dan konsekuensi dari pilihan hidup. Alur cerita seperti ini juga yang seakan memberi izin untuk adegan kekerasan maksimum dalam video ini. Stabbing, shooting, or neck-breaking, just name it.

Plot dari Baby I’m Sorry berpusat pada perpecahan sebuah persahabatan karena mereka terseret dalam pertikaian dua kelompok mafia. Karena keahlian mereka dalam perkelahian tangan kosong, dua sahabat (diperankan oleh dua anggota MYNAME Lee Gun Woo dan Kim Sae Yong) ditarik ke dalam dua kelompok mafia yang berbeda. Dengan alur yang cukup intens ini, akting MYNAME tergolong lumayan. Dalam beberapa adegan memang Gun Woo terlihat ‘kosong’ tapi ketika ia tersenyum dengan wajah penuh darah, it’s aching enough. Secara keseluruhan, ekspresi wajah yang ditampilkan MYNAME cukup realistis.

Alur cerita ini diperkuat oleh unsur sinematografis yang walau tidak memukau tapi berperan penting dalam membangun feel tiap adegan. Misalnya saja penggunaan kamera yang memperkuat unsur emosional video ini. Kamera kerap kali mengambil gambar-gambar close up (sampai pori-pori terlihat jelas) untuk menampilkan ekspresi wajah dari anggota MYNAME ( dan juga aktor tamu Yoo Oh Sung dan Chu Sung Hoon). Sebagai peringatan, adegan kematian juga beberapa kali disorot dari dekat. Tidak heran video ini diberi label untuk 19 tahun ke atas. Editing juga menekankan emosi dari tiap adegan. Terkadang kesedihan dan kebahagiaan ditampilkan bergantian, dan ironi yang tampil ini semakin mengiris-ngiris hati penonton.

Violence on screen actually is not something that I thoroughly enjoy, tapi kekerasan diperlukan dalam Baby I’m Sorry untuk menunjukkan betapa kerasnya konsekuensi dari sebuah pilihan. Dengan lagu dan video yang bagus, Baby I’m Sorry seharusnya bisa membawa MYNAME ke tingkat popularitas yang lebih tinggi. Dan apakah kita masih perlu lebih banyak kekerasan di video musik Korea? Jika kekerasan adalah unsur penting dalam plot, I think we can still tolerate that.