Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sechskies 20th Anniversary Concert at Gocheok Sky Dome

  No comments    
categories: ,

This was the first time i attended a concert in Korea and i was very excited to watch Sechskies 20th anniversary concert. Sechskies was the first generation Kpop idols that was very active between year 1997-2000 and they were supposedly the rival group to another popular boyband - Hot. To the disappointed to their fans, they disbanded shortly within three years after rising to stardom. Sechskies had the opportunity to regroup again through a popular variety program - Infinity Challenge. Since then, the veteran group had succeeded in gathering fans for their yellow note projects in year 2016. The legendary Sechskies members includes Eun Ji Won, Kang Sung Hoon, Jung Su Won, Kim Jae Duc and Lee Jae Jin. 


If you are going to to Gocheok Sky Dome, please alight at Guro Station and the stadium is within 10 minutes walking distance. I attended their Sechskies Fan Meet which was written in my previous post before heading to their concert which begins at 6pm. Prior to the concert, i brought a 99,000 won ticket from Koreanbuddy which was about $120 Singapore dollars. Although i was seated at the third level, thankfully the view was still quite visible. When i looked down, the ground floor were flooded with Sechskies yellow light sticks and the stage was really huge. Even before the concert start, the fans who were known as yellowskies were screaming ' Jekki Jang' which means Sechskies is the best! I may not have the brought the VIP tickets since only their fanclub have the privilege of getting the nearest ticket to the stage, but i totally enjoyed the atmosphere of the concert.  I look forward to see Sechskies live performances and to participate in the birthday celebration. 



Sechskies live concert at Gocheok Sky Dome

I was pretty impressed with the stage design and the sound system of Gocheok Sky Dome was fabulous too. Although i can only see Sechskies small figures on stage, i can still watch their performance on the big screen. The fans were spontaneous and Sechskies were energized during the concert. I was literally swept away by the atmosphere and the fan chant too. Overall, I like and the arrangement of the songs with different backgrounds and props. During the concert, they screened a few short videos of themselves in various roles and images which was a great fan service. One of the short film showed Sechskies in different occupations which were nicely filmed for their supportive fans. In my opinion, the dancers were enthusiastic onstage and the whole concert was in a celebration mood, as 23 September 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of this first generation boy band. 



Among Sechskies, the only active member that maintain popularity after they disbanded is Sechskies leader Eun Ji Won. He is famous for his emcee skills in variety shows such as New Journey to the West and 2 Days and 1 Night. Eun Ji Won is a successful entertainer and he was given the nickname 'Eun Choding' which literally means 'little kid' by Kang Ho Dong. Eun Ji Won is also a CEO of Gym Entertainment and he had a successful hip hop career with his group mate Clover. I was impressed with Eun leader and i think he is the most charismatic on stage. The way he sings and raps is full of swag. I hope people will look past his "Choding" image and take him seriously as a singer. He performed really well with his band mates and i was really entertained during the two and a half hour concert.



At the beginning, sechskies member Jang Su Won did went off pitch a little when he sings. Being a veteran boy band, Sechskies were able to cover their tiny mistakes and continue to give a marvelous performance. I love Sechskies classic oldies and their dance energy. At the same time i love their new image, music direction and trendy dance move too. I think in order to survive in Kpop industry, the idols need to work hard in all aspect. In particular, i like the song back hug from their new album Another light which was jointly written by Eun Jiwon and Winners. It was a sad song which was presented in a semi light-hearted manner. The other song which i enjoyed is drinking problem. It was a fun filled song with good rhythm and i like the way Sechskies kept on jumping onstage till they laid on the floor grasping for breath which was really hilarious.


Label mate Winners were the guests of Sechskies 20th Anniversary concert and they performed my favorite song - Really, Really. 


I am pleased to comment that Sechskies looked very young despite them in their thirties and i can't believe that they were approaching forties too. Eun Ji Won in particular look so good after losing some weight and learning to take better care of himself. Talk about being a vampire in Korea, i suspect Sechskies were eating preservative all these years. I have to give credits to YG Entertainment as they are really good in managing their artistes. There were some similarity between Sechskies and Big Bang styling. However, i would say that stylists really nailed it with Sechskies. Each of them have unique personalities and their clothes, hairstyle and accessories were very trendy and fashionable. Although i like Sechskies new songs such as ' Something special' and ' Smile', their classic oldies such as 'Couple' and 'Comeback' were amazing too. In conclusion, i was very impressed with Sechskies performance. They tried their best to sing and dance, although it was obvious that they were very tired. They celebrated their anniversary with a huge cake and took pictures onstage with a winsome smile. The oppas are really cute and mischievous. Happy 20th Anniversary Sechskies!



It was an amazing day filled with fun and laughter with Sechskies. By the time i stepped out of the concert venue, the sky was already dark. However, i had a fruitful day spend with Sechskies and the yellowskies. Armed with great memories, it was time to head back home after a tiring day. Goodbye Sechskies, hope to see you again in years to come... :)









Movie Gala Premiere: Return of the cuckoo

  No comments    
categories: 


Synopsis

As a child, Man Cho (Julian Cheung) was rendered mute as a result of the cruel actions of his mother and was adopted by the kind-hearted Ah Kiu (Nancy Sit). Man Cho grew up with Ah Kiu's daughter Kwan-Ho (Charmaine Sheh), and the two eventually develop romantic feelings for one another. Man Cho is extremely self-sacrificing, has an inferiority complex due to his disability, and therefore feels unworthy for Kwan-Ho. Ah Kiu is also against their relationship and things are further complicated when Szto Lai-Sun (Steven Ma) enters the picture after falling for Kwan-Ho too.


Movie review

I was disappointed with the movie because the story plot leads to an open ending which left a bitter aftertaste when the movie run towards the ending. The actors and actresses were fabulous in their acting skills but the storytelling was draggy and at times it was senseless. If the script writer decided to write the story without a clear direction, i would rather they did not produce the movie after so many years. The whole movie was in a mess and we can probably guess what happens in the end. 

Julian Cheung and Charmaine Sheh lead the movie pretty well through their great acting skills. It really feels like they were brother and sister that had a crush on each other. Other than that, we are not really interested in the life of the other characters which were just distracting for the movie. Even the cameo of Joe Chen and other character was redundant and its not necessary for the development of the story. We wanted to see the growth of each individual main character but it was disappointing that they seem to be struck in the past. Hopefully, the actors will be able to choose a better project next time instead of being "forced" to work on a project that was successful in the past.  

Movie premiere

Free ticket to the movie at Sentosa 



Drama Queen's pick: Goblin

  No comments    


Plot

In ancient times, Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is an unbeatable general in wars, but the young King (Kim Min-Jae) is jealous of Kim Shin and kills him. Kim Shin becomes Dokkaebi (Goblin), possessing an immortal life. At first he thinks that he is blessed, but he realizes that he is cursed.

Closer to the present day, Kim Shin has waited 900 years for a human bride to end his immortal life. One night, he saves a dying pregnant woman (Park Hee-Von) who is destined to die. Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong-Wook) is unable to find the dead pregnant woman. The woman gives birth to a baby girl named Ji Eun-Tak (later played by Kim Go-Eun). 9 years later, Ji Eun-Tak lives with her mother and is able to see ghosts. One night, her mother suddenly dies. On that night, she meets the Grim Reaper.

In the present day, Ji Eun-Tak is a high school student. She still sees ghosts and hears their whisper of “Dokkaebi’s bride.” She now lives with her aunt’s family, but she is mistreated by them. On her birthday, Ji Eun-Tak sits by the sea with a lighted birthday cake. At that time, Kim Shin suddenly appears in front of her. Kim Shin does not know why, but he can hear her voice and appears in front of her against his will. Coincidentally, Kim Shin lives with the Grim Reaper at the same house.

Now, Kim Shin appears in front of her against his will, whenever she turns off the lights. One day, Ji Eun-Tak tells him that he is Dokkaebi and she is his bride. - (taken from Asiawiki)

Drama Queen thoughts

I was watching the highly anticipated Korean drama Hwarang until the broadcast of Goblin. The talented cast of Goblin swept me away with their amazing acting skills. The lead actor Gong Yoo continued his success after the box office movie - Train to Busan. I have a liking for both Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Woo respectively ever since i watched Coffee prince and My girl. 

Goblin Trailer 1

Goblin teaser

First script reading

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sechskies 20th Anniversary Awards at Gocheok Skydome


I had the chance to attend Sechskies 20th Anniversary concert at Gocheok Skydome on 23 September 2017. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me since this concert coincide with my Korean trip, i am excited for this solo trip. Therefore, i decided to purchase the concert ticket online at ticketbay on the day of opening sale. However i failed to get a ticket due to the overwhelming responses online and the system crashed. I was a little upset with Koreanbuddy due to the inefficiency in purchasing the ticket and the fact that they did not inform me that they did not manage to get a good ticket for the concert, which they mentioned in the email message that they would get back to me once they purchase the concert ticket. 

To cut the long story short, in the end i still managed to get a ticket on the third level which is further away from the stage but i am happy to just enjoy the atmosphere of the concert. Since i am not a Korean fan club members so it is understandable that the yellowkies would have brought all the VIP seats beforehand which i know only know about this privilege much later. Anyway, a few weeks after i brought the ticket to the concert, Sechskies suddenly posted a poster in the facebook about the additional fan meeting in the afternoon at 1pm before the concert at 6pm. Therefore, i had to purchase the ticket online again. The cost of the fan meet is around 33,000 won which is around $46 and the concert ticket cost 99,000 won which is around $127 which is pretty reasonably priced. Since i will be attending the concert, i am happy to attend their fan meeting too despite the late notice. 



This is the signboard upon entrance. I was in awe of the enormous space and the beautiful structure of the Sky dome. I love the way they arrange the posters and the festive atmosphere which set a good mood with Sechskies classic songs playing at the background. There were a few decorations, banners and official booths on my way in and also the staffs that wore yellow raincoat.


It was a long entrance from the Subway station, and i have to collect the ticket at the ticket auction booth which was a waste of time. I should have been there earlier but i missed a stop while using the subway. Fortunately, i managed to reach the destination despite all the drama that happened on the way to the fanmeet.


I was fascinated by the structure of  Gocheok Sky Dome. The place is huge and the long walkway is pretty tiring to walk down, but i still managed to find the path through the directory and the staff members were pretty helpful too. I was very excited to see Sechskies life on stage for the first time. 


There were many declaration of love and support from the Yellowskies fandom all around the world. I was truly amazed and can't help but to take lots of picture due to my excitement. 


This is my ticket to Sechskies Award Show 2017 and i am ready to spend the entire day to celebrate Sechskies 20th Anniversary with the Yellowkies. 


I was actually late for a couple of minutes but i still managed to went in and seat through the two hours Sechskies Award Show. This was my view from the audience seat which was relatively good. The veteran idols were already seated down and answering some Q&A questions when i reached. It was a little boring for me as i really do not understand Korean that much and there were no subtitle to follow. Sechskies were making jokes and interacting with the fans onstage which were endearing. 

Sechskies Leader Eun Ji Won

Sechskies played some interesting games onstage and the fans went gaga and scream 'Jekki Jang' which means Jekki is the best whenever their favorite idol appeared onscreen.


Eun Choding being childish onstage. 

Among the Sechskies members i am most familiar with Eun Ji Won due to his frequent appearance in variety show, notably the popular program 2 days and 1 night. He even acted in drama and formed a hip hop group called Clover. He presented different personalities and images to his fans onstage and during his variety show which was a striking contrast.


Sechskies played games onstage to see who is the smartest and now they were having a competition to see who has the greatest strength or endurance in Sechskies.  It was pretty interesting to see them playing and teasing each other like kids.




Sechkies had a test on their courage when they were required to put their hands inside the mysterious box. I love Eun Ji Won cute expression when he got scared. 



The speed game which Eun Ji Won came in first place and was given the king of games title. Yes, you deserve this award!


This was a singing competition between the Sechskies members. It was hilarious that Eun Ji Won forgotten the lyrics to the oldies and was laughing awkwardly. I was also pleasantly surprised that Jae-duck and Lee Jae Jin can sing pretty well among blackskies. 


This is my favorite song from their early days titled Dear love. I love Eun Ji Won vocal especially when he rap and sings the song beautifully. 


Sechskies speech to their fans before the fan meet ends.


Group photo of Sechskies as they celebrate their 20th anniversary with their fans.


Once i stepped out of the venue, i was amazed by these banners and posters. Sechskies fandom really put in a lot of effort to show their support. 

My bias Eun Ji Won giant poster



The yellowskies were queuing up to purchase merchandise.  I joined in and brought a t-shirt, a light stick and a mask which were on discount at the booth. In consideration for the fans, YG Entertainment even set up a booth for the fans to change the batteries or repair their Sechskies light stick. 


This is a special door gift for the fan meet. It contained photographs of the members and a moon shot cosmetic. It was a day worth celebrating indeed.




A friendly Korean Yellowskies gave me a photograph of Eun Ji Won while i was queuing up for the merchandise. I was deeply moved and blessed by the kind gesture. 


In conclusion, i enjoyed Sechskies performance onstage despite my limited understanding of the Korean language. Sechskies members look very young for their age with all the good styling from YG Entertainment.  Especially Eun Ji Won who lost ton of weight and look so handsome. Kang Sung Hoon the frozen man who looked like a "Vampire". Kim Jae Duck, Lee Jae Jin and Jang Su Won look adorable and cute. Sechskies really found the fountain of youth and age gracefully. During the Award shoe, Sechskies members made some cute expressions  and gestures occasionally and they were naturally entertaining throughout the fan meet. As an international fan that do not have the chance to attend their fan meet or concert regularly, i really cherished this opportunity to watch their performance and it was more meaningful since it was Sechskies 20th anniversary. I was feeling nostalgic and was touched at times. This fan meet became part of my fond memories during this Korea trip. Now i am really looking forward to their concert in the evening. 



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sechs Kies 20th Anniversary Album

  No comments    
categories: 



Hailed as the Blackstreet boys of South Korean boy band, Sechs kies made a comeback with the latest album to celebrate their 20th anniversary in the Korean Music Industry. Sech skies consisted of leader Eun Ji Won, members Kang Sung Hoon, Jang Su Won, Lee Jai Jin and Kim Jae duc. After the success of the special reunion of Sechs kies in the well-known variety show Infinity Challenge, it brought about the reminiscent of old school music.


The teenagers that debuted in 1997 had blossom into matured and sophisticated men now. They are the fine example of the saying, “Men are like fine wine.” Miraculously, the boyband signed a recording contract with YG Entertainment and made a comeback as the veteran first generation idols. Coincidentally, Lead dancer Lee Jai Jin is the brother-in-law of YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun-Suk. Therefore, he paved the way for Sechs kies to join the big company. Sechs Kies reunion was at a great timing according to main vocalist Kang Sung Hoon. Despite having the thoughts of reunion throughout these years, it was never finalized and Infinity Challenge created a platform for Sechs kies reunion and they became a hot issue overnight ever since their disbandment in year 2000.
Having tasted the displeasure of disbandment, Sech skies treasured the opportunity to perform onstage again. The repackaged of the new album 20th century introduced the new fans to the upgraded version of Secks kies and brought out the sentimental feelings of their past hit songs in the 20th century. They had removed the voice of Ko Ji-Yong who is currently an inactive member of Sechs Kies. For those who are interested in Ko Ji-Yong, he appears in the famous variety show “The return of the Superman with his son Seung Jae. He is a businessman now and he will consider participating in Sechs kies activities only if his schedules allow him to do so which is unlike to occur anytime soon.

To the delight of yellowskies (Fan club name), Sech skies released their latest comeback album with three new songs and they repackaged and choose their classic hits for the rest of the tracks. Let's take a look at this much anticipated album. 


Sechs Kies 20th Anniversary Album



Track 1: Be Well

I love the introduction of the song with Eun Ji Won deep and husky voice. I have to take Eun Ji Won seriously as a singer. Despite having a silly image as variety genius, he can immediately transforms into a charismatic leader of Sechs Kies. I remembered during an episode of Radio Star with Sechs Kies, Sung Hoon mentioned that initially Eun Ji Won and himself were supposed to debut as a duet instead of a boy band. I can see how compatible their voices complemented each other. In fact, the Hawaiian friends truly shines in this comeback. I love the way Eun Ji Won rapped in a distinct manner and Sung Hoon crystal clear voice. Be well gave a gloomy tone of longing to the listeners and it was tailor made for Sechs Kies new matured image. It's a fact that they are no longer the teenagers that sings of puppy love now. Therefore, their music style were improvised to suit their current image. Although each members had developed their own individual style, Eun leader truly shines brightly with swag! 



Track 2: Sad Song

Some people may think that Sad Song is yet another ballad from Sechs Kies judging from the song title, which is surprising not sad at all. In fact, this is a mid-tempo song delivered competently by the veterans. I love the energy of the song and the catchy chorus which is easy to sing along and dance. Their hairstyle and overall styling is much better now compared to the past. They look very trendy and cool in the music video too. I am sure Sechs Kies will continue to grow old handsomely and will always occupy a  place in their fans heart. 


Track 3: Three Words 

This is the first single that they released after their reunion. It was well composed by label mate Epik High's Tablo. This R&B, hip hop song is easy on the ears and the catchy chorus make it easy to sing along. I can feel their sincerity in delivering this song, it contained their emotions after they met their fans again after so many years. The 90's idols experience were evident in the way they expresses themselves. Each member style is unique and nobody overshadows each other as they were each given a verse to sing. Although Sechs kies did not have any 'powerful' dance steps in their latest singles, which considered their age its not advisable to dance like before, the members still shines like a crystal in their own ways. Three words is a beautiful song specially dedicated to the fans and i can say that it's worth the wait after all.   



Couple M/V

The re album contained their previous hit songs. Among those classic songs, Couple stood out as one of their greatest hit song. The repackaging of this song sounds pleasant and not to be mistaken, the entire song still sound somewhat the same. It's simply more modern and classy now in comparison. I am glad that they preserve the essence of the song which i had heard years ago and make a new version out of it to reach out to the younger generation. Unlike the idols nowadays, Sechs Kies painted a different colour to the music industry. They are a legend in Korean music industry and they do live up to their reputation.  



Saturday, June 03, 2017

Drama Queen Report: Kim Woo Bin Throat Cancer


Korean Entertainment was plague by yet another heartbreaking news. The famous actor that starred in The heirs is diagnose with a rare cancer which happened to a small percent of people. Unfortunately, Kim Woo-Bin was down with the illness. He initially wanted to keep it low profile and even wanted to complete the filming for his upcoming movie. However, the director advised him to rest and recuperate at the hospital. Thankfully Kim Woo-Bin heed his advice and went for body check up. Apparently, Kim Woo-Bin showed symptom such as nose bleed and decided to go for a health screen. It was found out at the initial state and it's still curable with medication and therapies. 

His girlfriend actress Shin Min-ah is presentally taking care of Kim Woo-Bin health and giving his emotional support. After reading the article, I was so shocked! How can a person that look healthy be sick so suddenly? Actually, the workload of an actor can be demanding. I appreciate his professionalism but at the same time he need to take care of his health. I am glad that he found out about his illness in the initial state and decided to focus on his recovery. This issue also serve as a reminder to us not to take our health for granted. 

I am glad that Kim Woo-Bin shared about his illness through the media as this matter will sooner or later dig up by the paparazzi. I just hope for his speedy recovery. I believe he does not want to be disturb during this period of time. All the best his recovery and I hope to see him soon on the silver screen. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

BTS won the Billboard top social artist award



BTS otherwise known as Bangtan Boys really shone in billboard Music Award, It is an internationally acclaim music ceremony. The top social artist award which had been awarded to Justin Bieber was specifically given to BTS this year. I know it sounds unbelievable and crazy. BTS made history and open the market to K-Pop to reach a wider audience, thanks to Armies (Fandom) all around the world. These few days, I have been following the news, twitter and stuff and I must say that I am truly impressed. Rap Monster, the leader of BTS carried the whole group on his shoulder and went through all the interviews and pressure from the media like a professional. He has good knowledge about social media, social issue and is well read.

I love the way Rap Monster calmly replied the questions with confidence, despite some minor grammatical mistakes. J Hope role is always to light up the atmosphere despite any type of situation. He may be awkward in the way he overreact, but he did played his role well. He is truly the sunshine guy in BTS. Jin the worldwide handsome man! Yes he is the third member on the left. He is so good looking and dreamy. Rapmon and Jin are the two strong pillar in BTS. I see how much the members respect the both of them. 

Suga is as usual full of swag. He is calm and observant throughout the whole event. Through all the interaction and interviews, I can say that Suga is the second best in English. He understand but find it difficult to express himself. Jin is pretty good too. J hope and V were pouring out words that they knew in English. Those may not be perfect English but hey they did put in a lot of effort and it's not easy for them to speak in a foreign language since they do not speak that much English at home. 

Some people said that Jimin look sad in the billboard music awards. I am sure it is partly due to tiredness and he was unable to completely understand what is going on. We knew he had limited comprehension of English. However, something that I had noticed recently is that Jimin became more quiet and self-conscious. Perhaps that is what we call growing up? Anyway, he maybe showing us a better version of himself.

I think BTS prepared a lot for the billboard. They must have been overwhelm by the pressure of speaking in a foreign language at a unfamiliar setting, however they managed to pull through gracefully.  BTS met many international musicians such as Chain Smokers. Perhaps Billboard will invite BTS for a live performance next year? Whatever it is, BTS had already accomplished a dream and we look forward to their future venture. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 4.1 Embarassment

A new morning, another day has begun. The concubines had all come to the main courtyard to pay their morning respects to the Prince Consort. But instead of getting to see Her Highness's face, they had been waiting for almost an hour in vain.

Out of the concubines who were stiffly seating in their wait, Side Consort Feng's face was already showing hints of impatience. Despite the long wait, none of them dared to leave before the arrival of the Prince Consort. In an effort to quell her impatience, Side Consort Feng took a sip of tea and asked the maidservant behind her, "Chun Yu, what is the time?"

Chun Yu, the maidservant, took a look outside and saw that the sun had already risen, thus she deduced, "Mistress, it is already past nine in the morning."

From the side, Side Consort Jiang observed the interaction between the two with a snot. Lowering her gaze towards her lotus-shade dress, she ignored them with indifference and wait for the Prince Consort to arrive. 

It was after another 15 minutes of waiting that they finally saw the Prince Consort's first-ranked maidservant, Mu Jin, slowly walking towards them with an apologetic face. As she approached the concubines, she bowed as if in apology and said, "Dear Mistresses, please return. Her Highness has said that paying respects to her on a daily basis is a torture. Paying your respects every 3 days would be sufficient."

Having waited for almost the whole morning, they had received a cold welcome and were even rejected! But yet all they could say was, "We thank Her Highness for her considerateness." 

Their emotions were complicated as they said this all the while with an honored face on the outside. Being one of the Side Consorts and the most senior in rank amongst the concubines, Side Consort Jiang agreed while smiling: "In that case, we shall not disturb Her Highness any further."

"Her Highness is busy everyday. If there was a notice earlier, there would not be such a disturbance today. Apologies for our rashness," continued Side Consort Feng. "I am but a coarse person who is not very disciplined, so my perception is lacking. I hope Her Highness forgives me."

Hearing Side Consort's words, Mu Jin's smile did not weave in the least as she bowed with a glint in her eyes and said, "Side Consort Feng does not need to worry. Her Highness has always been a lenient and forgiving person. She is not one to get upset or angry over such trivial matters."

Side Consort Feng's smile became colder and faded as she left with her maidservants, Chun Yu and Xia Yun; leaving behind the rest of the concubines. 

The remaining concubines were more well mannered and left the main courtyard with fake smiles plastered on their faces. As they came out, they heaved a sigh of relief. Madam Luo could not help but comment, "The main courtyard's atmosphere has become frightening."

Side Consort Jiang smiled wryly and mumbled to herself, "The one who lives there is the Prince Consort, the mistress of this residence. No matter whether I am favored or not, I cannot afford to offend her."

Madam Han was the oldest amongst the concubines in age and had been a maidservant who was critical in teaching His Highness about adult matters; having been assigned by the Department of Household Affair. Although she did not like what Side Consort Jiang had said, she could not help but to agree on the inside. Initially she had assumed that Her Highness would make her serve her at breakfast again. Never would she have guessed that Her Highness would made them leave instead, without showing up at all.

Looking back at the main courtyard, she grimaced, "It's fine if there's His Highness favor, but if there is no favor... will there be any good days in the future?"

The remaining consorts were silent. None of them had any children at this point yet, so nobody could be certain of the future. If the Prince Consort wanted to make their days difficult or even torture them, it would be as easy as 123.


Within the main courtyard, Qu Qing Ju had just finished her bath and was sitting in front of the copper mirror fiddling with a jade scepter. Seeing Mu Jin come in, she casually raised, holding Yin Liu's hand as she moved to sit down at the table in the outer room, asking, "Was there any who was unsatisfied?"

"The others were alright, only Side Consort Feng voiced out a few words", Mu Jin answered as she approached to the front to serve her breakfast, and continued, "This maidservant was not too courteous with her, so Side Consort Feng left in a huff."

Motioning Mu Jin to pause, Qu Qing Ju rinsed her mouth before she commented, "That was well handled. As the saying goes, even the gatekeeper of the Prime Minister is akin to a seventh-ranked official, what more you are my first ranking maidservant. Every action you take represents the main courtyard. Being courteous does not imply being weak. Previously when I took a step back, there was none of them who respected me."

Hearing Her Highness words, Mu Jin understood the responsibility and authority that was being placed upon her, making her excited. "Your maidservant remembers Your Highness's words."

Qu Jing Ju nodded at Mu Jin's response and started her breakfast. After she was done, it was rinsing and washing again.  When everything had been cleared and put in its place, it was the beginning of a new day.

Next Chapter >>

Sunday, March 19, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 3.2 Prince of Duan


Side Consort Jiang  commented, "Your Highness, you have really humiliated Side Consort Feng. If His Highness know and blamed you than..."

"There's no need for you to worry," Qu Qing Ju interrupted laughingly with her gaze in the direction of the study, "His Highness is no ordinary person." Inwardly she added, "A man of his caliber would not bother himself over trivial matters."

As long as she was his Consort and did not do anything to damage the reputation and interest of the Prince of Duan, he would still give her respect that is due to a primary wife. Even if her paternal family did not care for her, her maternal uncle (brother of her mother) held the rank of a marquis and was also the Supreme Justice. His wife's father was the Minster of Defense. They did not have any daughters, only 2 sons. So they were very attentive towards their niece and her well-being. It was thanks to them that the original's mother's dowry was protected and conferred to her safely, else it would have long gone been squandered away.

Although the Prince of Duan might not need to depend on his Consort to accomplish great things, a person of his standing would never favor a concubine over the main wife. Every son of the emperor at this point of time was restless, and Prince of Duan was not an unambitious person.

That said, Qu Qing Ju was not the sort of person to live in discomfort. If life were to to be hard and unpleasant for the rest of her life, she would rather just jump into the pond and drown. How she would be treated if the Prince of Duan gained the throne was too much of a hassle for her brain to think. Who know what would happen in the future? Even if she was a generous and virtuous wife,

She wasn’t the type of person live in discomfort. If she really had to live in hardship and unpleasantness for her entire life, it would be better for her to just jump into a pond right now. As to how Duan Wang would treat her if he gained the throne? She was too lazy to think that much. Who knows what would happen in the future. Even if she was really virtuous and generous, it didn’t appear that this Duan Wang likes her very much.

Despite not understanding what the Prince Consort had said, Jin Zhan did not dare ask. She along with Mu Jin and the rest, walked Her Highness back to the Main Palace. When they arrived, the steward of the kitchen was already there waiting for them. 

The moment the kitchen steward saw the Prince Consort's entourage, he immediately approached with a formal bow, and blabbered a rushed list of explanations and requests for mercy.

How unlucky for them. Previously they had also sent the same food items to Her Highness, so there was no warning that Her Highness would erupt into a violent temper today of all days. If she had flared up earlier, it would not have been so bad. But now, even the eunuch serving His Highness, Ming He, came to berate them.

As a result of this episode, the original kitchen steward was discharged and he the current steward had been the assistant who saw an opportunity to be promoted. Wanting to start on the right foot, the new steward had arrived early to make amends and pave a smooth path for himself.

Qu Qing Ju glanced at the new steward: he seemed like a simple man who did not talk much and looked honest.  From his posture, he seemed obedient and docile, but to have become a steward in such a complicated Prince's residence, he was by no means simple. She was weary of his apologies and dismissed him, "I do not care what the kitchen is like, but if you are not attentive in the future, you need not bother to kneel here."

Upon hearing her decree, the steward nodded his head frantically and handed over a menu, which he emphasized was for her to select the dishes for today and the next day.

Not taking the menu, Qu Qing Ju simply smiled at the steward and said, "In the past, every was done according to protocol, so it would not be appropriate to order." 

In response, the steward immediately replied, "Reply Your Highness, while it is true that your food is mandated by protocols, it is still possible to order dishes. The messenger who delivered such a message must have said it wrongly." Inside his heart he was already cursing and swearing at the messenger for being an idiot and causing such a misunderstanding. 

Not wanting to hearing anymore nonsense from the steward, Qu Qing Ju consented and said, "Fine, I get it. I know you will be attentive. Yin Liu, hand me the menu."

With the menu in her hand, displayed before her was all the methods of cooking for every kind of dish. Qu Qing Ju picked a few dishes that she preferred and ordered, "In the morning, I do not like having greasy or heavy food. Other than that, the kitchen can prepare the meals as usual. If it meets my expectations, of course there will be rewards."

Feeling the weight of her words, the steward inwardly wondered, other than Her Highness herself who else would now what would suit her palate? While outside he repeatedly thanked and declared  that she was generous and compassionate. 

With the kitchen steward being sent off his way, Yin Liu massaged Qu Qing J's shoulder and expressed disgruntlement, "What a bunch of useless spineless cowards!" 

The pressure that Yin Liu applied was perfect. Qu Qing Ju leaned back leisurely on the recliner and replied smilingly, "There are many such people in this world. So it is not worth to get angry over an insignificant steward."

At this moment, Mu Jin entered the room with a goblet containing date and honey tea. She heard what the Prince Consort had said and agreed, "Your Highness is correct, this servant thinks that from now on there will no longer be any more  disrespectful and disobedient servants." 

Qu Qing Ju opened her eyes and sighed at the comment, "In the past, I thought the best of others but it is today that I have opened my eyes and decided to return goodness where it is due and evil for those who have done me injustice. That is the mantra of living in the Imperial family."

Placing the teacup on the redwood table Mu Jin smiled and pulled a thin blanket over Qu Qing Ju, "If Your Highness thinks in such a way it is a good thing." Amongst the first ranking maid servants, Mu Jin was the oldest. From the beginning, when the Madam had bought her and taken her into the residence, the little mistress was only a year old. Now this same little mistress had become a Prince Consort and she was over two decades old. She had always been adamant about not marrying, her only wish was to stay beside this little mistress and guard her. With this change, it was for the best.

Looking at Mu Jin, Qu Qing Ju recalled the meaning of her name. Mu Jin, it meant resolve. Such a name was appropriate for such a character. It was one of the good things the original was blessed with, this maid servant was one who always wanted what was best for her.  

Qu Qing Ju closed her eyes and assured, "Mu Jin's wish, I understand."

Mu Jin's eyes reddened with emotion but she smiled and blushed, "Your Highness words are embarrassing your maid servant." Once she finished, she covered her face and left. 

Meanwhile in the study, He Heng had closed a missive and was waiting for it to dissolve in a bowl of water. While waiting, he told Ming He, "Do not bother with what is happening in the south. Big brother and third younger brother are fighting fiercely. It would be better to watch from the sidelines." 

Ming He nodded in agreement. He saw the pieces of missive continuing to be dissolved in water before changing the topic," Your Highness, the kitchen servants have been reprimanded. The new steward seems to be quite smart. He already went to the main palace to ask for mercy."

Not paying much attention, He Heng nodded and concurred, "Madam Qu is this prince's wife. What she is due, she will be given." Recalling back to Qu Qing Ju's lively new appearance which was a contrast to her previous dull soft-spoken self, his brow slightly arched, "As to how she would perform in the future, we will have to wait and see."  

Ming He silently nodded. This matter was between the main masters of the residence. He was only a servant, hence he had no opinion. However, he sense that the Prince Consort of today was different from before and it was no just a change in wardrobe, but her personality. Being the main steward of the residence, he had seen the Prince Consort a few times before, but the feeling he had after he saw her today was... it gave him the impression that a little harmless gray bunny had transformed into a cunning female fox? 

Realizing that he was speculating about his masters, Ming He buried his head between his shoulders. Dear god ah... he should be punished.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 3.1 Prince of Duan

Index


From a distance, He Heng had noticed the entourage in the garden but they were too far away for him to identify them. Although he could not see very clearly, the movements of the woman at the front of the entourage seemed unfamiliar. 

“Ming He, can you see who is it?” He Heng questioned. He had just return from the royal courts and did not want to waste his energy dealing with a bunch of chattering women. Having said that, He Heng stopped his advancement and waited for a reply, his expression turning darker by the moment. 

Although Ming He was an eunuch, he dared not stare at his master’s women. Ming He squinted his eyes and took a quick glance look at the entourage in front before quickly lowering his gaze, “Your Highness, it seems to be the entourage of the Side Consorts, Consort Feng and Consort Jiang.” 

“Then who is that at the front of the entourage?”, He Heng asked as he squinted his eyes and tried to make out who it was. “She does not look familiar.” 

Upon hearing his master’s comments, Ming He raised his head again and took a look. The woman leading the entourage exuded an extraordinary aura and although he did not know what flowers had been embroidered on that wide-sleeved silk dress, it was captivating. It took him some moments to recognize who that silhouette was and hesitantly answered, “Maybe it is Her Highness, the Prince Consort?” 

Even though Ming He did not believe his eyes and what he was saying, who else other than the Prince Consort would dare walk in front of the Side Consorts? At the mention of Prince Consort, He Heng remembered that woman with a weak personality, whose father was the Duke of Chang De, and maternal uncle was the Xiang Qing Marquis and held the a high position in the Supreme Justice of the Court. With her upbringing, it was no wonder that there was little opposition when his royal consort mother chose this Madam Qu as his wife. 

Qu Qing Ju spotted a figure in the distance, one that the original feared - the Prince of Duan. Appearance wise the Prince of Duan was somewhere in his twenties. His stature tall and was posture good. The white robe he wore was edged in black and overlay with a white jade cornet, exuding the impression of a lofty personality who stood above others, a dragon among men.

As her entourage approached nearer, Qu Qing Ju noticed that although the Prince of Duan was smiling, there was no mirth in his eyes. When they had arrived where the Prince of Duan was Qu Qing Ju curtsied and smiled, "Greetings to Your Highness, have you just returned from the royal courts?"

He Heng's gaze landed on Qu Qing Ju delicate wrist which was a contrast against the blood red bracelet she was wearing, giving the illusion that it would break at the slightest touch. "Has my Prince Consort already recovered?"

"Yes, it is all thanks to Your Highness's good fortune," Qu Qing Ju smiled wryly as she used a handkerchief to wipe at the imaginary sweat on her forehead. "After this bout of illness and my weak body constitution, the imperial doctors had actually advised on a light diet. Who would have expected that the kitchen servants would only pay lip service and prepare greasy and oily foods, all of which are what the imperial doctors advised against. Hence, I was so angry that I punished them."

At the mention of the incident, Side Consort Jiang, Jiang Yong Yu, sneaked a peek at the Prince of Duan curious as what his reaction would be. What she saw was a nonchalant prince that did not react to the matter, as if it were something insignificant.

While He Heng did not care to bother himself with such insignificant details, he was surprised by his Prince Consort's boldness and being able to order the servants and actually managed to carry out a punishment.  He might not have any feelings towards this Prince Consort of his, but he would give her respect where it was due and would not embarrass her unnecessarily. She was after all, his main wife, and someone who was supposed to manage the household. So he nonchalantly concurred and replied, "Servants who are not faithful and obedient should be thrown out."

In response, Qu Qing Ju replied, "Your Highness's consideration is of great fortune to this wife." If she was correct, that the Prince of Duan had a personality of being ambitious and well-controlled. Before she transmigrated, in her previous life, Qu Qing Ju could have been considered a successful judge of character. So what kind of man had she not seen before? Besides, this Prince of Duan was not stunningly gorgeous in her eyes, so she couldn't care less. 

When He Heng saw that the other party had not intentions of continuing the conversation, he looked at the other women in the entourage. He noticed that although Consort Feng's face held a smile, it was stiff and it would seem that she had been insulted. He looked back to his Prince Consort, who lowered her head once his gaze was on her. 

In the end, He Heng only nodded his head and said, "Since you have recovered, it would be beneficial for your to have some exercise and fresh air outside." With that said he made his way back to his study room.

The moment He Heng left, Qu Qing Ju turned around and looked at Consort Feng wryly. She stretched out her right hand and tilted Consort Feng's chin upwards, and while rubbing the flawless chin, Qu Qing Ju used a gentle tone and said, "This face of Consort Feng, the more one looks at it, the more one seems to fall in love with it."

This movement made Consort Feng shudder and she retreated away from Qu Qing Ju. After touching Consort Feng's face, Qu Qing Ju used a handkerchief to wipe her thumb and index finger, the digits that were used to grasp and tilt Consort Feng's face. Once done she held on to Jin Zhan's hand be before she left, said, "That's ok. I am tired. You all may leave now."

Consort Feng looked at the handkerchief which had been used by Qu Qing Ju to wipe her hand after touching her face. It was now on the ground, 3 steps away from her, mocking her. Her smile was frozen in anger and humiliation. What made her angrier was that she was actually intimidated by the Prince Consort's gaze! How dare such a dull, timid woman treat her like this?!!

To make matters even more worse was that the other 3 concubines were actually laughing at her right now. Her expression darkened, her icy gaze swept across them, retorting, " What are you looking at? There is nothing to see. Leave immediately!."

The two lower ranked concubines curtsied to Consort Feng before leaving. However, before they could leave, Consort Jiang, Jiang Yong Yu, wanted to show her authority and magnanimity said, "Little sister concubines should return to your rooms early. I will take my leave first." Without a second glance to see Consort Feng's expression, Consort Jiang left. 

Gritting her teeth and mincing her words, Consort Feng stomped on the fallen handkerchief and exclaimed with a dark expression, "Qu Qing Ju!!"

Sunday, February 26, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 2.2 - A Side Consort is still a Concubine

Index

Standing next to Feng Side Consort was Jiang Side Consort, Jiang Yong Xu. Upon hearing this Jiang Side Consort tried to hide her smile as she lowered her head. Feng Side Consort had always used a fake facade of being warm and friendly, to invoke the sense of pity in His Highness, but Her Highness had said the exact opposite hinting at her split personality. It would seem that this Prince Consort is not as soft-spoken and weak as the rumors would have it. Rather this Prince Consort who had just entered the prince’s residence had her own way of doing things.

Seeing that Qu Qing Ju was ridiculing at her, Feng Side Consort was struggling to keep the smile on her face as anger raised within her. “You Highness , please do not jest. This lowly one does not deserve such compliments. What us lowly ones admire about Your Highness is your open-mindedness and innocent heart.”

“What this Prince Consort is like has already been stated very clearly by His Majesty when this marriage was being bestowed”, Qu Qing Ju smiling gazed at Feng Side Consort, as if in surprise that this little concubine dared to discuss the behavior and etiquette of the main wife. She continued, “ His Majesty’s words are set in god and his eyes are sharp as that of a dragon’s, naturally His Majesty sees things more clearer than anyone in this world.”

With those words, Feng Side Consort’s words were stuck in her throat unable to come out. Bringing put the emperor, what else could she say? The Prince Consort was personally handpicked by His Majesty. She was but a insignificant Side Consort who had not position against the highly esteemed Emperor. Even His Highness, the prince, could not say anything about that.

There were only 4 imperial sons that had survived to adulthood and the Emperor was already reaching his sixth decade on the throne. Although the struggle of for the throne was not obvious, behind the scenes a storm was already brewing; making all of the imperial sons cautious in their actions.

Her Highness, the Prince Consort, had dared to say something this audacious, using the words of the Emperor to her advantage and twisting its meaning, clearly aware the even His Highness could not repudiate her status and position as his wife.

Recalling the imperial decrees mentioned the words like ‘naturally outstanding’, ‘virtuous’ and ‘of good standing’ etc… If the Emperor had declared the Prince Consort as virtuous and of good fortune, who could refute? Having a bitter smile on her dace, Feng Side Consort curtsied a full bow and clarified, “Have mercy Your Highness, this lowly one has spoken wrongly.”

Sighing Qu Qing Ju said, “Whatever that is said in front of me is fine and within the confines of this prince residence, however if word of this were to get outside and rumors spread that I am unable to maintain the discipline with int the prince’s residence, it might be a minor matter but it would be a different matter if the Prince of Duan’s Residence is shamed.” She added, “As someone who has the most seniority in this household, I should not need to waste my words any further.”


Seeing an opportunity, Jiang Side Consort come forward with a bow and interrupted, “It is our honor as Your Highness is showing your concern for us lowly servants.” She continued, “We may have spent more time in the prince’s residence but as lowly concubines are certainly not as respected and knowledgeable as Your Highness. We have certainly learned a valuable lesson.”

The other 3 present did not think that Jiang Side Consort would actually lower herself to such a degree of respect to the Prince Consort. Although their hearts held disdain and disrespect for the Prince Consort, outwardly they showed looks of agreement.

Fend Side Consort looked at Jiang Side Consort in displeasure, inwardly thinking to herself that Jiang Side Consort was a cunning one trying to gain favor with the Prince Consort as her background was not that of nobility nor of high standing.

Observing the colourful expressions on each of the concubines faces, Qu Qing Ju used her hand to prop her chin on the armrest as she tapped her right index finger on the chair. Out of the 4 women who were in front of her, Feng Side Consort, whose name was Feng Zi Jin , had the noblest background: her father was a third ranking minister in the Ministry of Works. Jiang Side Consort, known by her name Jiang Yong Yu, on the other hand was the daughter of an official who held a sixth-rank position.

As for the other two concubines, they were even lowly down in the ranks. Han Qing He, Madam Han’s father was only an eight-ranked official and she was only promoted to a concubine as she was the one who had taught Prince Duan on matters of adulthood. Madam Lou, Luo Yin Xiu, was fatherless and was dependent on her uncle who held the position of a seventh-ranking official in the Department of Transportation.

By appearances, Feng Zi Jin could be consider the most beautiful, Jiang Yong Yu was be second. Just like her name, Han Qing He was clean looking. On the other hand, Luo Yin Xiu was just as unremarkable as her personality. These 4 women, together with those few unmentionable lower concubines that warmed the Prince’s bed were enough to cause the original owner of this body to be critically ill. They were not simple creatures at all.

“Of course, it would be good to remember”, Qu Qing Ju said as she stood up, holding on to Mu Jin’s hand for support as she started to walk outside. Seeing her leave, the concubines followed her out to the courtyard. The courtyard had been cleaned of any aftermath of the punishment that took place earlier.

Squinting her eyes as she took a quick look towards the sky, Qu Qing Ju turned her gaze to the four concubines and commented, “ The weather today is not too bad. Accompany me for a walk. After so many days being sick and cooped up in the palace, there wasn't any time to bond with you, my sisters. Let us remedy that from today onward, step by step.”

In other residences, when the main wife was sick, would any concubine lower than the main wife not pay their respects and show their concern? Only in the Prince of Duan’s residence existed concubines that only sent presents but never personally made the effort in to pay their respects. While the original Qu Qing Ju had endure the disrespect, this Qu Qing Ju would not tolerate it.

After hearing the Prince Consort’s words, Luo Yin Xiu, being the most timid, shuddered at the undertone that Her Highness was implying. She had wanted to pay her respects daily but seeing that Feng Side Consort did not so so. She could only follow her example. She was but a lowly concubine who was also not favored, making her standing in the prince’s residence weak. Everything she did had  to be cautiously thought out and she could not afford to stand out. Now the Prince Consort wanted to settle old scores, Feng Side Consort had the favor of His Highness, so she was save from the Prince Consort’s disgruntlement. But what could she, a lowly concubine, who was even lower than the Side Consorts and have no favor with His Highness do?

Jiang Yong Yu, also stopped after hearing the Prince Consort’s words and looked at Feng Side Consort. While she did not have the favor of His Highness, her position in the prince’s residence could be considered to be neither horrible nor fantastic. Seeing the Prince Consort of today who had an aura of authority about her, she felt that something was about to change. She was not as weak as the rumors made her out to be. Testament was in the kitchen servants who were beaten for the mistake as an example of her flexing her authority in the household.

Noblemen who were normal would always give the main wife a certain degree of respect, and someone as intelligent as His Highness surely understood this unwritten rule. However, in the past the Prince Consort was soft-spoken and did not take up any issues with being slighted over Feng Side Consort. But not that Her Highness wanted to settle the scores, things were not going to be so tranquil as previously no matter who was more favored.

Although the Prince Consort did not have the attention and love of there father and step-mother, she had an influential maternal family and His Highness was not a person without any ambition. He naturally knew how to respect his main wife because he would need the support.

Jiang Yong Yu looked at Feng Side Consort sympathetically before shifting her gaze away. She notice that there was an entourage that was making their ways towards their direction and who else would it be but the master of the household - His Highness, Prince Duan.