Lifestyle

Here’s your K-pop Starter Pack

In case you want to get into Korean Pop Music

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The last few years have seen the rise of K-pop in the world outside of Asia, and with really cool bops and tracks, we’re not too surprised. There’s more to it though than the music, and we decided to put together a starter pack of sorts to get you acquainted with the world of K-pop.

K-pop terms

To start you off, let’s go over some terms that you’ll probably encounter more than once as you find your way around


  • Idol — what you call K-pop artists/stars
  • Aegyo — what you call idols who act cute (i.e., baby voice, facial expressions, gestures)
  • Bias — this is your favorite member in a group
  • Maknae — this is the youngest member of a group, usually seen as the innocent, playful, and sweet type
  • Sub-Unit — these are units of select members from one or more groups that come together and make music; members of sub-units still promote with their group, but are able to do something outside of them
  • Comeback — when an idol or group releases a new track, it’s called a comeback and usually starts a train of show appearances, live performances, and fan interactions

Fan Chants and Light Sticks

The K-pop culture is unique and interesting in that it has some specific interactive aspects when it comes to live performances: Light Sticks and Fan Chants.

Idols and groups have their own light sticks, and fans bring them to performances and wave them in the air to show support for their biases. There are times when light sticks are programmable to sync to the songs, essentially integrating the audience to the concert itself, and they make for really good souvenirs and symbols of people’s fandom.

Fan Chants are sections of songs that are yelled by the audience, again integrating them more into the show. Some fan chants are lyrics of the songs yelled alongside the idols, and others are separate sets of words and phrases during instrumental parts or dance breaks. As an example, here are the fan chants to Twice’s latest release, “Yes or Yes”:

Music Shows

Part of K-pop debut/comeback promotions is the music show performances. Each TV station has its own music show wherein idols and groups have live performances and give out awards on a weekly basis. Examples include SBS Inkigayo, MNet M!Countdown, and KBS Music Bank. The performances are also available on their YouTube channels to watch whenever and wherever you want to. 

Variety Shows

Another part of K-pop promotions are the variety shows. These give the idols opportunities to show who they are while playing games and having fun in different ways. Like with the music shows, you can find segments on YouTube, and they’re really entertaining.

An example is the popular show called Knowing Brothers (Men in a Mission on Netflix). The concept is a classroom with the students being showbiz veterans, and different celebrity guests come in as transfers. Everyone talks casually, without honorifics, and overall leaves everyone laughing their butts off.

Two other popular shows are Weekly Idol and Idol Room. These shows are kind of like talk shows, but the idols play games and do challenges, as well. With variety shows, you can tell that everyone on set is having fun, and I think that simply adds even more to the amusement of the audience.

V Live

In K-pop, fan interaction is a big thing. They have events like fan meets, fan signs, and something called “hi touches” (you literally high five all members of a group), but they’re also accessible online — an example being the app called V Live. This is a platform where idols can livestream and post videos, kind of like Twitch but for K-pop.

Idols have their own channels, and you can communicate with your favorites through the chat during their broadcasts. You can also subscribe to their CHANNEL+ or VLIVE+ and get access to exclusive content for a monthly fee. This is a really cool way to stay updated with your biases in a more laid back and personal kind of way.

Now that you’re somewhat familiar with the K-pop world, let’s get you some stuff to jam to. Here’s a playlist on Spotify called K-pop Starter Pack with some tracks to listen to as a start. It includes some of the best tracks out there, and it covers different genres so you can get a good feel of it all. Just click shuffle and start your journey!

Lifestyle

Vaping supposedly linked to mysterious lung disease, investigations ongoing

More than 150 cases reported in the US

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If you’ve gone out within the past few years, you’ve probably ended up in a dense mist of vape smoke. In fact, you might have tried the smoking alternative yourself. Since its invention, vaping has prided itself as the safer bet compared to tar-riddled cigarettes. Further, vaping is supposedly less addictive and cooler in today’s standards. Case in point, vaping bars have popped up all over the world. The fairly new technology became a cultural sensation.

Unsurprisingly, vaping’s clean reputation owes to its recency. So far, scientists haven’t finished conducting more rigorous tests confirming the technology’s safety. Naturally, science will eventually catch up.


In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating more than a hundred pulmonary cases linked to vaping. Across the States, 153 people have succumbed to “severe lung illness” from June 28 to August 20 of this year. All cases involved some sort of vaping usage.

The unnamed illness includes “breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization.” In some cases, the illness further developed “mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea.” Thankfully, none of the cases have caused death.

So far, the CDC has not pinpointed a definitive compound or product causing the illness. Investigations are still ongoing. Further, health officials are also investigating a potential link with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, the same compound found in marijuana. As of late, vapers have started vaping with THC oil. Several of the existing patients used such products prior to the illness.

In any case, the CDC is still finalizing its investigation, indefinitely extending vaping’s clean slate. If anything, the phenomenon is now under the microscope. Is it still as safe as it claims to be?

SEE ALSO: Fitbit and Singapore are teaming up for a healthier nation

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Lifestyle

Fitbit and Singapore are teaming up for a healthier nation

Could include more than a million subscribers

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Governments everywhere are trying to leverage modern technology in their public healthcare programs, but the process has been slow. Adopting new technology is difficult because of the wide scale and costs. In a first, Fitbit and Singapore have teamed up to build a healthier country.

Singapore launched the Smart Nation initiative five years ago to modernize the city-state with state-of-the-art technology, as well as proactively improve citizens’ health. Fitbit has been signed onto Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) to undertake a project.


Starting next month, residents of Singapore can register for the Fitbit Inspire, which the company launched earlier this year specifically for employers and health plans. Citizens won’t pay anything for the device, but will commit to spending SG$ 10 a month for a year of premium service, which includes guidance and one-on-one coaching.

Fitbit Premium provides personalized coaching and nudges subscribers to drive behavior and lifestyle changes to live healthier. Apple, Fitbit’s arch-rival, had also competed for the Singapore contract, but Fitbit’s bid ultimately won out.

As part of the partnership, Fitbit’s digital health platform and wearable devices will integrate with Singapore’s public health program. It’ll be called Live Healthy SG and will be available to people of “all ages and levels of health.”

Singaporeans will be able to pre-register for Live Healthy SG around mid-September, Fitbit said, with the program set to launch sometime in October.

This project can be a inspiring stepping stone for other countries as well. Singapore is a very small country and hence ideal for a pilot run. The same setup can be replicated elsewhere and scaled.

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Entertainment

YouTube Original Series to feature TWICE

First K-Pop girl group to be featured

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Image from JYPNation at Naver

K-Pop continues to be more popular than ever and it’s now making its way to YouTube Originals. TWICE, who constantly tops Korean charts, will be featured in a YouTube Original Series. They are the first K-Pop girl group to star in the award-winning series.

The series will feature the North American leg of their 2019 World Tour called TWICELIGHTS. This might prove to be an emotionally charged content from the group as one of the members — Mina — took a leave in the middle of the tour due to anxiety.


According to Billboard, the series is “unlike anything released by TWICE before. The series will showcase exclusives, in-depth interviews, as well as an “intimate and personal portrayal of all of TWICE’s members.” It will also dabble into the group’s four-year journey so far. The series will launch in the first half of 2020.

TWICE debuted in 2015 with nine members namely Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group first hit their stride following their first comeback Cheer Up. The group has consistently released hit songs since and have been tapped as endorsers by multiple brands including tech-related ones like LG.

YouTube Originals and YouTube Premium

YouTube Originals had previously worked with K-Pop boy groups, most notably the one with BTS called BTS: Burn The Stage. It features various shows produced by YouTube itself. The show series was launched alongside YouTube Premium — a subscription based entertainment platform akin to Netflix, Hulu, et al.

YouTube Originals are currently only available to YouTube Premium subscribers but the content will soon be accessible for free but with ads starting September 24.

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