Golden Lady (골든레이디) by Lim Jeong-hee (임정희): Lyrics, Translation, and Explanation

Unlike From Noona With Love, the more K-pop idols I listen to, the more I find that can’t actually sing(!). But still, we can definitely agree on the abilities of Lim Jeong-hee (임정희), and I’m really glad I found out about her via Noona’s post.

As the lyrics reveal, I’m a Golden Lady is a short but sweet grrrl power piece, about a woman splitting up with her boyfriend and kicking him out of  her apartment. Yet while the music video does follow this narrative at first, then I think undermines it by singer G.NA (지나) all too readily accepting comedian Park Hwi-soon (박휘순) back whenever he brings her gifts later, even if she does literally beat him up immediately afterwards for trying to kiss her, hug her, or stroke her hair. Indeed, as that affection would surely be natural for a reconciled couple that used to share a bed, then, however comic, G.NA appears not so much empowered as a bit of a user.

But with such a beautiful voice, especially those nasal twangs in the chorus (see about 1:14 for instance), then I’ll more than forgive Jeong-hee for the MV. Liking her voice so much though, then you’d think I would have realized sooner that it’s not actually her that does the rap section from 2:29 to 2:49, but rather another (much more famous) Korean singer. See if you guess who, before all is revealed down the page…

Update – Also check out this version with an orchestra, to hear Jeong-hee’s voice away from the recording studio:

너 없이 어떻게 살아가냐고 바보 같은 질문 말아

나는 알아 너 같은 남자는 널려 있단걸

너 같은 남자가 아니더라도 전화 한 통에 달려올

그런 남자 나만 기다리는 남자는 많아

벌써 그 사람의 자동차 소리가 들려

이젠 내 집에서 좀 나가주겠니

아예 없던것처럼

Stop asking stupid questions, like how can I live without you

I know so many men like you

No matter how much they’d be like you, with just one phone call I’d have so many men chasing after me, only waiting for me

I can already hear the sound of his [their?] car

Now, why don’t you leave my home?

Take everything, as if you were never here

(Sources, all remaining screenshots: 1, 2)

Just focusing on those few things which I personally had difficulty with, although I’d be quite happy to explain anything more if anyone requests (and grateful to readers for pointing out any mistakes), the first is the “~날려 있다” in line 2.  With no relationship with the numerous meanings of the verb “날리다”, and not being in any grammar books of mine, I would never have guessed that it meant “lots of [something]” without the help of my wife.

Other than that, the only other thing I briefly struggled with was the verb ending “~겠니” in line 6, which means “aren’t you going to [verb] for me?”. I’d forgotten that – ahem – I’d already covered that in my translation of After School’s Ah! last June.

Next, it’s the chorus:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

야~ 이 집도 내가 산 거야 이 차도 내가 산거야

난 이런 여자 야~ 날 위해 살아온거야 그래서 소중한거야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

I bought this house too, and this car

Hey, I’m that kind of woman, I have been living for myself, so they’re valuable to me

In lines 1 and 3, both “구차하다” and “불쌍하다” translate as “poor, pitiful, wretched, humiliating” (and so on) according to my dictionary, but my wife says that it’s only the former that more means humiliating and pathetic, and the latter used for someone or thing you should feel sorry for.

열쇠는 놓고가 항상 놔두던 현관 입구 바구니에

안보이게 괜히 숨겨 갈 생각 하지 말고

니 옷은 챙겨줘 남기지 말고 내가 선물한 옷들도

그냥 줄게 남김 없이 싹 다 가지고 가줘

걸리적 거리니까 옆으로 비켜주겠니

이젠 현관에서 퇴장해 주겠니

아예 없던것처럼

Put your keys in the basket in the porch that you always put keys in

Don’t even think about hiding them

Take your clothes, even the ones I bought for you

I don’t want anything to remain, just take everything

You’re in the way, move!

Now, leave from the porch

As if you were never here

In line 5, “걸리적 거리다” is sort of slang for “you’re in way”, again courtesy of my wife.

Next, there’s a short version of the chorus, then the rap section. If you’re reading as you listen, scroll down very slowly if you want to guess who’s singing it before reaching the end:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

불쌍한척 애교 좀 떨지마

지루한 너의 유먼 이젠 내겐 철 지난

옷과 같애 몇번을 또 말해야만

알아 듣고 내 앞에서 꺼지겠어? 이젠 안돼

나지막히 얘기할 때 나를 떠나줘

마지막이 아름답게 말을 말아 더

지긋지긋한 너의 어리광

차비라도 달라고 나 참 어이가 없어 Good bye

Don’t do that pretending-to-be-poor aegyo

Your tedious humor is now like last season’s clothes

Do I have to tell you time and time again?

Figure it out…will you get the hell away from in front of me? No more!

Now I’m telling you in a serious voice to leave me

To not ruin this end, say no more

I’m tired of your childishness

You’re even asking for a bus fare? I’ve had it with you! Goodbye!


With apologies to Korean learners, I didn’t have any troubles at all with that section, although I’m sure I’ll come to rue those words as soon as better speakers than I get their teeth stuck into it!

As for the source of the rap, if you’d guessed HyunA (현아) of 4Minute (포미닛) then I’m impressed, as I had no idea until halfway through writing this post, when I stumbled across it by accident on some Kpop site…then belatedly noticed it mentioned in the title of the YouTube video I was originally using.

After that, it’s the full version of the chorus again, and already that’s the entire song. Like I said, short and sweet:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

야~ 이 집도 내가 산 거야 이 차도 내가 산거야

난 이런 여자 야~ 날 위해 살아온거야 그래서 소중한거야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

I bought this house too, and this car

Hey, I’m that kind of woman, I have been living for myself, so they’re valuable to me

Originally, I aimed to do much more background research on Jeong-hee before posting here (one of many resolutions made over my short blogging break), in her case checking out her other music videos to see if any more of her music features similar grrrl power themes. But as just this one example illustrates, music videos can often give a very misleading impression of a song’s lyrics, so unfortunately that project is going to require many more time-consuming translations,  rather than a lazy afternoon spent in front of Youtube. Until those are completed then, I’ll happily defer to readers’ greater knowledge of her (and/or recommendations on which of her other songs to start with), and will begin posting readers’ requests for other songs that I’ve been working on. Rather than putting some readers off in advance by choosing next week’s one myself though, please let me know which of those you’d like instead!^^

Update, 5pm Friday – Unfortunately, PollDaddy doesn’t give you a 5-day option for closing your poll (the closest is a week), but now is when I really need to start working on your selection for it to be ready for Monday. Thanks for you votes then, and Syndrome by Chocolat it is!

(For more Korean song translations, please see here)


Korean Gender Reader


Some interesting pictures of G-Dragon, even by his standards (via: Noona Blog).

1) Cory at Banana Milk unimpressed with Project Obaeksang’s “Speed So-Getting Contest”

2) Curfews for 20-something Korean women

How common are they? And like YOUNique, does getting a job mean that parents no longer enforce it?

I had big problems with my first Korean girlfriend’s one 11 years ago, while dating my future wife later was made much easier by her living away from home. What have your own experiences been? Has anyone ever met a 20-something Korean man that had a curfew?

3) Babies!

Congratulations to A Good Korean (Feminist) Wife on her impending Dragon baby, and congratulations in advance to Shotgun Korea, whose baby is due any day now.


4) Sex in Korean cinema vs. sex on Korean television:

YAM Magazine ponders the differences

– The Korean Film Archive is highlighting the theme “[A History of] Eroticism in Korean Movies” in August, with all(?) movies featured available for free viewing after signing up

– KBS has come under fire for its screening of the single-episode lesbian drama “Daughters of Bilitis Club” (클럽 빌리티스의 딸들) . Thanks to all the people who passed that news on, and also see YAM Magazine for a potted history of how LGBT issues have been covered on Korean television.

– KBS’s “Dream Team 2” has also come under under fire for, well, showing women in bikinis, even though I could go and see the same 10 minutes walk away at Gwanganli Beach. For more information, see Angry KPop Fan, who – unlike 99% of commenters at Omona! They Didn’t! and Allkpop – actually watched the segment of the show in question, and points out that internet portal Nate basically lies in reporting that cameras gave repeated close-ups of the women’s breasts (which would have justified the complaints).

Having said that, the offending objects were still pretty difficult to avoid, as tends to happen in an inane show featuring women in bikinis having a race in a swimming pool. But what else did complainers expect from something titled “Dream Girls Summer Special“?

5) B2ST, G.NA, and 4Minute help teenagers prevent crimes

While lame, it’s no more so than public service announcements in other countries, and I particularly liked the part at roughly 2:18 in the first video that says “음란물에서의 성은 잘못된 성입니다”, or literally “Sex in pornography isn’t good sex”. Rather than expanding upon that point however, a trying to look stern – but ending up looking cute instead – HyunA and G.NA unhelpfully simply say “Absolutely stay far away from 18+ things”.

See Angry KpopFan for more commentary on the pornography segment.

6) HyunA revealed to weigh 39 kg during her “Bubble Pop!” promotions

A man well over twice that, I’m not very familiar with healthy weight ranges for 164cm tall women. But the consensus of women that are appears to be that that is much too low, and – given how she looks in the music video – that that figure is exaggerated by Cube Entertainment, if not an outright lie.

7 Westin Chosun hotel tries to inject some fun into stuffy Korean weddings

Starting at $140,000 however, then I don’ t think wedding halls will be put out of business anytime soon! (via: @hanbae and @a_ahmad)

8) The more you learn about China’s One-child policy, the uglier it gets

What’s more, while Chinese proponents claim that it has avoided 400 million extra mouths to feed, most likely China’s rising wealth means that they would never have been born anyway.

9) “Cute and lovely” Korean S&M movie gets warm reception in Montreal’s 2011 Fantasia Film Festival

10) Korean couple fighting

This may make for uncomfortable viewing, but I include it for the reasons I give here:


“Juvis Professional Diet” Does it Again…

Source: Busan Focus, 15 June 2011, page 17

With apologies to the guinea pigs that were the first to receive it, but I’m constantly updating my public lecture on gender and Korean advertising as I get more practice with it—and indeed I’ve just realized I’ve been making a big oversight by not mentioning Koreans’ exceptionally tolerant attitudes towards photoshopping in it previously. Deciding to remedy that in the latest version then, naturally I decided to include one of the most notorious recent examples: singer G.Na‘s ubiquitous advertisements for “Juvis Professional Diet“, which I discussed here. Surely, I thought, there was no greater demonstration than making such an attractive woman look like a virtual alien (or at least her legs).

Then I opened today’s paper…

If you reside in South Korea, you can donate via wire transfer: Turnbull James Edward (Kookmin Bank/국민은행, 563401-01-214324)

With Great Legs Comes Great Responsibility? G.Na for “Juvis Diet”

(Source: Seoul Focus, May 17 2011, p. 13.)

Call me paranoid, but usually I quickly turn the page when I see newspaper ads like this on my commute. After all, as the only foreigner, I’ll already be the only guy on the subway carriage red-faced and sweating at this time of year. And I don’t want to fulfill stereotypes of oversexed Western males by blatantly staring at singer G.Na‘s legs either.

But, dammit, there’s something wrong with them here. Rather than hearing me harp on about unnecessary photoshopping though, it was with great relief that I found some rare critical Korean commentary on this ad. Or at least, so I thought before I began translating properly…

지나 신이내린 몸매, 포토샵을 거부한 아찔한 비주얼  G.Na’s God-given Body Doesn’t Need Photoshop

활발한 활동을 하고 있는 가수 지나가 하루가 다르게 예뻐지는 모습을 보이고 있습니다. 원조 베이글녀 이제니도 안 부러울 정도의 글래머스한 몸매를 가진 지나는 신세경에 이어 가장 매력적인 여성에 속하기도 한데요. 여기에 타고난 가창력은 더욱더 지나를 빛나게 하는 부분이 아닐까 합니다.

G.Na, a very active singer, is becoming prettier every day. Counted as one of the most attractive women [in Korea?] after Shin Se-kyung, with her glamorous body she has no need to be jealous of original Bagel Girl Jenny Lee. Add the singing ability she was born with too, and she shines all the more.

[James – for what a “Bagel Girl” is, see here. Also, bear in mind that “glamorous” actually means “voluptuous” in Korean. And say “Jeena”, not “Jee-en-ay” like I first did!]

현재는 인기를 끌었던 Black & White 활동을 마치고 자신의 가창력을 그대로 보여줄 수 있는 후속곡 ‘벌써 보고 싶어’로 활동 중인데요. 역시 댄스곡이나 발라드 곡 모두를 다 완벽히 소화해 내는 지나의 모습을 보면 정말 뛰어난 솔로 가스로서 능력을 타고난 가수가 아닐까 생각합니다. 그리고 이런 인기 덕분인지 지나는 프로농구 챔피언결정전 5차전에까지 초청받아 시구하는 등 나날이 달라지는 위상을 실감하고 있습니다.

Having just finished the song Black and White [above], which is gathering a lot of popularity, G.Na is continuing to demonstrate her singing ability with her next song, I Already Miss You. Able to adopt [new] styles like dance and ballad music perfectly, if you see [hear?] her you will have no doubt that she was destined to become a brilliant solo singer. Indeed, because of her popularity she was even invited to make the ceremonial opening pitch at a pro-baseball championship game [below], and her image is soaring.

그런데 이런 지나가 최근에 가장 완벽한 몸매를 드러낸 모습이 있어 화제가 되었죠. 그것도 무보정 몸매로 있는 그대로의 환상적인 모습을 보여줘 감탄사를 연발하게 만들었습니다. 이 사진은 일명 직찍 사진으로 광고촬영 중에 지나의 모습을 그대로 담아 낸 사진인데요. 지나의 완벽한 몸매에 정말 감탄사가 절로 나올 정도로 아찔함을 주는 모습이라고 할 수 있습니다.

By the way, showing her most perfect body has become a bit of an issue, right? So perfect that it needs no corrections, seeing her fantasy-like body makes people exclaim in rapid succession. And indeed in this everyday, unaltered picture of her doing her advertisement photoshoot, we just see her appearance how it is. But her body is so perfect and mesmerizing that she makes people automatically exclaim.

(“Terminator Body” G.Na. Source)

하지만, 이런 지나의 무보정 사진과 과연 정식으로 광고에 사용된 사진이 얼마나 다를까 궁금해지는데요. 최근에 지나의 모습이 공개되었는데 역시나 별반 다를 것 없는 모습에 또 한 번 놀라게 되고 말았습니다. 정말 포토샵을 거부한 몸매라고 받게 할 수 없는데요. 워낙 타고난 몸매 종결자이다 보니 실제로 쓰인 광고 사진과 별반 다를 게 없더군요.

But I was curious as to how much the photos used in the advertisement differed from the untouched ones. And again I was surprised at how they’re not particularly different…surely this can be called a body that rejects photoshop? As she was born with this “terminator” body, the final picture actually used in the advertisement doesn’t really have any differences.

[James – “Terminator”, as in a person, is some new Korean slang. I think by itself it means someone is so good that he or she is the final, “terminating” word on the issue. Update: with thanks to Milton at The Marmot’s Hole, a much better explanation is that “In slang, a 종결자 is some who is the absolute best at something. You can affix it to other words besides 몸매, like 색시종결자 In this case, it means that G.Na has the absolute best body.”]

일단 왼쪽 사진은 포토샵을 하지 않은  지나의 몸매 그대로 모습이고 오른쪽이 최종 사진 보정을 해서 공개된 사진 컷입니다. 보여지는 표정의 각도가 조금은 다른 스타일이지만 무보정 상태의 지나와 보정 상태의 지나가 별반 다를 게 없는 것을 확연히 느낄 수 있는데요. 왜 지나의 몸매가 찬사를 받는지 알 수 있는 부분이 아닐까 합니다.

On the right is a untouched picture of G.Na, on the left is the final one that was released, with photoshop corrections. The angle and her expression are a little different, but otherwise I get a definite feeling that there was little photoshopping done. Now we see why G.Na receives such praise for her body.


그러나 지나는 광고 촬영 외에는 주로 이런 스타일의 옷은 잘 입고 다니질 않죠. 몸매가 뛰어나지만, 사람들이 색안경을 끼고 몸으로만 승부한다는 비난을 하기 때문에 많은 상처를 받았기 때문인데요. 최근에 오락프로나 다른 방송에 나오는 지나의 모습을 보면 상체를 거의 노출한 적이 없을 정도입니다. 그래서 말이지만 지나가 글래머스한 몸매를 가지고 있다고 해서 왜 비난을 하는 일은 그만두었으면 하는데요. 이번 가창력도 어느 정도 인정받은 가수이기 때문에 이제는 실력으로 승부하는 지나의 모습으로 바라봐 주었으면 좋겠다는 생각입니다.

By the way, with the exception of this advertisement photoshoot, G.Na doesn’t really wear these kinds of clothes. Her body is amazing, but she has been hurt by many people having a prejudice about it, thinking that that is all she is good for. Because of this, whenever she appears on comedy shows or other programs, she always wears clothes that cover most of her upper body. So, I wish people would stop criticizing her for having a glamorous body, and think that as her singing abilities have been acknowledged, people should respect her as a singer (end).


Writing ability aside, the author does have a point about the Korean media’s obsession with G.Na’s breasts. Indeed, it strongly reminds me of journalist Amanda Hess’s classic article With Great Cleavage Comes Great Responsibility, in which she argues that ultimately it’s not really busty women’s clothes that people have a problem with. Rather, it’s large breasts themselves that are somehow considered “indecent”.

On the other hand, I beg to differ on the relative lack of photoshopping by Juvis (see here for a close-up of the last image if you’re still not convinced yourself). It speaks volumes about Koreans’ attitudes to photoshop, I’m tempted to say, that someone would consider that to be a sign of an attractive body, rather than simply one that required no photoshopping at all. Fortunately for such (over)generalizations however, actually many Korean netizens agree with me, or at least on G.Na and this particular photoshoot.

Meanwhile, does anybody else recall this ad from Juvis that I wrote about 2 years ago?

To those that still maintain I’m reading too much into things, I now rest my case!

Update: As a commenter on blogger Michael Hurt’s Facebook pointed out, the ad above is actually about:

…a special treatment program to fix bowed legs. The girl who endorses [it] was famous for her bowed legs as much as her pretty face, but seems ok now due to the treament. Many Korean girls are interested in this kind of program thank to the ‘girl group’ phenomenon since few years ago.

Technically speaking then, the ad isn’t advocating excessively skinny legs. On the other hand though, it’s hardly discouraging them either, and Juvis has a strong track record of doing so in other ads too. (Like the one with G.Na.)