Confettis of words

the bits and sketches in life


Leave a comment

90 My Concert Story: venues in Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong and Bangkok

Lanjut lagi ke cerita tentang venue yang pernah gue kunjungin, dan kali ini tiga venue di tiga negara. Gue akan mulai dari satu venue yang paling berkesan buat gue. Kesan buruk tepatnya hahaha. Kalau mengingat-ingat pengalaman gue di venue ini suka ketawa pedih sendiri. Tapi namanya pengalaman ya, ambil aja hikmahnya .

Stadion Go Dau – Ho Chi Minh

Tahun 2011 gue baru kenal K-pop dan semangat masih membara, Super Junior pun gue kejar sampai Vietnam. Konser di Ho Chi Minh adalah finale untuk Super Show 3, jadi kami pikir kami harus mengerahkan seluruh tenaga dan daya untuk bisa nonton ke sana. Sampai sana lumayan kaget karena venue-nya kayak stadion bola. Bukan kayak lagi, emang stadion bola! Sebenarnya gak apa-apa asalkan nyaman, tapi yang kami temui malah membuat kami cemberut sepulang dari konser.

go dau stadium

Dari pusat Ho Chi Minh ke Go Dau saja membutuhkan waktu sejam lebih. Untungnya pihak promotor menyediakan bus gratis ke venue, walau awalnya kami sempat bingung kami mau dibawa ke mana sebenarnya karena kami melewati kota kecil dan sungai. Di sekitar stadion tidak banyak tempat makan. Bahkan gue gak ingat apakah ada mini market atau gak di dekat stadion. Tidak ada tempat menunggu/duduk-duduk di sekitar konser. Tempat duduk di dalam stadion juga sebagian besar tidak beratap. Alhasil, kami kehujanan sampai basah kuyub malam itu. Jarak dari tempat duduk ke panggung juga jauuuuh sekali, seperti bisa dilihat di foto. Tapi ini tahun 2011 ya, jadi mungkin sekarang sudah banyak perkembangan.

Vietnam sebenarnya merupakan pangsa pasar K-pop yang potensial, tapi sepertinya belum ada promotor yang benar-benar mapan dan venue yang bagus untuk konser dengan skala besar.

Fasilitas lain: Ngg, I can’t remember any to be honest.
Cara ke sana: sewa kendaraan, taksi (pastinya mahal sekali sih) atau bus yang disediakan oleh promotor

Asia World Arena – Hong Kong

Ini adalah salah satu venue favorit gue karena fasilitasnya yang lengkap. Asia World Arena adalah hall terbesar dari Asia World Expo yang memang biasa digunakan untuk konser. Meskipun terletak cukup jauh dari pusat kota Hong Kong, venue ini mudah dicapai dengan bis dan kereta. Selesai konser bus-bus ke berbagai jurusan pun sudah langsung tersedia di depan venue. Di sini juga tidak usah takut kelaparan karena terdapat beberapa restoran dan cafe di dalam Expo.

asia world arena 1

Yang gue suka dari venue ini adalah ukurannya yang tidak terlalu besar sehingga jarak pandang ke panggung nyaman. Sewaktu menonton konser TVXQ tahun 2013, gue mendapat tiket di kelas festival, dan karena panggung tidak dibuat terlalu tinggi, gue bisa melihat ke panggung dengan mudah. Area menunggu di venue ini juga nyaman, biasanya di hall lain yang sedang tidak digunakan. Sedari awal antrian sudah dibagi berdasarkan area, dan ketika konser akan dimulai, satu persatu barisan digiring oleh sekuriti untuk dimasukkan ke area konser. Menonton konser di Hong Kong adalah salah satu pengalaman ternyaman gue menonton konser 🙂

asia world aren 2

Fasilitas lain: dekat dengan airport dan beberapa hotel berbintang, restoran, cafe
Cara ke sana: MTR dan bus

Impact Arena – Bangkok

Bangkok adalah salah satu favorit gue, tapi gue baru sekali loh menonton konser di sana. Tepatnya tahun 2015 lalu untuk konser TVXQ T1ST0RY. Salah satu venue terbesar di Bangkok adalah Impact Arena, yang sayangnya terletak cukup jauh dari pusat kota. Dan sayangnya lagi, jalur MRT belum mencapai daerah ini. Karena khawatir dengan transportasi pulang setelah konser, gue memutuskan untuk menginap di guest house yang berjarak 20 menit jalan kaki dari venue. Sembari menunggu konser mulai, penonton bisa makan dan duduk-duduk di sekitar venue karena terdapat banyak kios makanan dan restoran mulai dari yang murah sampai yang mahal.

Impact-Arena

cr: Bangkok Scoop

Venue-nya sendiri cukup nyaman untuk konser berskala menengah sampai besar. Waktu itu gue dapat tempat duduk di tribun lantai satu yang tepat menghadap panggung, dan panggung bisa dilihat dengan sangat jelas. Tapi, menurut cerita teman-teman yang menonton dari tribun yang lebih atas, pemandangan di atas panggung tetap terlihat jelas. Satu hal lagi, area floor di Impact Arena lumayan luas, jadi waktu itu TVXQ bisa dengan mudah mengelilingi venue dengan menggunakan kart. Area yang luas ini juga memungkinkan variasi bentuk panggung sehingga desain konser bisa jadi lebih maksimal.

Fasilitas lain: kios makanan, restoran, hotel Novotel yang berjarak lima menit dari venue
Cara ke sana: dari pusat kota bisa dengan taksi atau menyewa mobil

(Berikutnya tentang venue di Singapura ya!)


2 Comments

89 What I read: January and February 2016

My reading resolution for this year is to be able to finish 25 books. I guess I started it quite well by reading 5 books in two months despite my busy schedule (though actually I’m sure I could be faster!). So here are the books I managed to finish in January and February:

booksjanfeb2016

A Little Life by Hana Yanagihara

I had been tempted by the hype around this book, so when I saw it in Kinokuniya, I immediately grabbed it. I was interested by the premise: the friendship between four college friends set in New York.  However, as the story develops, it unfolds many intriguing things. The main character, Jude St. Francis, is a handsome guy with a complex personality. He’s experienced an abusive childhood and it has left a deep scar on his psychological condition. I love Yanagihara’s language in describing Jude’s conflicts and while I’ve never experienced the same thing, I felt somehow emotionally attached to him. I also find the charm from this novel through Jude’s interaction with the people around him.

What I didn’t really enjoy from this book is that some scenes are too graphic, too disturbing. But I guess the details are needed to show how traumatic Jude’s experience is. I also agree with some critics that A Little Life seems to detach itself from reality and context. The story happens in New York in a span of several decades, but the plot never shows it clearly in what era the characters live. Is it before 9/11 or after 9/11? I know that fictional works don’t always have to refer to reality, but somehow this fact makes the novel seem to be isolated while actually it has the potential to be a great novel about New York urban life. Overall, reading A Little Life was a reading experience that involves a lot of emotion and I felt so drained (in a good way) after closing the last page. Rarely a book does that to me. Highly recommended.

And I’ll always keep this quote in my heart:

…things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You is a story about family. Not just that, it also deals with racial and gender issues. James Lee is a second generation of Chinese immigrants. All his life, he always had to encounter stereotypes and racial prejudices from the society (the story set in early 60s and 70s when discrimination was still strong). He never became this popular kid at school. Meanwhile,  Marilyn was a smart, rebellious woman who can’t achieve her dream to be a doctor because of her marriage to James. Both of them have unaccomplished goals in life, and knowing they no longer have the capacity to achieve it, they ‘transfer’ their dream to their daughter, Lydia. But then Lydia is found drowned in the lake near their home. Their dream is crushed, and the story slowly tries to reveal to the readers what actually happens to Lydia.

Reading Everything I Never Told You is like watching a family movie with calm, soft colours and many silent scenes. The narration relies much on description of the actions instead of powerful dialogues. There is this one beautiful scene that focuses on Hannah (Lydia’s little sister) who in her naive way realizes what really happens around her siblings and in their family. I think this is Ng’s strength: the ability to reveal emotion of the characters through what they silently do. This debut novel convinces us that we need to watch more of Ng’s works in the future.

Lelaki Harimau by Eka Kurniawan

I don’t really read Indonesian literature that much, but I love Eka Kurniawan’s two novels, Cantik itu Luka and this one, Lelaki Harimau. The way he writes reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and his technique in blending reality and magical sphere in his plot is amazing. Lelaki Harimau tells about a young man named Margio who wakes up in the morning and finds a white tiger next to him. Is the white tiger real or is it just a representation of Margio’s hidden desire? This is what makes Lelaki Harimau so psychoanalytically interesting. Kurniawan’s language is vulgar yet poetic. He always manages to narrate the conflicts of common people with the most unfamiliar, unexpected and violent way. Read the shocking last page of the Lelaki Harimau and you’ll know what I mean.

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

I stumbled upon Maresi when I was browsing in Book Depository. Got immediately interested since it’s claimed as a feminist book. It’s the first book from The Red Abbey Chronicles, and it can be added into that list of young adult books with dark themes. The world in Maresi is the world when men take control over everything and women are stll buried alive for commiting adultery (well, somewhere in our world people still practice that …). Fleeing from poverty, Maresi goes to Menos, an island inhabited only by women. In this island, Maresi can satisfy her thirst to study and she learns the meaning of sisterhood. But then the peace in the island is disturbed when a group of men come and want to steal the treasure in The Abbey. Adding fantasy elements to her story, Turtschaninoff brings up relevant women issues and makes Maresi a powerful, gripping story. I can’t wait to read the next book in the chronicle, Naondel.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I finished this book but gotta say it’s not my cup of tea. I think We Were Liars  is too pretentious. It tries hard to be emotionally dark but somehow it ends up too much for me. I also think the main character Cady is a spoiled white teenage girl. I can’t pity her at all. I should’ve written a detailed post why I can’t like this book. Too lazy for that though hahaha.

Going to Singapore next weekend, and I’ve already made a list of books that I wanna buy there. Having read the samples in Play Book, I’m thinking to buy London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins, The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Euphoria by Lily King. Kinokuniya Takashimaya will make me broke, really broke.

 


Leave a comment

88 A Drop of Thoughts: Festivity in B.A.P’s Carnival

b.a.p-carnival

One word to describe B.A.P’s latest mini album Carnival: festive. Each track is fun, fresh and colourful. B.A.P are famous for their dark and fierce concept, as executed in their mini albums One Shot and Young, Wild, and Free. However, I don’t know what kind of formula they have in their lab but somehow they also have this ability to tackle a colourful and funky image. Carnival is another proof of how versatile their music is, and we always love this cheerful side of B.A.P.

The album opens with Today, an epic track that reminds me of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. B.A.P often start their albums with a massive song like Intro in First Sensibility and Whut’s Popping in Badman EP, yet Today is different in a way that it uses an orchestra. Daehyun sings the song beautifully with his thick yet soft voice. It’s just a perfect opening song for an album that picks a carnival atmosphere as their concept. The next song is Carnival, a groovy track that commands you to jig, and we wonder why they didn’t select this as their single. I always have this deep affection for Himchan’s hoarse voice, and weirdly, the raspiness of his voice matches with the fun atmosphere of Carnival.

From the intro of Feel So Good, I thought the single would be another Take You There or Spy, but then the bass came and blew me away. This funky song is heavily influenced by the sound of 80’s hip hop. Zelo and Yongguk’s stylish rap builds the groove of the song, and Jongup’s voice in the chorus just hits it right. I also love how B.A.P look so playful in the MV. There isn’t any clear plot for the MV. The boys just sing, dance and play around, showing how they feel so good. And it feels so good for us Babyz to see B.A.P look this happy after what happened to them in late 2014.

Go is another cheerful track in the album. The oooh-part is really addictive, I must say. Meanwhile, Albatross opens with heavy electric guitar sound, and the beat of the song is so dynamic, it makes you wanna jump and head-bang to the song. Youngjae’s voice in this song steals my heart. After five upbeat songs, the party in Carnival has to end, and they chose to end it with My Girl, a love song with the right amount of sweetness.

Young, Wild, and Free is a mighty return after their painful hiatus, and Carnival convinces us that B.A.P won’t stop and will keep giving us powerful songs and meticulously-produced albums. For me, Carnival is a musically and visually solid comeback. With this album and the upcoming Live on Earth 2016 world tour, B.A.P are gonna rock your 2016 really hard.

Score: 4/5


Leave a comment

66 A Drop of Thoughts: TVXQ’s Rise As God

riseasgod

Even though there had been rumours before, Rise As God still came as a surprise for me. A sweet one, to be exact. As a gift for fans before their hiatus due to military enlistment, TVXQ surely have satisfied Cassiopeias with this album. Tense was a musically solid album, so I think it’ll be tough to surpass it. Rise As God may not have the unity like Tense does. It’s something different, and it’s indeed another progress for TVXQ’s music.

The album begins with Vertigo, a sleek, mysterious song with haunting bass sound. It doesn’t sound like a song from a K-pop group, more like a track taken from a British indie rock album. I personally love this kind of dark song for TVXQ. Next we have the two title tracks, Champagne and Rise As One. The two songs show Yunho’s and Changmin’s different personalities and abilities. Champagne is funky and groovy, a summer tune. It really represents Yunho’s bright personality. Meanwhile, Rise As One starts with acoustic guitar before transforming into an energetic dance anthem. My guess that it would be a heavy rock song was wrong, but Rise As One is another achievement for Changmin. His voice is perfect for this song. Again, he amazes me with the versatility of his voice.

We have more solo songs in Rise As God, Apology for Changmin and Komplikated for Yunho. Apology is a smooth R&B track, not exactly my genre to be honest. Yet it seems to me that Changmin always manages to tackle any genre stunningly, and he does it again with Apology. But actually what amazes me more is Komplikated. I never thought that Yunho’s nasal voice would be suitable for this kind of clubbing dance track. Seulong, you have a new contender here!

As a fan of TVXQ, this album satisfies my thirst for TVXQ’s Korean releases, even more than I expected. Each track is a gem and immaculately produced, but if I have to choose my top 5 songs, they would be Vertigo, the two title tracks, Top of The World and Lucky Star. Top of The World is my jam for its groovy beat and positive mood, and their voices in this song are such a feast for my ears. If they could promote a song together, I would vote for Top of The World. Lucky Star also serves well as the closing song. It’s a rock track that again demonstrates TVXQ’s flexible singing skills. When they sing the line “I’m your lucky star,”, I can’t help but thinking that yes, they’re our lucky stars. Besides those songs, we also have the cheerful, jazzy Smile and Everyday It Rains that is, of course, a fitting song for rainy days.

Even though we know it’s temporary, it’s never easy to say goodbye. One thing I’m grateful about is that TVXQ bid farewell with their music, with an album that I will definitely listen to again and again while waiting for their prodigious comeback later in 2017. TVXQ were once broken and bent, but then they refused to surrender. This time, with Rise As God they rise again, and I hope they will never stop rising.


3 Comments

61 A Drop of Thoughts: 2PM’s My House

2PM makes a  comeback with their new album simply entitled No. 5, and it has stolen my heart. It’s classy and mature, closer to their third album Grown which I always consider as their best Korean album. I’m proud that they’re back with another musical achievement, an album that is solid and brave enough not to follow the trend.

2pm-myhouse-2

The MV for the title track My House lies more on a beautiful visual presentation instead of the choreography (a common formula for K-pop MVs). The MV blends several fairy tales, from Beauty and The Beast to Snow White, into a well-cinematographed narrative about the female lead Cinderella who has to go home when the clock strikes midnight. But before she goes home, 2PM members tease her so she will stay, or to be exact to come home with them (naughty 2PM is naughty). However, if fairy tales commonly portray women as passive and weak, this Cinderella is different. She intentionally leaves her glass shoe on the stairs. She will come home for now, but she expects 2PM members to find her. A twist to the fairy tale, and to me it’s an act that shows woman’s agency in a relationship/a potential relationship.

2pm-myhouse-3

Do we need to talk about how the members look so good in the MV? Oh yes, we need to! They all look dashing in suits, especially Jun. K who slays the Victorian tie. Their outfits in the dance part are actually simple but the colours make them look flamboyant. I also love the shoes that they wear, giving casual hints to the whole look. Now JYPE, give us the dance practice MV and we’ll be the happiest Hottests ever.

2pm-myhouse-1

I instantly fall in love with My House upon the first hearing. Composed by Jun. K, this song is different from other title tracks because it’s not a powerful dance track, which people often anticipate from 2PM. Instead, My House is a medium tempo song with acoustic guitar sound through the whole song. Each member plays their part well, even Nichkhun sounds comfortable singing his lines. To be honest, it’ll be hard for 2PM to win music shows while Big Bang and EXO are still promoting, but I pray hard they’ll get the appreciation they deserve. It’s time for K-pop to pay attention to more music and less controversy.


Leave a comment

58 [REVIEW] A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

darkershadeofmagic

Lagi pengen baca buku bertemakan fantasi, gue pun mencoba untuk baca A Darker Shade of Magic dari V.E. Schwab. Gue belum pernah baca karya dia sebelumnya, tapi yang bikin gue tertarik sama novel ini adalah kemampuan si tokoh utama Kell yang bisa berpindah-pindah ruang. Di dunia A Darker Shade of Magic, beberapa orang beruntung (atau malah sial?) terlahir sebagai Antari, penyihir dengan kekuatan yang bersumber dari darah. Para Antari juga diberkahi dengan kemampuan untuk berpindah ruang.

Alasan lain yang bikin gue akhirnya memutuskan baca novel ini adalah latar tempatnya. Schwab merancang empat versi London, yaitu red London (tempat Kell tinggal, di mana sihir ada), grey London (London dunia kita, dan orang-orangnya tidak percaya sihir), white London (ada sihir, tapi dipergunakan bukan untuk tujuan baik) dan black London (kota yang hancur dan dikunci). Gue suka konsep tentang dunia alternatif, jadi awalnya gue anggap novel ini bakal menjanjikan.

Sebagai novel fantasi, A Darker Shade of Magic memang menghibur. Banyak adegan aksinya, dan kadar romansa di antara Kell dan Lila, pencopet wanita yang menyamar jadi pria, juga cukup walau terkadang Hollywood banget. Nah itu, banyak unsur di novel ini yang terlalu Hollwood, terlalu stereotipikal. Pangeran Rhy, saudara tiri Kell, salah satu contohnya. Pangeran tampan berkulit gelap yang suka seenaknya dan playboy? Memang karakter Rhy menggoda tapi we’ve seen this kind of character so many times. Belum lagi tokoh-tokoh antagonisnya yang begitu datar dan tidak punya alasan ‘menarik’ untuk jadi penjahat. Dua saudara Athos dan Astrid digambarkan begitu jahat tapi pembaca tidak diberikan motif yang istimewa mengapa mereka sejahat itu. Mereka kejam karena mereka haus kekuasaan. Ya udah begitu saja, gak ada kesannya. Hasilnya konflik antar protagonis dan antagonis pun cenderung membosankan.

Bagi gue Kell cenderung karakter yang datar. Dengan latar belakang kehidupannya sebagai anak yatim piatu yang diangkat raja dan selalu merasa berbeda, Kell sebenarnya punya potensi untuk disayang. Tapi sayangnya gue gak bisa merasakan simpati ke Kell, gak tau kenapa. Mungkin karena karakternya tidak digali terlalu dalam. Schwab memberi pembaca berbagai motif tapi menurut gue emosi Kell dibiarkan mengambang, ditambah hubungan dia ke beberapa karakter (seperti orangtua Rhy) kurang begitu diekspos.

Sebenarnya ada banyak faktor yang bisa bikin A Darker Shade of Magic setenar seri Harry Potter sebagai novel fantasi. Kalau saja Schwab melakukan eksplorasi terhadap karakter-karakternya dan tidak menjadikan mereka sebagai sekadar tokoh hitam-putih, mungkin gue bisa lebih jatuh cinta sama buku ini.


Leave a comment

36 My concert adventure: mid-year recap

June almost ends, and it means we’re reaching the mid-year. Concert-wise, I had great fun in the first half of the year. I didn’t have the chance to go to a lot of gigs, but the ones I’ve attended were all fun and unforgettable. So here’s the short recap of each concert!

tickets-2014

1. LUKIEBEAT (Lunafly and LC9) – January 19th at Jungleland, Sentul

I wasn’t a fan of Lunafly and LC9. I knew Lunafly because some people in my timeline were fans, and I happened to be familiar with LC9 because of King’s hair. But since I got a free pass, I thought, why not? The fact that the venue was unusual (a theme park!) also gave me another reason to go. It took approximately one and a half hour to go to the venue, and it was raining on the way there. When we arrived, we were greeted by the cold breeze. The rain kept falling while we’re waiting for the concert to begin. The rain caused me to feel a bit grumpy, but Lunafly and LC9’s performance made me forget the terrible weather. Both groups performed whole-heartedly and gave fans their best. Unexpectedly, LUKIEBEAT was fun!

2. Genesis of 2PM Tour – March 17th and 18th at Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo

After failing to see them in Jakarta and Bangkok, I finally got to see 2PM in Tokyo. It’s my second time watching a concert in Japan, yet this one was special since Tokyo in March was FREAKING COLD. Anyway, from technical aspects, the lighting and the sound of the concert were awesome. Not to mention the grand opening VCR! I remember I gasped watching it hahaha.  I was also glad I could see Wooyoung again, even though after what had happened I wasn’t that excited anymore hehehe. It’s too bad Jun. K and Taecyeon were not really fit at that time (I blamed their schedule for this).

I’ve travelled that far to see 2PM, wow. Was it worth it? Honestly, if I remember the concerts, I still wish if only Jun. K and Taecyeon had been healthy, it would have left a better impression to me. Well, let’s just hope that my next 2PM’s concert will be a more awesome experience 🙂

3. MBLAQ – March 18th at Zepp Tokyo

Although it’s only a release event of their new single, I enjoyed it since I had been missing MBLAQ after their concert in Jakarta in 2012. The boys were lovely as usual, especially Mir my Energizer bunny! Lee Joon also looked super gorgeous, my sister and I kept commenting how he shone that day! Actually there was a high-five session after that if you bought the single. But but but I didn’t prepare money for it so I had to slip it. UGH I SHOULD’VE TAKEN THE CHANCE TO TOUCH JOON’S PALMS.

4. B.A.P Live on Earth Singapore Attack – May 31st at The Star Theatre

THIS is seriously one of the best K-pop concerts I’ve ever attended. I enjoyed every moment of B.A.P’s performance, and the concert has left me with mixed emotions. I was happy, excited, proud and touched at the same time. So far only two concerts that managed to make me feel like this: TVXQ’s Catch Me World Tour in Hong Kong and Live on Earth Singapore. Okay, this might sound embarrassing but I did sob hard on my friend’s shoulder after the concert. Like I said, too many emotions in my chest at that time. I guess my only way to express them was by crying hahaha.

Experience has brought B.A.P this far, and I felt so honoured I had the opportunity to see these amazing boys on stage. Can’t wait to see more from B.A.P! (read my review of LOE SG here)