5 Myths About Millennials

Welcome to my blog! I’m so excited to start on this journey, and I hope that I’ll be able to bring you useful and interesting information along the way. This blog is a lifestyle blog with a millennial/young generation focus, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the only people who can benefit from this blog are millennials. I’m happy to have you here, no matter what your generation identity is!

To kick things off with my first post, below are five myths that you might still believe about millennials. 

1. Millennials are Lazy

Millennials have been pegged as lazy for as long as I have been cognizant about being a millennial. For me, it never made sense. I spent my high school years schlepping from school to band practice to work, all to finally go home around 11pm, eat dinner, and do my homework. College was much of the same, with my days full of juggling three to five part-time jobs with a full course load, plus research and honors projects. I watched many of my peers do the same. I watched friends work full-time and go to school full-time, raise kids while attending classes, and put their passions into extra-curricular projects. Are some millennials lazy? Yes, of course. There’s always going to be some truth to a stereotype, because that’s where they usually stem from. But it is by far not the majority. 

2. Millennials are Entitled 

Entitled is probably the word association with this generation that I both hear the most and loathe the most. Am I entitled because I want a full-time job with a livable wage, a home to call my own, and a family? Isn’t this what all the previous generations wanted too? Somewhere down the line, millennials got stuck with the label of “entitled,” even though the things we desire most are the same as those who came before us. It’s true that millennials are different and the details of what we want have changed (for example, wanting to do fulfilling work is high on that list), but is it really all that different from our parents and grandparents? 

Some would argue that we want all of these things handed to us without working for them, but as stated in the previous point on this list, I don’t think millennials are all that lazy (or unwilling to work hard for what we want). Some millennials are entitled, but it’s probably because they were raised by entitled parents, not because they’re millennials. Entitlement exists in all age brackets. Blaming millennials for the brunt of that will not fix anyone’s parenting mistakes.

3. Millennials are Self-Absorbed

Again, to state the obvious, of course some millennials are self-absorbed (because there are people of all ages like this). But millennials often get a bad reputation simply because we tend to use our phones a lot and participate in social media. Many would argue that we’re slaves to our phones and follower counts, but in reality we’re engaging with not only technology but with actual people. Social media is social by nature, so I can talk to my friends across the country or across the world in a matter of minutes. I can read news articles, use apps to study my foreign language vocabulary, and access millions of bits of information with just the tap of a few buttons. On social media, I can connect with friends and family that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to get in touch with often. Yes, I may document what I’m having for dinner if it’s aesthetic enough, but sharing our lives with others is the entire point of social media. Self-absorbed? Not so much. But we may just be the most social generation yet. 

4. Millennials Can’t Hold Down a Job

It’s normal for someone in my generation (and probably the generations to come) to job hop quite frequently. Even though it’s “the new normal,” it simply isn’t true that millennials can’t keep a job. It’s not that they can’t hold on to a job, but rather that many are looking to move up, move on, or progress in a way that their current job doesn’t offer. Most college graduates end up either 1) having a hard time finding a job, 2) only being able to find part-time work, or 3) having to take a basic entry-level job while they continue to search for something in their field. Jobs are hard to come by even for those with college degrees and work experience, and even if you enter the workforce with a good background, you’re still likely to be stuck in an entry-level job. Many millennials aren’t satisfied with this, mainly because we didn’t spend 4-7 (or more) years getting multiple degrees and job experience to work the high school diploma required lowest level job. We’re the most educated generation thus far, and many of us are determined to work our way up. In my 5.5 years of full-time work, I’ve already had three different jobs. While this is normal, it’s not a blanket statement. I have a friend who has worked full-time with the same company for 10 years and another who has worked in the same job for 6 years. There’s more variety than we’re given credit for.

5. Millennials Are Killing (Insert Industry Here)

Millennials aren’t killing anything–we’re finding ways to make it better. Fast food won’t die because some millennials are health conscious (there’s still plenty of us who love it okay), and though we’re impacting nearly every industry out there, we’re doing it to change it for the better. It’s easier now more than ever to get eco-friendly products, stir up support for a cause, and spread information that will make us all healthier, smarter, and happier (which, by the way, benefits everyone on the planet, not just millennials). 

So, what do you think? Are there other myths you can bust about millennials? 

With the Order of Cultural Merit, BTS Soars Even Higher

BTS has been deluged with accomplishments, awards, and accolades, and though some of them were quite meaningful and surprising, perhaps the biggest honor they’ve managed to snag recently was the Order of Cultural Merit at the 2018 Korea Popular Culture and Art Awards ceremony.

The Order of Cultural Merit is an award given by the President and is meant to recognize those who have served South Korea by promoting its culture and art, thereby increasing awareness and respect for the country’s culture. There are five degrees of the award, each with a different ribbon that signifies to which grade the honor belongs. The BTS members received the fifth grade, known as 화관 (Flower Crown). This makes BTS the only K-Pop group to receive the prestigious honor (PSY, a soloist, received the fourth rank of Jeweled Crown in 2012).

For BTS and ARMY, the weight of this award is not lost. Yes, BTS has achieved so much in such a short time, but winning an Order of Cultural Merit is beyond what anyone could have expected. Various K-Pop groups receive commendations from the Ministry of Culture at the same awards ceremony (BTS received this in 2016), but moving up to this higher honor is so, so rare.

As the members ascended the stage and took the mic to give a thank-you speech, leader Kim Namjoon mentioned that although he normally speaks, he wanted to let the other members have a chance to talk on this day. “I want to give this honor to all ARMY,” he concluded. Taehyung commented that he didn’t really know how to express his feelings but that he believes his family is proud. “ARMY, I can’t express it well, but I’m really thankful for you, and I love you,” he said.

Yoongi recalled some of their various achievements of the past year and stated, “I think this award is a huge honor. We will let the world know about Korean culture with the hearts of national representatives.” Jin noted that he was proud and mentioned that they’ve noticed, while abroad, that “many people sing along in Korean and said proudly that they study Hangeul.”

Jimin stated, “This award is big because it was made with the members, the staff, the company, and you all. So I want to tell you that everyone has a share in this award.” Hoseok commented that, “It’s an award filled with the weight of our staff’s hard work, BTS’s blood and sweat, and the cheers of ARMYs from all over the world.” He didn’t forget to shout out his love for ARMY at the end of his speech.

Finally, Jungkook thanked the fans and expressed his uncertainty at receiving the award: “Truthfully, I think this award is still too much for us. However, I will accept it thankfully with the meaning that it’s an award telling us to put more effort in going forward.”

When the group was nominated, the Ministry of Culture listed their worldwide success, number one album on Billboard, and the fact that they’re made up of singer-songwriters as contributing factors to their nomination, and eventual win, of the Order. The award is all about promoting Korea’s culture and art, and BTS has certainly achieved this beyond what anyone else has been able to do. They’ve increased the force of the Hallyu Wave in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and around the world.

BTS being the only K-Pop group to receive the award is certainly meaningful, but even beyond this, they’re also the youngest recipients in history. It will be really difficult for anyone younger to receive the award, at least for many years, since youngest member Jungkook is only 22 years old (21 internationally).

Needless to say, the BTS members are certainly proud, but so are their families, their countrymen, and their fans. BTS reached uncharted waters way before they were awarded the Order; this is simply the next level that their tidal wave of success has claimed.



Korea Times

'대중문화예술상' 방탄소년단, 최연소 화관문화훈장 "韓 문화, 세계에 알리겠다"

My translation of the above article

Translation: Korea Popular Culture and Art Awards: BTS are the Youngest to Receive Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit. “We’ll Spread Korean Culture Around the World."

On the afternoon of October 24th at Seoul’s Olympic Park, BTS (Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook) received the Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit during the 2018 “Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards” ceremony. They are the youngest recipients on record.

On this day, Leader RM stated, “Thank you so much. As the leader, I communicate our thoughts and feelings, but today I want to let my friends talk a lot. I want to give this honor to all ARMY.”

Jin said, “First, thank you so much for this award. We go abroad often, and many people sing along in Korean and said proudly that they study Hangeul. I was proud. I’ll continue to put in efforts in the future to let others know about our culture.”

Taehyung expressed, “I don’t really know right now. I don’t know how I should express what’s in my heart. I think my family is really proud of me. ARMY, I can’t express it well, but I’m really thankful for you and I love you. I wish only good days for all of the people here.”

Yoongi, who called it a “family honor,” said, “There were many events this year. The #1 on Billboard, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, the UN speech. I think this award is a huge honor. We will let the whole world know about Korea with the heart of a national representative.”

Jimin said, “Coming out here makes my heart feel like it’ll explode. This award is big because it was made with the members, the staff, the company, and you all. So I want to tell you that everyone has a share in this award. Also, since we’re the youngest here, it’s an honor to be able to meet all of the seniors (in the industry) here.”

The youngest, Jungkook, stated, “Truthfully, I think this award is still too much for us. However, I will accept it thankfully with the meaning that it’s an award telling us to put more effort in going forward. Thank you to all of the ARMYs, family members, and Bang PD who always cheer for us and believe in us. We’ll continue to contribute to spreading Korean culture throughout the world.”

Hoseok said, “I’m really happy that we’re becoming a hope for popular culture. The Order of Cultural Merit is a really big award. It’s an award filled with the weight of our staff’s hard work, BTS’s blood and sweat, and the cheers of ARMYs from all over the world. Going forward, we’ll coolly do our activities to be a hope for popular culture.” “ARMY I love you!” he cried out.

By entering the Billboard chart, giving a speech at the UN Assembly, having a World Tour, and participating in the AMAs, BTS has grown into the representative group of K-Pop culture with these many great achievements.


Figuring out the Canon of BTS’s HwaYangYeongHwa

*This was cross-posted on my Tumblr and was done several months ago. I will be writing a follow-up with a full timeline for the HYYH series and Bangtan Universe!

I think almost everyone thought we were done with the HYYH era—I vaguely remember one of the members confirming this in an interview. When the WINGS era began, it was clear there were some links, but as explained by the members in interviews, WINGS was the story of the young boys who grew up and then met temptations. So it seemed that this was the post-HYYH era, but little did we know, there’s more to the story (apparently).

What sparked my interest in discussing canon was the release of the new Love Yourself posters and highlight reels (because the Chinese in the title is part of 起承转合, progression of  a story). At the time of writing this, only two reels have been released, but we can assume there will be four. And who knows what else after that.

This tweet hits the nail on the head, at least in my opinion. I’ve translated it below (it’s a little rough, but I think it’s correct…)  

“Because there is a BU logo on the back of the concept book and on the HYYH note, I went to look at the music video credits. The music videos that have BU attached are only “I Need U,” “Run,” and “Blood, Sweat, & Tears.” “Fire,” “Young Forever,” “Not Today,” and “Spring Day” don’t have it. I think that this BU is like MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it means the world of the BTS main characters. So I think that the works that tell the story have this logo attached.  ‘BU content certified by BigHit Entertainment’: The videos where this sentence is in the description box are videos where the boys’ story is being told. And because the Love Yourself content that’s coming out now has this logo, the story is unfolding here. Like the short films and prologue video, the story-heavy videos have this logo. On the other hand, mix tapes and performance-heavy videos like “Dope,” “Fire,” “Not Today,” and choreography videos do not have this attached.”

Ah, that makes so much more sense now. We need to learn to separate songs, video story-telling, and what’s considered canon. I went through the videos and checked too. “I Need U,” “Run,” “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” and the Prologue video, WINGS Short Films, and the Love Yourself Highlight Reels all have the BU sentence. None of the other videos do. But what’s curious is that the Japanese versions of “I Need U,” “Run,” and “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” ALSO have this BU sentence in the description. So they should be considered part of this universe.

I expected that the sentence would appear on the Japanese version of BST after reading the HYYH note and that tweet. At first I didn’t think it was really part of the story, but rather a sort of re-representation of similar themes/story as its Korean counterpart, just like the Japanese versions of “I Need U” and “Run.” I really didn’t expect the logo to be on the Japanese versions of the latter two, because they don’t really add to the story. That’s really the only part that sort of confuses me, but I’m just taking it as they’re part of the universe because they are still related to the story of these same characters. Yes, these videos are choreography-based, which the Japanese version of BST is not. But they do show scenes that mimic the Korean videos, so the storyline is still present. Just ignore the choreo parts, because that’s not part of the story :)

I plan to work with ALL of the videos once everything is released from Love Yourself. Actually… I may work on it in the meantime and just update my explanations as we get more content, because the Love Yourself series is projected to last until the first part of 2018!!

So what about the videos that aren’t canon?

Of course, choreography videos and mixtapes have their own purposes. They’re for fun and artistic expression, so they have nothing to do with any of the series or the story. Anything prior to I Need U is not in the same “universe” (does the BU stand for Bangtan Universe? Who knows…).

Dope, Young Forever, Fire, Save Me, Spring Day, and Not Today aren’t canon. Dope was a B-side used for follow-up promotions. I think Dope was just for fun and follow-up promotions, which BTS doesn’t do the same way they used to. Fire and Spring Day are both the titles from repackages and supplements, so they are on theme with youth (even HYYH’s themes in general), but they are just that: supplements. They’re extra content that relates to the theme BTS wants to talk about. Young Forever also fits the overall theme. I think Not Today and Save Me were also just extra videos produced for fans—they communicate some similar messages, again showing a different side of the themes, but they’re also supplementary.

This is the most sense I can make of it for now! I do plan to try and analyze the entire timeline and story later.

Book Review: Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

I just finished this book a moment ago, and all I can say is “wow…” I am no stranger to the plight of North Korea and its relations with the rest of the world, as East Asia is a huge interest of mine. That is one reason why I picked up this book. Since I love South Korea, I wanted a better picture of the North, and this book was the perfect place to get it.

Demick profiles 6 North Korean defectors, spinning their tales as if she had been present for them herself. She also includes tidbits from the lives of other North Koreans, as well as plenty of facts and statistics from various reputable organizations. This book is truly gripping, heartbreaking, and impossible to walk away from without thinking about what you’ve read. It will also make you extremely thankful for all that you have.

Book Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Well, not many books have left me as flabbergasted as this one has. It’s not that the book is really confusing or the plot doesn’t make sense throughout, etc, it’s just that I’m having a hard time forming a solid opinion about this book. For me, that is uncommon. Usually I either love a book or hate it. As I made my way through college, I began to have some more middle-ground feelings for certain works…so I’m still getting used to not being at one extreme or another.

Anyway, the reason I am so torn about this book is because I guess I had different expectations it, way before I ever began reading it. I was expecting a Gothic terror-like novel, basically in the style of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And I guess I do see the threads of that type of writing throughout the novel, but it wasn’t AS good in that way as I had expected.

BTS’s Billboard Breakthrough

Published in the June 2017 print issue of The Kraze

The Billboard Music Awards, held on May 21, was a proud moment in K-Pop history for all fans of the genre, but it was especially memorable for fans of BTS. After weeks of feverish voting on Billboard’s website and on Twitter via #BTSBBMAs, BTS became the first K-Pop group to take home an award from the show. Though they are not the first Korean act to win at the American awards ceremony, as PSY took home the award for “Top Streaming Song” back in 2013, it’s still a first for an idol group. With the group’s insane popularity on social media and growing interest from both Korea and abroad, it’s no wonder BTS became Billboard’s “Top Social Artist” for 2017.

The Surprise Nomination

Though BTS is no stranger to Billboard coverage, as they regularly enter several charts such as the Billboard Top 200 and the World Albums Chart, many fans were still surprised to see them listed as a contender for an actual award. The West is notorious for not paying attention to music outside its own sphere, so the fact that a Korean group was even nominated stood out as an achievement to fans and the Korean media. The members of BTS themselves took to various social medias to thank their fans for the nomination, as it wasn’t something they ever expected to achieve.

Perhaps the nomination shouldn’t be a surprise, as BTS’s social media presence is no joke. They recently broke six million followers on their joint Twitter account, and their following on Korea’s V LIVE app has hit five million. Their YouTube channel has 3.3 million subscribers and 675 million views. They clearly know how to use social media to their advantage and have proven their prowess with new media.

Though it’s unlikely that Billboard planned to invite the group to the awards from the start, after their fans (known as ARMY) flooded official Billboard accounts with requests for BTS, an employee confirmed that the invitation had been sent. On May 8, BigHit Entertainment confirmed that BTS would be attending the awards ceremony by posting a picture of their invitation, stylized as a flight ticket.

From there, some fans began to tweet about having BTS perform at the awards, rather than just attending. The movement gained popularity, despite there being almost no chance of the group actually performing. Though having BTS represent K-Pop on a Western stage would have been great in theory, there were fans who were not comfortable with the idea—at least not yet. These fans rightly pointed out that North America (and the Western music scene in general) is simply not ready for K-Pop to edge into the mainstream. It’s a bit too soon, and BTS would likely have faced quite a bit of negative backlash from some of the American public. In the end, the group was not on the list of performers, so there was no cause for worry. Hopefully one day, BTS (and other groups) will be able to perform their music on a larger stage in the West, without having to shoulder too many negative after effects.

Voting Frenzy

Billboard’s “Top Social Artist” award is one of the two categories that is decided by fan votes, so once voting opened, ARMYs began to vote ferociously. Fans could easily vote 200+ times a day, via Billboard’s website and the Twitter hashtag. It quickly became obvious that BTS would have a huge lead over the competition. As the stats began to roll in, the margin between BTS and second place (Justin Bieber) continued to grow wider and wider. Not only that, but BTS became the first artist to exceed 300 million votes for a fan-voted category, and the hashtag used to vote for them on Twitter trended at #1 worldwide. In the days leading up to the awards ceremony, it looked like BTS had an excellent shot at taking home the trophy.

Taking Home the Gold

On the day of the ceremony, BTS arrived on the magenta carpet to a loud chorus of screaming fans, many of whom had been waiting at the venue since early in the morning. They were one of the first artists to walk the carpet, and they stopped to take interviews with quite a few different media outlets. Once they entered the venue, the members held a quick V LIVE broadcast to thank their fans again for the nomination and express their disbelief at actually being at the ceremony. Before the start of the ceremony, BTS entered the venue to take their seats near the main stage. Fans could be heard screaming at random intervals, and they were so loud that several of the members heard them, turning to look and wave when they heard their name called.

As the announcement for “Top Social Artist” grew nearer, the group became more nervous, something leader Rapmonster (Kim Namjoon) noted in a later interview. The presenters took the stage while fans held their collective breath as they waited for the announcement. But the nervousness of fans and BTS themselves turned out to be unwarranted, as the presenters opened the name card to reveal BTS had won the award (in a landslide victory, nonetheless).

The members reacted with happy shock and surprise as their name was called, rising from their seats for a quick group hug before they made their way to the main stage. Though some of the members looked close to tears, they held it together as Rapmonster expressed their gratitude and honor in fluent English, adding a short bit of Korean at the end of the speech. ARMY around the world immediately began flooding Twitter with messages of support, gratitude, and pride.

The American media coverage for BTS’s win (and nomination) was insane. They were interviewed by many major outlets, including but not limited to Yahoo Music, ELLE, Good Morning America, MYfm, and KIIS FM. Various other outlets also took notice, even if they weren’t interviewing the boys. Vogue named BTS as some of the best-dressed artists in attendance, singling out V (Kim Taehyung) in particular for his trendy outfit. Member Jin went viral on Twitter as “the third one on the left” for his good looks, something which was brought up multiple times during interviews. V and Jungkook were also hot topics on Twitter for the same reason. Additionally, Apple Music congratulated the group on Twitter, and several other outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, and Time Magazine all wrote pieces on the boys’ success.

Throughout all of their American interviews, Rapmonster carried the group by translating questions and responding in English. Fans were proud of his ability to handle the added strain of translation and effective communication on top of the nerves. Other members made efforts to communicate in English, but no matter what language was used, BTS made sure to demonstrate their gratitude and humbleness throughout each interview.

Upon their return to Korea, BTS held a large press conference for the Korean media, which put to rest the rumors of a blackout on Korean mainstream sites. During the press conference, the members noted that they are waiting for good news in terms of possible collaborations, so fans have something else to look forward to.

The fact that a K-Pop group from a small company could win an award at a Western mainstream music show is just further proof that music knows no barriers of language, culture, or ethnicities. The accomplishment is BTS’s, but it stands as a great feat for K-Pop as a genre. It’s clear that the award meant so much to the members of the group, and their fans feel the same way. Though there will be negative outcomes (such as the “BTS Bandwagon”), fans will not let that detract from the honor of receiving this award.