When I first started blogging, I didn’t dream it would take me this far: to be on Arirang‘s “Glimpse of Korea,” an international food-and-travel program based in Seoul, hosted by Fabien Yoon. He has appeared several times on Running Man and is hosting a music program on M-net, Korean equivalent to MTV. I’m an avid Korean movie watcher, and saw him in the hit comedy, Fashion King.
Many young people, who start blogging these days, want fame and fortune. I admire their clear purpose. But for my friends and me, we were extremely naive. We didn’t want fame, we didn’t want fortune. We have rejected some advertisers because their food and products are not up to our standards. We are poor but have an aristocratic disdain towards earning money.
Our aim is simple. We want to combine our passion and service to society; we love food, and we want to write real, humorous, and honest reviews for you to spend their money wisely at places which will give you a good experience. Although now my friends who started this blog with me have more or less stopped contributing and I’m the person in charge of the blog, our aim remains unchanged.
I said we were naive because now I realize that no matter how good your intentions are, you have to socialize in Singapore to make things happen. You need to have connections. I’m unfortunately an antisocial misanthrope by nature (which ties into my character of despising fame); I speak my mind and offend people. I can’t say Miss-Universe-speech like other bloggers. I don’t socialize, so when others share our vision of honest reviews and building a community, when we receive praise from others, it always comes as a surprise.
For example, when New York Post recommended us as a Singapore food blog to follow, someone had to inform us of the article. We didn’t even know the NY Post journalist! Australian food bloggers approached me to be their keynote speaker, just from reading our blog.
Now Arirang. I don’t know how they know of us. But I know they have good taste. Haha.
When we first got the email, Chiobu said, “Is it a scam? Are they trying to kidnap you to harvest your organs? It happens a lot in Korean movies.”
Mr Fitness said, “You’re so antisocial. I’m worried you won’t have a good time.”
By the end of filming, which started at 5am and ended at 9pm, they interviewed us:
So today is the coldest day of the year. -5 degrees. How are you?
It is so cold I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes… But I watch lots of Korean movies and Korean lovers always promise to meet at first snow. So I take the weather as an auspicious sign.
What is the favorite part of the activities we did today?
I like everything… the visit to the folk village, the kite flying, and the strawberry picking. So sweet and succulent! But my favorite part has to be working with the crew.
Everyone has been amazing to us.
Fabien Yoon and his manager are so kind and without airs; they provided us with heat packs, drove us around, styled our hair, and gave me gloves.
Glad to have met fellow Singaporean blogger, Pohtecktoes, who share the same idealistic vision as I of building a community based on cooperation, not competition.
And the TV crew. You da real MVP. You guys took such great care of us. Constantly keeping us out of the wintry winds while you guys set up the equipments. Working long hours without complaining. Giving us hot drinks while you forwent the drinks. Watching us eat when you’re hungry yourselves. You guys have the tough jobs. I was only walking around, enjoying myself.
The TV show is called Glimpse of Korea but my best experience today comes from Glimpse of Koreans’ hospitality. The weather may be freezing but I feel the warmth from Koreans .
Talking about food… Why do you keep eating and eating on camera?
Hahaha. [How come you didn’t ask Fabien and Pohtecktoes this question???] I’m curious about things and want to try new things.
But I should have replied, “That’s how I live. Don’t judge me!”
This episode of Glimpse of Korea airs on 25th Dec on Arirang channel.
How to tell it’s -5 degrees cold from photo: clear blue skies, and very crispy edges.
Started from 5am at the hotel, ending at 9pm, but early bird catches the sunrise
-5 degrees weather, better than the refrigerator
We huddled in a hut for our next scene
Our next scene was to dye cloth the organic, traditional way: using fruit
Nuna (elder sister) teaching us to dye cloth
Drying the dyed cloth
Ajumma (elder woman) teaching us to make traditional Korean candy
What Fabien does in between scenes: molesting cats
Arirang’s 24 year-old intern, Kim, drove us around. He was awake from 3am till 9pm to drive us. He’s waiting to enter university to study business management but his interest is in TV production.
Kim the Intern doesn’t like to eat proper meals. He likes to snack on junk food and treated us to baked potatoes you can get at convenience stores. Crispy outside, mushy inside, so delicious!
Sumi Village’s strawberry farm owner said, “You guys are 2 hours’ late. The person-in-charge has gone home!” Oops! We didn’t mean to be late, but shooting in winter is really arduous and time-consuming.
The Producer said, “All the scenes we captured of you in the strawberry farm show you eating and eating!” Come on, it’s huge, juicy, sweet, and fresh from the vines. And it’s FREE! These cost a bomb in Singapore.
Finally! AN INDOOR SCENE, away from the cold. Behind the scenes of traditional crispy rice snack glued together with strawberry jam. Nuna is our teacher. The cameras were set up. Fabien and Hendric chatting on the side.
Nuna likes my creation best! It’s a nunsaram (snowman) with a Christmas tree.
Special thanks to Yoon Yoojin for inviting me to be on Glimpse of Korea.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.