Thursday, March 18, 2010

OMG... The Tyra Show?!

Okay, so yes, I admit that I occasionally watch the Tyra Show (I'm also addicited to ANTM... but that's another blog), but today had an interesting topic.

They brought on a group of girls who were all of mixed raced, but preferred to be identified as one over the other and most of them pretty much hated when someone said they were of the less-liked race (a half white, half black girl hated being called black; a half Latina, half white hated being called white, etc.). So, basically, the whole show was about stereotypes of races and breaking them down. It ended with the usual afterschool special speech about how you should judge people for who they are, not how they look.

Which of course got me thinking about life in Korea. It's kind of interesting see discrimination and stereotypes from the other side. It just sucks. Seeing friends get turned down for work. Hearing about how this guy won't date that girl because she's black or vice versa. People getting dirty looks on the street or yelled at. The Anti-English Spectrum. Stupid stuff like that.

And of course... I think about how I must look to Korean society. I haven't really gotten any sort of outright discrimination, but the stereotypes are there. I'm a young, American girl so I must like to party and be easy. Or just here for a good time, thus deserve no respect from co-workers in the office. It's not nearly as bad as others, but still frustrating. I almost punched the last guy who came up to me asking if I was Russian with that 'knowing look' in his eye. It's just downright uncomfortable. (Especially since it was followed by "You're a very sexual looking girl." Yeesh. I was jeans and a heavy wool coat at the time...)

But then, I admit that I have my own stereotypes. African men (not African American just to clarify) terrify me from my few experiences with them in Korea. I end up looking at the sidewalk half the time I'm in Itaewon. I hate going to Itaewon, because I don't want people to think I'm just another party-hardy English teacher. (Yes... silly, I know.) I tend to get annoyed by Army people. (And lo and behold... I end up dating a guy in the Air Force...) I've never really known a lesbian, so they make me kind of uncomfortable. And I tend to think that most Korean guys are idiots who would rather sleep with a white girl than date them or have a serious relationship.

So... we all have our stereotypes... mostly based off our personal experiences, be they limited or vast. And no one likes admitting it, but everyone has them. I guess the only real thing to do is try to be open to breaking them. Give someone a chance to prove you wrong, and chances are they just might. I've had the extreme joy of meeting a huge variety of friends both in the States and here, and I cherish all them, be they black, white, Muslim, Korean, military, English teachers, atheist, blue, pink, purple or have spiky green hair. There is a lot to learn. And I guess, I hope that if I'm more open to others, they'll be more open to me.

Stereotypes don't just break on their own.

... Okay... now I sound like an afterschool special...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Staying Home All Day...

So, it was my weekend off and I ended up spending four out of five days stuck in the apartment. Friday and Monday were by choice... Sunday and Tuesday not so much. While this was good for not spending a lot of money, it was bad for not gaining weight. I spent most of the time being lazy and snacking, even though I did get some writing and editing done (though, probably not as much as a I should have). Bleh, why is it that staying at home just makes me lazy? I've got clothes drying that have been on the rack for a couple days. I did clean up the kitchen after cooking (and after some soda spilled out of the fridge) but the living room is a bit of a mess (though I did manage to sweep up the floor). Makes me realize why I have a roommate. So that I at least have some motivation to pick up. But when she's gone for two weeks, all I do is stay up ridiculously late watching TV and movies while taking intermittent naps and snacking.

But I go back to work tomorrow, which will help. I always feel more productive when I go into the office. And I am planning to do some editing tonight and picking up before I go to bed. And no matter what, I'm getting up at 9 or 10 am tomorrow to hopefully incite more productiveness.

I'm just looking forward to getting the book officially done and sent off so I can enjoy my upcoming trip to Beijing. We're still waiting to find out if Paul is getting released on time so we can go. He should find out tomorrow after he goes to the doctor. I'm just excited to finally go somewhere else. I'm hoping if things go well in LA, I might be able to do some more little trips this summer around Asia, but we'll see. I've been to Fukuoka, but I would like to go Tokyo and Kyoto. And I'd like to visit Shanghai and go back to Hong Kong. Not to mention Thailand.

I really need to do some more research on fun places to travel around here. I hear a lot but I need to find out what I want to do. There are a lot of places within Korea that I haven't been to either. Like Sokcho and Busan and Gwangju... I hope I somehow come up with more money...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Writing and Cigarettes

After a couple months, I have brought myself back to the coffee shop. Mostly because we're down to the last few weeks until our deadline and I've got to buckle down and get things done, and Cino's seems to be one of the few places where I can still write uninterrupted by people and TV and work. Granted, the internet turns out to be a distraction, but I get more done here at my little table in the smoking room than I ever do at the apartment.

Now that we're almost done, it feels a little surreal. I started this journey into the unknown world of screenwriting just four months ago. I was excited then, but the end still seemed so far away that I didn't really think this was happening. But now, we're so close and I'm freaking out. I sit and wonder if I'm really good enough for this. And then a split second later I'm daydreaming about sitting in a theater and seeing my name on the big screen. I keep going from one extreme to the other. And now that this project is almost finished, I'm already thinking about my next project. We haven't even sold anything yet and I'm ready to start working on the next thing. Maybe this means I'm really meant to be a writer, ha ha.

My life could possibly be changing in the next month.

I still can't grasp that. One part of me has just accepted it while the other doesn't seem to realize what's happening. It's kind of one of those 'too good to be true' things. I keep waiting for the bubble to burst, but so far it hasn't. I really want this. I really want to be able to spend my days writing in coffee shops or meeting friends or having awesome life experiences that I can translate and put on paper or a screen so others can experience them too. After spending the three years since graduation working in offices as a reporter or copy editor or an English teacher or PR person, I've realized that's not want I want. And I'm really not that great at it. Sure, I could make it as a reporter and (barely) as a copy-editor. But that nagging thought that I'm not really meant for that keeps pushing its way up from the back of my mind.

I use to cringe at the thought of being a freelancer. The lack of a regular paycheck was too scary. But now, that life is looking more and more appealing. Maybe it's because I'm really enjoying the radio show. And it would give me the free time to really pursue writing. I'm thinking that I might start having my friends at the radio station keep their eyes open for other opportunities at other stations so I could start working more of that into my life so I wouldn't have to copy-edit. I love Arirang and the people there, but I'm thinking that I'm not really cut out for what they are having me do.

Or maybe I just need to step up my responsibility. Last night, one of the newbie reporters was working his first weekend and I had to sit down and really talk to him about his writing because it was getting to the point where I was going to have to start sending back stuff for him to re-write because there was nothing I could do with what he gave me. It made me realize that I wasn't really owning up to the full responsibility of my job. I'm there to make them better writers. It kind of gave me the confidence to step it up instead of just sitting at my desk worrying. It reminded me that I do know what I'm talking about. I have my journalism degree too. Just because I'm at the copy desk and not out reporting or writing doesn't mean that I'm lower or less than them. Haha, I guess it's been so long since I've really focused on news that I'm rusty.

So, we'll see. Life is one big messy transition right now. I just really hope that we sell this month. I so hope that we do. Life would be amazing. But if it doesn't, then I guess at the very least I got my foot in the door.

Speaking of which... I should probably start working on that...

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Thoughts on the Jae-Beom Issue

So I have to get this out of my system or I'm going to end up posting on one of the stupid forums I've been reading in order to write an article for my website... and get slaughtered by Jae Beom fans. And also, this blog is relatively safe from the friends of mine who are among the outraged fans.

Personally, I think it's all bull shit. Yes. You read that right. It's bull shit.

What a lot of fans fail to realize is that JYP is a business and Park is going to do whatever he think will save the business, whether or not it comes across as harsh, mean, unethical whatever. It's business. And more than that, it's Korean business. Perhaps it's because I'm old enough to know that the business world will always be corrupt, and while that is sad and unfortunate, it's true. CEOs of entertainment companies do not always think about the well-being of their clients, and are going to make decisions based on what will make them money. If a client isn't making them money or is going to cause bad press that will damage their other clients, they will drop them. And they will ALWAYS try to spin it to make them look better. Do I agree with this? No. But it's a harsh fact of life, and nothing so far has changed it, so I doubt a huge group of junior high and high school girls are going to have an impact on JYP.

In regards to how Jae is being 'victimized', I think there is a lot more to the story than fans know and that in itself begs for thought before taking action. Whatever the misdeed was, JYP saw as big enough that it could damage business and decided to cut their losses. We don't know what it was, but because of JYP's actions, you have to think that it was really bad, potentially criminal.

If he got a girl pregnant and then ran to Seattle, I think that makes him an asshole. If he did drugs, that makes him stupid.

But we don't know what it is. For all we know, he could have raped a girl. In which case, I doubt the fans would stick by him. Hell, if they found out that he really did get a girl pregnant through consensual sex, they probably wouldn't support him either. Does getting someone pregnant make him a bad person? Not necessarily, it means he's human (and stupid enough to not use protection, but as we all know, that can't always be to blame). But as a role model for teens, this is a big no-no and I could see why JYP would take such harsh actions. Again, this is based on the culture in Korea. Would an American entertainment agency drop him? I don't know.

On top of that, from what I've heard from a friend who actually met Jae while out in Hongdae, it doesn't necessarily sound like he is the perfect angel that his fans make him out to be. My friend went up to ask him for a picture for his cousins, since they were too shy to go up to him. My friend said that at the time, he didn't know who Jae was and Jae seemed a bit pissed about this, acting like he was a big celebrity and it was stupid of my friend (who is kyopo from Texas and a guy) to not recognize him. Also, Jae had a girl on each arm, which tells me that he's some sort of player. And we've all heard a lot of his comments that make him sound like a spoiled prick. (i.e. "I suck at rapping, but Koreans think it's awesome. That's dope.")

Sorry, but that story makes me less likely to feel sorry for him and the trouble he seems to have brought upon himself.

I'm not going to pretend I know everything about Jae Beom. For all I know, he could truly be repentant and want to come back. But at the same time, who knows if he really truly deserves another chance on a dream that he blew himself. More than once. (Though the Myspace comments, I thought JYP's reaction to that was ridiculous.)

And what really makes me irritated is all the time, energy and money the fans are wasting on the movement get JYP to listen to them and make changes. JPY is most likely not going to change. So, why don't they take all that time, energy and money and put it to good use? Stand up for a cause that will actually do some good in the world, rather than give a spoiled brat his job back.

What about using it to help Haiti? Or the homeless in their area? Or helping unwed mothers in Korea? Or tutor underprivileged children so they have a chance at their dreams. These are all difficult causes, that seem to have no end. But at least every little thing done has some sort of positive impact. Why not try to do something positive for the world? Besides, after everything that has happened, I highly doubt that Jae wants to go back to JYP anyway.

So... that's my rant. May the anti-fans have mercy on this old fogey who dared to have an opinion on Jae Beom.

Let's hope there aren't anymore bomb threats... though I've heard JYP has police guarding their headquarters...