Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New KARA Single/MV

Pandora - KARA

Monday, August 20, 2012

iTunes Top Music Video

Gangnam Style!

Here is version 2 of the MV starring Hyuna. Wow, her voice is irritating.


Oops. Just realized that I didn't post a link to the original MV. Almost 43 million views, for a weird Korean music video.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quality Fade

A week after I complained about my IKEA "Made in China" lamps, Chinese car companies got busted for using asbestos in cars exported to Australia.

Wall Street Journal
Some mistakes are understandable. Others seem to defy explanation.

Earlier this week, two leading Chinese car companies, Great Wall Motor and Chery Automobile, confirmed they are recalling 23,000 cars and trucks they’ve sold in Australia because asbestos was discovered in their engine and exhaust gaskets.

This is a genuine setback for the companies and yet another blow to the image of Made in China.

After first reading the story headline, my reaction was puzzlement. Leading executives at Great Wall and Chery take product quality seriously, spending millions of dollars every year for better results. Improved vehicle reliability at Chery and Great Wall helped to ignite a 50% jump in exports to markets like Australia, Russia and Brazil last year.

How could these two proud Chinese car companies permit such a senseless error, one that is certain to damage their brand names?

The article also mentions the same book, Poorly Made in China, to explain the apparent lapse in quality. I also don't believe that this was an innocent mistake but a strategy: enter a market with a quality low price product, bankrupt other competitors, then cut costs/increase profit by secretly reducing quality. OF course this backfires in the long run but I don't think Chinese manufacturers care. They're either in it for the short term profit or to steal technology/IP.

Never is a very long time but I will never buy a Chinese car.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style - PSY

With Sistar, After School, and KARA (just Nicole and Hara)!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living with Dead Hearts

Living with Dead Hearts
Each year, as many as 70,000 children are kidnapped in China. They are not held for ransom; rather, they are sold. Some are sold into new families who raise them like adopted children; others are sold into slave labor, marriage, prostitution, and lives on the street. Most children who are kidnapped will never see their parents again.

Living with Dead Hearts follows several parents whose children have been kidnapped as they struggle to track down their kids and to make sense of what has happened to them. Along the way, the film also looks at the experience of kidnapping and growing up in a strange family from the child’s perspective and examines the lives of street children.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Poorly Made In China

Poorly Made in China is a book written by Paul Midler about manufacturing and tactics the Chinese use to increase their own profits and eventually steal or ruin your business. I read the book a few years ago but this post is about some lamps I bought at IKEA.

A couple of months ago, I went to IKEA and bought two LED lamps. They were both called JANSJĂ–; the only difference was that one had a regular base ($10) and the other has a clip ($15).

When I found them near the checkout, there must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of boxed piled up. From the crappy cardboard, I knew that these were made in China. I hesitated, looked around for other lighting options, but ended up buying both since they were exactly what I was looking for (LED lights on flexible goose-necks).

They weren't expensive but not really cheap either ($25 total + tax). I brought them home, opened up the box, was was very disappointed with the manufacturing quality, especially the power adapter. I guess they had to make it universal since IKEA sells everywhere but the plug was really flimsy and I couldn't find the usual safely regulation markings (UL, CSA, etc). Also, the weight base for the normal lamp was an ugly piece of rock, but IKEA included a sticky piece of felt-like material to cover it. Anyway, they worked fine for about two months then the clip-on light started flickering; the on/off rocker switch on the power cord was bad. About a week later, the other light/lamp started flickering too... same power switch problem. Sigh... how hard is it to make a simple lamp or spend pennies more for a quality switch?

After reading Poorly Made in China, you can tell that the lamps were made with the same "cheap" mentality. I remember when IKEA opened its store in Toronto; there was a display with a test machine simulating thousands of stand-up/sit-down cycles to demonstrate the quality of IKEA furniture. I don't see that display anymore after IKEA (and everyone else) outsourced it's manufacturing to Chinese subcontractors.

Monday, August 6, 2012

SBS K-pop Super LAME Concert

So I finally decide to buy tickets to this Friday's concert at ~11:30am this morning. At ~11:45am, I see on their Facebook page that the concert has been "postponed" until later. How !@#$%^& lame is that?

This was just posted:
Absolute Kpop

Tickets can be refunded on or, depending on the method you used to purchase your tickets.

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment we caused all of you.

Please await an official letter of apology from SBS.

More details regarding the postponed concert will be posted as soon as possible.

5 minutes ago

Luckily Home Depot Center is only a 15 minute drive. I feel sorry for people coming from out of town who also bought plane tickets and reserved hotel rooms. They hold so many of these "super" or "dream" concerts in Korea that you would think they have their act together.

Sigh... looks like I won't get to see Sistar live :(


Just called AXS and was told that if I purchased tickets via phone or online, it will be automatically refunded within 7 days. Well, looks like concert is cancelled instead of just postponed. I also read that this happened before. With such high ticket prices, why can't they hire some professionals and get their act together?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Speed Wedding

I went to a co-worker's wedding yesterday that was held in their backyard. The entire ceremony went like this:

Groom repeats vows
Bride repeats vows
Groom puts ring on bride
Bride puts ring on groom
Officiant (not sure if he was a pastor) pronounces them married

I think the entire "wedding" took about 3 minutes and the guy marrying them read everything from an iPad. Pretty cool. At most weddings, the bridal party are still walking in after 5 minutes.

After that, there were several hours of eating, drinking, and dancing.