Life’s lessons we can learn from Psy — the man behind ‘Gangnam Style’

Unless you have been living under a rock or just return to Earth from an outer space mission, chances are you would have heard of, read about, listened to or viewed the YouTube video ‘Gangnam Style‘. As I began to learn more about the Korean rap artiste Psy, I found that there are many things that I can learn from him on how stick to one’s inner calling and to live life fully.

The Kpop video blazed through the Internet from 15 July 2012 to reach one billon views on 21 Dec 2012, breaking every record imaginable. So much has been said about the videoGangnam Style‘ already. So I won’t add to the deep analysis, outpouring of praise, all well-deserved, for the video. Instead, I thought I would like to share my views of Psy the man behind the video, or rather, of Mr Park Jae Sang, which is his real name by the way.

Like everyone else I really like the video’s catchy beat, crazy scenes and infectious sense of fun.  In fact, he had as much fun making the video as we had in viewing it. As the video continued its rocket-like trajectory into dizzy heights of fame, I became impressed at how Psy remained so humble and grounded despite his heady success.

In interviews, he is always saying he just did his job as an entertainer and didn’t expect it or didn’t deserve it. He is disarmingly honest about his shortcomings. He is aware he is not good-looking and doesn’t call his video a success, if anything, he credits the video’s success to the people who viewed it. So I became more and more curious: Who is this man Psy? Where did he came from? What is he made of?   Continue reading

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The super versatile Clint Eastwood

I’ve watched Clint Eastwood movies since I was a kid and I would always remember his trilogy of spaghetti westerns in the 1960s: A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and, of course, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. As I grew up, I followed his career path and became increasingly impressed by his versatility: moving from actor to director, and even composing his own score. Clint Eastwood is one intriguing artiste.

Clint Eastwood in the 60s

As an impressionable starry-eyed kid, I was so wow-ed by this Man With No Name who was the coolest, baddest dude in cowboy country. That trilogy was special in many ways not least the way Italian director Sergio Leone brought cowboy movies to a completely new level. Where Hollywood westerns always showed a two-way gunfight, Leone showed us a fresh perspective depicting a three-way, nail-biting, duel-to-the-death gunfight.

And who can forget the wonderfully theme songs by Ennio Morricone. Those haunting whistling melodies will be forever etched in my mind as a aural marker of my growing up years.  Continue reading

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The Matrix: blowing your mind and beyond

I’m going to blog quite a bit about my main passion – movies – as well as my fascination with philosophy. There is one movie that I really enjoy which combines both my love for movies and philosophy: The Matrix Trilogy.

The Matrix is a heady mix of sci-fi, kung-fu action with numerous references to religion and philosophy. There is even a documentary which discusses the Philosophy and The Matrix

A central theme of the movie is what is Reality?  There are metaphysical and epistemological allusions to Descartes and Zhuang Zhi among many others. How do you know the world around you is real? When all you can rely on is what you perceive through your five senses? What happens if a demon, or in the movie’s premise, a machine is giving you all your sensory inputs creating that ‘world’ in your head?  Are you a man dreaming that you’re a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that you’re a man?  Continue reading

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And away we go!

Should I blog?

For some time now, this idea of starting a blog has been nagging at me off and on. I don’t know why but it’s just a feeling that won’t go away. I’ve been expressing myself through Facebook and Twitter but they are just brief bursts of expressions. Whereas I’ve been thinking maybe I need something which I can expand on those brief outbursts into something more considered.

I once saw a movie in which it was said that you will feel a lot better if you talk to the hole in the tree. I guess it’s a kind of therapy except it’s free. Maybe that’s why people keep diaries. Except that blogging is an online diary. Something I can leave behind for others to read. Or to help me remember things when my memory goes.

Starting is the most difficult part

After deciding to take the plunge into blogging, the next difficult decision was which blogging platform to go with. Since I use many Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader it would be most convenient to try Blogger. But after some trial and error, I found Blogger to be not up to mark, for example, when I tried to embed a Twitter widget, it would not appear. So I decided to go with WordPress which is more comprehensive and customisable.

I think perhaps explaining how I chose my blog name and address would be an interesting way to introduce myself. Why popcorn philosopher? Well as you know, it is really a pain in the ass to choose a blog address that has not been taken up. So I tried so many variations and then I looked at how I introduce myself on my other social media channels. I don’t know how it started but I’ve been calling myself a ‘popcorn philosopher’ for some time. Even I did not understand how that came about. Until I dug deeper into myself and to understand how my unconscious mind works. I believe ‘popcorn philosopher’ was inspired by the word ‘popcorn movie’.   Continue reading

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