Time for a Change!

( Source )

I won’t bore you with the details, but just a quick note to let you know that after receiving some atrocious service from WordPress.com recently, I’ve decided to host this blog myself from now on.

Yes, I’m surprised it took me so long too.

Apologies in advance for any problems that may arise as I go to town playing with new themes and plugins make the transition over the next week or so then, and for those of you that subscribe to the RSS feed, please note that the old thegrandnarrative.wordpress.com one will no longer work once I’ve finished sorry. Those of you that already use the thegrandnarrative.com one though, shouldn’t have any problems.

Meanwhile, I’ll still be posting as normal, and if anyone can recommend a web hosting service and/or give any advice about making the transition from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, then that would be really appreciated!


Korean Sociological Image #54: Sex & Drugs

(Source: Focus {Busan ed.}, 08.12.2010, p. 17)

As we all know, if you’re a real man, then you couldn’t care less about what painkiller to use.

But to be precise, the ad actually says dansoonhan men (단순한남자). Which usually translates as “simple” in English, but probably best would be “straightforward” in this case.

Forgive me though, for still considering myself just as smart (dokdokhae;똑똑해) as the woman in the ad. After all, I too wear glasses sometimes.

How am I supposed to choose a painkiller then? Or – heaven forbid – straightforward women for that matter?

Alas, the ad gives no clue:

Methods of choosing a painkiller – Men vs. Women

Straightforward men [choose] without thinking.

As for smart women…because it’s a liquid, its effects are fast. This is EZN6.

Liquid Form…[They need to] think about if it will decrease the burden on the stomach or not

[They need to] carefully think about if it contains caffeine or not

And at the very least, it certainly doesn’t discourage the notion that looking after one’s body is really something only women should do. Unlike most products that are marketed very differently to each sex though (see here, here, here, here, and here for more Korean examples), the irony here is that there’s now a wealth of evidence to suggest that painkillers that work on one sex can be ineffective or even increase pain on the other. In the near-future, there may well be completely different painkillers developed for men and women.

And when they are, then yes: I’d wager that they’re going to be pink and blue too.

You’re in for a world of hurt Neo! (Source)

When that day arrives though, do you think Daewoong Pharmaceutical (대웅제약) will simply come up with 2 versions of the ad, each only featuring one sex? Or will ads for men continue to emphasize simplicity, but those for women stressing how they’d have even more things to consider?

My money’s on the latter…!

(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Images series, see here)


Is Divorce in Korea Finally Socially Acceptable?


Sorry for the lack of posts recently, and the very short notice with this one, but in an hour from now (7:45pm Korean time) I’ll briefly be on 101.3 TBS eFM’s evening show, talking about the title topic. For the details, see here, and note that unfortunately you can only listen live on Internet Explorer sorry.

Update – Well, that was a little embarrassing: because of a miscommunication, technical problem, and/or a last minute editorial decision, I didn’t actually get called in the end!

But for anyone still interested in the subject though, then I was going to mention that while on the one hand the stigma surrounding divorce is certainly disappearing over time, with 1 in 4 marriages now involving a divorcee and in particular both the numbers of women remarrying and their rate of increase outstripping those of men, on the other hand the profoundly gendered effects of the recent economic crisis here have left Korean women more financially reliant on their husbands than ever, as explained at #2 here, here, and #15 here.

Meanwhile, see here for more information on both the high rates and the practicalities of getting a divorce in Korea, and here for more on the hoju or family-registry system (호주), which had a huge role in drawing attention to people’s marital status (or parents’ status) and consequently being able to discriminate against them on that basis. Moreover, although that has recently been abolished, one final point I was going to make was that unfortunately that’s just one of many superfluous things corporations take into account in their hiring practices, as demonstrated here, at #8 here, here, here, and here, and so it’s probably going to take a while before Korean business culture catches up with the social reality.


Korean Gender Reader


1) Cuban Boyfriend playing in theaters

According to HanCinema, it’s a documentary about a Cuban man who falls in love with a Korean woman 10 years his senior. Unfortunately there’s little information available about it in English, but it does looks interesting.

2) Economic burdens prompting Koreans to delay marriage

3) Mandatory 3-hour training class for Korean men importing Asian brides


4) Advice to male idols: don’t you dare avoid your military service!

Roboseyo discusses actor and singer Hyun Bin’s (현빈) decision to join the marines for his 24 months of compulsory military service, unlike most entertainers who prefer comfortable military PR-type positions.

But celebrities aside, Korea has 250,000 ordinary men conscripted each year, and this has a profound effect on Korean life. For more on that, see here, here, and here.

5) Picture of Day: ROK Army Female Cadets Head Out for Training

Like it says, its just a picture (source), but one commenter over at ROK Drop raised some interesting points about it:

ROK women in the military? Big deal. FYI, they’ve been serving alongside their male counterparts ever since 1948. The embarrassingly unjustified attention these Sookdae chicks are getting just b/c they’re in the first women’s ROTC outfit is disgraceful. Korean women have been getting commissions through OCS since the Korean War, the ROK service academies since 1998, and are serving in all ranks and branches (excluding Armor, Artillery and ADA) for decades. (Also, the reason they look so cute in their BDU’s is b/c the Gender Equality Ministry many years ago forced the Defense Ministry to provide tailored utilities specifically cut for women — e.g., female BDU pants have a more flattering cut around the hips, and micro-sizes they offer are small enough to qualify for junior misses or girls’ sizes back in the U.S.)

I disagree about some of the details about that last: the uniforms for women were only first tested last September (and won’t be fully introduced until July), and there’s no evidence to suggest that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs (여성가족부) was originally behind the decision (see #2 here).

But although less then 1% of Korean soldiers are women, I have no reason to doubt that they’ve been serving for over 60 years, so the commenter is right to query the attention. And recall that The Chosun Ilbo is notorious for finding literally any excuse to post pictures of women and girls!

6) CEO of entertainment agency charged for sexually harassing a trainee

For the details, see allkpop, and see here and here for some context. Meanwhile, in other crime-related stories, Korea Beat reports that a serial child-molester was let off lightly by a judge for quitting his teaching job. And on the plus-side, albeit prompted by a tragic event, Global Voices passes on the news that:

A posting by the mother of the victim has mobilized net users to file an online petition and drawn media attention to a questionable murder case. The mother claimed her daughter was beaten to death while resisting being raped. The police has decided to reinvestigate the case.

7) Who are all these White chicks?

I’m no Picasso adds her insights to Mixtapes and Linear Notes’ post on G-Dragon (지드래곤) and T.O.P.’s recent High High music video.


8) Who are all these fat chicks?

And in turn, Hot Yellow Fellows does to my own on the “Piggy Dolls”  (피기돌스). Whom, in addition to everything else, now netizens are also calling too old-looking.

9) Hating the Korean Wave (NSFW)

I’ll let SeoulBeats summarize this one (The Marmot’s Hole also has a little on it):

Netizens have been in an uproar over a Japanese internet manga, created by otakus, which fetishizes a rather unflattering side of the Hallyu Wave that has recently invaded Japan.

The story is told by a fictional former Korean pop idol, working as a hostess, who gives an expose about the “real” inner workings of the K-pop industry to a journalist. The comic presents the Korean entertainment industry as extremely manipulative and seedy in which female idols are forced to give sexual favors to their bosses and their coworkers for fame. In the comic both SNSD and KARA are accused of performing such favors.The manga features highly sexualized images of SNSD and KARA members performing their hit songs “Genie” and “Mister.” Poor KARA has even been drawn performing naked.

10) New Gisaeng Story (신기생뎐) premieres this weekend


And for more on gisaeng (기생), the Korean equivalent of geisha, see here and here.


Studying Korean Social Issues Can Be Fun…

(Sources: left, right)

And using manhwa (만화), or Korean cartoons, is a good place to start. Sadly, my favorite “grown-up” comic-book poptoon (팝툰) sold its last edition back in March, but there’s lot’s more where that came from.

One possibility is Department Head Dal-ma (Dalmagwajang; 달마과장), available in the free Focus newspaper. Although it’s often very basic, requiring no Korean ability to get the gist of, you could do much worse than quickly translating it on your morning commute.

Take these two strips for instance, which kept cropping up in Naver searches while I was preparing a recent post on sexual harassment in Korea. First, number 21:

Dal-ma: Gulp.

Man: Miss Kim, what did you have for lunch?

Miss Kim: I simply had ricecake at the park.

Even from just these first panels, already one thing of interest is that the man uses banmal (반말), or informal speech to speak to Miss Kim, and she replies in nopimmal (높임말), formal speech. No big deal there you might say: he’s probably her superior in the company. And as this recent incident on a subway demonstrated, using the appropriate level of speech to others is considered extremely important in Korea, with even many of my university students using nopimmal to friends just a few months older.

But then the same happens in the second cartoon too, even though the man addresses the woman with the semi-formal shi (씨) at the end of her name. And while a brief survey of other Dalmagwajang cartoons does occasionally show men and women each using nopimmal to each other, I didn’t see any cases of a woman speaking to a man in banmal and he answering in nopimmal. Which is not to say that they don’t exist necessarily, but if there are any then I’d wager there’d be very few.

If so, then is that just a reflection of reality? After all, women do tend to have junior and/or non-advancing positions in Korean workplaces, as even in 2011 it considered perfectly normal for them to resign and/or be fired upon marriage or becoming pregnant (only 50% of Korean women work, the lowest rate in the OECD).

(Source: unknown)

But on the other hand, recall that even subtitles for foreign films and programs have this gender-dichotomy grafted onto them too, despite being absent in the original English:

A women’s group has issued a report on the “sexist” dubbing of foreign films and dramas, reports women’s newspaper Ilda The group took a look at some 27 English-language dramas shown on terrestrial broadcasting in September and October.  It found that most of them employed sexist sexist practices when dubbed into Korean.  Namely, male characters spoke in banmal, or “low language,” while female characters used jondaenmal, or “high/respectful” language, even though the original English dialogue made no such distinctions.

This tendency was most often seen in dialogue between husbands and wives or lovers.  Besides dramas, foreign films showed the same tendency, with 12 of 15 films monitored by the group employing this dubbing practice.

Clearly then, for TV at least there is a compulsion to conform to it. Whether that’s just the industry convention, fear of negative public reaction, and/or the personal choices of the translators themselves, then that remains to be seen, but I’d be surprised if that didn’t apply to some extent to other forms of media. And either way, you’re left with a pretty pervasive socialization agent, and one easy to overlook for English speakers, and/or even easier to get used to for native Korean speakers.

Man: Ah, why didn’t you invite me? I pound ricecakes really well…No, well, I eat them well…

Miss Kim: (Laughing) What do you mean?

Dal-ma: Even acting like that, he won’t get accused of sexual harassment?

Next, despite its curious reputation for conservatism overseas, in fact the Korean media is simply full of sexual innuendo, and this cartoon read by millions every weekday is surely a classic case in point: “떡을 치다” is literally “pounding rice cake”, but is really slang for having sex. Which is why a year ago, a cartoonist was sued for sexual harassment by Girls’ Generation’s (소녀시대) management company SM Entertainment for this otherwise innocuous-looking cartoon:


This might sound strange, but personally I find that slang quite endearing. For not only does it seem quintessentially Korean (here’s another example), but with most Koreans living in the countryside until as recently as 1979, then it reminds me of the country’s strong agricultural roots too (no pun intended).

Ahem. Continuing:

Dal-ma: Still, if something is judged sexual harassment or not all depends on your face (how attractive you look)

Woman left: He really said that?

Woman middle: (Laughing) Really?

Dal-ma: Wow! Look at her chest!

Dal-ma: Jeez, how can’t they feel ashamed to wear clothes that emphasize their breasts like that…

Eek, I forgot! Staring is also sexual harassment.

Dal-ma: (Worried) For no reason, because of a misunderstanding I’d be called a bald pervert.

Woman: Eek! It’s sexual harassment!

Having a shaved head myself, then I couldn’t help but chuckle at the unnecessary mention of his baldness here, as if that somehow makes his perversion all the worse. But with shaved heads being best known as a symbol of “prison, protest, or penance” in Korea, then unfortunately those negative connotations aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

Woman: Sexual harassment!

Dal-ma: No, it’s not that…

Women in background: Bald pervert!

Dal-ma’s daughter: What’s wrong with Dad?

Dal-ma’s wife: He’s like that because working at the office is tiring.

Next, number 57 (as I type this, the latest is number 327 by the way). Sorry for the poor image quality:

Woman (Eun-hee): Good morning!

Man: Good morning! Eun-hee, you bought new clothes?

Eun-hee: Yes, because it’s the end of the year I spent a lot on myself

Man: Wow, your back is a killer!

Eun-hee: Really?

Man: Yes, you’ve a perfect Honey-bottom!

Despite what the man says in a moment, that’s the first time I’ve heard the term ggooldongi, a combination of ggol (꿀; honey) and ongdongee (엉덩이; bottom). But I have heard (and written about) ggoolbokji (꿀벅지) that it comes from though, which, as Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling explained:

…apparently means, according to this article and allkpop, ‘sweet-as-honey thighs’ or “alluring as-if they-were-coated-with-honey thighs”, though a more creative, if incorrect, translation would be ‘alluring thighs that spread like honey.’ Ahem.

And in particular:

…a ‘high school girl living in Cheonan’ posted a petition on the Ministry of Gender Equality’s website claiming that the word ‘honey thighs’ actually means ‘thighs that you want to smear honey all over and lick off’, and represented the sexual commodification of a female body part, was sexual harassment, “induced a feeling of sexual shame” and said its use should be banned. She was also irritated that such a ‘sexually derogatory word’ was used by the media and asked that it stop. According to allkpop, “Even Korean portal site Daum has requested people to refrain from using this controversial term…”

Hence Eun-hee’s justified reaction:

Eun-hee: Honey bottom?

Man: These days it’s popular. It means honey applied to a bottom…

Eun-hee: I’m going to the Human Resources Department to complain about your sexual harassment!

Man: Honestly, it was just a compliment, why…

Man: Well, I was just complimenting her on how well her clothes fit. Why’s she acting like that?

Dal-ma: It doesn’t matter what your intention is, it depends on how the other person receives it. If they feel uncomfortable, then it’s sexual harassment.

Man: In that case, if someone has a good body, how can we give them a compliment?

Dal-ma: If you intend to compliment a certain part of a person’s body, then do it precisely. Then, the other person will take it well.

Man: I don’t really understand.

Dal-ma: Watch me do it.

Dal-ma: Sung-mi, your pectoral muscles are amazing. And your Sternocostal joints and Sternocleidomastoid muscle are beautiful!

Sung-mi: Er…thank you.

Dal-ma: You see?

No, I didn’t find them funny either. What’s more, they give the impression that all it takes to deal with sexual harassment in Korean workplaces is a quick visit to the Human Resources Department, and consequently that male employees are very nervous about being accused of it. Unfortunately though, as this case at Samsung and these recent testimonies by victims demonstrate, the reality is anything but.

Why the discrepancy? That’s a good question, and it’s made me curious to see if its also found in other newspapers, and so on. Which is not bad for a couple of quick cartoons over a morning coffee, yes?^^

Like the First Time (처음처럼) by T-ara (티아라): Lyrics, Translation, & Explanation

With lyrics designed to stoke any guy’s ego, and a music video full of eye-candy to boot, Like the First Time (처음처럼) by T-ara (티아라) is a very embarrassing song for a pro-feminist blogger to admit to liking.

Let alone have as his ringtone.

One of the handful of songs that got me addicted to K-pop though, then I’m guess I’m stuck with this peccadillo of mine. But in fairness, I wouldn’t have had it on my old, audio-only iPod for the past year if that’s all it could be be reduced to.

And in hindsight, is it really all that different to, say, You Look So Fine (1999) by Garbage, who to the best of my recollection have never been described as projecting an image of weakness and passivity?

Either way, here’s the remix by DJ Areia that originally got me hooked (downloadable here):

And here’s the original, which for a change I like almost as much:

And here goes with the translation:

왜 자꾸 두근두근대죠 이 내 가슴이

왜 자꾸만 터 터질것 같죠 왜 자꾸만

왜 자꾸 숨이 가빠오죠 미칠것같이

왜 자꾸만 수 숨이 막히죠 왜 자꾸만

첫 사랑도 아닌데 순진한 건 아닌데

그댄 자꾸만 또 자꾸만 또 느끼게 해줘요

Why does my heart throb so often? Why does my chest

often feel like it’s going to burst? Why do I often keep

running out of breath? It’s like I will go crazy

Why do I often feel like I’m suffocating? Why so often?

This is not the first time I’ve fallen in love, I’m not innocent

You often again and again make me feel this way

Nothing too difficult here. First, as we’ve seen in just about every other song translation, again “만” doesn’t mean “only” but is just added for emphasis. Next, “죠”, short for “지요” is an ending meaning “right” that turns the sentence into a tag question, but I haven’t put it like that in the text because just like in English, tag questions often aren’t real questions, and clearly aren’t here (again, they just seem to be for emphasis). Finally, there’s the construction “~ㄹ 것 같다” which is used twice, and literally means ” [future tense]-thing-same [as]”, or effectively “it seems like/looks like/appears that … will do/be”; hence “Why does my chest often feel like it’s going to burst?” and “It’s like I will go crazy”, although admittedly the latter doesn’t sound that great in English.

One thing of great interest to me personally though, because it sort of came up in another translation, is the “오다” added to “가쁘다” in 3, with a tag question at the end added on top of that giving “가빠오죠”. Now “가쁘다” means “gasping [panting] for breath; difficulty in breathing”, but what does the “오다” (“come”) added to that do to it? Well, this is what I originally learned, from page 16 of the grammar and vocabulary guidebook that comes with 5A of the Sogang Korean series:

If you’d rather have an English explanation though, then this is what my trusty Korean Grammar for International Learners (KGIL) says on page 340:

When [“오다” & “가다” are] expressed as auxiliary verbs, they signify that an action is carried out continuously and repeatedly over a period of time. In keeping with the original meaning of these verbs, the patterns [above] mean “continuous performance of an action over time in the past as one comes toward the ‘present and continuous’ performance of an action over time into the future (away from the present)” respectively.

Quite a mouthful unfortunately, which I think it could be better edited (I’m sure an “and” is missing in it), and I think the above diagram is a must to make any sense of it! But hopefully, now you can see why I chose “Why do I often keep running out of breath?” for “왜 자꾸 숨이 가빠오죠” at least, rather than “Why do I often run of breath?”. Granted, they effectively mean the same thing, and “Why do I keep running out of breath” would sound better in English (like in the translation in the video). But with the “자꾸” is  still in the Korean unfortunately, then I’ll allow it to awkwardly remain in the English too (and same logic goes for line 6).

그댄 나를 기쁘게 해요 그댄 나를 느끼게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

그댄 나를 미치게 해요 자꾸자꾸 원하게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼 처처처처럼처럼

처럼처럼처럼처럼 처처처처처음처럼

You make me feel happy You make me feel you

Like the first time Like the first time Like the first time

You make me feel crazy I want you again and again

Like the first time, like the first time…(etc)

Easy as, but it’s just impossible for me to do a literal translation and keep a straight face sorry: for instance the first line would be “As for you – me – joyfully – do” then “As for you – me – feelingly – do”…gotta love the way Korean uses adverbs. More seriously though, I don’t think “기쁘다” should ever be translated as “joyfully” in English (the first entry in Korean dictionaries, but used by precisely zero native speakers), and it’s a red flag for me for any translator that does.

After that, I think “again and again” is more appropriate than the literal Korean “often often”.

왜 자꾸 열이 나는 거죠 온몸이 자꾸

왜 자꾸만 다 달아오르죠 왜 자꾸만

왜 자꾸 아찔아찔 하죠 정신이 없어

왜 자꾸만 주 죽을것 같죠 왜 자꾸만

사랑 사랑 지금껏 말로만 했던건지

그댈 만나고 난 느껴요 난 진짜 사랑이 뭔지

Why do I often get this fever, Why does my whole body

often burn, Why do I often

get so dizzy and lightheaded, It’s crazy

Why is it often like I’m going to die, Why did I often

love through only words before now

After meeting you I feel it, I [know] what real love is

Again easy, but it’s difficult to know where one clause and/or sentence begins and the other ends, although of course the resulting numerous translations would all pretty much amount to the same thing.

Just 3 things of note. First, that although “정신이 없어” on line 3 is literally “without a mind”, “mindless”, or “absent-minded”, and that it’s especially tempting to translate it in that vein given the context of the “왜 자꾸 아찔아찔 하죠” before it (“Why do I often get so dizzy and lightheaded”), in reality it’s most often said to express one’s annoyance at some crazy and/or untenable situation. Like me trying to write this post with two toddlers literally climbing all over me and the desk demanding to listen to KARA for instance, or both of them bawling their eyes out when I tell them 5 times every other night is quite enough.

Next, the “주” in “왜 자꾸만 주 죽을것 같죠” on line 3 (“Why is it often like I’m going to die”) is just to emphasize to the “death” part (“죽다”).

Finally, in line 6 the “건지” in “했던건지” had me stumped for a little while. The “던”, of course, refers to “recollection of a state in the past, or of a repeated, habitual, or uncompleted action in the past”, and the “~았/었/였” form before that “gives clearer expression to the notion of ‘completeness’ and also expresses experience” (KGIL, pp. 318-19), but “건지”? Then I realized it was short for “것인지”, or literally “thing-is-yes?”, another way of saying “I guess”.

그댄 나를 기쁘게 해요 그댄 나를 느끼게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

그댄 나를 미치게 해요 자꾸자꾸 원하게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼 처처처처럼처럼

You make me feel happy You make me feel you

Like the first time Like the first time Like the first time

You make me feel crazy I want you again and again

Like the first time, like the first time…(etc)

No explanation: that’s the chorus again!


리무진에 champagne bling bling jewelry chain

나를 원해 목이 메인 그런 남자 oh no

항상 발길에 채이는 그런 남잔 just pain

Don’t wanna play this game 꺼져버려 이젠

Now I wanna pump up my gain this is about a man

You know you’re the only man 넌 나를 너무 잘 알기에

나를 기쁘게 기쁘게 기쁘게 해줘

나를 느끼게 느끼게 느끼게 해줘

Limousine champagne bling bling jewelry chain

I don’t want a man who wants me so badly he chokes oh no

I don’t want a man who always gets pushed around by a woman just pain

Don’t wanna play this game Get lost now

Now I wanna pump up my gain this is about a man

Now I wanna pump up my gain this is about a man Since you know me so well

You make me happy happy happy

You make me happy happy happy


Finishing the translation of this song late last night, and composing an introduction to (hopefully) pique your interest as I fell asleep, then that was the first thing I wrote this morning. In hindsight though, it’s a little frivolous for how provocative this verse is.

In particular, lines 2 & 3. But as they were also the hardest parts of the song to translate, then I’ll keep the introduction as it is for now just in case I’ve misinterpreted them.

The difficulty was because at first, little things meant that they were quite different to what you’d expect given the rest of the song. For instance, there’s a phrase “사랑에 목을 메다”  which means you’re very in love with someone, so much so that you’re sort of hanging around their neck all the time. But then in line 2 it’s not actually  “목이” but “목을”, and “목을 메다” means “choke”.

With that in mind, then “나를 원해 목이 메인 그런 남자” literally gives “me-want-choke-kind of-man”, which was very very easy to interpret as “a man that wants to choke me”. But to put it mildly, that raised alarm bells. Instead, there’s really 2 clauses here “나를 원해” and “목이 메인 그런 남자”, giving “me-want”  and “choke-kind of-man”, and cobbling those together I came up with “I don’t want a man who wants me so badly he chokes”.

That seemed out of place, but it made sense in the context of line 3, “항상 발길에 채이는 그런 남잔” literally being “always-a kick-get kicked-kind-of-man”, but which I interpreted as “always-gets kicked [pushed around]-kind of-man”, and presumably by his female partner. The English “just pain” cobbled on the end of that though, is probably just virtually random English, and too much shouldn’t be read into it.

Taken all together then, then there’s a huge double standard: the female protagonist is free to feel powerless in wake of her desire for her man, but a man that feels the same way about her, and is prepared to spend a lot of money on and get pushed around by her to win her heart? That’s unacceptable.

Which is fine I suppose. But why I say the verse is provocative though, is that given the context of the woman’s weakness and passivity in the song as a whole, then I’m left with the uneasy feeling that she at least wouldn’t mind if things were reversed. That she wants to be dominated by him.

What do you think? Is there something to that, or should I reconsider after having my second coffee?

Either way, that’s it, but for the chorus again:


그댄 나를 기쁘게 해요 그댄 나를 느끼게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

그댄 나를 미치게 해요 자꾸자꾸 원하게 해요

처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼 처 처음처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼처럼 처럼처럼처럼처럼

처 처음처럼처럼 처처처처럼처럼


You make me feel happy You make me feel you

Like the first time Like the first time Like the first time

You make me feel crazy I want you again and again

Like the first time, like the first time…(etc)

For more on T-ara and (indirectly) this song and the surreal ads above, see here and here. Meanwhile, for those of you that like your K-pop gossip, netizens are very concerned about Hyo-min’s (효민) recent excessive weightloss, the main character in the music video.

Next song to be translated: Oh! (오!) by Girls’ Generation (소녀시대), with a very similar narrative to this one.