In Seoul, everybody seems to be cashing in on the K-pop boom. As the fanbase for the catchy melodies performed by polished dance groups, pop bands, and soloists is growing, the spinoff industry around their pretty ranks is growing even faster. Tours from Japan and China bring busloads of teenagers and middle-aged women to come see K-pop concerts and do some shopping while they’re at it. Fashion houses pump out imitations of designer items that K-pop stars are spotted in. Reality shows looking for the next big talent are popping up on every channel, while dozens of cram schools in Seoul teach students how to prepare for the rigorous auditions held by management companies.
Wow, what is with all the international buzz surrounding Korean pop lately? First the New York Times wrote about it, and now TIME Magazine has this article at the front and center of their official website. Be sure to check it out!
On March 7, Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter equivalent) got a newcomer, an account by the name of “North Korea Today”…So how well is this “old friend of China” claimed by the Chinese government received among Chinese netizens? It was welcomed wholeheartedly by surprise, contempt and ridicule. Tweets by North Korea Today received an average of 200 to 2000 comments, with supportive ones very rarely spotted, if at all existed.
This is the most fascinating news I’ve seen in quite a while, and it immediately prompted me to do some research on the Sino-North Korean ties. Here’s a little history lesson. :)
China formed an alliance with North Korea when it entered the Korean War in 1950. 11 years later, the two countries signed the “Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty,” valid until 2021, stating that China will provide military and other aids to North Korea in times of need. In recent years, however, North Korea has become more or less a burden to China because of its economic dependence. In fact, the main reason why China is reluctant to sever ties is to prevent a possible collapse of the North Korean government and the subsequent mass refugees fleeing into China. An article on the Guardian suggests that Beijing has grown tired of North Korea, calling Pyongyang a “spoiled child” for carrying out threatening missiles and nuclear tests in 2009.
Aside from almost-hourly posts mourning the late Kim, there are several about how China and North Korean will “forever remain as old friends and brothers.” But Chinese netizens think otherwise. I am quite curious to see how things will develop between the two countries (especially when 2021 comes around), as well as this little Weibo account that has sparked the interest of many.
The 6-foot-3-inch point guard was mostly sidelined by his New York Knicks basketball team until a recent chance opportunity on courtshot him to stardom a week and a half ago…But basketball’s latest wonderboy may now find himself caught in a competition of a different sort, as both China and Taiwan seek to claim the Asian-American as one of their own. Lin’s parents were born in Taiwan, but Communist Party officials in China claim his origins lie in the eastern Chinese city of Jiaxing.
After becoming a starter for the New York Knicks in mid-February, Jeremy Lin (林書豪) led his team to seven consecutive wins, quickly propelling himself to fame. His success story—Linsanity—has taken the Asian community by storm. Just a couple weeks ago, social media pages were filled with posts about this new point guard (they still are!), and not just by basketball fans. As stereotypical as it may seem, Asian parents are Linsane about him too—I mean, he did graduate from Harvard with a degree in Economics. My roommate’s mother even sent her an hour-long interview (in Chinese) with Lin, and if I ever need an update on how he’s doing, a simple visit to her mom’s Facebook page is all I need. Yet, fangirling (or fanboying) isn’t all that’s happening lately.
"China vs. Taiwan" is a very sensitive topic for many people, myself included. While this topic is largely political, Linsanity has recently triggered arguments between cross-strait citizens about whether Lin is, well, “Chinese” or “Taiwanese.” This CNN article discusses the controversy of “where he belongs”, and though I have my own opinions on this matter, I do think it’s more important to keep sports and politics separate. And apparently, so does Lin.
I’m really proud of being Chinese, I’m really proud of my parents from Taiwan, and I just thank God for the opportunity.
After all, working hard in the NBA and being himself is more important to him than the attention he’s been getting. The Asian community is proud of what he’s doing, and that’s all that matters, right? :)
An interesting article written by the New York Times about the recent role of social media in the Korean Wave as well as an appraisal of K-pop’s potential success in the West and the strategies that will and won’t work.
Hey readers! As this is my very first post, I decided that I would start out by briefly introducing myself and asking a very fundamental question: why Asia?
I come from a small, white town on Long Island, which I can attest is one of the most segregated suburbs in the world. The all-boys Catholic high school I attended wasn’t much more diverse; non-Caucasians accounted for maybe 5% of the student body.
So what brings a narrow-minded American like me to spend time blogging on a site like this rather than eating hotdogs while watching the Yankees on T.V.? What makes me—or anyone, for that matter—interested in Asia?