A Korean Aussie adoptee goes back home for the first time. Hilarity ensues?
2NE1’s long-awaited Crush album was released recently.
I asked my sisters a while ago if they liked Kpop. They’re not huge fans, being in their 30s and all. But Sister 4 said she liked 2NE1, like me. I dig the idea of my sweet, quiet sister enjoying leather-clad CL spitting rhymes and lyrics such as “I am the best” and “You always act the fool / you ain’t shit without your crew!”
“Hello 주혜!” emailed Sister 4, the day after the album was released. “2NE1’s new album is out! I sent you the music.”
My dear sister had lovingly downloaded and emailed me the entire Crush album.
My favourite track is Come Back Home. It’s a hodgepodge song with jarring chunks of reggae, pop, dubstep and acoustic guitar thrown together, like Girls’ Generation’s I Got a Boy. But after a few listens, it grew on me and I forgot all about the changing genres. It’s the wistful melody and desperate crescendo of the chorus that I like.
I’m chugging along slowly through my Korean language classes and still don’t understand the entirety of a Kpop song. I pick up on random words and fill in the blanks. Today… now… don’t go… I miss you.
The one Korean lyric in Come Back Home that I recognised was “어디에? 어디에?” (eodie? eodie?) meaning “where?” – followed by “too far away” in English. The subject of this expression depends on context. In my Korean lessons I learned how to ask 화장실이 어디에 있어요 (hwajangshili eodie isseoyo?) – where is the toilet? This song is sung to someone, so it’s assumed that the subject of the question is referring to that person: “where are you?”
The song itself has a simple meaning – the pain of being separated from a lover.
The video clip shows a different interpretation. The partners are physically together, but one detaches himself from reality and into a virtual reality world – a statement on spending too much time online and neglecting the real world. Definitely an issue in a nation with the fastest internet in the world, and where PC gaming is a social issue on par with drug addiction. In true 2NE1 style, the women deal with the situation by setting the virtual reality world on fire.
The beauty of songs and art is that the meaning can be yours.
Apparently, it was obvious to everyone else except me last year that I was going back to Korea. After all, I’d only spent 3 days with my birth family.
For the last few weeks I’ve been madly researching programs in Korea and painstakingly filling out applications. It’s a bit stressful. I’m not sure if I will get approved. All I can do is try my best and hope.
As I triple-check that I’ve written the right thing to convince an organisation to bring me to Korea, and listen to the song my sister sent me, the quiet lyrics grow louder and louder.
Where are you? Too far away. Come back home.