Friday, June 26, 2015

2:10 AM

2:10 AM.

The pulsating lights, the gyrating bodies, the incessant beat of overplayed mashed pop music.  My eyes began to water. The smoke was seriously getting to me.

I'd never been one for clubbing, but found myself outside Zouk on a rainy Saturday night. What was I doing there? Celebrating one of my best friends' quarter life milestone. He was turning twenty five in a few days and decided that the only way to celebrate was to open up a few bottles and groove along to the music.

I remember whistling softly at the absurdity of it all as my friend made his wish and blew the candle out. Twenty five. That was amazing in anyone's books. It seemed just like yesterday that we were wiping snot and mud from our faces back in our high school field, almost a decade ago. A decade. I can finally tell people that I've seen things from the past decade, before bursting into laughter. It was really just so absurd.

I yawned involuntarily, and a few of the others followed suit. Yes, we were getting old, and as much as we didn't want to admit it, the burden of twenty five years of life had taken its toll on our bodies. The days of spending time in a mamak until 4AM just chilling and talking nonsense had dwindled down to nothing. We were coming out later and leaving earlier. The pauses in a topic between grew more frequent as each of us struggled to stay awake. We were all growing older, but unwilling and unable to accept that fact.

The free-flowing alcohol didn't help. I've learned that alcohol brings nothing along with it, well, if you don't include the crippling hangover the day after. Back in the day, alcohol meant the inhibited freedom to act like an adult. Now it meant the freedom of throwing hard-earned cash out away. As an adult, I might add. A whole lot of difference it made.

Old. That's what we were becoming. I was so confident that I would be a great adult, I would shoulder the pressures of adulthood with ease. I wouldn't be like my dad, always complaining of back pains, or my mom, having to always sleep early. I would stay up late, and do everything I ever wanted to do. Because I thought that as an adult, I could.

I was wrong, of course. That cocky confidence brought about by the boundless energy I seemed to have in my youth. Today, I keep reminding myself of a time where I used to stay up late, or even forgo sleep as I rushed assignments back in my university days. I keep telling myself that I can do that now, and that it's no big deal for me. I was holding on to a youthfulness that had long faded.

2:25 AM.

It's getting late. Maybe it's time to go home.
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Monday, June 22, 2015

The Fathers of Running Man: A Father's Day Tribute

Yesterday was Father's Day, which looks at the man in our lives who really make a difference. So for today's Running Mondays column, I've decided to take a look at the fathers of Running Man, sort of as a tribute to all fathers out there who have made their children laugh, and provide them with all the things that made them who they are.

Notably, not all the Running Man members are fathers. Still, there are notable examples of fatherhood, both either extremely obvious, or not so obvious at all. We start off with...

#4 Dream's 아빠*
(*T/N: Appa means father)

When HaHa got married to singer Byul, the Running Man fandom was in a total buzz. When his first son, nicknamed Dream, was born, everyone was just so happy for the new father. So it came as no surprise that HaHa often uses his son as an inspiration or as his anchor point to remind himself that he can and will win the tougher games and races. This happened in episode 178, when the Running Man members faced their most difficult task of crossing the Han River in a paper boat. Through sheer dedication and a reminder that he must be a good role model for his son, HaHa led the way to not only cross the river, but do it in a record breaking time.

Another example would be episode 251, when HaHa mustered up all his strength to win in one of the more touching moments on Running Man. As a father and a husband, HaHa is indeed number 1.

#3 Yoo Jae-suk

It cannot be denied that Yoo jae-suk is not only the main MC of the show, but he's also one of the fatherly figures to the younger generation as well. "Younger generation" here meaning those who are new in the variety world, including Lee Kwang-soo, Gary and Song ji-hyo. You can actually see how well he cares for his fellow members, which further gives the Running Man cast the credibility of a family, rather than just normal colleagues.

I mean, he feeds them...

Makes sure they're okay after every game, whether or not they are on his team or the other team...

guides them as they navigate through the new, unfamiliar territory of the variety world...

and pays for their food.

This screencap from Running Man episode 34 is just to prove a point. 

#2 Hyun-woo's 아빠
(*T/N: Appa means father)

Ji Suk-jin is touted as the weakest member of Running Man, but that doesn't stop him from being an amazing father to his son Hyun-woo. In the earlier episodes, Suk-jin would often use his son as a source of inspiration, much like HaHa. In fact, in episode 178, he and HaHa both drew on the strength of their children and their families to get them across the river. Such is the power of a father's love.

#1 Commander and the Two Kids

Okay, technically, Kim Jong-kook isn't a dad to these two kids. But he's like a strict father figure, who always makes sure that his "sons" are able to win games together with him. He's not shy to dole out punishment should they be unable to meet his standards, but he's also nice in the way a tiger is nice to his prey. Jong-kook has often shown his tougher "Coach Kook" side, and in earlier episodes, the Commander would use this Coach Kook side of him to make sure his two kids are right and ready to win.

 Making sure his kids don't say anything wrong in the media. 

Which "fatherly" figure on Running Man did you enjoy the most? Leave a comment below!


Note: Running Mondays will be on a break next week (29 June 2015) and return the following week. 
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Papa Wong: The Burning Man II

I've detailed in the past about how my dad is an absolute beast when it comes to burning me. His comebacks and one-liners know no bounds, and some of that has since rubbed off me. Since I could comprehend human language, my dad has been actively shooting barbs of fire at me. In fact, almost everything I write is now tinged with sarcasm, and in no little part to my dad's influence.

Since the beginning of this year, I began to share a couple of my dad's top burns on Facebook (and even in this blog post!), and the response has varied from shock, surprise and to even skepticism. He has gotten plenty of fans for his burns, mostly because the subject of said burns is me. But the level of wit and skill in which my dad dispatches his burns has indeed received much praise and laughter. And believe me, all I did was polish up his sentences for public consumption. Every single burn comes straight from his mouth.

My dad is a man who doesn't easily open up to anyone. It's not that he's unfriendly or cold, but rather, not many people understand what's going on in that mind of his. My childhood was filled with my dad's unique humor that had brought me, and this time around, a lot of my friends online, a lot of laughter. Imagine growing up with these kinds of jokes!

One of the happiest moments in my life is just being able to sit down and talk to my dad about everything. That's usually where the burns come from; just random conversations with the man who had given his family everything he had. His point of view about life, love and family has groomed me and my brother into the fine young men we are today, and I daresay that despite the burns, it's this upbringing that kept us grounded since we were able to comprehend things.

Since today is Father's Day, I thought it apt to compile some of the best burns from my Facebook page over the past few months, as a tribute to the man who made me who I am today. 

Happy Father's Day dad! Stay awesome!
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