London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Deadly Elves and other recent tabloid stories

It’s a while since I did a round-up of celebrity news, which means that I’ve almost forgotten all the things I was going to mention, and lost most of the links that I was going to use. So before things get completely out of hand, here’s one of my not-so-regular posts shamelessly plundering the celebrity blogs.

1 Bada

After my recent post defending Bada against the assaults of Popseoul I exchanged a few emails with the Popseoulites. They don’t have an issue with her singing ability, just her sense of style. I’m coming round to their way of thinking, based on one of their more recent posts.

Bada as ajumma - from PopSeoul

A weird vision. And the singing ability? Well, I’ve now listened to Made in Sea and … it’s a big disappointment. So you won’t catch me posting another defence of Bada until she produces another album to match her second.

2 Rain


He had such a good start to the year. I thought he was a dead cert for the award of LKL man of the year two years running. But then things kind of went off the rails. That inconvenient lawsuit in America was not of his doing, and ultimately the judge came to the right decision. But all those cancelled concerts? His parting with his manager JYP Entertainment? The prize is now wide open again.

3 Jang Dong Gun

Jang Dong-gun

The hunky action hero from Taegugki and Typhoon is now the face of SK telecom’s 24 hours service, replacing Rain.

4 Big 4 in the Big Apple

While Rain seems reluctant to appear in the States, four other acts appeared in Manahattan and Las Vegas. Lee Hyori, SG Wanna Be, SeeYa and Epik High made the journey for concerts on 4 August (Manhattan Center aka Hammerstein Ballroom) and 11 August (Caesar’s Palace)

Meanwhile Cho Sung-jin, from Korean “reggae” band Stony Skunk, made it to number 5 in the Billboard Hot R&B / Hiphop singles chart the same week.

5 Kim Yun-jin

She’s lonely, she’s wealthy, and she’s had a book published.

Kim Yun-jin book: The World is Your DramaUhm Jung-hwa: 38 Days and 107 Hours in New YorkKim Yun-jin’s book “The World is Your Drama”, is selling well according to the Chosun. It is joined in the bookstore by another book about travels in America by a Korean actress, 38 Days and 107 Hours in New York by Uhm Jung-hwa.

Coverage is in the JoongAng Daily.

Incidentally, I’d forgotten until recently that Kim Yun-jin starred in Byun Young-joo’s (변영주) film Ardor (밀애). Well worth searching out, apart from the feeble ending which was so predictable that I had discounted it as a possibility — and then I was caught by surprise when the obvious happened.

6 And now, the Elves

Firstly, an Elf is a fan of Super Junior1, and as it happens my most significant category of reader, so I have to be careful what I say. Where do I start? I kind of lose track with who’s been injured in what car accident, how many spin-off bands there are, and whether the main band is splitting up or not. Fortunately a dedicated SuJu scholar makes sure that Wikipedia is kept up to date with all the latest gossip.

But I’m grateful to PopularGusts for having researched and exhaustively catalogued the long and complex story of how the Elves had an indirect hand in the death of a school girl, Lee Eun-ji. (Weight loss + tv + superjunior fans = suicide? – 23 Aug 2007) Read on there, because it was taking me far too long to assemble all the pieces. Or, if you’re short of time, there’s a two-part cut-down version at PopSeoul: part 1 and part 2. But as ever, PopularGusts is well worth the visit.

Kim Yeon-ahLee TeukNext (and this is the really weird one) there is the Kim Yeon-ah (or Kim Yu-na, 김연아) Cyworld incident. It goes something like this. Lee Teuk, the cute one (OK, I know, they’re all cute), like everyone else in Korea, is on Cyworld. And for some reason or another he invites star skater Kim Yeon-ah to be his online Cyworld-buddy. She’s kind of cute as well, I guess. She accepts. Except that Lee Teuk says she refused. So the poor girl gets harassed by angry SuJu fans, with 2,000 hate messages left on her minihompy2. Am I going to be the next target of irate Elves, after having trashed SuJu T’s first single?

While on the subject of insecure and angry netizens, check out the story of how Chinese netizens concocted a diplomatic incident and forced a small-town Korean pet-shop owner to change his cute marketing strategy. Anyone would think the poor guy had defamed the Prophet.

7 Jeon Do-yeon

Jeon Do-yeon taking it easy

She’s made it into the world’s top 50 most influential women, as chosen by Variety magazine. What puzzles me, though, is how a showbiz publication gets to opine on this. And also why this story is all over the blogosphere and some of the Korean news & entertainment sites (eg here), but not on the Variety website itself.

8 Jeon Ji-hyun

Another ad for a mobile phone – featuring a miniskirt that’s too long:

There seem to be as many ads for mobile phones in Korea as there are for cheap car insurance websites in the UK.

9 Honey Lee

Bless her, she’s now modelling jeans.

Honey Lee models Hilfiger

And the Chosun, bless them too, make the helpful comment:

During the shoot, Lee is said to have won the admiration of the crew.

…which could be taken on at least two levels.

10 And finally…

Supposedly, the ideal male face.

Ideal Young Korean Male

All I know is, if my surgeon left me looking like that, I’d hire myself a good lawyer.

  1. E.L.F. = Ever-Lasting Fan []
  2. Again, someone over at Wikipedia has reconstructed the story []

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