Dear metal fans, this is Babymetal

babymetal

 

 

Telling from their appearance, you may be forgiven to assume they are simply ‘another so-so, mainstream J-pop group’. I personally find it hard to identify their genre, precisely, but here’s what I can sum up. It’s still a J-pop girl band, definitely, but this time, with a rather electronic, catchy, and of course, metal touch, a touch that no longer involves screeching, screaming, intense headbanging (to a certain extent there still is), and ear-deafening tones. Boundaries between music genres are becoming increasingly blurred, and these girls are now here to shutter our previous stereotyping about what ‘metal’ actually is about. Welcome to 21st century, headbangers.

Bonus: an NPR article about the Japanese group which consists of three ‘baby-faced’ teenage girls singing metal lyrics in cute, puppy style.

 

One video you can listen below:

 

A big untruth named Mamuro Samuragochi

japanese beethoven

 

Duping a whole nation – and possibly the whole planet – to believe that you are a miracle, that you can write music without literally hearing, that you proclaim to the whole world you mastermind the musical notes by your own, and that you proudly present yourself as ‘modern-day Beethoven’, will be undeniably one of the most outrageous forms of deception, as well as humiliation, you are inflicting to yourself.

This is what happens precisely to Mamoru Samuragochi, the so-called Japanese Beethoven who, as his ghost composer, Takashi Niigaki, confesses, didn’t even know classical music.

Read these two Time articles about Japanese Beethoven, the former written in 2001, and the latter this year. And compare them.

Excerpt:

 

Former – Mamuro Samuragochi: Songs of Silence

Born in Hiroshima, Samuragochi was so precocious that, at age 5, as his mother tells him, he was creating compositions for the marimba. Samuragochi himself remembers composing his own music at age 10. Although he studied piano as a child, he didn’t have much formal training and taught himself to compose. He is a traditionalist, a student and an admirer of such Western composers as Beethoven and Mozart, and he is dismissive of modern, atonal music. “I like harmony,” he says. “Sometimes I think I was born at the wrong time.”

With his flowing auburn hair and a predilection for wearing black, Samuragochi fashions himself as an outsider in Japan, where conformity rules. The country is now getting better at assimilating people with physical disabilities like deafness into mainstream society. But Samuragochi struggled in obscurity for many years. Instead of composing music for TV dramas that he considered unwatchable, he supported himself by working part time as a video-store clerk and a street sweeper. He finally broke through with the chance to compose the score for a TV film, Cosmos, and then for a video game, Bio Hazard.

Latter – Deaf Japanese Composer Admits He’s Not Actually Deaf, Didn’t Write His Own Music

The composer has now admitted that he hired a ghostwriter to compose his music starting in the 1990s after his career took off and his hearing problems worsened, he says. He didn’t write any of his seminal works—including the Hiroshima symphony. The real composer was Takashi Niigaki, a part-time lecturer at a music college in Tokyo who came forward about the deceptions just before the Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi was set to skate at Sochi to Samuragochi’s “Sonatina for Violin.”

Analyzing Gita Wirjawan

Gita Wirjawan - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2010

 

 

Gita Irawan Wirjawan, as his full name sounds, has nearly everything you may deem damn perfect: educated in Harvard, well-experienced in international banking giants (JP Morgan Indonesia and Goldman Sachs being his notable ones), speaks greatly, and fluently, native English (he claims his TOEFL paper-based test scores were 650), becomes a highly successful entrepreneur who predicted the 2008 financial crisis (he established Ancora Group as an anticipation to the recession by buying out shares in companies he believes will be impacted by the crisis), and contributes significantly to the massive increase of foreign direct investment in Indonesia. And, well, he’s also immensely talented in badminton and music, and develops huge connections worldwide, which easily enable him to lobby world leaders to advance Indonesia’s economic agenda on a global scale.

C’est parfait, n’est pas?

Well, I guess we have to balance the pros and cons of everybody. Not that he’s a God-like prowess, though.

We have to acknowledge that without him, Indonesia’s investment climate would have never been this bustling, despite all the commotion and rambunctiousness taking place around our country. Nevertheless, just as everybody does, he also has his Achilles’ heel: he’s no good in handling kitchen stuff.

Serving as Minister of Trade, he has – several other ministers are also actually to blame – indirectly contributed to the massive increase of garlic prices, and of other commodities altogether, that millions of people must tighten up their expenditure, at great pains, to afford the amenities. Should we deny the facts? Nationwide, television news reports – despite their oftentimes politically distorted views – displayed to us, with all the double-digit, and to a lesser extent, triple-digit, increase in percentage of the prices of commodities, only to be solved, in short term, by allowing unlimited imports from neighboring countries like India.

This scenario takes place in a totally tropical country where garlic should have grown damn easy.

Okay, forgive his mistake, though: he owns numerous philanthropic foundations, all of which aggregated under Ancora Foundation, which award scholarship for visionary, like-minded, and ambitious graduate students to world-class universities like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Sciences Po, Stanford, or Singapore’s beloved NTU. Now taking lead, also, as president of Indonesia’s badminton association, he has groomed many successful players, and he’s now ready to prepare locally-trained world-class golfers, using his personal wealth. Must be a good brief entertainment at times where commodity prices run high, eh?

And now he’s a presidential nominee for upcoming election in 2014. His vision: a technocrat-driven government. This is one I particularly very endorse. About our current leader? Without mentioning his name (you know what I mean), he’s been too much consensus-driven. Other political parties are claiming a bigger stake in governance, for the parties’ own sake. Were he elected, could he endorse technocrats to take seats in the state apparatus? This country, now with all its golden opportunities, should have been led by a government based on meritocracy, not one solely dependent on uneasy coalition.

Okay, let’s forgive our current president for the mistakes he made regarding the cabinet structure, which derives mainly from proportion of political parties included in his coalition; maybe this was his Hobson’s choice, given the relatively fragile political situation at that time. Now, with GDP surpassing 1 trillion US$, with more than 100 million people now entering middle-class status, Indonesia should have been ready to embrace for a merit-based regime. Where a ministerial seat should have been occupied by one really well-experienced in that field, not a leader of a certain political party showing superficial loyalty to the president.

Gita Wirjawan has a bonus for that. He only lacks another finesse, though: most of those who have heard his name are solely based on major cities. And those living on countryside? I doubt if many of them are well acquainted with him.

Will you support him on upcoming election? You decide.

 

Read his profile in Wikipedia.

Listen to his interview on Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), back in 2010, when he was serving Head of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, the one tasked with persuading foreign businesses to invest in the country.

And this is his main vision as a presidential hopeful. Read it at The Jakarta Globe.