On (for Song Lyric Sunday)

BTS members, from left to right: J-Hope, Jungkook, Suga, V (standing), RM, Jimin and Jin (sitting)

Jim Adams is giving us another interesting prompt this week for Song Lyric Sunday. The prompt is to come up with a song that has one word as its title. I’m making it more challenging by deciding to find the shortest word possible, the shorter the better, and so here is the song. As I said before in my previous post for Song Lyric Sunday, my songs tend to be from the eastern part of the world. This time my pick is not written in English, but in Korean. No worries, I will give you the English interpretation, but if you haven’t heard of any Korean song, this may be quite a journey for you. I wish you a pleasant one.

The title of the song is On. Two-letter word is probably the shortest title for a song that you can find, unless there’s a song called I or A. On is a song recorded by BTS. It came out in February 2020, right before the global pandemic started. BTS released the music video “Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima” on the same day the song is released in all streaming platforms, which I show below as the first video in this post. The MV “Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima” was recorded live showing BTS, The Lab (the champion from the World of Dance Season 2), and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, a famous marching band group. They performed the whole choreography near the famous Sepulveda Dam, in Los Angeles, California. When you watch this video, you have to see it all the way to the end to witness the dance break, a special added scene only seen in some videos. Just for fun and comparison, I threw in another MV of another live performance of On at the Grand Central Terminal in New York for the Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.



And here’s the lyrics in Korean and English before I continue talking about the artist group BTS. What I’m giving you here is the English translation only. If anyone would like to sing along the Korean lyrics written in Roman letters, you can find the lyrics by clicking here. I know that many of you will probably appreciate the meaning of the lyrics more than the song itself, but I do hope that you can enjoy their dance talent shown in the first two videos too.

BTS - ON [English Translation]

I can't understand what people are sayin'
Who and what do I need to follow
With each step then again grows the shadow
Where is this place I open my eyes to
Maybe Seoul or New York or Paris
I get up, unsteady on my feet

Look at my feet, look down
The shadow resembles me
Is it the shadow that’s shaking
Or is it my feet that are trembling
Of course I‘m not unafraid
Of course it’s not all okay
But I know
Awkwardly I flow
I fly together with that black wind

Hey na na na
Gotta go insane to stay sane
Hey na na na
Throw myself whole into both worlds
Hey na na na
Can’t hold me down cuz you know I’m a fighter
Carried myself into this beautiful prison
Find me and I'm gonna live with ya

(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah
(Eh-Oh)
Come on up, bring the pain oh yeah
Rain be pourin'
Sky keep fallin'
Everyday oh na na na
(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah

Bring the pain
It’ll become my blood and flesh
Bring the pain
No fear, now that I know the way
Breathe on the small things
My air and my light in the dark
The power of the things that make me, “me”
Even if I fall, I come right up, scream

Even if I fall, I come right up, scream
That’s how we’ve always been
Even if my knees drop to the ground
As long as they don’t get buried
It won’t matter
Win no matter what
Whatever you say Whatever they say
I don't give a uhh
I don't give a uhh
I don't give a uhh

Hey na na na
Gotta go insane to stay sane
Hey na na na
Throw myself whole into both worlds
Hey na na na
Can’t hold me down cuz you know I’m a fighter
Carried myself into this beautiful prison
Find me and I'm gonna live with ya

(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah
(Eh-Oh)
Come on up, bring the pain oh yeah
Rain be pourin'
Sky keep fallin'
Everyday oh na na na
(Eh-Oh)

Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah
Where my pain lies
Let me take a breath
My everythin’
My blood and tears
Got no fears
I’m singin’ ohhhhh
Oh I’m takin’ over
You should know yeah
Can’t hold me down cuz you know I’m a fighter
Choosing to descend into the dark abyss
Find me and I’m gonna bleed with ya

(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah
(Eh-Oh)
Come on up, bring the pain oh yeah
Rain be pourin'
Sky keep fallin'
Everyday oh na na na
(Eh-Oh)

Find me and I’m gonna bleed with ya
(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah
(Eh-Oh)
Come on up, bring the pain oh yeah
All that I know
is just goin’ on & on & on & on
(Eh-Oh)
Bring it, bring the pain oh yeah

Songwriters: BTS members J-Hope, RM and Suga, as well as August Rigo, Melaniae Fontana, Michel Schulz, Antonina Armato, Julia Ross, Krysta Youngs, and Pdogg.
Producer:  Pdogg

Now I’d like to say a little bit about the artists, the seven young men that belong to Bantan Sonyeondan, also known as the Bangtan Boys or BTS. The seven members are well known with their stage names RM (the leader), Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and JK (or Jung Kook). Some of you reading this post have probably heard about them recently with their hit song Dynamite (also a one-word song title) that was nominated for the Best Pop Group/Duo at the 63rd Annual Grammy Award in March 2021. BTS did not win the Grammy, but the fact that they were nominated and then became the first Korean group artist that performed fully at the Grammy was already hard to miss out in the eye of the world, not to mention all of the other major accomplishments that they’ve had. The fans of BTS, called the BTS ARMY, is also not something to be seen lightly.

I have not seen an impact done by a global union of fans the way BTS ARMY did. ARMY is not just a fans group. They make sure their voice and social impact are seen, known and received by the world. The Time magazine wrote an article about ARMY last year, Inside the BTS ARMY, the Devoted Fandom with an Unrivaled Level of Organization, as well as an article by Variety entertainment news online titled How the BTS and Its ARMY Could Change the Music Industry. To understand the connection between BTS and their fan group, Jin (one of the BTS members) says it perfectly in Variety’s article, “It’s because ARMY exists that we exist.” Truly, BTS and ARMY are like a big family. And next, I will introduce another part of the big family that plays a big role in BTS.

BTS debuted for the first time in 2013 under the Big Hit Entertainment, a small underdog entertainment company back in 2013. It has now grown to be one of the top 4 entertainment companies in South Korea, if not the number one, rebranded its name to become Hybe Entertainment in 2020, and started to spread its wings globally outside of South Korea. At the beginning of April 2021, Hybe America, a subsidiary group of Hybe Entertainment, purchased all of the holdings of Ithaca Holdings that includes SB Projects that manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Big Machine Label Group. Big Hit or Hybe owes its huge development and growing to BTS, and vice versa, BTS would not be as big as they are now if not because of Big Hit. As an entertainment group, Big Hit has been known to allow plenty of rooms for their artists to grow and be free in their creativity, including for BTS. Big Hit allowed BTS members to do something that was slightly different compared to other Korean idol groups at that time, that is to produce their own songs, including writing their own lyrics. With Hybe now slowly emerging globally, are we going to see more Korean music wave globally? I don’t know, but it’s exciting to see what will happen.

So back to the song On, I would like to give you two more videos. I hope I can still have your attention. The third video will be the Official Music Video without the dance performance. The video is full of symbolism and references to various films and television shows, such as The Maze Runner, The Lion King, Game of Thrones, and perhaps more. In order to understand the symbols, I hereby give you another video. The fourth one explains the Official MV from a Korean perspective and connects those meanings to BTS and the messages they would like to send through the song. The explanation is in English, so it’ll be easy to understand. What I appreciate from watching the third and fourth video is the artistic talent and ideas that went behind the concept of the video and its making.

I hope you can enjoy everything in this long writing. I normally don’t write this long, so if I can keep your attention to the end it’s quite an achievement for me.




Please visit Song Lyric Sunday April 11, 2021 to see more songs shared by others. Have a wonderful week, everyone.

If She Could Talk

If she could talk, this would be her last words before she was gone. This would be her monologue.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com
my body's changing
I can tell, I can feel it, helpless
I know dark pages are ahead
no, I refuse to end this chapter now
just let me read this book longer
will you stay with me, read to me 
let me fall asleep to your voice

let's take a picture, it's been a while
no, not full body, just the face
don't worry, I'll smile for us both
please don't smile, can't handle it now
it's your eyes, they smile too

I don't have much more to say
don't have anything to give you
what else to leave, everything breaks
I'll leave our sweet youthful times
when we never talk or think about
departing

it's dark ahead, I see it
why are you lighting a candle?
yes, I'm scared too, but let's use flashlights
they last longer

#NaPoWriMo2021 – Day 8, and here is the prompt below, best explained when directly copied from the original instruction:

And last but not least, our (optional) prompt. I call this one “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies. As with Masters’ poems, the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy. Be as dramatic as you like – Masters’ certainly didn’t shy away from high emotion in writing his poems.

The poem above is for a dear friend of mine. In 4 more days, it’ll be 9 years since her passing. This is for you, sis.

Life, Precious

Image taken from pixabay by PublicDomainPictures

Breath,

stringent,

fitfully,

unabashed tears,

almost surreal.

How I beg Sorrow fiercely

for last court with destiny,

but as the sun slowly setting,

my shadow too is bidding farewell.

Darkness comes, choking me with endless fear


I dedicate the poem above to a friend who just a few days ago lost his partner. I’ve came to know his partner only through facebook, but over the past 4 years, we became friends. We shared one thing in common, even though only through online posts, and that is the love of poems. He loved writing free verses (in Bahasa Indonesia) spontaneously and posted them on his facebook account. What a pleasure it was to read them. He claimed that he was inspired to start writing free verses when he saw mine. True, I used to write some in Bahasa Indonesia in the past, but because of hectic schedule, the passion of writing slowly dissipated. I know, it’s an excuse, a lame one too.

Strangely so, the passing of my friend has tickled my urge to write again. I thank him for that. It was a gift that we gave to each other, and I should cherish it. My only regret now is that I never got to meet him in person.

Reading about the news of my friend’s passing was very shocking, and that’s because I haven’t been diligent in keeping up with my friends on social network. I’ve been reminded by his passing that I need to change, especially now that news of friends and family members’ passing seems to happen more often during this unique and challenging time.

I will continue — we will all continue — after every devastating moment. Life goes on. I will cherish what little and short memories I have with him because they are precious. Life is precious.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I wrote the poem above in the form of Etheree format, thanks to an inspiration from Tanka Tuesday, Poetry Challenge no. 212, Synonyms Only with Loose & Tight for this week’s focus. Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoy this piece.


A Prayer for Healing

Kusut. Tak tahu mau menulis apa, tapi aku ingat tekad yang sudah aku ikrarkan di awal minggu ini, yaitu menulis setiap hari. Maka, kubiarkan jemariku menari sendiri di atas tuts. Aku percaya pikiran akan melok dengan sendirinya.

Sejak siang tadi pikiran sudah kusut. Padahal aku ingat tadi saat bangun pagi terasa lebih ringan. Pertama kalinya dalam minggu ini merasa sedikit lebih enteng. Aku agak kecewa dengan diriku sendiri sebenarnya. Siang tadi mendapatkan kabar mengenai keadaan seorang teman yang ternyata sudah cukup lama sakit. Sakitnya mungkin sudah sebulan lebih, dan aku baru tahu siang tadi. Itupun secara tidak sengaja karena teman kerja yang lain mengatakan sesuatu mengenai teman kerja yang sedang sakit ini. Kami memang tidak bekerja di unit yang sama, dan malah tidak di lokasi yang sama walaupun saya cukup sering mengunjungi lokasinya teman itu. Tapi karena tempatnya berada di sisi gedung yang lain, kami akhirnya memang jarang ketemu. Sewaktu mendengar mengenai keadaannya, baru aku tersadar bahwa sudah lama sekali sejak terakhir aku melihatnya di lokasi tempat kerjanya. Aku juga baru sadar bahwa di bulan Maret kemarin, tempat kerja kami mengadakan rapat kerja pimpinan dan mestinya dia juga ikut di raker itu. Waktu itu pikirku mungkin dia berhalangan yang bersifat biasa saja. Tidak menyangka bahwa dia mungkin sudah mulai sakit waktu itu.

Sebenarnya, ada alasan mengapa banyak yang tidak tahu-menahu mengenai keadaannya, termasuk aku juga. Berdasarkan sedikitnya informasi yang aku dapatkan, aku menangkap bahwa mungkin temanku ini awalnya sakit di fisiknya, tapi kemudian merambat ke psikisnya. Aku tidak bisa mengatakan dengan pasti, tapi sepertinya merujuk ke depresi. Depresi itu juga mungkin saja membuat fisiknya bertambah lemah dan penyakitnya bertambah parah.

Tidak banyak yang tahu, termasuk rekan-rekan di unit kantornya. Aku dan rekan di unit kantorku mencoba untuk bertanya kepada beberapa orang di unitnya temanku itu. Hampir semuanya mengatakan tidak tahu. Aku harus bertanya ke salah satu atasan di kantor itu baru bisa mendapatkan sedikit jawaban. Dan aku sungguh kaget. Tidak menyangka kalau temanku ini sedang mengalami depresi yang ikut menggerogoti tubuh dan mentalnya. Ada bagian dari diriku yang menyesal kenapa tidak mengetahui perihal sakitnya lebih awal. Dan untuk  membuat moodku lebih menurun lagi, sorenya aku menerima update bahwa temanku sudah dibawa ke kota asalnya di luar kota yang berada cukup jauh dari kotaku, sehingga kemungkinan untuk menjenguk menjadi sulit. Padahal, aku dan beberapa orang sudah berencana untuk menjenguk di awal minggu depan.

Depresi. Kenapa aku harus dihadapkan dengan kata itu lagi? Kata itu seperti menamparku hari ini. Aku merasa ada sesuatu yang ironis di sini. Kami berdua sedang mengalaminya bersama, tapi tanpa saling mengetahui. Depresinya pastilah lebih parah kalau sampai ia sudah tidak bisa masuk kerja lagi. Bukan cuma tidak bisa masuk kerja, tapi juga menolak masuk kerja. Sudah tidak mampu lagi menghadapi dunia kerjanya. Episode depresiku kali ini aku tahu tidak separah episodeku yang sebelumnya, tapi aku ingat juga momen dalam hidupku di mana aku tidak bisa bekerja selama setahun. Tidak bisa mencari pekerjaan baru juga selama hampir setahun. Benar-benar tidak berkutik dan hanya mengurung diri di rumah. Keluar rumah hanya untuk mencari pertolongan ke terapis, ke gereja dan sekali-sekali ke supermarket untuk belanja makanan. Itupun kadang-kadang sambil menangis terisak sendirian di mobil selama perjalanan. Jadi aku tahu dan bisa membayangkan keadaan temanku saat ini. Bedanya adalah, saat ini temanku juga sedang sakit secara fisiknya. Dan itu yang membuat mentalnya juga drop. Sepemahamanku, dia juga sedang mengalami stres yang tinggi sebelum jatuh sakit.

Dan semua ini hanya menambah penyesalanku. Hanya penyesalan dan kesedihan yang aku rasakan. Sepertinya aku selama ini terlalu berfokus pada keadaanku sendiri dan melupakan orang lain. Aku terlalu berpusat pada kebutuhanku, keinginanku, keegoisanku, dan melupakan bahwa ada orang lain yang jauh lebih menderita dariku dan yang mungkin membutuhkan bantuanku.

Jujur, temanku yang satu ini bisa dikatakan bukanlah teman yang dekat sekali denganku. Bukan sosok teman yang mungkin akan aku cari pertama untuk curhat mengenai masalahku. Bukan seperti itu. Kami juga baru menjadi dekat belum sampai setahun. Sebelumnya, aku cuma tahu namanya dan di bagian mana unit kerjanya. Tapi, aku yakin kita semua pernah bertemu dengan orang-orang yang sejak pertama kita ketemu, langsung klik. Spirit-nya itu langsung terasa cocok. Terasa seperti bisa saling menyambung saat berbicara dan saling mengerti. Itulah sosok temanku. Rendah hati, humoris, baik hati, dan memperhatikan. Hatinya juga peka, peduli pada orang lain, taat dalam beragama, dan punya iman yang kuat.

Hatinya sepertinya memang peka dan sensitif. Itu aku tahu sejak pertama mengenalinya. Dia tidak mungkin menjadi orang yang sangat ringan tangan dalam membantu orang lain kalau bukan seseorang yang hatinya sensitif. Pelayanannya kepada masyarakat sangat tinggi. Dan sekarang, setelah aku mengingat-ingat lagi, mungkin dalam kepekaan itulah tersimpan bibit-bibit yang memungkinkan dia sampai mengalami depresi berat yang mungkin ia alami sekarang. Karena tidak semua orang yang mengalami apa yang ia alami akan sedemikian berat pengaruhnya terhadap keadaan psikisnya. Kecuali kalau yang ia alami sekarang bukan hanya depresi saja tapi juga masalah neuropsikologis lainnya yang belum diketahui.

Maafkan aku yang kurang memperhatikan, yang egois berfokus pada diriku sendiri. Semoga Tuhan melindungi dan memberkati temanku. Semoga dia kuat menanggung beban dan deritanya. Semoga imannya terus diteguhkan sehingga dia kuat dan tabah menanggung sakitnya. Berkah Dalem, Pak.

earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.jpg

Meaningful Conversation

What is one thing that inspires me? A meaningful conversation. This can be a deep level of conversation with a person I trust, baring up each other soul, thoughts, fears, weaknesses, supporting each other, comforting. It can also be a meaningful conversation between two people who barely knew each other but want to connect. I’ve had that experience quite recently actually, not face to face, but through chatting. Can a meaningful conversation even be done through chatting? Well, yes and no. I thought at some point the conversation was meaningful, but nothing beats a face to face conversation I think. Chatting has some downsides. What I would love to see is the facial expression of the person I am talking to when having a conversation. As a matter of fact, I believe facial expression is the key to having a meaningful conversation. Being denied facial expressions is like eating a plain ice cream without a topping, fried rice without any meat or vegetables, or bread without a filling inside or even butter.

So why does a meaningful conversation an inspiration for me? If I look back to all of meaningful conversations I’ve had with my friends (and therapist), they all have one thing in common. I learned something new in those conversations. Always! Never failed. Whether it was to learn another side of me that I didn’t realize before, or learn a new way of looking at life, but rest assure I always gained something powerful out of the interaction. Quite frequently too it wasn’t about learning something new, but realizing a flaw in me that I surprisingly already knew beforehand — just did not have the courage to acknowledge, nonetheless accept it. How did I come to the conclusion that I already knew it beforehand? Because it tasted familiar. Something that I have done before. A mistake that kept repeating itself.

Will all of these inspire me to change eventually? I can’t give an exact yes answer right away. This realization of a flaw or a mistake within us has a name in psychology — it’s called insight. An insight is a powerful realization; at times it marks the rolling of wheel that will hopefully bring change. The rolling of the wheel may not happen suddenly and right away too. But it IS a start, unless the person has a very strong mechanism to reject the insight. My hope is that even when change comes in a delayed mode, but with more and more meaningful conversations with the right person(s), change for the better will eventually happen. Let’s keep hoping for it. At least I sure do.

And as for chatting as a tool for meaningful conversation? While I believe it is not the most effective form of conversation, but with the far distance in between two people that are hunger for connection, it may as well be the easiest choice for the time being. The power of human-direct conversation and connection, more specifically face to face, still cannot be replaced by technology.

 

Originally published in January 2016 in my other blog.

On Friendship

These two haiku poems were also written as a tribute to my birthday friend and to all of my friends wherever you guys are. I love you all and God bless you always. These were published originally in January 2016 as well in another blog of mine.

 

when laughter faded
when food and drinks are all gone
we’re left with our hearts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

don’t say it’s too far
don’t say we don’t have the time
when friendship calling