What can we learn from the news of Sulli (f(x) member)’s death?

This was indeed a tragedy, and many kpop stars have expressed their feelings about her suicide; and the relation to both mental illness and the effect of cyber-bullying on people’s health.

Sulli was only 25 when she died, which makes it even more tragic as she’s the youngest kpop star to die pre-maturely since the death of Eunbi and RiSe (of Ladie’s Code) in a car accident back in Sept 2014. I wept at both funerals.

Here’s my take on this:

Firstly, mental illness is a huge problem in Korea especially. Korea is a very socially conservative country, where depression and mental illness isn’t properly treated and is instead shamed. There is a stigma against expressing yourself in Korea. This leads to many Koreans who feel ‘답답하다’ – feeling that they are keeping feelings bottled inside them and can’t let it out – long term, this is bad for mental health and manifests in either violence (drunken fights, domestic violence etc) or depression (suicide) – Korea has the highest suicide rate out of all OECD countries. This is an issue with Korean society that cannot change until Korean society becomes more open minded and progressive and less judging of others – the very fabric of what makes Korea society what it is today.

Secondly, online bullying is a real problem with not just Korea but every country. It’s especially pronounced in Korea though because of how judgmental people are in that country. Does it make sense to judge someone for showing their a bit of skin on top when Korean women can walk around in incredibly short skirts or shorts with no one saying a thing? That’s one of the ironies of Korean society. It’s conservative in some ways – and yet it’s not in other ways. You have churches surrounded by motels and adult shops. You have porn banned but you have hundreds of movies with bed scenes in them. The society is very contradictory.

And I have my own experience that I can relate to  – with both depression and netizens – what you really have to know is that social media really brings out the worst in people. Because they are hidden behind the safety of their own monitor, they feel like they can just say stupid, harsh, ridiculous or ignorant things without any repercussions.
Last year 2018 was really the worst year of my life. I wasn’t enjoying my job at my previous company. I wasn’t able to maintain the long distance relationship I had with my (ex) gf (partly due to my previous company which wouldn’t allow me to take any vacation time to visit my gf in Korea) which led to a messy breakup. I had broken my friendship with one of my closest friends. I had lost one third of my net worth in bad crypto investments. And to top it all off – I was forced to sell my apartment to pay off my loans, move to a place (Vancouver) where I didn’t know anyone and I lost the rest of my money from a scam, trying to move it back to Canada from the US (I was trying to avoid fees from bank commission by using a crypto exchange to move my money back – the CEO suddenly died and it was revealed that it was a ponzi scheme right when I was trying to withdraw my money ). I suffered from deep anxiety and depression because of all of this (losing 90%+ of your net worth in one year and breaking up with a girl you thought you would marry does that to you).
After I got scammed, a few articles popped online about it – and several threads were created on reddit to mock the fact that I had lost all of my money. People saw my Youtube videos online and insulted me, chided me for being an idiot for taking such a huge risk and accused me of being a money launderer. Some netizens even encouraged me to take my own life, saying that ‘stupid people like this deserve to lose their money and shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce’.

Did I contemplate suicide? Of course I did. But I also tried to talk to my friends and family more. Out of this I have to thank my family + friends for providing me support in my darkest times and giving me a reason to live. I realized that money was not everything and that I can always make it back. I realized that people online shouldn’t be taken seriously and that the only people you should take seriously are the people who are closest to you. “People who mind, don’t matter – and the people who matter, don’t mind“.

Sorry my story is kind of a tangent, but the point to hit on is this; We can’t pray for easy lives. Because life isn’t easy. We have to pray to be stronger people. We have to re-assess what is our true purpose in life and what we are living for. Who are the people who care about us? These are the things we should think about before we can decide to suicide or take our own life.
I can’t pretend to know what was on Sulli’s mind when she decided to take her own life – perhaps if I was in her shoes in the constricting Korean society with all its pressures and being only 25 years young my mind would have been the same as hers – but what we can learn from it is that perhaps Korean society should take mental health more seriously, Korean entertainment companies could treat its stars better, perhaps netizens could think more about the real-life implications of their comments and perhaps before doing something like taking our own lives we can think about other people that care about us – in a way suicide is an act of selfishness – because Sulli surely had a lot more people that loved her than hated her. I wish she would have re-thought things more before she did what she did – but it always takes a tragedy for human society to progress I feel.

Yu-No – a girl who chants love at the bound of this world Review (for Nintendo Switch)

Image result for yuno a girl who chants love

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: ELF Corporation (original) / 5pb (remake)
Release: Dec 26, 1996 (original) / Oct 1, 2019 (remake)
Price: $60 USD

So I guess I’m now a regular reviewer of visual novels. Heh, well I just got another good one to add to my review collection. 

Yu-No: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world (unwieldy title, I know) is a classic game that originally came out for the beloved NEC PC-98 in Japan back in the mid 90s. It was originally an Eroge game that got the sex scenes removed and re-released as a just a regular visual novel with a lot of perverted dialogue and scenes still intact. Yeah, similar to how Muv-Luv also turned from an Eroge into a beloved visual novel series I guess. This game has now been remade and released in Japan in 2015 and now released here in the West this year 2019.

But man, there are still alot of perverted scenes left in. I don’t mind it too much – but some people might take offense to it. It’s literally just the sex scenes removed and the rest of the Eroge dialogue remains intact – and yes the boobs/skirt/legs are almost always clickable on a woman.

One such perverted scene still in the game
One such perverted scene still in the game

But other than that, it’s a great game. A pioneering time travel / sci-fi visual novel that must have been the inspiration for Steins;Gate and so many others. 

Plot: So the plot is that your father Koudai Arima is reported dead – but you, Takuya Arima ‘the walking libido’, soon receive a package containing a time travel device called the Reflector. You suspect that your father is not really dead at all and he’s somewhere – but you must find him. 

The main goal of the game is to collect 6 different jewels in different timelines – you already start out with 4 jewels in the device – making 10 total. Each jewel can be used at any point to essentially ‘save’ the game so that you can come back to it later. But you have to make sure you don’t use up all the jewels – if all jewels are used then you are stuck and you can’t power the Reflector device anymore. Loading up a jewel frees up that jewel so that you can use it again. So there’s essentially a limited number of save slots and you have to be careful with where you save. Using the Reflector device was a little confusing at first but then I figured out how to use it and man it must have been pretty revolutionary at the time for visual novels to have such a feature. 

Similar to Steins;Gate you can essentially time travel between different parallel worlds – there’s a certain time limit that you have before you get ‘chaos corrected’ back to the beginning of the game – but you retain your items from each timeline – this is essential because there are parts in one timeline that might require items from another timeline. There are multiple endings within each route. You need to go through all the endings in order to get all the items you need to get all the jewels which are hidden within each route. Once you get all 10 jewels – you are transported to the Epilogue – which is another lengthy playthrough in itself but its quite a different experience from the main game – so this game definitely has a lot of replay value to it.

Gameplay: It’s a point and click adventure style game, similar to Root Letter and other mystery / investigation type games, so its more interactive than the typical visual novel.

One such interactive scene
One such interactive scene

Characters: Well, similar to Muv-Luv this was originally an Eroge – so obviously its full of women wearing short skirts and school uniforms. But you knew that right? There’s also your obligatory annoying ‘best friend’ guy character that’s there as well. The girls are your typical tropes: a tsundere, a ‘mysterious’ girl, a ‘hot’ teacher, a ‘hot’ stepmom, etc but that’s expected given this genre. 

A nice candid moment
A nice candid moment

Graphics: I’m torn. The original graphics from 1996 just scream 80s/90s Japan. the NEC PC-98 is famous for these kinds of graphics. I am a 90s anime lover so naturally I prefer the old look better. It has such a nostalgic charm to it. But the remake isn’t bad either – it’s done in a more modern style and you can take a look side by side to see which you prefer. I wish there was an option to use the old graphics though.

the original PC98 graphics compared to the remake
the original PC98 graphics compared to the remake

Music: Amazing. You can choose between the remade soundtrack and the original soundtrack from 1996. I prefer the original – but the remake is done pretty well. It perfectly fits with the mystery / sci-fi style of the game. 

Conclusion: This game is a 10/10 from me. I literally could not put it down since I started it. I am a sci-fi visual novel lover and a big fan of Steins;Gate so its obvious that this game would peak my interest as well. This was the original sci-fi visual novel that was very influential on subsequent visual novels. I wish there was an option to use the original graphics but the remake does pretty well recreating all the characters and scenes, the music is awesome, the gameplay has a lot of replay value and the characters – while not super original – you have to remember it was originally an eroge title – are ok for what they are which is bringing the story together. There’s a lot of perverted dialogue and scenes – but if you are comfortable with that, it’s not that bad. A solid game that will take you a while to reach 100% completion (and a bonus if you do!).

 

 

What do Chinese Americans think about China and Chinese students in America nowadays?

I am neither ABC/CBC or a ‘FOB’ as the term ABCs refer to Asians from Asia. I straddle both cultures. I was born in China, but raised in Canada. And I grew up in a small city in the Canadian countryside, not like Toronto or Vancouver or anything. I was only one of two Asian students in my high school. For a long time, I thought I was the same as white people.
Then I went to the University of Toronto which was and still is, full of Asians both Canadian born and FOBs. While I was in the CS program, it was mostly skewed towards the Canadian born Chinese side. We had some Koreans and Japanese but overall we had more Chinese which makes sense because there’s more Chinese in existence than Koreans or Japanese which means there’s more Chinese Canadians as well.
The first thing I noticed is, even though it felt more ‘comfortable’ being with someone of the same race, at the same time it felt ‘uncomfortable’ too, because in my experience, Asian Canadians or Asian Americans had the same personality as Caucasian Canadians or Americans. They had the same sense of aggressiveness, were generally pretty outgoing, and joked around a lot. That was something I felt very uncomfortable with since I was more shy, reserved and felt that I didn’t fit in *quite* as well as I thought.
So then I met some FOB friends from mainland China, who I started to hang out with more. I thought that they were quite different than my Chinese Canadian friends, but again some differences arose and I still didn’t feel very ‘comfortable’.
The main problem was that mainland Chinese i.e FOBs seemed to be very close minded. They had too much pride in their country. They refused to listen to any criticisms I had about China or any positive things about other Asian countries. They refused to mingle with Koreans or Japanese while my Chinese Canadian friends were all open minded to do so. Plus, they cared a little bit too much about their material wealth, making money and studying in my opinion. There’s other things to life but they didn’t seem to be very open to entertaining them.
So I felt like a fish out of water. Neither comfortable with Chinese Canadians or mainland Chinese. What can I do? When I moved to the USA, I had the pleasure of befriending Koreans. Previously, my extent of contact with Koreans (since fobby Chinese never hung out with fobby Koreans), was at church since Koreans were for some reason, strangely fanatical about Christianity. And they seemed to be nice people. But as I befriended new Korean friends, I got more interested in Korean culture than Chinese culture.
Even though I had studied Chinese, and travelled to China before, and met lots of nice Chinese people I didn’t feel the same ‘connection’ with them like I felt with Koreans. After I visited Korea, I realized that it was the place I wanted to be. And I did. I quit my job, and I moved to Korea. For 2 years, it was the most interesting period of my life. I think before I moved there, I didn’t realize just how different Korean culture was from Chinese culture. I think most ABCs or CBCs grow up thinking Asians are Asians, but we aren’t. Every Asian is so different, actually. It’s hard to realize this amongst Asian Americans because Korean American and Chinese American personality and culture is not so different, but man is it different from mainland Chinese and Koreans or ‘FOB’ Chinese and ‘FOB’ Koreans. That’s why they don’t hang out with each other.
For one thing, Koreans had the most unity out of all Asians. They just stuck together and supported each other. In China, it was everyone for themselves. Also, the traditional gender roles and Confucian values were alive and well in Korea whereas they had all but vanished from modern China. Bowing, being respectful, etc were still a thing in Korea. It was so safe you could leave your phone on a table for hours and no one would take it. I know China is safe too – relatively – but you definitely would not be able to do that in China without getting your phone stolen. And dare I say it – it was a little cleaner than China now. In China you can be as direct and blunt as you want and it’s normal. And my god were Korean women beautiful. I couldn’t believe how different it was. In mainland China there was beautiful women too, but they were a little hard to come by. Shanghai had the most, but even there you had to walk around a little bit to see a beautiful girl. In contrast, Seoul had gorgeous women everywhere. Any cafe, bar, on the street, etc and they were all wearing makeup! and dressed like they were going clubbing! China by contrast people dressed way more casually and usually girls didn’t wear any makeup. When Koreans marry, the husband and wife have their separate roles, whereas in China, the wife and husband share duties equally. Korea was full of housewives whereas in China housewives are all but nonexistent. In China the guy was almost like a slave to his gf – always buying everything, paying for everything, carrying all her shopping bags – and seeing a guy get hit in public by his gf wasn’t that uncommon. In Korea, the guy usually pays too but not for everything – and I’ve never seen a Korean guy hold shopping bags for his gf or getting hit by his gf you will never see that there. It was like a night and day difference.
So yeah, I think in the end, I fit better in Korean culture than either Chinese or Chinese Canadian culture, but I think there’s pros and cons to everything. Some of my best friends are still mainland ‘fobby’ Chinese. They aren’t all close minded. But I think for the majority that I came across in university they did seem to be a little more ignorant and some of them straight up refused to use any foreign websites sticking to Chinese websites only. Hey umm there’s no Great Firewall here you don’t need to only use Chinese websites… not to mention the fact that there seems to be crazy rumors spread about Koreans on Chinese websites most of which have no inkling of truth at all… I’m not sure why Chinese people would say about Koreans whom they’ve never met except perhaps they are jealous that Koreans have a better entertainment industry than they do? Also, never speak to mainland FOBs about Taiwan. You will almost always end up arguing.