Lisa moves into her new $6-million luxury pad in Seoul
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2023
Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban is the proud new owner of a luxury villa in Seoul’s super-trendy Seongbuk-dong area worth approximately 200 million baht (US$6 million).
The Thai member of K-pop outfit BlackPink is now neighbours with millionaires and celebrities including Bae Yong-joon and Lee Seung Gi.
Overlooking South Korea’s capital, the exclusive Seongbuk-dong neighbourhood has been compared with the star-strewn Hollywood Hills district of Los Angeles and is home to many of the richest people in the country.
Lisa signed the contract for the 7,200-square-foot villa worth some 7.5 billion South Korean won in July last year.
She made the final payment on her new pad on January 30.
The three-storey villa is well known as the former home of Jang Seon-yoon, the billionaire granddaughter of Lotte Corporation founder Shin Kyuk Ho.
Jang Seon-yoon purchased the land in 2014, guiding construction of the luxury villa which was completed in April 2016. Jang’s family lived in the home for nearly seven years.
Lisa still has plenty of money in the bank despite blowing 200 million baht on the pad.
Thailand’s K-pop queen owns total assets estimated at 660 million baht ($20 million). She recently obtained a so-called Black Card – a premium credit card limited to only 1,000 owners worldwide.
The credit card is issued by Korean conglomerate Hyundai and carries an unlimited credit limit. Lisa met the Black Card eligibility conditions, which include spending of 280,000 baht and assets worth at least 10 billion South Korean won (280 million baht).
Forty years after the release of the first compact disc, CD sales are still alive in Japan, despite the proliferation of online streaming services.
In the heyday of CDs, people hailed their ease of use compared to other music formats, but now they are likely to be purchased as a way for fans to show their support for an artist, or prized as collector’s items.
Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” and Eiichi Otaki’s “A Long Vacation” were among the first CDs to be released in Japan on Oct. 1, 1982.
At 12 centimetres in diameter, CDs were more compact and lighter than the popular analogue audio format they would eventually overtake, vinyl records, which are usually 30 centimetres in diameter.
Another benefit of compact discs is that the format solved the problem of crackles, pops and hiss associated with analogue audio sources such as tape and vinyl.
Philips and Sony were involved in the development of CD technology and wrestled over the specifications of the format. Philips wanted CDs to hold 60 minutes of recorded music and have a diameter of 11.5 centimetres. Meanwhile, Sony insisted the format should have a diameter of 12 centimetres and hold 75 minutes of music so that Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 could be recorded on one disc.
Although other types of compact discs have been developed over the years, such as 8-centimetre discs and Blu-spec CDs that can hold audio of higher fidelity, standard discs have not changed since the original specification was settled, and the format is still kicking 40 years on.
“It proves that the specs that were initially decided were not wrong,” said Hirofumi Nakayama, Vice President of Sony Music Studios Tokyo. “The sound quality suits human ears. That’s why they’ve been loved for so long.”
Cases containing mini audio CDs, which are 8 centimetres in diameter .The Yomiuri Shimbun
According to the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), the CD market overtook analogue records in 1987 and hit a peak of about ¥587.8 billion in 1998. Since then, CD sales have gradually fallen partly because of the emergence of online music distribution. In 2021, the market was worth about ¥123.2 billion, about one-fifth of the peak value.
While streaming music services have gained popularity around the world in recent years, the appeal of physical music formats such as CDs has continued in Japan.
Compact discs and records accounted for about 10% of music revenue in the United States in 2021, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America. In contrast, CDs, records and other physical formats accounted for about 70% in Japan, having more than doubled compared to that of digital formats, according to the RIAJ.
To tempt the fans of the pop stars and K-pop groups that dominate music charts, music labels often release multiple versions of a CD with different jackets or track lists or come with event tickets.
Meanwhile, CDs that contain songs that are not on streaming services are fetching high prices in the second-hand market.
Tower power Over the years, Tower Records Japan Inc. has changed the layout of its shop floors to fit the times. Initially, the retail chain sold CDs and records in the same section, but by around 1988, compact discs had replaced most of the vinyl.
In the 1990s, the chain mainly operated mega-stores with large inventories and a wide range of genres, but in the 2000s, the chain rolled out smaller stores inside shopping malls nationwide, specializing in popular Japanese artists.
Since the start of the 2010s, the chain has targeted die-hard fans with eye-catching signs and corners where shoppers can take selfies. Some of the stores even have stages where musicians can hold mini-concerts.
“Consumers value CDs for reasons other than music, particularly in Japan,” said Masato Hasegawa, General Manager of the Retail Business Division of Tower Records Japan. “The market still exists.”
Many Top K-pop idols now return back to their group after serving approximately 18 to 22 months of duty to embark on a fresh new journey.
All able-bodied South Korean men are obligated to serve in the military, with even the biggest K-pop superstars no exception.
Unlike in the past, this year greets a string of K-pop musicians from big groups returning to civilian society.
Victon’s Han Seung-woo, also the brother of singer-turned-actor Han Sun-hwa, is first ready for release. The eldest member of the six-piece act, Seung-woo enlisted in July 2021 and is currently serving in the military band. Seung-woo is set to be discharged on Jan. 27.
In February, Exo’s Baekhyun comes out next. Baekhyun began his service in May 2021 as the fifth of nine bandmates to enlist. Baekhyun was assigned to be a social service agent instead of an active-duty soldier due to hypothyroidism. With Baekhyun set to complete his service on Feb. 5, fans expect Exo to make its long-awaited full-group comeback, as Suho, the group’s leader, posted not-so-cryptically on social media on Jan. 1: “2023 Exo is coming back.”
Baekhyun’s labelmate of SM Entertainment, Taemin of Shinee is set to complete his service on April 4. Taemin initially began his service in the military band but was transferred to reservist duty about a year ago owing to mental health issues. In a statement released by SM, Taemin had reportedly been suffering from depression and anxiety from before his enlistment and the symptoms worsened after he began his service. Anticipations for Shinee’s complete comeback as a quartet are also climbing high with Taemin’s discharge.
Day6’s Young K (left) and Wonpil (JYP Entertainment)
Two members of Day6 are set to complete their duties this year, with Young K being discharged first on April 11. In October 2021, Young K began his service in the Korean Augmentation to the US Army, as the first idol musician to enlist in the very selective branch. In March, Wonpil followed suit by enlisting in the Navy, also as the first idol musician to serve in that branch. Wonpil is slated to be discharged on Nov. 27.
Monsta X leader Shownu is set to finish his service on April 21. He will be the first member of the six-piece act to fulfil his duty. Shownu enlisted in July 2021 as a public service worker due to health issues regarding his left eye.
In June, just as with their enlistment a year and a half ago, the group ONF is set to be discharged together. In December 2021, the whole group — barring its only non-Korean member U, who is from Japan — enlisted together in the Army, becoming the first group to do so. Unexpectedly, the group gained more fame inside the military. A video of the five performing during a military-organized event caught the public eye and went explosively viral on the internet. The boy band is set to make a comeback with its summer discharge.
ONF (WM Entertainment)
September will see several K-pop stars leave the military. SF9’s Inseong and Block B’s P.O are serving in the military band, Inseong in the Army until Sept. 20 and P.O in the Marine Corps until Sept. 27. Golden Child’s leader Lee and SF9’s leader Young-bin are to be discharged together on Sept. 28.
Along with Day6’s Wonpil, Astro’s MJ is to end his service in November.
Children of the Mist: The Bride-Kidnapping Festival
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023
Amid the sea of white mist on Vietnam’s northern plateau, film director Ha Le Diem spent three years assimilating with a local Hmong family, using only a camera and audio recorder to document their daily lives in an actual, unscripted setting.
For what is supposed to be a simple documentary film, Diem found herself praying that nothing bad should happen to Di, the family’s 12-year-old daughter, who she had befriended during her stay.
Growing up in Vietnamese-Hmong society and witnessing three of her female friends get married at a young age, Diem has always questioned how this tradition of girls marrying young had come to play an important role in the Hmong community.
The family that allowed Diem to stay with them to shoot the film comprised the father, who rarely worked but often drank, a talkative mother who shared her humour and worries with Diem, Di, and her younger sister. As the movie progresses, we learn that Di has an older sister who had earlier married and left the house in what could be described as bride kidnapping, in which young girl is coerced through the stigma of pregnancy and rape to marry her abductor.
In the first half hour of the film, viewers are introduced to the folk ways of the Hmong ethnic people in Sa Pa province in Northwestern Vietnam. Like most Southeast Asian rural communities, villagers here mainly engage in agriculture and animal farming, mostly chicken and swine, while the popular mode of transport is motorcycles due to the uneven hilly terrain.
The plot thickens when Di, the 12-year-old protagonist, starts playing with the fire of passion. On Chinese New Year day, she spends a night at the house of a boy her age, whom she had met at school and with whom she had exchanged chats and selfie photos via mobile phones.
After that night, Di was considered “kidnapped” by the boy’s family and therefore must marry him, according to Hmong tradition.
A problem arises when the boy’s family later asks for Di’s hand in marriage, but she refuses, saying she was not in love with him and had agreed to spend the night only because she was “curious”. Little did she know the repercussions of her decision.
To preserve the tradition, Di’s parents force her to accept the proposal against her will, prompting her to turn to her school teacher for help. The situation escalates as other teachers and city councillors join in to deliberate on the issue. Though Vietnam prohibits marriage of persons under 18 without their consent, Hmong tradition seems to supersede the law.
The day after the council meeting, relatives of the “groom’s” family charge into Di’s house and drag her away to the boy’s house to make her his bride. The sight of the commotion becomes too heartbreaking for Diem, who briefly forgets to keep her distance as a silent observer, and tries to help the young girl.
Questioning the tradition
The film urges viewers to question the morality behind the bride-kidnapping tradition of the Hmong people, while highlighting the pain of the girl’s family which is clearly at a disadvantage in this tradition.
Di’s mother was also once a “kidnapped” bride who has had to live with an abusive drunken husband throughout her marriage. Viewers can easily predict that if Di were to accept the boy’s proposal against her will, she would unavoidably suffer the same fate as her mother and that of many other Hmong women.
However, educated viewers should beware of the differences in culture and tradition when using their lens to judge other societies.
Many viewers questioned why Di’s family was forcing marriage on the young girl, when the couple clearly did not love each other. The inaction of Di’s mother, who cries when she learns that her daughter was “kidnapped” but later lets the groom’s family take her away, has baffled several viewers.
Prominent Thai historian Prof Nidhi Eoseewong once said that maintaining their “face” in society and following socially accepted practices are of the highest priority for families in several Southeast Asian cultures.
He said the ties among family members are woven together by traditions, and the folk ways are designed to keep the society running. Since ancient times, activities such as transplanting rice paddy and building a house cannot be done by a single person or family, but they rely on the help of community members. Marriage between villagers also serves as a way to expand the workforce and strengthen the community.
Since the community has been built around these traditions, those wandering off the accepted folkways are often meted out punishments, ranging from being gossiped about, shunned, or even excommunicated. This is the major difference between an ethnic community and a civilised society, where individuality is respected and often celebrated.
Clash of traditional vs modern thinking
In a crucial scene when Di turns to her school teacher for asylum, her mother intervenes and orders the girl to come home, shrugging off the teacher’s protest that Di should at least finish her schooling before getting married, for better career opportunities. This scene reflects the inner conflict of Di’s mother, who deep down does not agree with the marriage of her young girl but chooses not to break the tradition to save the family’s face in the community.
The movie compares two concepts of the old and new eras. On the one hand we have traditions that have been observed maintaining order in society for generations, and on the other hand modern parents realise that education could be the foundation of a better future for their children.
It might come to a surprise to many viewers that in the eyes of the Hmong people, marriage is more important than completing compulsory education. Some Hmong parents view education as an uncertain path as finishing school does not always guarantee a good career or good future, unlike marrying into a family that is wealthy, or is at least doing better than their own. Many families, despite giving basic education to their children, end up shipping them off to work in China to support the family.
Since people in these remote communities rarely experience the tangible benefits of education, they tend to stick to existing traditions which at least have proven to serve their lives well in the past. This is a tricky issue that humanitarian organisations must consider before providing help.
The film ends with Di eventually being spared the traditional marriage to a man she does not love — a relief for me and other viewers. I believe that she will not be the last victim of this marriage-by-abduction tradition, which is still present in the Hmong community, in sharp contrast with the modern world that values a person’s consent. This film has truly inspired viewers to question the clash of values of the old and the new worlds.
“Children of the Mist” is being screened at the Bangkok Asean Film Festival 2022 from January 20-25 at Paragon Cineplex and SF World Cinema in Bangkok. Don’t fret if you miss the festival, as the publisher, Documentary Club, will be bringing the film to theatres soon.
Baldwin charged in ‘Rust’ shooting, others indicted
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2023
A New Mexico prosecutor on Thursday charged actor Alec Baldwin and others in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of Western “Rust.”
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin and the film’s armourer after more than a year of investigation into the October 2021 shooting on a film set outside Santa Fe.
Assistant director David Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon, the prosecutor said in a statement.
“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Baldwin and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, she said.
Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Hutchins was killed when a revolver Baldwin was rehearsing with during filming in New Mexico fired a live round that hit her and movie director Joel Souza, who survived.
The sheriff’s office focused on how live rounds got onto a movie set and how they were loaded into a firearm.
Baldwin has denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death and said live rounds should never have been allowed onto the set of the low-budget movie. Baldwin said he was told the gun was “cold,” an industry term meaning it is safe to use.
In a 2021 television interview, the actor told ABC News he did not pull the trigger of the replica Pietta .45-caliber long Colt revolver and it fired after he cocked it while rehearsing camera angles with Hutchins.
An FBI forensic test of the single-action revolver found it “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pulled.
Carmack-Altwies last year hired a special prosecutor and received $318,000 in state funds to pursue what she believed would be high-profile, costly jury trials should charges be filed.
New Mexico’s worker safety agency in April fined the film’s production company the maximum amount possible for what it described as “willful” safety lapses leading to Hutchin’s death.
The agency found Rust Move Productions LLC knew firearm safety procedures were not being followed and showed “plain indifference” to the hazards.
Singer-songwriter David Crosby dead at age 81 – Variety
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2023
David Crosby, one of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s and ’70s with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) has died at the age of 81, Variety reported on Thursday, citing a statement from Crosby’s wife.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away” Variety quoted his wife, Jan Dance, as saying in the statement.
Crosby’s UK-based representatives could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.
Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands: the country and folk-influenced Byrds, for whom he co-wrote the hit “Eight Miles High,” and CSNY, who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both groups.
Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on the guitar and incisive songwriting. His work with both the Byrds and CSN/CSNY blended rock and folk in new ways and their music became a part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.
Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” and a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article tagged him as “rock’s unlikeliest survivor.”
In addition to drug addictions that ultimately led to a transplant to replace a liver worn out by decades of excess, his tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle accident, the death of a girlfriend, and battles against hepatitis C and diabetes.
He also managed to alienate many of his famous former bandmates for which he often expressed remorse in recent years.
His drug habits and often abrasive personality contributed to the demise of CSNY and the members eventually quit speaking to each other. In the 2019 documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” he made clear he hoped they could work together again but conceded the others “really dislike me, strongly.”
Crosby fathered six children – two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge‘s partner and another who was placed for adoption at birth and did not meet Crosby until he was in his 30s. That son, James Raymond, would eventually become his musical collaborator.
Crosby was born on Aug. 14, 1941, in Los Angeles. His father was a cinematographer who won a Golden Globe for “High Noon” in 1952 and his mother exposed him to the folk group the Weavers and to classical music.
Thai TV drama series set to penetrate African and Taiwanese markets
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2023
A Thai TV drama series will be broadcast in Taiwan and more than 20 countries in Africa following a partnership between BEC World, the operator of television Channel 3, and media company IE Entertainment.
The collaboration will primarily contribute to the international broadcast of four TV series.
PTS television service in Taiwan has secured the copyright to telecast the popular Thai TV drama “Love Destiny“, while, “Repercussion“, “My Forever Sunshine“, and “Love & Deception” were sold to Star Times, which broadcasts to more than 20 African nations, according to BEC.
The company has seen consistent growth in income from overseas markets since 2018 following the sale of more than 6,200 hours of Channel 3 drama series content to countries in Asia, South America and Africa. In particular, the response in the Asean region has exceeded expectations, BEC World’s executive director and president of TV business, Surin Krittayaphongphun, said.
“BEC World will strive to penetrate new markets in other countries as well,” he said. “We expect more Thai drama series from Channel 3 and BEC Studio to be sold to other countries as a result of the partnership with IE Entertainment,” he added.
Surin clarified that IE Entertainment would be the only overseas partner allowed to sell the copyright for its drama series, apart from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos who hold non-exclusive licences.”
This has been done in an effort to promote the popularity of Thai drama series throughout other regions, he added.
IE Entertainment is also in negotiations to sell the copyright of several well-known series namely “Love Destiny 2“, “Royal Doctor“, “To the Moon and Back“, “Love at First Night“, “Doctor Detective“, and “The Betrayal“.
First ‘Terrifying Thai Film Festival’ to haunt Khao Yai on Feb 3-5
MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2023
Thailand’s first “Terrifying Thai Film Festival” will shatter the serenity of Khao Yai National Park next month. The haunted forest of Dong Phayayen will be the fitting backdrop for a weekend of supernatural thrills and gory goings-on for horror fans, filmmakers and tourists from February 3-5.
Guest of honour will be trailblazing female Laotian director Mattie Do, showcasing her award-winning feature “The Long Walk”. Iconic horror filmmaker Brian Yuzna (“Re-Animator”, “Return of the Living Dead” and “Amphibious 3-D”) will be chatting via video link, while other well-known filmmakers including Paul Spurrier, owner of Bangkok’s excellent Friese-Greene cinema club and creator of “The Forest” and “The Maestro”, will be there in the flesh.
The brainchild of SP Somtow, award-winning author of classic horror novels like “Vampire Junction”, and his sister Premika who created Somtow’s World in Khao Yai as a retreat and performance space for artists of all kinds, the festival asks only one question of its attendees: What Scares You?
“People are scared by many things. It might be the supernatural. It might be a serial killer. It might even be politics, the police, or even their own dark natures. When filmmakers submitted to us, we did not restrict them to any strict ‘genre’ — just to tell compelling stories about the terror of the human condition. So yes, we do have submissions that are like mini-horror films. We have environmental horror, personal horror, and just plain paranoia. All are represented,” said Somtow.
Chat with legend behind ‘Re-Animator’ Participating via zoom will be Yuzna, friends with Somtow for more than 30 years and a seminal figure in the horror movie genre. “We hope to show two of Brian’s movies at the festival: one is “Society”, his very first film and still one of the most disturbing horror films ever made, and “Amphibious” [co-written by Somtow] a giant sea-scorpion monster movie notable for being set in an Indonesian fishing platform,” Somtow said.
Calling All Horror Buffs Horror buffs, filmmakers and movie fans are all invited to Somtow’s World in Pakchong for a weekend of panels, workshops, and special all-night classic horror films curated by the Friese-Greene Club, Bangkok’s private classic movie club. Discuss how to fund your film, how to write a screenplay and other topics with experts. Food and beverages are available around the clock from Pink Le P’tit Café.
The fun starts on Friday with a welcome reception, opening ceremony, and premiere screening. Classic horror movies all night long. Saturday and Sunday: short films, panel discussions, kaffeeklatsches and presentations in the daytime. Saturday: more all-night films. Sunday: judges announce awards, people’s choice award, and final award ceremony and closing.
A festival pass for the entire weekend, including films, panels, workshops, discussion groups and demos, is 2,000 baht, or 900 baht per day. Students can use the promo code STUDENT to get a 50% discount. Organisers say discounts for large student groups are also available upon request. For more info, check out www.terrifyingthai.com. Festival passes are available at www.ticketmelon.com/terrifying.
Thai beauty queen wows New Orleans with glittering gown made from pull tabs
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2023
Anna Sueangam-iam, who won the Miss Universe Thailand crown last year, was a sparkling sensation as she sashayed out on stage in a dress fashioned from pull tabs.
The dress for the 2022 Miss Universe preliminary round was created as a tribute to her parents, who worked as waste collectors, and to showcase her eco-activism.
The official Facebook page of Miss Universe Thailand posted photos of Anna wearing the glittering evening gown with her personal message – “You must not get stuck in the murky surroundings you were born into, but believe you have the power to change your life for the better.”
Anna Sueangam-iam, who won the Miss Universe Thailand pageant last year, made an appearance at the Miss Universe 2022
The “Hidden Precious Diamond Dress”, fashioned from pull tabs and embellished with Swarovski diamonds, was created by Thai designer Arif Jehwang.
The preliminary and national attire rounds for the 71st Miss Universe 2022 were held on Thursday in New Orleans, US. This is the first Miss Universe pageant under the management of JKN.
The 2022 Miss Universe will be crowned on Sunday at 8am Thailand time.
Thai beauty queen astonishes public with evening gown made of can-pull tabs
Lisa Marie Presley, a musician and the only daughter of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, died on Thursday (January 12) after being rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital, her mother said.
Presley, 54, suffered cardiac arrest in her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, according to the website TMZ. The outlet said paramedics performed CPR and administered the drug epinephrine to restart her pulse.
Her mother, Priscilla, confirmed that her daughter was in the hospital and said she was “receiving the best care.”
“Please keep her and our family in your prayers. We feel the prayers from around the world, and ask for privacy during this time,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement.
TMZ showed a photo of Priscilla Presley arriving at the hospital to be with her daughter.
Lisa Marie Presley was born in 1968 and is the owner of her father’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, a popular tourist attraction. She was nine years old when Elvis died at Graceland in 1977.
Her own music career began with a 2003 debut album “To Whom It May Concern.” It was followed by 2005’s “Now What,” and both hit the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.
A third album, “Storm and Grace,” was released in 2012.
On Tuesday (January 10), Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley attended the Golden Globes ceremony in Beverly Hills, where Austin Butler won best actor in a drama film for his leading role in last year’s “Elvis” biopic.
As he accepted the award, Butler thanked both of the women, saying “I love you forever.”